I’m a big fan of celebrating the holidays, and I love stories set against the excitement (and let’s be real, chaos) of the end of the year holidays. Traditionally, this has been a tough sub-genre to find diverse books in. I addressed this issue four years ago, and while I’m excited to highlight some books that go beyond Christmas and aren’t written by white authors, this is still a major problem in the YA holiday genre! Only one of the books below is written by an author of color and while that’s an improvement, I really hope to see more diversity in holiday books this time next year, and in four more years to come.
These three books are all romantic and fun, and they have the added bonus of featuring some well-loved romantic tropes! Check them out!
Rent a Boyfriend by Gloria Chao
If fake dating gets you in the feels every time, then you need to grab this new book from Gloria Chao about Chloe, who hires Drew from the company Rent for ‘Rents. She wants to avoid a holiday season full of her parents pressuring her to get together with the son of a family friend, and Drew is perfect on on paper, and in person. So perfect that her parents are charmed and Chloe begins to fall for him. The only problem? The real Drew is not at all parent-approved as an aspiring artist who works for Rent for Your ‘Rents because his own parents cut him off. This book takes place from Thanksgiving to Lunar New Year.
Recommended for You by Laura Silverman
Who’s up for some enemies to lovers romance? Shoshanna is a Jewish teen who is working tons of December shifts at her favorite independent bookstore, trying to ignore the fact that her moms are fighting all the time and her beloved car keeps breaking down. When her boss announces a holiday bonus for the employee to sell the most books, Shoshanna thinks she’ll be able to solve at least one of her problems. But then Jake enters into the equation, a new employee who manages to sell an awful lot of books for someone who doesn’t even read. The competition is on, but it’s not long before Shoshanna finds herself wondering if maybe she likes Jake more than she realizes.
One Way Or Another by Kara McDowell
Just the idea of making a decision is enough to send Paige into an anxiety spiral. So when she’s given two last minute options for her holiday break, the choice threatens to overwhelm her. Does she go with her mom to New York City and experience the city she’s dreamed about for years? Or does she accompany her best friend and crush Fitz to his family’s cabin in the mountains for a cozy holiday and a chance at taking their relationship to a new level? With a bit of Sliding Doors magic, Paige’s life diverges and both scenarios play out…but Paige has to learn that there is no perfect ending if she’s to find out where she’s meant to be.
Want more YA holiday stories from years past? We’ve got you covered.