It’s time to deck the halls and make with the jolly; the holiday season is upon us. We’ve even “decorated” here on the blog — note our site header’s Santa hat and our snowflake background?
If you need a little fictional support to help get you in the spirit of the season, then look no further. Today, we’ve got five YA books that are sure to put you in a holly jolly mood. Be sure to share your picks for holiday reads in the comments, too!
What Light by Jay Asher
This book was just recently released, and when I finished reading my copy a couple weeks ago, I was left feeling totally Christmas-y. I wanted to put up a tree and get the decorations out and start baking cookies. Alas, I still had to host a Thanksgiving dinner for eleven people — but it definitely got me to start gearing up for Christmas in a big way. What Light is a sweet, seasonal romance that touches on issues of love and forgiveness without being too heavy.
Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.
Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.
By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.
Read this book for: Christmas trees, hot cocoa, and twinkle lights
Winterspell by Claire Legrand
This is a sexy and seductive YA twist on the classic Nutcracker story. And honestly, what’s more seasonally appropriate than The Nutcracker? But a whimsical ballet this is not. Legrand’s world is filled less with Sugar Plum Fairies and more with evil queens, dark magic, and addictive sweets. If you like your holidays a little twisted, sexy, and dark, Winterspell is the book for you.
The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince…but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.
New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.
Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.
Her home is destroyed, her father abducted—by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets—and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed—if she leaves at all.
Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.
Read this book for: Sweet treats and seductive Nutcracker princes
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn
When bookish, snarly Dash meets Christmas-loving Lily, their holiday season takes a mad-cap turn for the merrier in this misadventure through New York City in December. By exchanging a notebook filled with dares, Dash and Lily each step out of their comfort zones and make a unexpected connection.
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”
So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.
Read this book for: Santa Claus, surprises, and mistletoe
The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by David Levithan & Rachel Cohn
Need more Dash & Lily in your life? This newly released sequel picks up one year after the first book, and sees Dash teaming up with Lily’s brother to help bring back her Christmas spirit. Beloved characters and similar antics return to make this another darling holiday romance to curl up with by the fire.
Dash and Lily have had a tough year since they first fell in love among the shelves of their favorite bookstore. Lily’s beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition.
With only twelve days left until Christmas—Lily’s favorite time of the year—Dash, Lily’s brother Langston, and their closest friends must take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the unique holiday magic of a glittering, snow-covered New York City in December.
Read this book for: Warm snuggles and wrapped presents
My True Love Gave to Me ed. by Stephanie Perkins
This short story anthology features twelve original holiday-themed stories by some of the best authors in YA literature, including Holly Black, Gayle foreman, Jenny Han, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, and more. With such a diverse group of writers contributing to this wonderful collection, My True Love Gave to Me truly has a little something for everyone. It’s especially great for grabbing a quick read between holiday festivities, without the commitment of a full-length novel.
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year’s there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love.
Read this book for: Bite-sized holiday treats
For the comments: Okay, it’s your turn now! Tell us YOUR picks for the best books to read to get in the holiday spirit.
I love rereading the Harry Potter series around the holidays, especially the first three books. Returning to the enchanting Wizarding World always fills me with warm, fuzzy feelings.
Oh yes! Christmas at the Weasleys sounds so delightful, doesn’t it?
Oh, it’d be a dream come true