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Seasonal selections

Do you enjoy a good holiday read to get you in the spirit? Here are a handful of  YA books either set during or around Christmas.


Coffeehouse AngelCoffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors
Katrina wasn’t looking for a reward or even a pat on the back. She just did the right thing, a random act of kindness. While emptying the trash on a cold morning outside her grandmother’s coffee shop, Anna’s Old World Scandinavian Coffeehouse, Katrina sees a homeless man curled up in the alley asleep. So she places a hot cup of coffee, day old pastries, and a bag of chocolate-covered coffee beans on the doorstep for him. What happens next isn’t so ordinary. The man shows up at Katrina’s school, during an assembly and announces to the whole school that he must reward her generosity and selflessness. Not only is Katrina embarrassed but she refuses to accept the reward.

It turns out the man, Malcolm, is a messenger angel. He is between missions and can not/will not be able to leave until Katrina lets him grant her wish and give her the thing she most desires. Is this guy for real? Would you be able to refuse the charms of a cute “Coffeehouse Angel“?

What I enjoyed about the book:  It is a sweet story about friendship, family, and forgiveness. I love books about coffee and the cover grabbed me as well.  I’d give it to: fans of light romance, teens and adults.


Dash & Lily's Book of DaresDash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
“Imagine this:
You’re in your favorite bookstore, scanning the shelves. You get to the section where a favorite author’s books reside, and there, nestled in comfortably between the incredibly familiar spines, sits a red notebook.
What do you do?
The choice, I think, is obvious:
You take down the red notebook and open it.
And then you do whatever it tells you to do.”
(D&LBOF pg 1)

Lily left the aforementioned red notebook next to Salinger’s “Franny and Zooey” in the Strand, a hip used book store in New York City. It was discovered by Dash. Dash decides to follow the literary clues and then leave one of his own for the mysterious Lily, thus beginning a city-wide “treasure hunt”, passing the notebook back and forth yet never meeting. Dash and Lily employ friends and family in the quirky and often hilarious dares, sharing their thoughts and feelings along the way. Is it possible to start a friendship or even a relationship when you have never laid eyes on the each other? I dare you to pick up this book and find out.

What I enjoyed about the book: It was a fun and festive holiday book and a nice change from supernatural, undead fiction. Lily reminded me a bit of Mia from Meg Cabot’s series “The Princess Diaries“. I think it was her quirkiness but could have been the NYC setting. Dash, on the other hand, was very verbose and a bit quirky in his own way. Snarly, as other characters referred to him. I’d give it to: readers looking for a little holiday cheer.

EXTRA: Check out the sequel The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily


Let it SnowLet it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
Three interconnected Christmas tales to make you laugh and put you in the holiday spirit. Great book to read in a snow storm or on the first nasty day of the season.

Story 1: The Jubilee Express
Jubilee is eagerly awaiting the hours until leaving for the Price Family Annual Smorgasbord, hosted by her boyfriend Noah’s family and the celebration of their first anniversary. But after her parent’s surprise arrest over coveted Christmas decorations and a train trip to Florida during the biggest snowstorm in *FIFTY* years, Jubilee finds herself trapped in an unknown town at midnight on Christmas Eve. She can either stay on a cold stranded train surrounded by cheerleaders or venture out into the snow in hopes of reaching the warmth and solitude of the Waffle House. Can Christmas get any crazier?

Story 2: A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle
A few phone calls change the course of Christmas Eve for Tobin, JP, and the Duke. The first half dozen calls confirm that Tobin’s parents are stuck in Boston due to the storm. The next calls are from their friend Keun, the “acting manager” of the Waffle House. The Waffle House that is currently witnessing a cheertastic Christmas miracle = 14 cheerleaders, who are displaced passengers of the immobilized train. Keun urges them to brave the storm and witness the said miracle. Will they be able to make it?

Story 3: The Patron Saint of Pigs
Addie can’t stop moping about her break-up with Jed. Her friends think she needs to focus less on herself and more on others and the Christmas spirit. Her one (after) Christmas task: pick up Tegan’s gift. Should be easy, right? …

What I enjoyed about the book: Humor, fun, holiday spirit. Who could ask for more?  I *LOVE* John Green and also adore Lauren Myracle so I thought this might be a good one to try. The first time I read it, the snow of the year was being predicted so it seemed like the perfect time. I’d give it to: Fans of the three writers and/or fans of Sarah Dessen. Readers looking for sweet, fun, laughter, and holiday spirit.


My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday StoriesMy True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins is a collection of twelve holiday short stories by current young adult authors. Some are realistic. Some have more of a fantasy element. They all capture the season.

What I enjoyed about the book: The first story is by Rainbow Rowell, who I love, and it doesn’t disappoint! The short stories were perfect for a time of year when it is hard to commit to reading a whole novel. I was exposed to YA authors I haven’t read and genres I wouldn’t necessarily pick up on my own.

I’d give it to: fans of any of the authors, readers looking for a little holiday spirit or that love books set in winter or at Christmas.  Readalikes: Any of the featured authors (Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt de la Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, and Kiersten White). Let It Snow: three holiday romances by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle.

EXTRA: The Hub had a great post about the book on Christmas Eve, including a holiday song for each story. Check it out!


A Walk to RememberA Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
It is 1958 and Landon Carter is beginning his senior year of high school. He is student council president, the son of a wealthy Congressman, and getting ready to apply for college at the University of North Carolina. Landon expects this year to be a breeze and has even signed up for drama rather than endure Chemistry-II. What Landon didn’t except was that he would end up inviting Jamie Sullivan to the homecoming dance. Jamie Sullivan, the daughter of a Baptist minister; the girl who wears plaid skirts, a plain brown cardigan sweater, hair pulled up in a bun, and carries an old Bible every single day; the girl who believes that everything is part of God’s plan. Jamie, the girl who will teach Landon that appearances aren’t everything and the love can change us forever. Join Landon on A Walk to Remember .

What I enjoyed about the book: It is a sweet story that makes you feel good and remember what it was like to be a teenager. I love Nicholas Sparks and have read this several times, picking up something new every time. I’d give it to: readers who want a love story, a feel good book, and who aren’t afraid to cry. (All Sparks books make you cry, unless you are a robot!)


What Light by Jay Asher

Sierra has always lived two lives, both revolving around Christmas. Her family owns a Christmas tree farm in Oregon and every year they “move” to the Christmas tree lot in California for the season. She has friends in both places, friends who miss her when she is gone, traditions in both places. Both of Sierra’s lives are intricately tied together to make her whole.

This year Sierra meets Caleb and everything changes.

What I enjoyed about the book: I love that the author is able to tell a great story and keep the length to a minimum. You can easily read in one sitting. Themes of love, forgiveness, trust, family dynamics. I’d give it to: Fans of the Jay Asher won’t be disappointed. Those who enjoy John Green, Sarah Dessen, and Rainbow Rowell.


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