I Want More Holiday Books in Young Adult (Discussion)

Halloween Books 2017

Sisters Fate by Jessica Spotswood

Every holiday, Halloween included, I sit down and think about books I can read to get myself in the holiday spirit and think about holiday-themed books I can read to get myself in the mood and books I can recommend to others on the blog. Often, picture books come to mind—especially licensed ones. After that, I kind of draw a blank. A few years ago, I was asked by Riffle to recommend a Christmas book and had to choose between Christmas with Anne by L. M. Montgomery and Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien based on the fact they were the only books I could think of. And neither book is exactly recent. I want more holiday books.

Halloween is, perhaps, one of the easier holidays. I can just read something that’s generically creepy, like a mystery or a thriller or a classic Gothic novel and call it a day. The book doesn’t have to be “about Halloween” to have the right holiday tone. But other holidays are more of a struggle. I can’t really think of a Thanksgiving book or a Hanukkah book or a Christmas book or an Easter book that isn’t a picture book. Sometimes middle grade, especially young middle grade or early reader books, fit the bill. And there may be a few adult genre books that work. Christmas-themed romance novels seem to be a thing, for instance.

But in general? I can barely think of a good book in the young adult or adult range to read or recommend for any holiday.

I understand, from an industry perspective, why holiday books are not that popular (or should I say “profitable?”). You can only really sell a Thanksgiving book (US Thanksgiving here) in November. It’s not going to be a big seller once the specific holiday has passed. Publishers don’t want to invest time and money into publishing a book they don’t foresee as having a large print run or a reasonable chance to sell.

Yet, as a reader, I would really appreciate some more holiday books in genres and age categories I tend to read. I want a book that will put me in the holiday spirit, that I can pull out and reread year after year. Surely I can’t be the only one.

You can check out some of our Halloween(ish) book recommendations here. And let me know in the comments if you can think of a good book I can put on my list to read for Thanksgiving!


22 thoughts on “I Want More Holiday Books in Young Adult (Discussion)

  1. Carrie @ Cat on the Bookshelf says:

    I’ve been thinking about how I can’t think of a single Thanksgiving novel (I can a short chapter book and a couple of picture books) for about a year. The only movie that comes to mind is Son-in-Law. I was also running into this for Halloween book-giving. I know that horror and paranormal creatures work, but I can’t get anywhere with anything specifically Halloween-themed. There is a YA book that I reviewed a while ago that was focused on Halloween, but I didn’t like it.

    As you point out, Christmas seems to be the only holiday covered in YA books. Not just as a passing holiday that characters live through for one or two chapters. It would be fun to have other holidays covered. If a novel wouldn’t be popular, could someone compile a YA short story collection for all sorts of holidays?


  2. Kathy @ Books & Munches says:

    I don’t have a Thanksgiving-suggestion since we don’t do that here in Belgium.. So.. No clue about that! But I do, however, have an Easter rec!
    One of the prompts for the Popsugar Reading Challenge this year was a book set around a holiday that isn’t Christmas, so I went with The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell which revolves around Easter! It might still be far off, but at least that’s one more book for another holiday! 🙂


  3. Krysta says:

    It’s not really YA, but Louisa May Alcott wrote An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving. That’s pretty much the only Thanksgiving book I can think of.


  4. Lauren Becker says:

    I love this topic! I feel like besides picture books – or younger reader books – you don’t get much of an option until you reach adult titles, and those are usually romance (like you said) or a cozy mystery as part of a series. I think YA holiday specific books would be great – but I can only really think of anthologies or Halloween type of books.



    • Briana says:

      Good point! I think there have been a couple holiday YA anthologies. Too bad I prefer novels over short stories, but that’s just a me problem. 😛


  5. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    This is such a great idea and topic- I think I’d really be up for reading more holiday-themed books for sure- especially ones based on Halloween- cos I really think setting things at Halloween time and incorporating the holiday into some spooky madness would work! (and I’d read it for sure… well provided it wasn’t too scary, I am a chicken after all 😉 )


    • Briana says:

      Yes! I know there’s a worry in publishing that holiday -based books won’t make money because people would only buy them around the holiday instead of year-round, but I would love to see more.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Valerie says:

    Haha I understand! I think I really love Halloween and Christmas in theory, but it’s hard for me to …I don’t know…get in the mood? I almost never read any Christmas novels during the season.

    Although to be fair, I need to watch Stranger Things 2 all before Halloween, or else it’ll feel weird. But I love that it is centered around Halloween!


  7. Allisone Doerner says:

    I know this may be a common book to read around the holidays, but I’ve heard it’s pretty good. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. You might have read it before, but even if you have I feel like it would a good re-read book for the holidays. Hope this helps!


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