The Literary at Leisure: A Roundup of YA Beach Reads for Older Teens

In honor of Summer FINALLY happening this year, I’m kicking off a new series of YA book roundups: Beach Reads! These books are totally perfect for hanging reading on your sand speckled towel at the shore, of course, but they are also great reads for the flight to your vacation destination. Or the hours long road trip. Or sitting in school or work and wishing you were heading off to some vacation, for that matter.

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A trip around West Europe involves a lot of boy drama and family drama. And you know me, family drama is right up my alley. Like most vacation themed books it’s pretty light hearted but it does delve into some exploration of identity. Plus, being nineteen is an awkward feeling where you don’t quite feel adult or teen, so that’s definitely interesting to connect to.

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Lottie’s Aunt, a famous author, dies, but that’s only the beginning. A series of letters from the grave push her to do new things that will lead her to her tipping point. The book pays homage to books and reading as much as to the mysteries that plague Lottie’s Summer.

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Lara is a girl facing the Summer of Senior Year. Yep, where she is no is all a pretty big deal. But in between fun and trying to moonlight as her parent’s wedding planner, she has to deal with the looming problem of The Future.

A happy ending doesn't mean everything needs to be resolved. In Fangirl, Cath is a loner fan-fic writer who’s dreading the social interactions she's expected to make during her first year of college. With her twin sister pulling away and her father urging her toward independence, she feels lost and clings harder to her favorite characters. But then she meets a boy. And another. And much more importantly, discovers she's a talented writer even when she's not in the world of her favorite author, but one she's created.

Cath is a bit of a mess. Honestly, life is moving too fast for her, and she isn’t quite ready for her first year of college yet. It’s going to happen soon either way though. Join Cath as she digs deeper into reading and fandom to escape the pressures of reality, only to find that maybe everything is going to turn out okay.

What did you think of this week’s #BeachReads? Did you read and enjoy any of these books?

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Deck the Halls! A Fantasy Christmas Book Roundup

Let me tell you, for years I have labored under the misunderstanding that Christmas books were only written for small children or adults. Well my friends, I have now stumbled onto the world of YA Christmas books, and I’m happy to share that discovery with you!

Not just any YA books though. Today in #SeasonReading I am exploring holiday books that focus on ~Fantasy~. I know, I didn’t think a Christmas/YA/Fantasy genre crossover was possible before either, but I’m so glad to learn it is.

I’ve rounded up a variety pack of different interesting sounding holiday themed books. Full disclosure though, I have not actually read any of these books. They just sound interesting to me and have good reviews online. Just thought I should warn you.

Sweet Christmas Books

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A YA Fantasy based on the story of Santa’s popular daughter falling in love with the new outcast in town. The reviews of this are a little mixed because it is apparently a very punny and cute book, and it seems some people were annoyed by the cuteness. I feel like that doesn’t necessarily have to be the book’s fault though- it may be a great book, but it’s well known that Americans tend to feel something almost like revulsion when something cute is aimed at anyone over the age of five. If you actually enjoy cute sometimes though this sounds like the reviewers did actually enjoy the story itself a lot so it sounds like a win if you are interested in an easy read.

Gritty Christmas Books

The Coal Elf

A bit of Dystopia has come to the North Pole. This is sort of like “The Giver” meets the story of Santa’s elves, and I have to say I’ve never seen a genre that needed a gritty oppressive society as much as Christmas Fantasy. Is that even a genre? I feel like it must be, I’ve read so many books about Santa’s workshop when I was a kid. Anyway, this book sounds exciting, and if the cuteness of the first option isn’t cutting it for you then this is the complete opposite and should be right up your alley.

Christmas Fairy Tales

The Metal Horse Learns Spanglish: And Other Quirky Holiday Stories

If the other two options sounded too much- too cute, too harsh- then this should be the Goldilocks book that is just right. A collection of stories you definitely have never read or heard of before, involving heroes that have never stared in other books before, this is kind of like a much less famous fairy tale collection in the same vein as Hans Christian Anderson, except of course it’s written from an American perspective.

Christmas Books for Teens

I know these books have been added to the top of my tbr pile. What about you? What do you think? Do these books sound like a win for you?

Tis The Season for Readin’

I think as today is December first it is officially the Holiday Season. That’s right, it’s time for holiday breaks off of school, and sipping warm drinks (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, that is!) The best thing of all to celebrate in my mind is that a season that comes with vacation time, to me, is basically a season for reading!

This month I’m going to share a few reading lists of the books I personally love to read each December. #SeasonReading is all about books that make you get the warm fuzzies and think about giving, thankfulness, family, friends, and the holiday you celebrate as well as learning about other holidays out there!

Christmas Novels

To start this series off with a bang I’m going to jump us into the necessary Christmas classics! Obviously I’ll stretch the definition of classic a little bit- who doesn’t love a reinterpretation of a well loved story, like reading a book version of the Nutcracker?- but they’ll be familiar stories in some form or another to the majority of you. I also only included full length novels in this list. There are plenty of picture books for children that fill the theme, but we aren’t going to go over them today because I think when I’m in a mood for a novel never really seems to overlap with the times I’m in a mood to enjoy a dear friend in the form of a picture book, you know?

Don’t worry if that’s not your thing though- we’re going to do more modern YA holiday books, novels featuring other holidays, and cross genre holiday novels. You’re bound to find something you are interested in reading up on!

Hiddensee

Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by [Maguire, Gregory] Check it out here

This creative retelling of the Nutcracker is at the top of my own Christmas wish list. I still haven’t read it, but it has a lot of great reviews and comes from the same author who wrote “Wicked” (yes the very same book that inspired the Broadway musical!) so I am pretty sure it will be amazing. By the way- I get literally no money out of recommending other author’s books. I really don’t benefit at all from it. But I want you guys to enjoy the holidays with great books more than I want to make a buck.

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol | Penguin Books Australia

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe Quotes. QuotesGram

This really isn’t the first thing people think of when they think of Christmas books. But it is a full length novel that details the fight between Father Christmas and the evil witch who got rid of Christmas, so it’s still pretty apropos. Besides, it’s a great story and I think there’s always a reason to read a good book.

What do you think of this list? Do you love it? Share your favorite Winter holiday novels with me in the comments, especially if you want to share your favorites for the diverse holidays blog post!