For anyone who hasn’t noticed: the RomCom is sort of having a moment right now, and YA Lit has not been immune to the trend! There’s something about the light-heartedness of the romantic comedy and the all-too-alluring promise of a Happily Ever After (or HEA, in Romancelandia parlance) that makes these feel-good books irresistible to hungry readers.
This seems ESPECIALLY over the holidays! I don’t know what it is, but romantic foibles and the holiday season just seem to go together like milk and cookies. The phenomenon has resulted in a very particular subgenre: the Christmas RomCom—books offering all the sweet and slapstick comedy of a traditional RomCom blended with the festive and feel-good coziness of a Hallmark Christmas movie.
If you’re interested in exploring the Christmas RomCom scene, there’s still time! Here are five YA titles you can stuff in your own stocking this year:
The Holiday Switch by Tif Marcelo
High school senior Lila Santos loves Christmas in her small-town home of Holly, New York, and is looking forward to earning extra cash on her holiday break by working at a local inn that served as the film setting of the best Christmas movie of all time. So, when nepotism thrusts Teddy—the boss’s less-than-helpful nephew—into her path, Lila isn’t pleased to have her holiday idyll interrupted. But when an accidental phone swap leads them to learn more than they bargained for about each other, and then a snowstorm forces them together, Lila and Teddy have to figure out how to move forward together before they tear the inn apart!
The Christmas Clash by Suzanne Park
Two families, both alike in dignity—the family Kwon, and the family Li—both reign supreme in the Riverwood Mall’s food court. Chloe Kwon and Peter Li aren’t friends, in fact, they can’t stand each other. But when the mall that houses both their families’ businesses threatens to shudder its doors in the New Year to make way for a new condo development, even the best of enemies can get along in the name of survival. Can Chloe and Peter save the family businesses in time for Christmas—and what will it cost them in the process?
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares is actually the first in a series of three books featuring the same titular characters—the trilogy was so successful it even spawned the charming Netflix limited series (Dash & Lily, 2020). In this first installment, jaded Dash—who recently split with his ex—finds a notebook hidden in a local bookshop filled with a series of “dares” that lead him to push the bounds of his comfort zone while traipsing around NYC in hopes of finding the notebook’s mysterious author (pssst: it’s Lily). This fast-paced teen whirlwind romance is full of holiday cheer, and perfect for those who believe in the power of love and ordinary miracles.
So, This is Christmas by Tracy Andreen
You may have heard the saying “you can’t go home again,” but Findley Brown thinks it’s hogwash . . . until she returns from boarding school to her hometown of Christmas, Oklahoma, to learn that her parents have separated, her best friend is dating her ex, and her seasonal job at her grandmother’s inn has been infiltrated by her arch-nemesis. To make things worse, Findley has spent the semester trying to convince Arthur, a schoolmate, that her hometown is a holiday paradise—and she may have exaggerated a teensy bit. Now he’s shown up on her doorstep to experience all the good cheer for himself, and Findley’s determined to prove to Arthur that Christmas in Christmas is just as wonderful as she made it out to be—no matter the cost! Veteran Hallmark writer Tracy Andreen puts her hand to contemporary YA romance in this holiday title.
My True Love Gave to Me ed. by Stephanie Perkins
For those with an affinity for shorter fiction, this anthology featuring twelve YA authors offers holiday romance galore. It includes such notable names as Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt De La Pena, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, and Kiersten White—and is edited by Stephanie Perkins, who is also a contributor. Enjoy one short story for each of the twelve nights of Christmas, or (who are we kidding?) read them all at once and stuff yourself full on those HEAs!
Have you read any great holiday titles this year? Let us know about them below!