The Best YA Books to Help You Survive the Holiday Season

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 a YA book we think will get back in the holiday spirit in no time!

When your holiday gathering turns dystopian, read Wilder Girls by Rory Power.

Wilder Girls

Wilder Girls

By Rory Power

Whether it’s an office party gone weird or old grudges revisited at a family get-together, holiday parties can be as scary as a dystopian YA novel. So we recommend diving into a fictional dystopia for some coping strategies. In Wilder Girls by Rory Power, a mysterious disease hits a remote island that is home to an all-girls school. Quarantined from the rest of the world, the surviving students wait for a cure. But when Hetty’s friend goes missing, she breaks out and learns there’s more to the story than she ever imagined.

When you can’t listen to one more Christmas carol, read Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker.

Who Put This Song On?

Who Put This Song On?

By Morgan Parker

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. Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker is about a teenage girl trapped in small-town suburbia. Morgan struggles with issues of identity, self-confidence, and mental health. She feels like she’s listening to the same terrible track on repeat and wonders: When can she turn this song off and begin living for herself?

When you find yourself signed up for yet another gift exchange, get One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus.

One of Us Is Lying

One of Us Is Lying

By Karen M. McManus

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 $20? We’ve cracked the case! Buy them a copy of the YA novel One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus, a story about a group of high school students who are sent to detention and become suspects in a murder. Just like you and your gift exchange partner, they think they know each other . . . but do they, really? And while you’re there, grab a copy for yourself. That way, when dinner feels like detention, you’ll have an escape plan.

When getting to the bottom of your to-do list seems like an impossible dream, read Skyward by Brandon Sanderson.

Skyward

Skyward

By Brandon Sanderson

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson is a fantasy set in space that will inspire you to muster your last shred of energy and tackle those tasks! In this YA fantasy book, the last of the human race are trapped on a planet that’s under constant attack by aliens. When Spensa finds the wreckage of an ancient spaceship, she realizes that her dream to be a pilot could actually come true . . . if she can repair the spacecraft, survive flight school, and persuade the ship to help her.

When you need a good cry, read Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart.

Scars Like Wings

Scars Like Wings

By Erin Stewart

On Sale 01.12.21

All joking aside, sometimes the holidays bring up painful memories or unresolved feelings. If you think a cathartic cry might help, try the YA book Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart, a story about a girl who loses absolutely everything in a tragic fire and has to find the courage to carry on. Be sure to add tissues to that shopping list; you’ll need them.

When you need to remember that you really do love your loved ones, read Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak.

Bridge of Clay

Bridge of Clay

By Markus Zusak

Yes, the holidays can bring you and your loved ones closer together, but sometimes all that togetherness gets tricky. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak is the story of five brothers who discover the secret behind their father’s disappearance. It’s an unforgettable book about the bonds of family and how they can sustain us through all the ups and downs of life.

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