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YA Book Recommendations Based on Your Favorite Holiday Movies

We can’t decide what’s more satisfying during the holiday season: Is it curling up under a fuzzy blanket and watching your favorite Christmas movie? Or curling up under that same blanket and escaping into a fantastic YA book?

Since it’s the holiday season and Santa says you’ve been very good this year, you can have it all! Pick the movie you’d most love to watch right now, and we’ll tell you which YA book you should read next. Scroll down for some YA book recommendations based on holiday movies.

If your favorite holiday movie is The Knight Before Christmas, you should read The Camelot Rising Trilogy by Kiersten White.

The Guinevere Deception

The Guinevere Deception

In The Knight Before Christmas, the reigning queen of Netflix holiday rom-coms Vanessa Hudgens finds herself falling for a medieval knight who has been magically transported to the present day. Let the swooning commence!

Fans of knights in shining armor will be right at home in Kiersten White’s enchanting YA fantasy trilogy. The first book, The Guinevere Deception, follows Queen Guinevere as she fights to protect Camelot from dark forces . . . and to keep her real identity a secret. A medieval knight stuck in 2019 can probably relate to the struggle!

If your favorite holiday movie is White Christmas, you should read House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig.

House of Salt and Sorrows

House of Salt and Sorrows

“Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters.” If you’re a  fan of the 1954 classic Christmas film, you know what song we’re singing right now.

In White Christmas, two sisters are scheduled to perform at a New England inn over the holidays, where they team up with two famous entertainers. There is definitely some #drama, but also plenty of romance, sisterly love, and holiday cheer to go around.

For the ultimate sister story, read House of Salt and Sorrows, a dark and romantic tale about twelve sisters who must attend balls, wear beautiful slippers, but most importantly must unravel a curse to save their family.

If your favorite holiday movie is A Christmas Prince, you should read the American Royals series by Katharine McGee.

American Royals

American Royals

Who doesn’t love a royal romance? This film’s take on the classic “(regular) girl meets (prince-in-disguise) boy” features ambitious journalist Amber masquerading as a royal tutor to get close to Prince Richard . . . only to realize she’s falling for the heir to the throne.

A little closer to home, the American Royals series features three royal siblings dealing with all the glamour and intrigue of palace life, and offers royal romances for us to enjoy. This YA series is pure escapist fun, featuring forbidden love, sibling rivalry, and mysterious secrets.

If your favorite holiday movie is Let It Snow on Netflix, you should read the book that inspired the movie!

Let It Snow (Movie Tie-In)

Let It Snow (Movie Tie-In)

If you haven’t yet streamed the Netflix movie based on the YA book Let It Snow (featuring novellas by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle), let us introduce you to your new favorite Christmas movie. For those of you who’ve already read the book, you’ll be excited to revisit the Waffle House, get trapped in a blizzard, and watch three adorable romances play out. And if you’re new to the story, the flurry of heartwarming holiday teen romance will sweep you off your feet.

If your favorite holiday movie is Eight Crazy Nights, you should read It’s a Whole Spiel by Mayim Bialik and Katherine Locke and Laura Silverman.

It's a Whole Spiel

It's a Whole Spiel

By Array

Who can resist the humor and heart of Adam Sandler in the animated musical film Eight Crazy Nights? If you’re watching the movie this Hanukkah, don’t miss It’s a Whole Spiel, an insightful, funny, and romantic Jewish anthology from a collection of diverse Jewish authors.

A Jewish boy falls in love with a fellow counselor at summer camp. A group of Jewish friends take the trip of a lifetime. A girl meets her new boyfriend’s family over Shabbat dinner. Two best friends put their friendship to the test over the course of a Friday night. A Jewish girl feels pressure to date the only Jewish boy in her grade. Hilarious pranks and disaster ensue at a crush’s Hanukkah party.

From stories of confronting their relationships with Judaism to rom-coms with a side of bagels and lox, It’s a Whole Spiel features one heartwarming story after another.

If your favorite holiday movie is The Nightmare Before Christmas, you should read the YA book Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker.

Who Put This Song On?

Who Put This Song On?

In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king, is tired of scaring the people of Halloweentown year after year. When Jack discovers there’s a place called Christmastown, he decides it’s time for a change: he’s going to celebrate Christmas instead. What could go wrong?

Like Jack Skellington in Nightmare, seventeen-year-old Morgan feels trapped. She’s depressed and tired of the downbeat track that’s playing inside her head. Who Put This Song On? is a funny, moving story that celebrates identity and individuality.

If your favorite holiday movie is The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, you should read the YA book Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon.

Instructions for Dancing

Instructions for Dancing

If the holiday season isn’t complete until you’ve heard “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and seen a live performance of The Nutcracker ballet, then chances are The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is one of your favorite holiday movies.

But if you thought that movie could have used a bit more romance and a bit more dancing, you’ll want to read Instructions for Dancing. Not only does this story have its own magical elements (Evie has the power to see other people’s romantic fates), but there’s plenty of dancing and a swoony romance that you won’t want to miss.

If your favorite holiday movie is It’s a Wonderful Life, you should read the YA book The Words We Keep by Erin Stewart.

The Words We Keep

The Words We Keep

By Erin Stewart

Coming 02.28.23

It’s a Wonderful Life is one of those classic holiday movies that reminds us how even in our darkest moments we can still find hope. Though George Bailey begins the movie contemplating suicide, his guardian angel, Clarence, swoops in just in time. Clarence shows George what his life—and the lives of those he cares about—would have been like if he had never been born. This gives George a newfound appreciation for his life and he returns home to find his family and friends have rallied to his aid.

For a similarly hopeful story, read The Words We Keep. When Lily and Micah embark on an art project for school involving finding poetry in unexpected places, Lily realizes that it’s the words she’s been swallowing that desperately want to break through. It’s a beautifully realistic, relatable story about mental health—anxiety, perfectionism, depression—and the healing powers of art. Whatever you struggle with, you are not alone and you are already enough—just the way you are.

If your favorite holiday movie is A Christmas Carol, you should read the YA book I Am the Ghost in Your House by Mar Romasco-Moore.

I Am the Ghost in Your House

I Am the Ghost in Your House

Are you a fan of ghost stories? Then chances are A Christmas Carol is one of your favorite holiday movies—whether it’s animated, live action, or starring Muppets. There’s something so satisfying about seeing the greedy Scrooge spooked into being a good person after he’s haunted by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.

If you’re looking for another ghost story, read I Am the Ghost in Your House. The main character, Pie, is invisible. Though she’s not dead, she lives a ghostly existence with her also-invisible mother. But now Pie has the chance to return to Pittsburgh and find the girl she fell in love with the last time she was there. This time she’s determined to reveal herself. But how can anyone love an invisible girl?

If your favorite holiday movie is The Princess Switch, you should read the YA book Love From Scratch by Kaitlyn Hill.

Love from Scratch

Love from Scratch

The Princess Switch has it all: a royal switching places with a commoner,, a baking competition, and two perfect love stories! What’s not to love? After all, who hasn’t wished they could fall in love with royalty?

But if you found yourself rooting more for the baking competition and the pairing between Lady Margaret and Kevin, then you’ll want to read Love From Scratch. Interns Reese and Benny are competing for the same full-time position, but when the two are thrown into a video shoot that goes viral, they become the internet’s newest ship. Reese can’t deny the chemistry between her and Benny. But the more their rivalry heats up, the harder it is to keep love on the back burner . . .

If your favorite holiday movie is Single All the Way, you should read the YA book Nate Plus One by Kevin van Whye.

Nate Plus One

Nate Plus One

Just as Peter convinces his best friend Nick to pose as his boyfriend at his family’s Christmas party in Single All The Way, Nate invites his best friend (and secret crush) Jai to be his plus one at his cousin’s wedding in Nate Plus One. You can guess what happens next. None of these boys will be fake dating for very long!

If your favorite holiday movie is Frozen, you should read the YA book Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim.

Six Crimson Cranes

Six Crimson Cranes

There are two kinds of people: those who absolutely think Frozen is a holiday movie and those who don’t even like to watch Frozen when it isn’t cold outside. If you’re the latter, go thaw your frozen heart, but if you’re the former, you must read Six Crimson Cranes.

Why? Because it has all the elements you love in Frozen! Both draw from cultural fairytales (“The Snow Queen” in Frozen and “The Wild Swans” in Six Crimson Cranes) and weave those story elements into a tale of “conceal the magic” family drama. Of course, it wouldn’t be a story about concealing one’s magic if both tales didn’t begin with a dramatic, public reveal of said magic during a highly important ceremony. Oh, and did we mention there’s a forestalled wedding/engagement in both stories?

If your favorite holiday movie is Four Christmases, you should read the YA book The Cousins by Karen M. McManus.

The Cousins

The Cousins

In Four Christmases, Brad and Kate have made a tradition of avoiding their dysfunctional families during the holidays by taking an international trip and telling their families they’re doing charity work. However, when their flight to Fiji is canceled, the couple find themselves roped into an interview for the local news—which broadcasts to their families that they will be home for Christmas after all. Now there’s no escaping four different Christmas celebrations in one day, or the secrets that Kate and Brad have been keeping from each other.

In The Cousins, Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah find themselves in a similar situation when their rich and reclusive grandmother invites them to work at her island resort for the summer. Not going is not an option. As they’ll soon find out, their entire family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over—and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

If your favorite holiday movie is The Holiday, you should read the YA book Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.

Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily

Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily

Nancy Myers fans, we know your favorite Christmas movie is The Holiday! How could you resist the perfect blend of romances in both sunny California and wintry London? Whether you’re rooting for Amanda to find a love that will last, or for Iris to finally love herself for the leading lady she is, this is the perfect feel-good holiday movie.

For a book with similar U.S.-to-U.K. vibes, you’ll want to read Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily. When Dash gets accepted to Oxford and Lily decides to stay in New York City to run her dog walking business, the couple is facing Christmas an ocean apart. Lily decides that if Dash can’t come home for Christmas, she’ll fly to London to be with him. It’s a perfect romantic gesture…that spins out of Lily’s control. Soon Dash and Lily are feeling more of a gap between them, even though they’re in the same city. Will London bring them together again–or will it be their undoing?

If your favorite holiday movie is Love Hard, you should read the YA book Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto.

Well, That Was Unexpected

Well, That Was Unexpected

While getting caught in a catfishing scheme is not the most romantic way to find love, it sure is entertaining watching it happen to the characters in Love Hard! When Natalie decides to surprise her online crush, Josh, by showing up in his hometown for Christmas, she’s the one who gets a surprise. Josh looks nothing like his dating profile photo. He used his friend Tag’s photo instead of his own. Josh promises Natalie to set her up with Tag if she’ll stay and pretend to be his girlfriend for the holidays. Though Natalie agrees, things only get more complicated when Josh proposes to Natalie as a way to one-up his brother. But as Natalie gets to know both Josh and Tag, it turns out maybe her perfect match was here all along.

If you’re looking for a story with similar online-dating-scheme-gone-wrong elements, read Well, That Was Unexpected. To ensure that their children find the right kind of romantic partner, Sharlot’s mother and George’s father do what any “good” parent would do: they strike up a conversation online, pretending to be their children. When the kids find out about their parents’ actions, they’re horrified. Not even a trip to one of the most romantic places on earth could possibly make Sharlot and George fall for each other. But as the layers peel back and the person they thought they knew from online is revealed, the truth becomes more complicated. As unlikely as it may seem, did their parents manage to find their true match after all?

Did you love these YA book recommendations based on holiday movies? Find more recs here, and get social with us at @getunderlined!

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