Winter Reading List for Teens: Cozy Up with These YA Books

With the arrival of chilly temperatures and frosty breezes, it’s the perfect time to snuggle up with a warm blanket, a hot cup of cocoa, and a captivating book. During the winter season, we’re drawn into a world of magic, mystery, and historical intrigue. As a result, one of my favorite things to do is guide teen readers to find their ideal cozy read to guide them through a winter wonderland of literature.

To make your teen’s winter nights as enchanting as a snow-covered landscape, check out this curated list of the perfect cozy YA reads.

Mystery Reads:

The Black Queen by Jumata Emill

Nova Albright, the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High, is murdered on the night of her coronation. Tinsley McArthur, who was supposed to be queen, is a suspect. Nova’s best friend, Duchess Simmons, is convinced of Tinsley’s guilt but faces opposition from her father, the first Black police captain in Lovett. Duchess is determined to prove Tinsley’s guilt and get justice for Nova.

The Legacies by Jessica Goodman

Excelsior Prep seniors Bernie Kaplan, Isobel Rothcroft, and Skyler Hawkins are Legacy Club members by birth, but scholarship kid Tori Tasso’s nomination is a surprise. The Legacy Ball is supposed to be the best night of their lives, where secrets are kept and gossip flows. However, their secrets are revealed, and someone dies trying to keep them hidden.

Their Vicious Games by Joelle Wellington

A Black teen desperate to regain her Ivy League acceptance enters an elite competition only to discover the stakes aren’t just high, they’re deadly, in this searing thriller that’s Ace of Spades meets Squid Game with a sprinkling of The Bachelor. You must work twice as hard to get half as much.


A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin

In a story of magic and danger, Ning competes in a competition to become the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi, hoping to win a favor from the princess to save her sister’s life. But with backstabbing competitors, court politics, and a mysterious boy with a secret, Ning finds herself in even greater peril.

What the River Knows by Isabel Ibañez

Inez Olivera, a wealthy Bolivian-Argentinian in 19th century Buenos Aires, inherits her parents’ fortune after their tragic deaths. When she travels to Cairo to uncover the truth behind their disappearance, she discovers a mysterious guardian and an ancient golden ring that leads her down a dangerous path. With the help of ancient magic, Inez must uncover the truth before becoming a pawn in a deadly game.

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Evangeline Fox believes in true love until she discovers her love is marrying someone else. She makes a deal with the wicked Prince of Hearts to stop the wedding and heal her broken heart. However, the immortal prince wants more than the three kisses promised, leading to a dangerous game with potentially tragic consequences.

Historical Fiction:

The Davenports by Krystal Marquis

In 1910, the Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in a changing United States, their fortune made through the entrepreneurship of William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who founded the Davenport Carriage Company years ago. Now the Davenports live surrounded by servants, crystal chandeliers, and endless parties, finding their way and finding love—even where they’re not supposed to.

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

Set during the waning days of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in 1960, this extraordinary novel tells the story the Mirabal sisters, three young wives and mothers who are assassinated after visiting their jailed husbands.

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Set in Madrid, 1957, during the fascist dictatorship of General Franco, “The Fountains of Silence” follows the story of Daniel Matheson, an eighteen-year-old photographer who travels to Spain with his family to connect with his mother’s birthplace. There, he meets Ana, and through her, he discovers the lingering impact of the Spanish Civil War and the dark secrets that Spain is hiding. As lives collide, Daniel is faced with difficult decisions to protect his loved ones, leading to an exploration of fortune, fear, and danger in the sunny city of Madrid.



Author: Jessica Fitzpatrick

Jessica Fitzpatrick is a high school librarian in Houston and is in her tenth year of education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Houston and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of North Texas. She is a 2022 Library Journal Mover & Shaker, 2022 TLA MVP, an AASL Inspire Special Event Grant recipient, 2022 YALSA’s MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens, the 2022 TLA Branding Award Winner for Reading Program, the 2020 TLA Branding Award Winner for Community Engagement, YALS article contributor, and on the TAYSHAS Reading Committee. She enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her two daughters and husband. You can follow her on Instagram at @librarian_fitz and on Twitter at @librarianfitz .

Categories: Collection Development, Literacy

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