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YA Book Reviews by Amy


YA Book Reviews by Amy: Winter is Coming

Are there books that you just must read during a certain time of year?

For me there are books that I want to read or reread during a certain month based on the genre or description of the story. Sometimes they are specifically holiday reads and others just lend themselves to a month: like mysteries and horror in the fall, romances in February, and beach reads in the summer.

Listed are the books that work well for the winter: whether it is because the holidays are prevalent to the plot or setting, or because the coldness of winter is written well in the pages.

Grab your mittens and some hot chocolate to pick up these wintery reads.


By Your Side by Kasie West

Autumn is accidently locked in over a weekend at her local library— because of the unbelievable snow storm and the unwillingness to escape because that would damage the library, she decides to stay put. If keeping warm and living off of vending machine snacks wasn’t difficult enough, Autumn is trapped with Dax, a boy she does not have anything in common with and has a not-so-stellar reputation. They begin to talk and learn more about each other; could this turn into more than just a friendship? Will they be rescued? And what will the repercussions be afterward?

The icy atmosphere of being snowed in at a library is a dream to some, especially me, but harsh realities of no power, isolation, and wondering how to survive made this an interesting setting for this romantic comedy. Kasie West writes YA love stories like no other!

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook on Hoopla and at the library* for checkout.


The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

When Holly is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, she decides not to change her ways. Holly’s choice cost her life and controls what she must do in her afterlife; now Holly works for Project Scrooge, the business placing ghosts into people’s lives to change them for the better. Holly is not even working behind the scenes, but as Christmas past. Can Holly redeem herself?

This is a retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with a supernatural element that twists the expectations of the original themes. This is a perfect book to read in December in preparation for the holidays.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook on Overdrive and Hoopla and at the library* for checkout.


We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Instead of going home during winter break, college freshman Marin decides to stay in the abandon dorm rooms alone. She is awaiting her best friends’ arrival after months of barely talking. Marin left for college with a weight on her shoulders and secrets that have been kept; seeing Mabel will force Marin to face her past.

Loneliness is Marin’s only companion in these harsh conditions and Nina LaCour is able to reflect the emptiness of Marin’s emotions to the cold and barren atmosphere. Such a quick read that packs an emotional punch. Highly recommended for readers that enjoy lyrical writing and character-focused reads.

Available as an eBook on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.


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

Lily leaves a book in a bookstore to be found by the right person, but Dash is the one that ends up finding Lily’s Book of Dares. They both go on a quest to live out new experiences, met new people, and discover new adventures.

A very quick and fun read that harkens on those holiday themes and feelings. This is a cute romantic comedy that has a quirkiness to it that many would enjoy. Also, you should definitely read this before watching the new Netflix series.

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.


Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas

The holidays are rough for GoodFoods market employees with the craziness of the overcrowded store. Chloe must survive the day; she thinks the only drama would be the packed lines, rude attitudes of customers, and working with her crush, but when she and five other coworkers are accused of stealing, things become even crazier. The six of them are locked in the break room until one of them confesses, or they can work together to prove that none of them did it.

This book was such a surprise and a whole lot of fun! I randomly picked up this book several years ago and found it so relatable and cute that it has always remained a favorite. Such a quick contemporary read with a mystery. Plus, there are quite a few Clueless references.

Available as an eBook on Hoopla.


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Four sisters live together with their mother while their father is off fighting in the Civil War. Meg, the oldest, is kindhearted but vain at times; she would like to live like their family did before the war, but the Marches are falling onto hard times. Jo, tomboyish and a creative writer, finds ways to gather her sisters together. Beth, sweet and quiet, tries to help those less fortunate than her, and youngest, Amy, is spoiled and stuck up, but has moments of compassion when needed. When Meg and Jo meet their new neighbor, a boy named Laurie, their little family grows.

While I can reread this book anytime of the year, I like to during the winter especially for the iconic Christmas gift scene. This is one of my favorite classic books of all time and I will always have a special place in my heart for Amy (she was the first ever character that I read that shares my name).

Available as an eBook and eAudiobook on Overdrive and Hoopla and at the library* for checkout.


My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

Twelve short stories by some of YA’s most well-known authors; told through different perspectives and genres, this collection focuses on many different winter holidays, celebrations, and moments. Authors included are: Stephanie Perkins, 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.

This is a fun group of stories that just warms my heart. If you like any of the authors, you can just read their stories, or give some new-to-you authors a chance. Rainbow Rowell’s story is my favorite!

Available as an eAudiobook on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

*check the link for available copies or to place on hold


Hello everyone! I’m Amy and I am a Youth Services Librarian at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. When I’m not trying to reach my reading goal for the year, I like to talk about what I’m reading to my family, friends, and coworkers. You could say I am a little obsessed with reading Young Adult books. I enjoy most genres, but my favorites include: Westerns, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, and Mystery. I am always looking for the next great book that makes me connect to its characters and hits me in the feels.