As soon as Thanksgiving is done, the Christmas season is in full swing, and I’m not complaining—I love this time of year. And even though I love Christmas shopping (especially if it’s at a bookstore), there’s nothing better than sitting down with some eggnog and a few awesome YA holiday novels to unwind at the end of the day. Christmas and holiday themed YA novels are a great way to put you in the Christmas spirit. Here are some of my favorite YA holiday novels.
This collection of holiday-themed stories by bestselling authors John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle was my first holiday YA book. I love rereading this one every year because the short stories, about a novella length, show such different sides to the holiday season. Hovering between love and romance, these stories are also about friendship, family, and the spirit of generosity and magic that infuse the snow-covered last days of the year.
This collection of twelve wonderful holiday-themed short stories will melt your heart—especially if you only have a quick break to sneak some reading in. Reading one story in a quiet moment before bed can send you off to sleep warm and ready to tackle another day of shopping or wrapping or baking. And with stories by Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins, Holly Black, Matt de la Pena, Jenny Han… and so on… how can you go wrong? I also love how this YA holiday collection focuses not just on Christmas but on other holidays and seasonal stories that capture the magic of the most wonderful time of the year.
I’ll read anything by Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why, so I pre-ordered this novel so I could have it there on my Kindle the morning it came out. This novel follows Sierra, whose family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon for part of the year and then decamps to California to sell the trees for the other part of the year. Sierra, then, lives two lives, and even one is not enough to hold all the love she has for Caleb, a “wrong side of the tracks” type of person she sees for the good inside. Their bond will be tested by distance though they grow even closer. Will their relationship survive the holidays? Find out in this emotional holiday romance read.
Not afraid of the cold? Then you’ll love Rachel Hawthorne’s YA holiday romantic comedy about a girl from Texas who moves to a remote island in the Great Lakes with her mother after her parents’ divorce. Ashleigh finds herself stranded in this cut-off but charming community and adjusts to life in a high school where there are fewer than ten students in her year. Even though it’s frigid outside, dreamy yet mysterious Chase helps Ashleigh warm up despite Ashleigh’s feelings for her best friend Nathalie’s boyfriend, Josh. This novel is fun and, let’s be honest, kind of just some good old-fashioned romance fluff…but who doesn’t need that during the holidays? This is definitely a quick read and some solid escapism during the chaos of the Christmas season.
This quirky novel is definitely up there as one of my favorite YA holiday novels. Co-written by YA contemporary rockstars Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares follows two bookworms, Dash and Lily, as they trade “dares” in Lily’s red Moleskine notebook full of dares. Traversing the streets of New York to complete activities, these two opposites (quiet Dash and spunky Lily) find they share more than just a love for books. With Christmas burrowing down on them, Dash and Lily might find falling in love around the holidays is the ultimate dare. Cohn and Levithan also co-authored Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and in this novel their dual voices really shine. A sequel, The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily, was released in 2016.
“That Moment When” by 22 bestselling & award-winning YA authors
Finally, although not strictly a holiday read, this collection of 22 YA short stories is perfect for your holiday reading … and did I mention that it is currently free on Amazon? You can’t beat that for value! With over 200,000 words (about three full-length novels) That Moment When will provide endless reading pleasure over the holidays. It also includes my science fiction short story When I Find You!