Cozy Up with These Holiday Romances

‘Tis the season to cuddle up with a mug of hot chocolate and a cute holiday read. You’ll have to make the drink yourself (sorry), but luckily, we have the book recommendations! Check them out below and make sure to pick them up from your favourite local bookstore!

All I Want for Christmas
By Wendy Loggia
240 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593179833 | Underlined
Bailey Briggs is counting down the days to Christmas: she lives for holiday music, baking cookies, going on snowy sleigh rides,and wearing her light-up reindeer ears to work at Winslow’s bookstore. But all she really wants this year is the one thing she doesn’t have: someone special to kiss under the mistletoe. And she’s 100 percent certain that that someone isn’t Jacob Marley — athlete, player, and of questionable taste in girlfriends — and that Charlie, the mysterious stranger with the British accent, is the romantic lead of her dreams. Is she right? This will be a December to remember, filled with real-life Christmas magic . . . and, if she stays on Santa’s nice list, a wish that just might come true.

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
288 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593309605 | Knopf BFYR
16-year-old Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on her favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. Dash, in a bad mood during the holidays, happens to be the first guy to pick up the notebook and rise to its challenges. What follows is a whirlwind romance as Dash and Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City. But can their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions, or will their scavenger hunt end in a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories
Edited by Katherine Locke and Laura Silverman
Foreword by Mayim Bialik
320 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525646167 | Knopf BFYR
A Jewish boy falls in love with a fellow counselor at summer camp. A group of Jewish friends take the trip of a lifetime. A girl meets her new boyfriend’s family over Shabbat dinner. Two best friends put their friendship to the test over the course of a Friday night. A Jewish girl feels pressure to date the only Jewish boy in her grade. Hilarious pranks and disaster ensue at a crush’s Hanukkah party. From stories of confronting their relationships with Judaism to rom-coms with a side of bagels and lox, It’s a Whole Spiel features one story after another that says yes, we are Jewish, but we are also queer, and disabled, and creative, and political, and adventurous, and anything we want to be. You will fall in love with this insightful, funny, and romantic Jewish anthology from a collection of diverse Jewish authors.

Let It Snow
By John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
368 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9781101998618 | Speak
An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train, setting off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

New Year’s Kiss
By Lee Matthews
256 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593179857 | Underlined
Tess and her opinionated older sister Lauren are spending the week after Christmas at the snowy Evergreen Lodge in Vermont and they aren’t happy about it. Their stern grandmother, who owns the holiday resort, is not known for her warmth and good humor. But when shy, straight-laced Tess meets Christopher in the lobby, things are suddenly looking up. And when she decides to get out of her comfort zone and create a bucket list of things to accomplish before the New Year-like singing in public and skiing a black-diamond slope-Christopher is happy to help, even as he keeps a secret that could turn everything upside down. When the ball drops, will Tess and Christopher share a magical kiss-or will Tess start the new year off alone?

What Light
By Jay Asher
272 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780448493640 | Razorbill
Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon — it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other. By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

Putting the YA in FRIYAY: Looking For Alaska

Last week, the much anticipated adaption of John Green’s Looking For Alaska premiered on CBC Gem. We were so excited, we sat down to live tweet the first episode on Tuesday – catch up on the thread here:

Want more Looking For Alaska content? Back in October when the show premiered on Hulu, our friends at Penguin Teen did a live tweet of the first episode too:

They also put together a recap on their blog and a fun fact-filled video:

And now we want to hear from YOU! Have you read Looking For Alaska? Or watched the show? Let us know your thoughts and we’ll add them below!

“It’s been almost a decade since I read it so my memory of the story itself is pretty vague, but it was one of the books I loved in the height of me reading YA as a teen, and it holds a really good nostalgic feel for me! I’m excited to dive back into the story during quarantine, since I’ve been enjoying some old hobbies of mine and rewatching things for nostalgia’s sake.”  – emilykatereads

You can also check out this podcast episode from Canadians Brenna and Joe for a different take!