Holiday Novels That Warm the Heart and Bring the Cheer
Whether it’s a smattering of classics like A Christmas Carol, Little Women, Skipping Christmas or The Best Christmas Pageant Ever or newer novels such as Let it Snow by John Green or The Princess Present by Meg Cabot, there’s something so charming about holiday-themed books. Sure, motion pictures you and I have all grown up with – A Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life – hold special places in the warmest nooks and crannies of our hearts, but getting totally immersed in a Christmastime novel is much like sitting down with a good vinyl record and a glass of wine…it’s an experience that can’t be easily duplicated, if at all.
With the holidays upon us and young adults on break from school, now is a great time to discuss some of the top current young adult-oriented holiday novels. These selections, along with some classics I will suggest in following paragraphs, perfectly encapsulate the atmosphere of the holidays with a plethora of snowy backdrops, teen romance overtones and old-fashioned holiday cheer.
Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances
This book, penned by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle, remains one of the most popular modern young adult holiday stories amongst reading aficionados. Three interconnected tales spin a yarn about an epic snowstorm leading to a stranded train and a very cold hike, “hysterical Waffle House antics” and an early morning shift at Starbucks brightened by the appearance of a teacup piglet. Dotted by beautiful moments that will make you ponder the meaning of Christmas and “off-the-wall” scenarios that make being a teen so much fun – with sweet first kisses mixed in for good teen drama measure – The Jubilee Express, A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle and The Patron Saint of Pigs are part of the perfect collection to curl up by the fire with.
Decked with Holly
Written by the relentlessly adorable Marni Bates, bursts with relevant pop culture references and humorous moments, centering on the main character of Holly, who isn’t thrilled to be taking a Christmas cruise with her two cousins from hell. Seasickness leads to Holly running into a gorgeous guy who turns out to be the drummer for one of the hottest bands in America – but can she save his family-friendly image?
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
Created by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, is written in an alternating point-of-view by these two well-known young adult authors, and focuses on the joys of the holiday season. When Lily leaves a red Moleskine notebook on the shelves of her favorite bookstore, she cannot begin to anticipate who might find it and take on the challenge of the dares inside. When Dash finds the notebook, he is drawn to the wit and charm oozing from the writing, and is compelled to follow its lead…but can these two destinies that are about to collide connect quite so well when they finally meet face-to-face?
This fun and witty book, written by Kate Brian, has a bit of everything – Christmas intrigue, a race against the clock to find runaway siblings, sweet family moments and a cute holiday romance – all wrapped up in a fun holiday package. When 17-year-old Lila Beckwith’s little brother Cooper ruins her big chance to throw an epic party while her parents are out of town, she only wants to get back at him. This leads to Cooper taking off with his best friend Tyler in hopes of saving Santa from the danger of global warming…and the way it’s melting the North Pole.
My True Love Gave to Me
Instead of a novel this is a collection of short stories written by some of the best names in young adult literature such as Stephanie Perkins, Holly Black, Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan. Each story is centered on the holiday season and features plenty of romance, and the collection itself is as diverse as can be, featuring a myriad of races, religions, ethnicities and sexual orientations.
A Christmas Carol
When it comes to classic Christmastime novels, Charles Dickens’ timeless tale has to hold the candle – no real pun intended – for one of the most popular and recognized. In this “ghostly little book,” as scholars have come to call it, Dickens invents the modern concept of “the Christmas Spirit” and offers one of the world’s most adapted and imitated stories. Here, we’re introduced to Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future – not only as fictional characters but also as icons of the true meaning of Christmas.
This classic by Louisa May Alcott is another legendary title on this list, instantly recognizable to virtually anyone who has ever picked up a book. The story concentrates on picturesque 19th-century New England where the tomboyish Jo, beautiful Meg, fragile Beth and romantic Amy come of age while their father is fighting in the war.
A surprisingly lighter by John Grisham – renowned for his law practice-esque tales like A Time to Kill, The Firm, The Client and The Pelican Brief – tells the story of Luther and Nora Krank, who decide, just this once, to skip the holidays altogether…no crowded shops, no corny office parties, no fruitcakes and no unwanted presents. Theirs will be the only house on the street without a rooftop Frosty the Snowman, and they won’t be hosting their annual Christmas Eve bash…what could go wrong? The plot may seem familiar to some, because it was the basis for the film Christmas With The Kranks, which is run frequently by local TV providers this time of year.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
This story by Barbara Robinson introduces us to the Herdmans, often referred to as the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear and hit kids smaller than them – so no one is prepared when this renegade family invades church one unsuspecting Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant!
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Rounding out the top 10 holiday novels – and capping the classic novels list – is the beloved book by C.S. Lewis, about how Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy take their first steps into the world behind the “magic wardrobe”…and how the story of Narnia begins to unfold, introducing us to a classic tale that has enchanted readers of all ages for over a half a century. It’s another book that’s been transformed into a film by Hollywood and is widely available on home video.
This year, curl up by that roaring fire, hold that hot cup of cocoa nice and tight and deck the halls in a refreshingly new way…by sinking into a new or classic Christmastime novel!
Guest Post by Elizabeth Eckhart