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There’s so much build-up to the holidays, but what about once December 25th has passed? It’s easy to fall into a bit of a lull during the week between Christmas and New Years. There seems to be a feeling of “now what?”. The answer is read, of course! We rarely change out of our PJs, we live on leftovers, and there’s nothing we’d rather do than curl up on the couch with a good book. In preparation for this ultimate week of relaxation, we’ve compiled a list of great books about New Year’s Eve or where the new year plays a pivotal role in the plot.
We’ve scoured our bookshelves and bookstores to track down the best New Year’s books for adults that cover multiple genres. While you’ll find quite a few New Year’s Eve romance books on this list, it also includes historical fiction, mystery, literary fiction, and even some New Year’s Eve YA books.
The start of a new year comes with fresh beginnings, New Year’s resolutions, and an extra dose of hope – both in real life and in novels. Some of the New Year’s books on our list feature new relationships, while others focus on the characters learning more about themselves and taking charge of their own happiness. Whatever you’re in the mood for, we hope you’ll find the perfect book to read between Christmas and New Years!
The Best New Year's Books
If we missed one of your favorite books set on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day, please let us know in the comments.
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by Allison Winn Scotch
Frankie and Ezra were college sweethearts in the '80s, but before school ended, they broke up and vowed never to speak again. Frankie went on to a career as a music manager for some of the hottest bands of the '90s. Ezra fell in love again and is ready to propose to his new girlfriend.
In December of 1999, ten years after graduation, Frankie and Ezra find themselves face to face once again - right back where it all started, on their snowy, picturesque New England campus. They're both there to attend the wedding of a mutual friend,
Seeing each other again raises long-buried emotions, but they're both shocked to wake up in bed side by side the following morning. Ezra's grandmother's ring is on Frankie's finger, but neither remembers how they got there.
They have New Year's Eve 1999 to figure it out what happened the night before, what didn't happen, and what if they both got it wrong the first time around.
The Book Girls Say... We were so excited to spot this new 2022 release on the Book of the Month add-on list! What could be better than a big-hearted rom com with major nostalgic vibes? One set on New Year's Eve, of course!
This Time Next Year
by Sophie Cousens
In 1990, Minnie & Quinn were born in the same hospital on New Year's Day. Quinn was born just before Minnie, earning him the prize for first baby of the year in London. From that day forward, Minnie has had terrible luck, especially on each birthday.
When Minnie & Quinn run into each other on their 30th birthdays, she sees that her hunch was correct, and Quinn has continued to have more than his fair share of good luck. But, it turns out, this isn't actually the first time their paths have crossed. As the reader, you'll travel back through all their chance encounters over the years.
While the book is largely a British rom-com, there's also a deeper element as Minnie confronts her life-long view that she is and will always be unlucky.
Oona Out of Order
by Margarita Montimor
The night before Oona’s 19th birthday, on New Years’ Eve 1982, she’s struggling with a big decision. Should she go all-in on her commitment to her band and boyfriend, or follow through with a long-time plan to study economics in London with her best friend?
Before she can go down either path, she wakes up on New Year’s Day. Except she's now in the year 2014.
Instead of being 19, Oona is suddenly 51. She continues to live her life out of order, traveling backward or forward each New Year, but never knowing what age she’ll be when she wakes up.
The Year of Taking Chances
by Lucy Diamond
In an English village, Gemma is hosting a New Year’s Eve party with music, dancing, champagne, and her best friends all under one roof. Those friends include Caitlin, who has returned to the village to pack up her late-mum's house, and Saffron, a PR executive with a secret that even she can’t spin. Throughout the night, they bond over dodgy cocktails and fortune cookies, and they vow to make this year their best one yet.
As the following months unfold, their family, love, work, and home lives are all thrown into chaos. Each is forced to rethink their lives and decide whether to take a leap of faith and try something new. This funny, feel-good read is the perfect pick if you're looking for a little inspiration to take some chances in the new year.
The Book Girls Say... There's another book by this same title by Jennifer Bohnet, which is also set at New Years. This alternate Year of Taking Chances is an uplifting holiday romance. Best friends, Tina and Jodie, make a drunken NYE vow to change their lives before they hit the big 3-0. A year later, Jodie is married and living in Prevence, while Tina is stuck in the same spot. Can she meet her own deadline to quit her job, start her own literary agency, and sign the man of her dreams?
A Magical New York Christmas
by Anita Hughes
Don't let the title of this book fool you - it's actually set during the week between Christmas and New Year's. While it features many of the quintessential NYC Christmas activities, it also culminates with a glamorous New Year's Eve gala!
Sabrina Post is a 26-year-old struggling writer who arrives at the Plaza Hotel to begin her next gig - ghost-writing a memoir for a famous art dealer. It's a dream gig - she gets her own suite AND a big paycheck! Her week gets even more magical when she finds out the art dealer once worked for the author of the Eloise books, Kay Thompson.
The Book Girls Say... Fans of Fiona Davis novels will love this book! Like many of Davis' books that have an NYC landmark building at their center, the Plaza Hotel is like a character in the story! You'll learn so much about its history and architecture. Additionally, this holiday novel has a dual timeline with a historical fiction story that introduced us to the author of the famed Eloise books.
A Castle in the Clouds
by Kirsten Gier
Sophie is an intern at a grand, but aging, hotel in the Swiss alps. There's an annual New Year's Eve Ball that brings back the glory days. Sophie frantically prepares to make sure the event goes flawlessly.
However, when the guests arrive, they come with unexpected problems. In fact, many of them aren't even who they say!
If you're open to YA books about New Year's Eve, this one will take you right to a winter wonderland!
Rules of Civility
by Amor Towles
On New Year's Eve 1937, a young woman has a chance encounter with a handsome banker. She suddenly finds herself thrust into a yearlong journey into high society.
Written by the author of 2021 best-seller, The Lincoln Highway, you'll be drawn in by the characters and the sparkling depiction of New York's post-Depression social strata. As one review put it, "If a novel could win an award for best cinematography, this would take home the gold."
New Year's Eve Murder
by Leslie Meier
Although this is book 12 of 28 in the Lucy Stone series, it's also a perfect stand-alone if you're looking for a cozy mystery to read between holidays.
Lucy and her daughter have won a trip to New York City for New Year makeovers from a fashion magazine. However, in the midst of their whirlwind introduction to the high-pressure world, fashion editor Nadine mysteriously dies. Lucy is on the case when her daughter beings to experience the same symptoms. Suddenly, it's even more vital to find the culprit.
The Book Girls Say... If you love cozy mysteries, you may also want to check out these New Year's themed titles:
A Toast to Murder by Allyson K. Abbott
Have a Deadly New Year by Lynn Cahoon
A Catered New Year's Eve (with recipes) by Isis Crawford
Gnarly New Year by Ying Cooper
Flowers, Food, and Felonies a the New Year's Jubilee by Annie Adams
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
by Kathleen Rooney
It’s New Year’s Eve 1984, and 85-year-old Lilian Boxfish decides to walk all ten miles to the party she plans to attend. Along the way, she looks back over her long life in the city. Her walk is both a quintessential New Year’s Eve reminiscence and a love letter to New York City.
In the 1930s, Lillian was a copywriter for Macy’s who worked her way up to being one of the highest-paid ad women in the country. Throughout her life, she’s seen a lot in her changing city and country - from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic, and from the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop.
The Book Girls Say... If you're participating in our Lifetime of Reading Challenge and didn't get a chance to read this book during our month of 80-something character s, now is a great time to pick it up! Our readers rated it ⭐⭐⭐⭐.
This book is currently available free with Kindle Unlimited as of November 4, 2022.
At the Water's Edge
by Sara Gruen
After disgracing themselves at a high society New Year's Eve party in Philadelphia in 1944, Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, are financially cut off by his father. Ellis decides that the only way to regain his father's favor is to succeed in a venture that his father famously attempted and failed at - the hunt for the Loch Ness monster.
He believes if he can find the monster, he can restore his father's good name. Joined by his wife, Maddie, and their friend, Hank - a wealthy socialite, the three make their way to Scotland. As the two men go off to hunt the monster each day, Maddie is alone in a foreign country.
The Book Girls Say... The New Year's Eve party and it's aftermath play a very prominent role in the early chapters of this historical fiction novel by the author of Water for Elephants.
This book is also featured on our list of books set in the 1940s.
Together at Midnight
by Jennifer Castle
Kendall and Max have a history together, but they’ve both been off on their own for the past months. Kendall has just returned from spending the first half of her high school senior year studying in Europe. Max is taking a gap year before starting college without any clear sense of direction. In New York City after Christmas, they witness a tragic accident.
Overcome with guilt and a sense that maybe they could have prevented it, the two teens set out to perform seven random acts of kindness before New Year’s Eve. Written in short chapters from alternating points of view, the story follows Kendall and Max as they explore what it means to be kind.
This is a YA story of friendship, with a bit of romance on the side, that will fill your heart and inspire you heading into the new year.
The New Year's Quilt
by Jennifer Chiaverini
Master Quilter Sylvia Compson has discovered that it's never to late in life to find love. This story takes place over the Christmas and New Year's holidays, beginning with Sylvia and Andrew's festive surprise wedding at Elm Creek Manor. The newlyweds are very happy, but Andrew's adult children aren't less than thrilled with the marriage. As the story progresses, the family conflict brings back many memories for Sylvia of the estrangement within her own family's past.
This light and cozy read reflects on many New Year's traditions celebrated by Sylvia and her ancestors, and also includes many well-researched details about the history of quilt-making.
The Book Girls Say... This is book 11 in the Elm Creek Quilts series, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone.
Red, White & Royal Blue
by Casey McQuiston
Alex's mother is elected President, putting him in a prominent society position, similar to a prince. When he has a feud with the actual prince of England, it jeopardizes US-British relations.
A damage control plan is developed by both sides, with a fake truce and faux Instagrammable friendship staged. Through these interactions, the relationship between Alex and Henry begins to feel real - and it all starts with an NYE kiss!
The Book Girls Say... If you end up loving this book as much as we do, then you'll also want to check out our complete list of Books Like Red, White & Royal Blue.
by Jasmine Guillory
When Vivian tags along on her daughter's work trip to England over the holidays, romance is the last thing on her mind. But when Malcolm, the Queen's private secretary, offers to give her a private tour of the country estate, she can't deny the attraction.
What begins as a flirtation in the days leading up to Christmas escalates into a steamy fling the week after. The pair agree that their relationship must end on New Year's Day, but will they really be able to walk away from one another when the new year begins?
We love a good holiday romance, and this one is especially lovely because it features a couple in their mid-50s and has a diverse cast of characters. This is the fourth book in the Wedding Date series, but it reads well as a stand-alone.
Bridget Jones's Diary
by Helen Fielding
For many people, the new year is a time for a fresh start. Bridget Jones begins her diary on New Year's Day with a list of her New Year's Resolutions, including two columns - "I Will" and "I Will Not." She's convinced that she'll finally be happy if she can finally lose 7 pounds, stop smoking, develop a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program her VCR.
In her determined quest for self-improvement, Bridget then chronicles her daily successes and (more often) her perceived failures. Her diary entries are "devastatingly self aware" and laugh-out-loud funny!
You may be familiar with the movie, but the book is where it all began. This is the perfect New Year's book if you are in the mood for something light and humorous with a whole lot of heart. One thing is for sure, you won't feel alone if you can't keep all of your own New Year's Resolutions.
Your Perfect Year
by Charlotte Lucas
Translated from German, this book will transport you to the sites of Hamburg. The main character, Jonathan, is wealthy, driven by routine, and avoids relationships of all kinds. On New Year's Day, he finds a planner during his jog. The first page says "Your Perfect Year" and the dates for the upcoming year all have handwritten notes with tasks like "eat cake until it makes us ill". Jonathan can't seem to help himself from following the plans as he tries to find the owner of the planner.
Alternating chapters feature Hannah, who is launching a brand new business with her best friend and waiting for her boyfriend to propose.
HEADS UP: Book contains themes of suicide and it's not as light as the cover implies, although there are light moments in between serious topics.
This book is currently available free with Kindle Unlimited as of November 4, 2022.
by Fredrik Backman
If you are looking for a book that's not focused on the traditional elements of New Year's Eve, this could be the perfect pick. Anxious People takes place all in one day - the day before New Year's Eve - in a small town in Sweden.
A failed bank robber stumbles into an apartment open house and inadvertently holds hostage a group of strangers. The eclectic group of captives may just be the worst hostages in the world, and none of them are quite who they appear to be. Throughout the ordeal, they divulge secrets, form allegiances, and set into motion a chain of events so unexpected that, when questioned by the police, they can hardly explain what happens next.
The Book Girls Say... We both love all of Fredrik Backman's books, and Anxious People - with its quirky characters and witty prose is no exception. Backman has such a knack for writing in a way that is both entertaining, but also gets right to the heart of the matter!
Although this book doesn't have a strong connection to the holiday, we figure this is the perfect excuse to read it if it's already on your TBR.
Same Time, Next Year
by Debbie Macomber
James has his mind on his career as a newly appointed judge. While visiting Las Vegas on New Year's Eve, he runs into a Summer. She's just discovered her fiancè was cheating on her and he's in the right place at the right time to console her.
Because they have to return home to their normal lives despite their undeniable connection, they vow to return to Vegas the next New Year's Eve to meet again. Between meetings, their relationship grows through monthly letters.
Keep in mind that this is a New Year's Eve romance originally released 25 years ago, so some say it feels outdated at times. But if you prefer the classic romance genre over contemporary, it might be perfect!
If you’re looking for a seasonal book without a holiday aspect, be sure to check out our great list of books to read in the winter and our list of thrillers set in winter!
Mary Ellen Reilly
Friday 16th of December 2022
I think Something from Tiffany's by Melissa Hill can be added to the New Years challenge. I'm reading it now. It's a different type of book than I normally read, but I'm really enjoying it.
Friday 16th of December 2022
Thanks for letting us know! We love a good book set in NYC at the holidays!
Wednesday 29th of December 2021
I was surprised to see that I had already read two books on the list Royal Holiday and The New Year's Quilt. So I will probably go with Your Perfect Year.
Saturday 18th of December 2021
I’m not generally a rom-com reader, but was in the mood after a heavier tome. This Time Next Year was the perfect choice - it’s absolutely charming! And the list reminded me to re-read Bridget Jones - such a fun book.