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Last Christmas: The Private Prequel Hardcover – 7 Oct 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; First Printing edition (7 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416913696
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416913696
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,359,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kate previously worked for 17th Street Productions in New York, and has written several young adult novels under a different name. She lives outside of New York City.

Product Description

About the Author

Kate previously worked for 17th Street Productions in New York, and has written several young adult novels under a different name. She lives outside of New York City. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Oct. 2008
Format: Hardcover
****SPOILER ALERT**** For readers who haven't read beyond CONFESSIONS in the PRIVATE series, this book is best left unread. Details in LAST CHRISTMAS will ruin much of the suspense in the first four books of the series.

LAST CHRISTMAS is a great addition to the series by Kate Brian. The story gives much needed background insight into Ariana Osgood, the Billings girl arrested for the murder of Thomas Pearson.

The story begins near Christmas break of Ariana's junior year. When we meet Ariana in the first book of the series, PRIVATE, she is one of the privileged senior girls at Easton Academy. But in LAST CHRISTMAS, she is the naïve, innocent roommate to Noelle Lange. Ariana is the good girl that does what is expected of her. She gets top grades, lives in the most respected dormitory, and has the perfect boyfriend, Daniel Ryan. Her mother couldn't be prouder of her.

Daniel isn't 100% perfect though. He's incredibly jealous and protective of Ariana. At the Winter Ball, he torments Sergei, a Latvian exchange student, because he caught Sergei taking photos of Ariana throughout the dance. Ariana is to spend the two weeks of Christmas break at a ski resort with Daniel and his family. And Daniel is expecting her to have sex with him while they are there. They are both (supposedly) virgins, and Ariana didn't want their first time to be in a dorm bed.

It's the final day before the school break, and Ariana has yet to finish an English paper. If she doesn't turn it in before 6pm, she will fail the assignment. So she has Daniel and his twin sister, Paige, head out without her. She promises to take a later train.

But she gets sidetracked by Thomas Pearson. He has been showing up in unexpected places over the last few days.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 37 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Christmas in October! 9 Oct. 2008
By CoffeeGurl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The Private series centers on Reed Brennan, a scholarship student, and the chains of events that unfold when she enters the Easton Academy and moves to the Billing House -- the most exclusive and sought-after girls dormitory in campus. Those who have read the series knows that she falls victim to Ariana Osgood after she starts dating seventeen-year-old resident hottie and rogue Thomas Pearson. Now we finally get Ariana's side of the story -- the things that occur before Reed sets foot at Easton. Ariana Osgood has always been a good girl. A constant overachiever, she gets the best grades in school, is a Billings girl, has a boyfriend who is a big Easton legacy, and has her eyes set on Princeton. But no one -- not even her best friend Noelle -- knows that she does it all to make her mother, who suffers from a mental illness, happy. She's never done what she wants. In fact, she doesn't know what she wants. That is until Thomas Pearson, the school's drug dealer, begins to seduce her. They end up stuck at Easton during a big blizzard on Christmas vacation. They are not supposed to be there, and they have to hide from the staff as well as from people who might rat their flirtation out to her boyfriend. Falling for Thomas changes Ariana in ways she had never imagined. But she doesn't want to upset her mother, which means she has to continue to live a lie. She is torn between living a lie and living her dream of being Thomas's girlfriend. Not to worry, because they will be together soon, won't have to hide any longer. Thomas loves her, after all -- doesn't he?

I like what Brian has done with this prequel. It is consistent to the things that go on in the Private series and manages to put on a few surprises as well. As usual in this unpredictable series, there are some twists and turns that will leave you gaping and wanting more. Ariana is humanized in this book, so much so that I felt sorry for her. The characterization is excellent. She has psychotic and obsessive tendencies long before everything unfolds. They are subtle, and Brian shows this rather than tell it, which makes it all the more brilliant. Speaking of great characters, Thomas is wonderful. He has his flaws, of course, but he is a far more interesting male character than Gage, Dash, and even Josh. If only Brian hadn't killed him so soon in the series. The disappointing thing in this book is that Noelle seldom appears in this book. However, it is nice to see her in a position where she isn't as powerful or as influential as she becomes later on. Also, Taylor and Kiran are MIA in this book, which kind of confused me. When did they join Billings? Other than that, I loved Last Christmas. It was like getting an early Christmas present. I so look forward to reading Privilege and Paradise Lost.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
interesting 18 Oct. 2008
By Geneva - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I was extremely excited when I finally saw "last christmas" when I was at the bookstore, because I knew that Kate Brian would eventually write a prequel to the "Private" series, and while I was definitely satisifed with how it turned out (no matter how dramatic and somewhat ridiculous some of the plotlines can get, the author always manages to keep you on the edge of your seat!) I was a bit disappointed to realize that the book was basically all about Ariana, and her downward spiral. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but I was looking forward to reading about the rest of the all-powerful Billings Girls, especially Noelle, who is only briefly in the book. And like someone else mentioned, taylor and Kiran weren't mentioned at all in the book. What's up with that?

But dont get me wrong, like I said, I was satisfied with the book and read it in a few hours because I couldn't put it down (all the books in this series tend to have that affect on me)

"Last Christmas" is based on Ariana and tells of her downward spiral and explains how she came to be a bit...well psychotic as I'm sure you may know if you've read the other books in the private series. The story takes place Christmas time during Arianas junior year, before Reed Brennan ever stepped foot at Easton Academy. Ariana is a seemingly good girl, with the "perfect" boyfriend and a member of Billings, the most exclusive house on the campus of her boarding school. So it may seem that Ariana is the perfect girl, with the perfect life, but she's really hiding a dark past, and when she falls for campus bad boy Thomas Pearson, her life begins to unravel, thus leading to her downward spiral.

And ill also mention that even though I was upset that Noelle wasn't really in the book, the parts that she was in were interesting to read because its kind of a relief to know that she wasn't always so powerful and seemingly perfect as she is in the rest of the series!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Awesome look into how it all began, with Ariana at Easton 23 Oct. 2008
By Gen of North Coast Gardening - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Loved this book - it sets the stage perfectly for the new Privilege series starring Ariana Osgood, and gives us some answers to go with Revelation.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Last Christmas wasn't so private after all 20 Nov. 2008
By Deborah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Having not read the previous books in this series, I was afraid I would be totally lost while reading this book. Even though I've read other YA fiction like Gossip Girl or The A List, somehow the Private series never really appealed to me. And after reading this book, I'm still not sure if it does. This is apparently a new trend in the publishing world, to have a prequel come out in between ending a series and then starting a new spin off.

The characters, at least in this book, aren't very likable. Ariana doesn't have a backbone, her boyfriend is controlling, her roommates and other friends are rich spoiled socialites, and the "bad" boy isn't very bad. Something that kind of bugged me throughout the book was if Ariana and Thomas were in a dorm that was freezing and had no heat, how could they even possibly think about having sex? Why would you remove clothes? It kept taking me away from the story.

I noticed less fashion talk that other YA novels which was refreshing. Alcohol consumption is frequent, because obviously drinking laws don't apply to rich kids. Sex is a big factor in the story as usual. A great deal of the story is focused on Ariana picking a time and place to lose her virginity. I did not notice much cursing throughout the book, at least not as much as the Gossip Girl books use.

What does make the story unique is more violence with a mystery in the plot. And after reading some interviews with the author, that was the intention of the series. I wasn't too surprised to see the characters act so callously about death/murder. Money tends to numb your senses. It makes for a very interesting story and it does make me want to go back and see what happens now to Ariana and Thomas. It's just I feel like I don't really care about these characters and the book didn't convince me enough to do so.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great Guilty Pleasure Read 13 Nov. 2008
By Rhianna Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I find myself looking to the YA shelves more and more these days. Why? Because they seem to be the best place to go when I just want a good guilty pleasure read. Not too long or particularly brilliant titles perfect for just reading for the fun of being entertained! Lately the young adult shelves are packed with novels like this one, Last Christmas, a prequel to a series centered around the wealthy and elite.

Admit it. While everyone loves a good underdog, outcast type hero, we all secretly want to be the popular, perfect villain. Being the villain is just so much more fun. In the case of books like these half the fun is seeing not so much any villains, but breaking down the illusion of happiness and perfection that comes with having money. Money makes the world go 'round but it certainly can't buy fidelity in a marriage or mental health for a parent.

Though the rest of this series is from the perspective of Reed Brennan, this prequel is all about Ariana Osgood and the beginning of her downward spiral. I chose the prequel because I thought it'd set me up with a good idea of what to expect from the series. The tough part of that is that I ended up really liking Ariana and from what I learned looking into the rest of the series I don't think I'd be getting to really enjoy reading about her again.

The book itself is exactly what you'd expect. Plenty of label-dropping, obsessing over virginity, under-aged drinking and prescription drug-abuse. The romance between Ariana and Thomas is just believable enough to be enjoyable. Ariana's own mental issues are somewhat unrealistic, forced and make her seem a little too inhuman for most readers to truly relate to her. I think, however, that anyone who enjoys the series will enjoy this change in perspective and knowing what motivated Ariana's madness.

It was a very quick read and I actually didn't see the plot twist coming because I'd been so well lead to another conclusion it never occurred to me there could be another. A perfect book to pour through over Christmas break, enjoy!
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