The Best YA Books to Help You Survive the Holiday Season
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We love the holiday season! But there are times when the most wonderful time of the year can seem like a lot—a lot of people, a lot of errands, a lot of socializing, a lot of shopping, and a lot of food.
When you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, we recommend sneaking away for a few hours and escaping into the pages of a great YA book. Call it self-care. Call it research for gift giving. Call it trying to hit your Goodreads goal by December 31. We’ve made a list of some not-so-jolly holiday feelings you might experience, along with the best YA holiday books we think will get back in the spirit in no time!
Whether it’s sibling chaos because everyone’s home from school or old grudges revisited at a family get-together, sometimes it’s nice to know your family isn’t the only one that gets a little crazy around the holidays. We recommend reading about a fictional family for some coping strategies. This boxed set features both We Were Liarsand Family of Liars by E. Lockhart. The series about the Sinclair family and their lies will make your family gathering look rosy by comparison.
When every public space seems to have “Santa Baby” playing on repeat, take a break and pick up a YA book that will have you singing a different tune. Hatchet Girls by Diana Rodriguez Wallach is a propulsive, supernatural thriller set more than one hundred years after the Borden murders that imagines what might happen if history were to repeat itself today.
Hooray for the holiday gift exchange! But after you receive your assigned name, you have to solve one of the great mysteries of the holiday season: What will they love that’s under $30? We’ve cracked the case! Buy them a copy of the YA novel Didn’t See That Coming by Jesse Q. Sutanto, a hilariously fresh and romantic send-up to You’ve Got Mail about a gamer girl with a secret identity and the online bestie she’s never met IRL until she unwittingly transfers to his school. And while you’re there, grab a copy for yourself. That way, when dinner feels like detention, you’ll have an escape plan.
Defiant by Brandon Sanderson is the final book in an epic series set in space that will inspire you to muster your last shred of energy and tackle those tasks! This series is about a girl who will travel beyond the stars to save the world she loves from destruction. Now, Spensa must ask herself: how far is she willing to go for victory, if it means losing herself–and her friends–in the process.
All joking aside, sometimes the holidays bring up painful memories or unresolved feelings. If you think a cathartic cry might help, try the Kathleen Glasgow Three-Book Boxed Set featuring three moving YA novels from Kathleen Glasgow: Girl in Pieces, about a girl putting herself back together after a series of losses; How to Make Friends with the Dark, about love and loss and learning how to continue when it feels like you’re surrounded by darkness; and You’d Be Home Now, about a teen girl’s struggle to find herself amidst the fallout of her brother’s addiction in a town ravaged by the opioid crisis. Be sure to add tissues to that shopping list; you’ll need them.
Yes, the holidays can bring you and your loved ones closer together, but sometimes all that togetherness gets tricky.Her Radiant Curse by Elizabeth Lim is a fantasy tale of two sisters—one as beautiful as the other is monstrous—who must fight to save each other when a betrothal contest gone wrong unleashes an evil that could sever their bond forever! It’s a thrilling yet heart-wrenching fantasy that explores the dark side of beauty and the deepest bonds of sisterhood.