It may not officially be “winter” just yet, but the holiday season has kicked into high gear. What’s better to do on a cold, gloomy day than cozy up on the couch and read a book? Below are a few of my favorite winter and holiday-themed young adult novels to help get you in the spirit
Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren Myracle
This book is a collection of three short stories by three different popular young adult authors. All the stories tie together, so even though the plots are different, you’ll notice familiar characters and settings throughout all three. I personally enjoy the first two stories (Johnson’s and Green’s) much more than the third, so when I re-read this (which I do almost every winter) I just skip the last one. The other two are cute, funny and festive. Plus they manage to make a snow-hater like me appreciate a blizzard…no small feat!
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Bittersweet isn’t exactly a holiday book, but it takes place during the wintertime in upstate New York, and holidays happen, so I think it counts! Ockler does a fantastic job of describing the bleak, frigid backdrop for her story. There’s figure skating and hockey and blizzards (again!) and all sorts of wintery stuff. The tone and content of the book is similar to a Sarah Dessen novel, and there are wonderful descriptions of cupcakes at the beginning of each chapter. Are you sold yet?
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
Lily leaves a notebook full of dares at her favorite bookstore, hoping it will catch the eye of a worthy guy. Dash finds it and begins communicating back and forth with Lily, though they haven’t ever met in person. This book is definitely a love letter to New York, and especially New York during the holidays. It reminds me quite a bit of that lovely John Cusak and Kate Beckinsale movie, Serendipity.
Decked With Holly by Marni Bates
The cover would certainly have you believe that this book is totally Christmas-themed, which isn’t entirely the case. It does take place around Christmastime, but most of the story happens on a tropical cruise, so you won’t find any blizzards or hot cocoa here. This highly amusing book tells the story of Holly, who is having a terrible time on her Christmas cruise with her evil cousins. She happens to stumble into the cabin of Dominic Wyatt, the drummer for her favorite band, and makes a total fool out of herself. One thing leads to another and Holly finds herself pretending to be Dominic’s girlfriend to help him out of a publicity nightmare. Very funny and plenty festive!
The Ex Games by Jennifer Echols
It’s a battle of the exes and a battle of the sexes when Hayden agrees to compete against her ex-boyfriend Nick in a snowboarding competition. Hayden and Nick’s love/hate relationship and Hayden’s continued fear of heights put plenty of obstacles in her path. This book is really all about nuance – great callbacks and added details (Nick’s family owns a “meat and meat products” company; Hayden is a vegetarian) really help bring it to life. And of course there’s plenty of cold and snow if you’re into that sort of thing.
If you’re looking for a quick and light wintery read, check out Rachel Hawthorne’s Love on the Lifts or Snowed In. Catherine Clark’s The Icing on the Lake is also worth a look.