Columns > Published on December 17th, 2014

A Very YA Christmas: 5 Young Adult Novels with Holiday Themes

The holidays are upon us, and the young adults are on break from school. What better way to get in the Yuletide spirit than with five YA novels celebrating the spirit of the season, from Christmas on to New Year’s Day? These five selections perfectly capture the atmosphere of the holidays, with plenty of snow, Christmas themes, and good old holiday cheer.

1. 'Let It Snow' by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle

What do you get when you let three amazing Young Adult authors loose on the topic of Christmas? You get one epic snowstorm leading to a stranded train and a very cold hike, hysterical Waffle House antics, and an early morning shift at Starbucks brightened by the appearance of a teacup piglet. All in all, you just can’t miss with these three charming interconnected tales. Each one can be read and enjoyed separately, but read together, they weave the surprising and wonderful story of one fateful Christmas Eve night.

In 'The Jubilee Express', 'A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle', and 'The Patron Saint of Pigs', you won’t find teen angst or drama. What you will discover is the wonderfully off-the-wall moments that make being a teen so much fun. There are beautiful moments that make you ponder the meaning of Christmas, dotted by swoon-worthy romantic moments and sweet first kisses. It is the perfect book to curl up by the fire with when it’s frigid outside, since these stories will make you smile and warm your heart.

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2. 'Decked With Holly' by Marni Bates

Despite the lure of a beachside vacation, Holly isn’t thrilled to be taking a Christmas cruise with her two cousins from hell. Nothing is off to a great start when she finds herself grappling with seasickness and desperate to find relief. When she’s forced into a suite in search of a restroom, things continue to go awry as she’s pepper-sprayed by a gorgeous guy who thinks she’s an intruder. When the guy turns out to be Dominic Wyatt, the drummer for one of the hottest bands in America, Holly finds herself wrapped up in a scheme to save his family-friendly image. How bad can it be to be caught up in a “fauxmance” with an adorable rock star?

Full of relevant pop culture references and humorous moments, this novel is pure fun. It excels with plenty of witty dialogue, fun holiday moments, and features a cute romance sure to keep you on your toes. You’ll be eagerly turning pages to find out how Holly gets out of every predicament, coming out on top with her holiday spirit still in tact.

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3. 'Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares' by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn

When Lily leaves a red Moleskine notebook on the shelves of her favorite bookstore, she cannot begin to anticipate who might find it and take on the challenge of the dares written inside. When Dash finds the notebook, he is drawn to the wit and charm of the writing and is compelled to follow where it leads. The two embark on an adventure, sharing dreams and desires within the pages of the notebook, but can they possibly connect quite so well when they finally meet in person?

Written in alternating point of view by two well-known young adult authors, this book is clever and fast paced. Centered on the joys of the holiday season, each dare brings these two wonderful characters closer together, despite the fact that they couldn’t be more different. Everything about this book is hopeful and fun, and it’s an added bonus that it is set during the holidays, giving the reader a taste of New York City at Christmastime.

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4. 'Ex-Mas' by Kate Brian

When seventeen-year-old Lila Beckwith’s little brother Cooper ruins her big chance to throw an epic party while her parents are out of town, she only wants to get back at him. Leaving out an article claiming that global warming is melting the North Pole seems to be the perfect way to make him pay, but she never would have guessed that he’d take off with his best friend Tyler in hopes of saving Santa from certain danger. To stay out of trouble, Lila absolutely has to get Cooper home before her parents find out, but the only person who can help her is Tyler’s older brother Beau. The only problem is that Beau is Lila’s anti-everything, slacker musician ex-boyfriend. Can Lila and Beau survive an epic road trip and get their little brothers home before time runs out?

This book has a little bit of everything, all wrapped up in a fun holiday package. There’s Christmas intrigue, a race against the clock to find the runaway siblings, sweet family moments, and a cute holiday romance sure to melt your heart.

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5. 'My True Love Gave to Me' edited by Stephanie Perkins

This collection of short stories written by some of the best names in Young Adult literature is a bag of mixed goodies. Inside you’ll find gems by authors like Stephanie Perkins, Holly Black, Rainbow Rowell, and David Levithan. While each story is centered on the holiday season and does feature a romance, they as varied as can be. You’ll be pleased to find a diverse collection, featuring a myriad of races, religions, ethnicities, and sexual orientations.

Since each story stands alone, you’re free to dip in and enjoy these twelve holiday romances in any order you like, and they’re short enough to spend just a cup of hot cocoa or two on each one. Whether you read them one at a time or delve in for the whole book, you’re sure to find the perfect story to get you in the holiday spirit. This is the perfect book for easing into the holidays, from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day.

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Among these holiday novels, you’re bound to find a favorite to add to your collection. What are your favorite holiday themed books?

About the author

Riki has a long-standing love affair with all things books and writing. She indulged her love for all things literary with a degree in English Literature from Arizona State University and is currently studying at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. Although she is well past her own teen years, Riki’s reading passion lies with Young Adult literature where she devours books that handle the “firsts” in life. When not reading and writing she can be found yelling at the television while watching sports.

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