10 Best Holiday YA Novels of the 2010s

Sit back and relax this winter with a great holiday novel and a cup of hot cocoa. There are plenty holiday-themed Young Adult books to choose from, but these stories are the top ten within the last decade. Appreciate the holiday ambiance as you run between shopping runs and festive parties by keeping one of these great books with you. You won’t regret appreciating the last ten years in all its bookish holiday glory before 2020 makes its debut.

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

This modern retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol follows Holly Chase who is visited by three ghosts but—plot twist—does not change. And then she dies. Now, she is the Ghost of Christmas Past and is set to change one grouch each year. But this year, plans aren’t turning out as they should. 

If you love a good retelling, this is the perfect holiday book for you. We’ve seen plenty of A Christmas Carol retellings, but mostly through films. This YA not only puts a spin on the original tale but updates it in a way that is as heartfelt as it is hilarious. 

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

This standalone is a bridge between A Court of Wings and Ruin and follows Feyre, Rhys, and the Night Court during the Winter Solstice. As the Night Court takes a well-earned break, Feyre learns to balance the grief and heartache of those who survived the war with the hope for a better future. 

This sweet, holiday story is a great in-between novella where we can find some of our favorite characters happy for once! The romance between Feyre and Rhys is only growing stronger while we wonder what just might happen to Nesta and Cassian in the next installment of the series.

Carols and Chaos by Cindy Anstey 

This historical fiction story within the Suitors and Sabotage series focuses on lady’s maid Kate Darby who has been super busy managing things above stairs, below stairs, and at home. Matt Harlow is also busy by performing as valet for a pair of brothers visiting Shackleford Park. Just as the two are starting to fall for one another, a counterfeiting scheme starts to tear the house apart. 

This Regency novel is filled with romance and mystery—a perfect combo for this holiday season. Kate and Matt are precious, and we love that they are determined to solve the mystery. If you’re interested, pick up the first book in the series, Suitors and Sabotage, for a great back-to-back read this winter. 

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan 

Lily filled a red notebook with challenges on her favorite bookstore shelf. When Dash finds it and they push it back-and-forth between one another, the pair begins to wonder if their real selves would get along as well as their notebook selves.


This cute and sweet holiday read gets us in the mood every time we read it. If you read and loved Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, you are going to be so happy you picked this up. Fortunately, the story continues in a second book, The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily, if you want even more holiday magic.

Decked with Holly by Marni Bates

When Holly gets seasick on a holiday cruise and accidentally finds herself in the wrong room, she gets pepper-sprayed by Nick. Except Nick isn’t just Nick, as Holly finds out, but Dominic Wyatt, drummer of one of the hottest bands in North America. When the pair decide to fake-date in order to prevent a scandal due to the pepper-spraying incident, the two realize how hard it is to not fall for one another. 

This standalone holiday read is laugh-out-loud hilarious. You are going to root for Holly and Nick in this fake-relationship story, and we can’t help but be fascinated and excited for a cruise-set book. 

My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff

Teo Ortiz is perfect and is who Charlotte Charlie Donovan wants for Christmas. She’s determined to rig the Secret Santa and give him five perfect gifts—but she’ll need Teo’s imperfect cousin, J.D., for help. But as she spends time with J.D., Charlie isn’t sure who she wants to take her to the Christmas ball afterall. 


This standalone is perfect for you enemies-to-lovers and love triangle lovers. It’s sweet, fun, and cheesy—exactly what we want in a holiday rom-com. 

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories – Edited by Stephanie Perkins

This anthology is composed of a dozen short stories all written by your favorite authors. Celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, New Years and more with this selection of stories.

Why read one story when you can read multiple? This warm anthology is composed of a great selection written by some of our favorite authors, and there is a story here for everyone. If you love the cheesy, cute, and cheerful holiday movies that grace our TV screens each year, this book is perfect for you.

Snow in Love by Melissa de la Cruz, Nic Stone, Aimee Friedman, Kasie West 

This book is composed of four novellas from four of your favorite YA romance authors. Enjoy the holidays as this book travels across road trips, department stores, and airports to show that love has no bounds—and no final destination. 


As we are busy this time of year from shopping for presents and running between holiday parties, it’s no surprise that we want to read something shorter that still packs a punch. This book does not disappoint with a great selection of YA rom-coms. We love the variety in this book and how each story stands on its own wonderfully. 

What Light by Jay Asher 

Sierra lives a split life between California and Oregon as her family runs a Christmas tree farm. But Caleb just might be the best of both worlds — even if he has a past mistake held over his head. Sierra just might be able to help Caleb overcome his past and find true love together. 

There’s nothing more romantic than a Christmas tree farm, and we love Sierra and Caleb’s chemistry. Asher truly delivers in this standalone. This warm story is light and sweet and is a perfect companion with a plate of sugar cookies. 

Winterspell by Claire Legrand 

This retelling of The Nutcracker is as dark as it is fantastic. In 1899 New York City, Clara has been trained in self-defense ever since her mother was murdered. When her father is abducted, Clara is determined to find him with cursed Prince Nicholas as her only companion. 

This retelling of The Nutcracker is nothing like the one you may have grown up with—in the best way. This dark fantasy combines all that we love about the original story but with a historical fantasy twist. Once you finish reading it, check out the prequel and prologue short stories that are available on Legrand’s website. 

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season this winter and enjoy the last few weeks of 2019. Here’s to 2020!


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