‘Tis The Season: Authors Talk Holidays is a special seasonal feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which some of my favourite authors help me to celebrate the spirit of the season and spread a little holiday cheer. So, pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle in by the fireside as they answer the question: “What does the holiday season mean to you?”
About Suzanne Park
Suzanne Park is a Korean-American writer who was born and raised in Tennessee.
In her former life as a stand up comedian, Suzanne was a finalist in the Oxygen Network’s “Girls Behaving Badly” talent search, and appeared on BET’s “Coming to the Stage.” She found this to be the funniest thing in her comedy career because, well, she is not black. She was also the winner of the Seattle Sierra Mist Comedy Competition, and was a semi-finalist in NBC’s “Stand Up For Diversity” showcase in San Francisco.
She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, female offspring, and a sneaky rat that creeps around on her back patio. In her spare time, she procrastinates. Her YA romantic comedy debut, The Perfect Escape, releases April 7, 2020 and her adult romcom Loathe At First Sight comes out August 4, 2020.
Because I have the worst memory, I enlisted the help of my siblings to help me remember our childhood holiday traditions.
Let me add some context now, starting with our pre-holiday bowling tradition (which I mistakenly thought was on Christmas). Every year on Thanksgiving, my mom kicked us out of the house and my dad, brother, sister and I went to the bowling alley for a few hours while my mom cooked the turkey. It was the only time we ever went bowling, just once a year as a family (sans mom), on Thanksgiving Day. When did this tradition start, and why did we go BOWLING, you might ask? I honestly have no idea, and I’ve asked everyone in my family, and no one remembers the origin story. Surprisingly, the bowling alley in the outskirts of Nashville was always a bustling venue on that holiday, with lots of other “not-helpful-in-the-kitchen” family types and a handful of truck drivers occupying half of the lanes. While this was one of the weirdest Park family traditions, unfortunately it wasn’t technically during the “holiday season,” but it’s one worth mentioning to help tee up the other bizarre holiday rituals that followed every December.
Nativity scenes were something that my parents loved and incorporated into every Christmas season. We had one set that came out every year that my mom placed with great care near the fireplace. My parents also took us on drives to see festive yard decorations, one of which was at a house two doors down from my dad’s corner market. This Christmas spectacle on Meridian Street was a sight, with colorful blinking lights, fake snow, and of course, several life-size black nativity sets with wise men, Marys, Josephs, and black baby Jesuses. Every year they’d add a new full nativity set, and each year my siblings and I would try to figure out which baby in the manger was the newest black Jesus.
Adding to the yuletide strangeness, as children, we never questioned the origins of our tree décor. My mom would add new “ornaments” every year like keychain tchotchkes or Korean decorative tassels, and I never remember buying any actual legitimate ornaments for our tree. From afar, the tree looked colorful and robust with all of the various adornments. Seeing it up close was another story. One year, my mom won a dancing Santa in a church raffle that she proudly displayed next to our tree. Santa danced as we opened presents. Another Park tradition.
For me, the holiday season can be summarized with just a few words. Family. Festivities. Fun. Dancing Santa. And black baby Jesuses.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Title The Perfect Escape
Author Suzanne Park
Pages 320 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Publication Date April 7th 2020 by Sourcebooks Fire
Find It On Goodreads ● Amazon.com ● Chapters ● The Book Depository ● Barnes & Noble ● IndieBound
Love is a battlefield in this hysterically funny rom-com debut, perfect for fans of Jenny Han.
Nate Jae-Woo Kim wants to be rich, just like everyone else at the elite private school where he’s a scholarship student. When one of the wealthiest kids at school offers Nate a huge sum of money to commit grade fraud, he knows that taking the windfall would help support his prideful Korean family ― and they need the money, since Nate’s dad just lost his job. But is compromising his integrity worth it?
Kate Anderson wants a fresh start. Her high-powered CEO father oppressively controls over her life, demanding she follow the life plan he’s laid out for her. She fantasizes about escaping to New York, where she can pursue her dreams of being an actress. But how can Kate get there when she can’t even buy dinner without his approval?
Nate and Kate’s worlds collide at their job at a zombie-themed escape room. As sparks fly, fate steps in: a local tech company is hosting a weekend-long survivalist competition with a huge cash prize that could solve all their problems. And thanks to the survival skills they picked up watching hours of zombie movies, the two think they might just have a shot. But the real challenge will be making it through the weekend with their hearts intact…