Cover Image: Finding My Elf

Finding My Elf

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Member Reviews

There is such a thing as too cheesy, and I felt this might have crossed that line. Cam spends a majority of this book fighting the battle of knowing he is flunking out of school…and that storyline seemingly fixed itself with no real work from Cam, Despite him taking on the role of elf at Santa’s Village. The competition that takes place confused me. There didn’t seem to be any iron clad rules it was kind of just made up as they went along. The character of Leroy served as just a plot point without any real direction and turned villainous for seemingly no reason. Marco was enjoyable and saved this for me, as the character in the book that seemed the lost flushed out and set in their characteristics.

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I loved this adorable little Christmas rom-com! The story was a delightful and heartwarming easy read. I actually think this story would be a phenomenal Christmas movie.

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First off, I love the cover art for Finding My Elf. That and the competition aspect really drew me in. That being said, it really feels like romance took a back seat and there was so many different things going on. The entire book takes place in the span of a few weeks. This is single pov from Cam’s perspective. While this might not become a comfort read for me, as a serial re-reader, I wouldn’t hesitate to crack it back open near the Christmas season.

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"Finding My Elf" by David Valdes is a delightful Christmas story that blends romance and holiday cheer. The narrative revolves around Cam, an NYU theater student, who finds himself grappling with an identity crisis upon returning home for the holidays. Working at Santaland during the winter break, Cam hopes to secure a $5000 check that could salvage his theater career and allow him another shot to transform into his ideal "City Cam" self. The story was very enjoyable; however, Cam wasn't my favorite main character. While he has moments of likability and relatability, there are also instances where he comes across as self-absorbed and whiny. (Although he is an 18-year-old theater kid, so I suppose I can excuse some of the melodrama!)

Despite the mixed feelings towards Cam, "Finding My Elf" shines in its depiction of the supporting characters. The standout is Cam's love interest, Marco, who is charismatic, charming, and utterly lovable. Marco's presence brings an extra dose of warmth and chemistry to the narrative, making the romantic aspect of the story really enjoyable. Moreover, the cast of elves working at Santaland adds a delightful ensemble dynamic, making the story feel vibrant and lively. This is definitely a great read for a snowy day!

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This is one of those books that i requested during a NetGalley spree and then it came and i was like, "OHHHHHH NO WHAT DID I DO TO MYSELF?" I am not quite cheesy enough to think i will like a book called *Finding My Elf* (although the elizabeth who requested it was), but i will NOT let my NetGalley rating drop so i had to read it.

In a really positive twist to this story, i enjoyed this book so much! I love a good rivals-to-lovers story and then you add in a totally unnecessary American-Idol-like mall elf contest? I am IN. The pacing of the romance part was a little unusual but the reality show vibes in a very overdramatic workplace was so compelling.

My biggest critique was that i felt like it got really into the romance plot for the last like 20% and so some of the other threads didn't get tied up as well as i would have liked, but honestly i wasn't that wrapped up (GET IT???) in the book that i cared too much.

Age wise, this is New Adult, but totally good for a high school library. Fun and easy!

NetGalley ARC.

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I’d like to say thank you to HarperTeen and Netgalley for the ARC version of the book. This in no way alters my thoughts or opinions in this review.

“Finding My Elf” by David Valdes is a heartwarming and delightful read that follows the journey of Cam, a college student who returns home for winter break.

Desperate to avoid a conversation with his dad about his struggles at NYU, Cam takes on a job as a mall elf at Santa’s Village.

The book is filled with charm and humor as Cam navigates the hectic environment of his new job.

Overall this book is very well written with great characters and character growth. It's definitely a book I will be curling up with under a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa and reading again around Christmas time.

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Thank you to Netgalley, HarperCollins Childeren's Books, and Harper Teen for allowing me to read this book.

Finding My Elf was an adorable Christmas rom-com. I loved Cameron and thought his experience with the first semester of college was extremely relatable. I thought Cameron's dynamic with Marcus was wonderful. There were several spots that I found a little slow compared to the rest of the book. Overall, Finding My Elf is the perfect holiday read!!

Review will be posted on social media closer to the release date.

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A fun Christmas rom-com. In our story, Cam comes back to his small town for Christmas break after spending a disastrous semester away at NYU, where he didn't do as well as he had hoped. He decides to get a job at the brand new mall in town, but the only job hiring is for the Christmas elves in Santaland.. You know the ones--funny costumes and they help take the photos with Santa. However, the mall is sponsoring a 12 days of Elfmas contest, where the top elf can bring home a $5000 prize. Cam knows he needs to win that prize so that he can help to repay the scholarship that he lost and not put his single dad into more debt.

However, there is a beautiful, very smiley elf named Marco already working. And he seems like the crowd favorite. Can Cam ignore Marco's "too nice" ways and keep his eye on the prize? Or will those twinkling eyes become a distraction?

I think everyine who starts this knows how it will end up, but it's a cute story nonetheless.

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Again I LOVE Christmas so I was pumped to get this arc especially seeing the author loves Christmas too! Big thanks to NetGalley and HarperTeen for it in exchange for an honest review!

I really enjoyed this YA romcom and fell in love with Cam and Marco. Their relationship is so sweet even with it starting off bumpy! Cam has some complicated feelings about college, hometowns, and secrets from his dad and best friend, but he is also funny and made me root for him the entire book. I loved his inner dialogue, and the mall/Santaland backdrop was so fun. Highly recommend if you're looking for a fun holiday themed rom com this season, but be sure to have some cookies ready because the cookie party had me dreaming of Christmas desserts. Overall definitely felt the holiday spirit even if I read this in April!

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Cam is back home in his small town of Lindell for Christmas, having finished his first semester at NYU in dismal fashion. Despite his passion for the theater, he thinks he's failed his theater classes and lost his scholarship -- so maybe it's time to drop out. He can't bear to tell his dad, though, because Christmas is his dad's favorite time of year, and maybe he can get a holiday job to make up for the shortfall in his tuition.

When Cam's best friend Jazz tells him that the new luxury mall outside town has opened, he goes to apply for a job and ends up... as an elf in Santaland. There's a lot he doesn't like about it -- including the irritatingly cheery head elf Marco -- but it's a way to use his theater experience, and he might even be working with his ex-boyfriend Leroy (and maybe bringing a spark back to their relationship?). And when the boss mentions there will be an elf challenge, with the winner getting $5000, Cam decides to lean into his new persona as Oopsy the Elf and discovers a new popularity on social media. But will this Christmas end in disaster, or in a new romance for Cam?

Cam is such an endearing and relatable character that I want to alternate between shaking him and giving him a hug. After feeling confined by his small town for so long, his failure to thrive in New York has really thrown him off course, and he just can't get out of his head and out of his own way until he gets a wake-up call from his co-workers, his bestie, and even his dad. But the growth that he experiences after that really helps Cam develop into a stronger character, giving him a chance to learn more compassion and self-awareness. I don't think any reader will be too surprised by how some of the plot threads wrap up, but the story is so entertaining that you can just sit back and enjoy getting to that HFN.

Great representation here: gay Cuban American, gay Filipino American, queer Black friend with Norwegian girlfriend, softhearted and supportive single dad -- basically, a lot of really kind and loving people of all stripes.

A joyful addition to this season's holiday romances and one that I think a lot of teens will enjoy. 4 stars.

Thank you, HarperCollins and NetGalley, for providing an eARC of this book. Opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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Finding My Elf by David Valdes is a heartwarming and festive romcom that will leave readers feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. The story follows Cam, a struggling college student who is trying to find his place in the world. When he takes a job as a mall elf over winter break, he is surprised to find himself drawn to a fellow elf named Marco, who is the epitome of Christmas spirit.

The competition between the two elves is fierce, and at first, Cam sees Marco as nothing but a rival. But as they spend more time together, Cam begins to question his own assumptions about what he wants and who he is. Could it be that he has finally found his people in the most unexpected of places?

Valdes' writing is sharp and witty, and he captures the magic of the holiday season with humor and heart. Cam is a relatable protagonist who struggles with feelings of inadequacy and uncertainty, but ultimately finds his way to self-acceptance and love. The supporting cast of characters is equally charming, and readers will find themselves rooting for each of them to find their own happiness.

Overall, Finding My Elf is a delightful read that is sure to put a smile on readers' faces. It's a perfect book to curl up with during the holiday season, or anytime you're in the mood for a fun and heartwarming romcom.

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Thank you HarperTeen and Netgalley for this eARC, these opinions are my own. Never too early to read a holiday rom com! Cam has come back to his hometown after his first semester of college, where he is failing out and probably about to lose his scholarship. He can’t work up the nerve to tell his hardworking single father this so he takes a job as an elf at Santaland. Comes with long hours but leaves no room for him to be able to talk with his father. Then he finds out about the competition to crown the Top Elf the prize being 5,000 dollars. If he won he could fix his college troubles, there just one problem, Marco. Marco’s the chipper, sweet, charming, always joyful guy to beat. Complicating everything is Leroy, his ex. Can he win Top Elf? Should he work things out with Leroy? And what’s happening with Marco, the one he should be staying away from? I love rom coms and holiday ones are always exciting! Especially Christmas because it’s my favorite holiday! I love Cam’s complicated layers! I love the relationship that he has with his dad and how he supported Cam’s goals even when it created some hardship! I enjoyed Cam’s humbug moments and his development of his family and friendships! Plus some great romcom moments! Finding My Elf is charming, funny, romantic, swoonworthy, and will have you feeling the holiday spirt! Can’t wait to read it again!

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I really liked this one! It was the perfect Christmas-y read, full of iconic holiday moments. I needed something easy to read, and this was perfect.

My favorite thing about this was definitely the main romance. Cam and Marco were so ridiculously adorable together. I loved how supportive and wholesome they were, it was a relationship dynamic I wish we saw more often. Plus, the Christmas backdrop was absolutely perfect for them!

I do really wish we'd gotten to see more of Cam after the actual ending of the book. His NYU dilemma was such an important struggle, I wish we'd been able to see the way it resolved. I wanted to see him thriving in his new confidence.

But, if my only complaint about a book is that I wanted more, it means the book did its job well. I loved this one, and I can't wait to see what Valdes writes next!

Thanks to Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

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