Book List, Holiday, Seasonal Picks

Jólabókaflóð: Young Adult

The last few holiday seasons at the store, we’ve really embraced the idea of celebrating Jólabókaflóð, an Icelandic tradition of giving your loved ones a book and hot chocolate on Christmas Eve. It just feels like a tradition that fits an indie bookstore so perfectly.

This afternoon we’re sharing the young adult novels we have on display! The majority of our booksellers are very enthusiastic middle grade and young adult readers, so you’re sure to find some books on this list for the teenagers on your list!

Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

In this darkly humorous YA novel, sarcastic Mara Carlyle narrates the unsettling and harrowing story of how one kid after another spontaneously combusts during her senior year. She and her classmates do their best to cope with the strange situation, while hanging on for dear life to friendships and family and all that they love. Things get even stranger when the FBI investigates the source of the explosions and everyone and everything is a suspect.


Mara Carlyle’s senior year is going as normally as could be expected, until fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc. Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last teenager to blow up without warning or explanation. As the national eye turns to Mara’s suburban New Jersey hometown, the FBI rolls in and the search for a reason is on. Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it while trying to make it to graduation in one piece. It’s an explosive year punctuated by romance, quarantine, lifelong friendship, hallucinogenic mushrooms, bloggers, ice cream trucks, and Bon Jovi.
Aaron Starmer rewrites the rulebook with Spontaneous. But beneath the outrageous is a ridiculously funny, super honest, and truly moving exemplar of the absurd and raw truths of being a teenager in the 21st century . . . and the heartache of saying goodbye.

Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer

CROWNCHASERS is just awesome! Exciting and thrilling with a kick-ass, headstrong, wild spirit heroine about to turn an entire universe on its head it will keep you hooked from the first to the final word. A true space opera, with cutthroat and deadly political games to claim the throne of emperor you won’t be able to stop reading or catch your breath until the end of this high-octane adventure!


A deadly race across 1,001 planets will determine more than just the fate of the empire.
This explosive first book in a duology jam-packed with tension and thrills is perfect for fans of The Hunger GamesAurora Rising,and Three Dark Crowns.
Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy, even leaving behind the Kingship and her uncle, the emperor, for a life of exploring.
But when her dying uncle announces a crownchase—a search for the royal seal hidden in the empire that will determine the next ruler—Alyssa is thrust into her greatest, most dangerous adventure yet. 

Black Wings Beating by Alex London

In one of the most well crafted worlds I’ve ever read, BLACK WINGS BEATING draws you into the story of twins Brysen and Kylee, who you will want to follow anywhere. Though there is romance, the story’s main driving force is the strong and loving sibling relationship between our two leading characters during a daring and treacherous adventure. For fantasy lovers who are tired of there always being a romance that drives the plot, this is your story!


In this first young-adult fantasy novel in a trilogy, Alex London launches a soaring saga about the memories that haunt us, the histories that hunt us, and the bonds of blood between us.
The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists.
Brysen strives to be a great falconer—while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She’s nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe.
Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he’s long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother’s future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power.

The Silence of Bones by June Hur

This books was truly so unique in its setting and concept and I am so grateful that I got to read it! While I found the beginning to be slow, the more I read it, the more I truly fell in love with Seol and Inspector Han and wanted the best for them to happen. The setting of 1800 Joseon dynasty in Korea is something that I knew little about before reading this, besides having been to Seoul and having watched a few historical Korean dramas, and I loved getting to learn more about it. The setting and the story were pretty bleak and occasionally very dark but I found myself really enjoying it because of how well-written it was. It was hard to believe that this was a debut book. The mystery was really interesting and I had no idea who the bad guy was going to be, and I was shocked to find out who it was. The ending of the book had me in tears and I rarely cry during books. I wanted a happy ending for most of the characters and while I’m glad it happened for some, I’m devastated it didn’t happen for others. I truly enjoyed this book and I will be looking forward to the author’s future books!


June Hur’s elegant and haunting debut The Silence of Bones is a bloody YA historical mystery tale perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Renée Ahdieh.
I have a mouth, but I mustn’t speak;
Ears, but I mustn’t hear;
Eyes, but I mustn’t see.

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.
As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.
But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

This book was simultaneously distressing yet impossible to put down. I was very upset while reading it, but I feel like that is what the author intended. She needed to get this story out to an audience who needs to hear it the most. Enchanted reacted the way most young people would have if they had the chance to work with their celebrity idol, and she really didn’t know better and didn’t comprehend that she was putting her life into the hands of a predator. This book has a very important message for people of all ages.


An instant New York Times bestseller! “Grown exposes the underbelly of a tough conversation, providing a searing examination of misogynoir, rape culture, and the vulnerability of young black girls. Groundbreaking, heart-wrenching, and essential reading for all in the #MeToo era.” —Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles.
Award-winning author Tiffany D. Jackson delivers another riveting, ripped-from-the-headlines mystery that exposes horrific secrets hiding behind the limelight and embraces the power of a young woman’s voice.
When legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots Enchanted Jones at an audition, her dreams of being a famous singer take flight. Until Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night. Who killed Korey Fields?
Before there was a dead body, Enchanted’s dreams had turned into a nightmare. Because behind Korey’s charm and star power was a controlling dark side. Now he’s dead, the police are at the door, and all signs point to Enchanted.

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

This book is truly magical in all of the senses. It follows a born magician named Kallia as she leaves all that she has known behind to travel to a formerly forbidden (to her) city. She auditions for a magic show as a chance for her to prove her worth. It won’t be easy for many reasons. One being that she is a woman in a male-dominated world, and magicians who are women are not seen as highly as men. Another reason being that she has spent her whole life with Jack, the master of Hellfire House, and another more powerful magician. Jack is hiding many secrets of his own and we learn them when Kallia does, and little by little through his own narrative. This book was gripping from the start, and really pulled me in immediately. The lush descriptions of everything really paints a unique world. Kallia is truly one of the strongest female characters I have ever read about, and I’m thoroughly excited to see where this series will go. It reminds me of all of the parts I liked about The Night Circus, but with a much more fast-paced plot.


In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.
As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.
The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost
The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told
The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide
Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

I don’t read a lot of YA, and for sure I don’t read a lot of horror – but for some reason I really loved Wilder Girls. Trapped in quarantine on an isolated island, the students of Raxter School for Girls fight for survival everyday against the Tox – a deadly disease that mutates the bodies of its hosts in strange and horrific ways. But when Hetty begins to investigate her best friend’s sudden disappearance, she discovers that things may not be as they seem. Taking my favorite parts of apocalypse survival, teen drama, and fast-paced action stories, author Rory Powers really blew me away with a book I mainly bought just for the awesome cover. I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a story that’s equal parts brutal and beautiful.


From the author of Burn Our Bodies Down, a feminist Lord of the Flies about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears. This fresh debut is a mind-bending novel unlike anything you’ve read before.
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

Sophie is staying at her grandparents’ house for the holidays with her large extended Sicilian family. After going through a breakup, they come up with the idea to set her up on, as you guessed, ten blind dates. This rom-com inspired book will certainly make you want to join Sophie’s family and put you in the holiday spirit!


Sophie wants one thing for Christmas-a little freedom from her overprotective parents. So when they decide to spend Christmas in South Louisiana with her very pregnant older sister, Sophie is looking forward to some much needed private (read: make-out) time with her long-term boyfriend, Griffin. Except it turns out that Griffin wants a little freedom from their relationship.
Heartbroken, Sophie flees to her grandparents’ house, where the rest of her boisterous extended family is gathered for the holiday. That’s when her nonna devises a (not so) brilliant plan: Over the next ten days, Sophie will be set up on ten different blind dates by different family members. Like her sweet cousin Sara, who sets her up with a hot guy at an exclusive underground party. Or her crazy aunt Patrice, who signs Sophie up for a lead role in a living nativity. With a boy who barely reaches her shoulder. And a screaming baby.
When Griffin turns up unexpectedly and begs for a second chance, Sophie feels more confused than ever. Because maybe, just maybe, she’s started to have feelings for someone else . . . Someone who is definitely not available.
This is going to be the worst Christmas break ever . . . or is it?

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

This book takes place in New York City in a bookstore during the holidays – what more could you ever want? Reading about this Christmas scavenger hunt throughout the city is the perfect escape. Plus, it’s being adapted into a Netflix series!


A whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist!
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”
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?
Co-written by Rachel Cohn (GINGERBREAD) and David Levithan, co-author of WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON with John Green (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS), DASH & LILY’S BOOK OF DARES is a love story that will have readers scouring bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

To All the Boys I’ve Love Before by Jenny Han

This series is the ultimate comfort read to cozy up with inside. With the third movie from the book series coming out soon on Netflix, there is no better time to give this a read! From giddy romantic moments to a strong family dynamic, your heart will be bursting the entire time.


To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is now a major motion picture streaming on Netflix!
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?
Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein

I love Elizabeth Wein’s Verity world of WWII. She writes her characters in such a way that makes them feel like they’ve come off the page and you’re interacting with them in real life. Jamie has always been a favorite of mine and I was so excited to see him front on center in this book! I can’t wait to share it with customers at the store!


1940. Facing a seemingly endless war, fifteen-year-old Louisa Adair wants to fight back, make a difference, do something-anything to escape the Blitz and the ghosts of her parents, who were killed by enemy action. But when she accepts a position caring for an elderly German woman in the small village of Windyedge, Scotland, it hardly seems like a meaningful contribution. Still, the war feels closer than ever in Windyedge, where Ellen McEwen, a volunteer driver with the Royal Air Force, and Jamie Beaufort-Stuart, a flight leader for the 648 Squadron, are facing a barrage of unbreakable code and enemy attacks they can’t anticipate.
Their paths converge when a German pilot lands in Windyedge under mysterious circumstances and plants a key that leads Louisa to an unparalleled discovery: an Enigma machine that translates German code. Louisa, Ellen, and Jamie must work together to unravel a puzzle that could turn the tide of the war–but doing so will put them directly in the cross-hairs of the enemy.
Featuring beloved characters from Code Name Verity and The Pearl Thief, as well as a remarkable new voice, this brilliant, breathlessly plotted novel by award-winning author Elizabeth Wein is a must-read.

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