Your Guide to Holiday Romance Novels

First of all, happy holidays, everybody! While I most recently wrote an article about combatting the holiday blues, I’d now like to flip the script to a much sweeter note and share the best holiday romance you need to read this year!

Now I know that December gets really busy really fast ─ whether it’s studying for finals or trying to find the perfect gifts for your friends and family when you’re balling on a budget. Between the stress of life and the rough fifty degree California winters, your heart can start to feel a little frozen. But worry not! I know a book (and a few short stories) that can thaw the hearts of even the scroogiest of grinches.

My ultimate holiday romance pick is... 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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Not only is Carry On the best fantasy book ever, besides the entirety of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle, but it’s also the best romance to read during the holidays. Is it a holiday romance? No, not really. But the book takes place predominantly during Christmas, and it feels like the best Christmas present ever. It’s based off of the fan-fiction world created by the main character in one of Rainbow Rowell’s other novels, Fangirl (definitely not a prerequisite, but highly recommend a million times over). That fan-fiction is based off of a Harry Potter spoof, so if a more adult-speed but still YA, “magickal” world suits your fancy, this is the novel for you. The switching of perspectives is a treasure, the romance between Simon and Baz will consume your soul, and the memes you’ll understand after reading this book are a slam dunk.

Also, I would die for Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch ─ it’s canon that he wears Gucci.

Also, also, if you need extra incentive, Rainbow Rowell recently announced that the publication date of the sequel, Wayword Son (yes, she is that awesome), has been moved up from 2020 to 2019, so now’s the time to get on board the Snowbaz train and join the Chapter 61 Support Group.

However, maybe you don’t have time to read a whole book, or maybe you don’t want to. Both of those are extremely valid. Whether you want to skip the book or you’ve been left craving more romance, here is my bonus recommendation:

My True Love Gave To Me by various authors

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My True Love Gave To Me is a collection of twelve holiday romance short stories, one for every day of the twelve days of Christmas. I’ll be honest ─ some are shorter and sweeter than others, and as a result I tend to refrain from reading the book all the way through. I truly love most of them, but my favorites are “Midnights” by Rainbow Rowell (her writing is phenomenal), “The Lady and the Fox” by Kelly Link, “Angels in the Snow” by Matt de la Peña, and “It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown” by Stephanie Perkins. It’s definitely worth buying or borrowing the book just to read these, plus to check out the rest to find out your own favorites!

Now, I’d just like to give an honorable mention to... 

The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han

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Before she wrote the cult favorite, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, she wrote this trilogy. The events of the books mostly take place in the summers, but she heavily incorporates flashbacks, and the Christmas flashbacks are my favorite. Rereading the books now, they definitely feel immature (I first read them when I was fourteen), but that doesn’t mean they aren’t cute anymore. I’ll never be able to resist Conrad Fisher on Christmas.

If you’re looking for something to read in between watching Elf and Rankin-Bass films, I sincerely hope that it’s one of these holiday romances. Nothing warms your heart like a good story.