7 YA books to get you in the holiday spirit

It's the most wonderful time of the year... to read more books.


December has arrived and with it, the weather’s become colder, town centres have lit up, the chocolate Santa’s who’ve sat on grocery store shelves since September suddenly seem appetising and the population who celebrate the holidays have split in two. There are those who have had the same holiday playlist on repeat since November 1st, watched The Holiday three times this week alone and have their Christmas gifts wrapped and ready and tucked under a tinselled tree in a home they’ve successfully transformed into a winter wonderland. And then there are those who enjoy the holidays but take each day as it comes. They might have bought their advent calendar in November but forgot to open the first two days. They’ve already watched The Grinch (but only the second half they caught on TV) and have no idea what gifts to get anyone but can’t wait for them to be opened.

No matter which category you fall into, it’s safe to assume that the idea of curling up with a good book as you sip a mug of steaming hot chocolate whilst warming your feet by a fire as a Christmas tree twinkles from the corner of your eye, is the idea of a perfect Christmas moment. The only thing that can make this situation more festive is making sure the book in your hands is one of holiday cheer. Thankfully, there are some wonderfully festive reads out there and with A Christmas Carol  retelling and Christmas scavenger hunts on this list, you’ll be one step closer to finding your holiday bliss (or, at the very least, they’ll help you imagine you are as you take a break from panic buying last-minute holiday gifts.)

Instagram: @peachteabooks

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

A retelling of the Dicken’s classic A Christmas Carol, The Afterlife of Holly Chase is the perfect Christmas read with a twist.

On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn’t.

And then she died.

Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable.

But this year, everything is about to change. . . .

Buy in the UK and the US.

Instagram: @gayleforman

My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories Edited by Stephanie Perkins

Edited by Stephanie Perkins, My True Love Gave to Me features twelve utterly adorable holiday romances, written by twelve top YA authors including Rainbow Rowell, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Laini Taylor, Ally Carter, Matt de la Pena, Gayle Forman, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Kiersten White and Myra McEntire.

With a range of genres and short stories set during Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice and New Year’s, My True Love Gave to Me has something for everyone.

Buy in the UK and the US.

Instagram: @everydayschnisi

Kiss Me In New York by Catherine Rider

It’s Christmas Eve at JFK in NYC.

Charlotte is a British student, waiting for a flight home after the worst semester of her life. Anthony is a native New Yorker, surprising his girlfriend at the airport after three months apart. Charlotte has just been dumped, and Anthony is about to be dumped, right in the middle of the holiday crowd.

Charlotte’s flight is cancelled when a blizzard blows in, and Anthony can’t bear to go home. So, they set out into the city together, clutching a book Charlotte picks up in the airport gift shop: Ten Easy Steps for Getting Over Your Ex. For this one night, they’ll focus on healing their broken hearts … together.

Step-by-step, the two struggle to put the past behind them. But the snow is so enchanting, and the holiday lights are so beguiling, that soon their shared misery gives way to something else. Soon, they’re not only over their exes — they’re falling for each other.

Then a subway ride splits them up by mistake. Will they reunite before Charlotte’s flight leaves New York forever?

Buy in the UK and the US.

Instagram: @pagesfromanotherworld

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dare and The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by David Levithan and Rachel Cohen

If a bookish scavenger hunt in New York during Christmas sounds like the holiday romance of your dreams, Dash & Lily’s Book of Dare and its sequel, The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily, are about to make your Christmas dreams come true.

“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.”

Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favourite 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?

Buy in the UK and the US.

Instagram: @kellysrambles

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is a collection of short stories and poetry surrounding the theme ‘home’ from some of the UK’s top Young Adult authors including, Tom Becker, Holly Bourne, Sita Brahmachari, Kevin Brooks, Melvin Burgess, Katy Cannon , Cat Clarke, Juno Dawson, Julie Mayhew, Non Pratt, Marcus Sedgwick, Tracy Darnton, Lisa Williamson and Benjamin Zephaniah. With £1 from the sale of every book being donated to Crisis, the national homelessness charity, this books makes both the perfect holiday read and gift.

Buy in the UK and the US.

Instagram: @tistheseasonathon

Snow In Love by Melissa de la Cruz, Nic Stone, Aimee Friedman and Kasie West

What’s better than cuddling up with an adorable holiday story? Cuddling up with four adorable holiday stories.

Kasie West brings us a snowy road trip secrets and crushes. Nic Stone delivers a truly romantic airport scavenger hunt. Melissa de la Cruz offers a high school couples gift exchange with a plot twist and Aimee Friedman shares the possibly of a Hanukkah miracle for a Jewish girl working as a department store elf.

Buy in the UK and the US.


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