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    18 Delightfully Jewish Books To Light The Way This Hanukkah

    Take a break from debating the best latke topping, and pick up one of these joyously Jewish books!

    1. The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

    Blue cover featuring a white male in a suit and a white woman in a blue dress. Tag line reads: It's the Hanukkah event of the season...and the feud of the century. Title reads: The Matzah Ball, a novel.
    Mira Books / Via harlequin.com

    Release date: September 28, 2021

    What it's about: Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt has a secret: She writes Christmas stories. When her publisher decides they want a Hanukkah romance, she has no clue what to do. Her writing is usually all about fantasy; Hanukkah is too close to home. When she hears about the Matzah Ball, she knows she has the answer: This holiday party is exactly what she needs for some inspiration. The only problem? The man in charge is Jacob Greenberg, her long-ago camp first love turned rival, and she’ll have to work with him if she wants a ticket to the sold-out event. This book has everything: a tight knit Jewish community, both Orthodox and chronic illness representation, and did I mention the massive Hanukkah celebration?

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    2. Love and Latkes by Stacey Agdern

    A white man, wearing an apron that says 'I heart you a latke," and a white woman stand together on a snow covered street. The title reads: Love and Latkes. Below says, "A Friendships and Festivals Novel."
    Tule Publishing / Via tulepublishing.com

    Release date: October 12, 2021

    What it's about: Batya Averman is thrilled when she’s offered a position as the web designer for a latke fry-off… That is, until she realizes it will bring her back to her hometown. Things get even worse when she finds out that Abe Neumann, who left behind his accounting firm with dreams of opening a Jewish deli, is participating. Can the two get over their complicated past to find love? If you’re looking for the Hanukkah book equivalent of a Hallmark movie, this is it. 

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    3. Recommended for You by Laura Silverman

    Blue cover. Two white teenagers, a girl in a pink dress and a boy in a yellow button-up shirt and jeans, stand next to a full bookcase. Title reads: Recommended for You. A blackboard sign reads: Author Appearance by Laura Silverman.
    Margaret K. McElderry Books / Via simonandschuster.com

    Release date: September 1, 2020

    What it's about: Recommended for You follows Shoshanna Greenberg and Jake Kaplan, two Jewish teen booksellers who are trying to outsell each other during the holiday rush in hopes of winning their bookstore’s (supposed to be friendly) competition. Show up for the humor; stay for the deftly crafted look at family. 

    Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    4. As If on Cue by Marisa Kanter

    Two white teenagers, a boy wearing an open blue shirt, a white shirt with music notes, and yellow pants and a girl wearing a black and white striped dress and a yellow jacket, stand in front of lockers. Title reads: As If on Cue.
    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / Via drive.google.com

    Release date: September 21, 2021

    What it's about: Natalie and Reid are not friends anymore. But when a prank war over the arts budget at their high school gets out of hand, the two are forced to work together to organize an original musical. There’s no way they’re going to fall for each other in the process…right? This joyous YA rom-com features two Jewish leads, a Bat Mitzvah, a frank look at everyday antisemitism, and a jazz-filled Hanukkah celebration.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    5. Sick Kids in Love by Hannah Moskowitz

    Blue cover with light blue clouds. Title reads: Sick Kids in Love. Instead of an "I" there are two white teenagers, a girl in a pink coat and a boy in a black coat. Tagline reads: "They don't die in this one."
    Entangled Publishing / Via amazon.com

    Release date: November 5, 2019

    What it's about: Isabel has a no dating rule. It’s already hard enough balancing schoolwork and friends while living with rheumatoid arthritis. Then she meets Sasha, whose chronic illness is more visible than her own. She absolutely shouldn’t like him…but she definitely does. Two chronically ill Jewish teens fall in love in this hilarious and sometimes heart-wrenching YA contemporary romance. Bonus points: This one includes Hanukkah! 

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    6. Color Me In by Natasha Díaz

    Blue and green cover featuring three female teenagers. Two are Black, the one in the middle is an outline. The title reads: Color Me In a novel.
    Ember / Via penguinrandomhouse.com

    Release date: August 11, 2020

    What it's about: Naveah Levitz never really had to consider her biracial background. But when her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she finds herself questioning who she is for the first time. This thoughtful coming-of-age YA debut features a belated Bat Mitzvah and a serious look at identity.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    7. The Last Words We Said by Leah Scheier

    White cover. A white girl in a green patterned shirt leans out of the window of the second story of a house. A white boy wearing a kippah, black shirt, and jeans sits in a bare tree outside the house. Title reads: "The Last Words We Said"
    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / Via simonandschuster.com

    Release date: August 31, 2021

    What it's about: Everyone in Ellie’s modern orthodox community has moved on after her boyfriend Danny’s disappearance. The rebellious yet respectful Rae has turned to baking, and the rabbi’s daughter Deenie has thrown herself into her faith. But Ellie knows that Danny can’t really be gone. Which is probably why she still talks to him…even if no one else can see him. A strikingly beautiful tale of grief and friendship, this book will rip your heart open and then piece it back together.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    8. Kate in Waiting by Becky Albertalli

    Pale pink cover. Outline of long hair in gold. Title reads: "Kate in Waiting." Tagline reads: "Break a leg, not your heart."
    Balzer & Bray/Harperteen / Via amazon.com

    Release date: April 20, 2021

    What it's about: Kate Garfield and her best friend Anderson Walker are definitely not codependent. Doesn’t everyone share crushes with their bestie? But when Matt Olsson, their current shared crush, shows up at their school, things go entirely off script. Becky Albertalli is the queen of YA. Want proof? Just pick up her latest. Filled with musical theater references and casual Judaism, this book will make you feel all the feels, in the best way possible.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    9. Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

    Bright blue cover. A boy and a girl, in outline, sit apart on a bench, then sit closer, and finally sit together, the girl's legs on his lap, both wearing graduation caps and gowns. Title reads: "Today Tonight Tomorrow"
    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / Via rachelsolomonbooks.com

    Release date: July 28, 2020

    What it's about: Rowan Roth and Neil McNair are bitter academic rivals. But everything changes on their last day of high school when they reluctantly team up to win a school-wide competition. I could write an entire article made up of the stunning Jewish representation in Rachel Lynn Solomon’s books. Today, Tonight, Tomorrow is no exception. Featuring two Jewish leads, a shabbat dinner, a striking encounter with antisemitism, and a journey through Seattle, this book has it all. I dare you to try and put this one down. 

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    10. The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

    Blue background featuring Tiffany Haddish wearing black, confetti falling over her head. Title reads: "The Last Black Unicorn.'
    Gallery Books / Via amazon.com

    Release date: January 29, 2019

    What it's about: Did you know that Tiffany Haddish, whose father was an Eritrean Jew, got her start in entertainment by working the Bar Mitzvah circuit? This heartfelt, honest, and hilarious memoir follows Haddish through her early years to comedic superstardom. Bonus rec: Follow this up with her Netflix comedy special, Black Mitzvah!

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    11. I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are by Rachel Bloom

    Pink cover with an illustrated image of Rachel Bloom and a white dog. Title reads; "I Want to Be Where the Normal People Are."
    Grand Central Publishing / Via amazon.com

    Release date: November 17, 2020

    What it's about: Want more comedy? Rachel Bloom brings her signature blend of musical humor to her own hilarious memoir. This book covers everything, from having a crush on a sometimes antisemitic classmate to mental health struggles and the long journey to co-creating her own show. For the best experience, listen to the audiobook, narrated by the author, which includes an entire musical section, complete with songs and stage directions.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    12. The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

    Blue cover with white stars featuring a white woman and a white man standing next to a podium.
    Berkley Books / Via penguinrandomhouse.com

    Release date: April 6, 2021

    What it's about: Fresh off the success of her sex-positive start-up, Naomi Grant wants to break into lecturing. Despite her qualifications, higher ed won’t hire her — largely because she's a former porn star. Rabbi Ethan Cohen is looking to attract a younger audience to his synagogue, which is low on both funds and congregants. If something doesn’t change, the synagogue is at risk of closing. The two join together to fix both of their problems by hosting a seminar series on modern intimacy. It’s the perfect chance for her to lecture and for him to bring in new congregants. Neither one expects to test out their own syllabus. This book includes a thoughtful look at faith, and yes, you read that right: It’s a romance featuring a rabbi!

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here. 

    13. Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland

    An illustrated hotel in the background, green lawn with people on it. Title reads: "Last Summer at the Golden Hotel."
    Berkley Books / Via amazon.com

    Release date: May 18, 2021

    What it's about: Already longing for warmer weather? Then head to the Golden Hotel! The Weingold and Goldman families have presided over this once-glamorous resort for more than 60 years. But now that the Catskills aren’t what they once were, the families must come together for one last summer to decide whether it’s the right time to sell and move on. Dirty Dancing meets The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in this adult contemporary. 

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    14. Camp by L.C. Rosen

    Wooden background featuring a sequined patch. On the patch there is a rainbow house and two blue figures holding hands. Title reads: "Camp."
    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / Via levacrosen.com

    Release date: May 25, 2021

    What it's about: Let’s head to camp for some more summer vibes! Randy Kapplehoff returns to the LGBTQ Camp Outland transformed. Determined to win the heart of his crush, Hudson Aronson-Lim, he’s decided to undergo a masculine makeover. Gone are the days of nail polish and show tunes. He’s even changed his name, going by “Del.” But as he starts to get closer to Hudson, he begins to grapple with the repercussions of hiding his true self. This delightful YA features a queer love story between two Jewish boys. 

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    15. Drawn That Way by Elissa Sussman

    A white girl stands, looking over her shoulder. Backpack and notebooks at her feet. Title reads: "Drawn That Way.'
    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers / Via simonandschuster.com

    Release date: September 28, 2021

    What it's about: Hayley Saffitz is thrilled when she gets a spot in a highly competitive summer internship at an animation studio. Things quickly take a turn when the head of the studio’s son, Bear Davis, walks in late on the first day. He’s snarky, rude, and (unfortunately) cute. Then, to make matters worse, Hayley is spurned for one of the coveted internship director positions. Hoping to prove herself, she decides to risk it all and bring together the small group of girls in the program so they can secretly create their own short film. Fun fact: This feminist and fun read includes adorable illustrations!

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    16. Cool for the Summer by Dahlia Adler

    Purple cover featuring a white girl wearing heart shaped sunglasses. A Syrian girl wearing a star of David is in one of the hearts and a white boy in a blue jacket is in the other. Title reads: "Cool for the Summer"
    Wednesday Books / Via us.macmillan.com

    Release date: May 11, 2021

    What it's about: Lara has had a crush on Chase for ages, but just as he seems to start showing interest, Jasmine shows up  — the very same girl who Lara just spent a perfectly romantic (and very secret) summer with. Lara can have the boy…but what if she wants the girl? The joyous YA features a love story between two Jewish girls and includes queer/questioning representation. 

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    17. The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros

    Black and read cover. Image of a boy in black. Title reads: "The City Beautiful."
    Inkyard Press / Via amazon.com

    Release date: October 5, 2021

    What it's about: Love historical fiction? Looking for one with Jewish rep that isn’t set during the Holocaust? Then The City Beautiful is definitely for you! Alter Rosen sees America as the land of opportunity. That is until his best friend, Yakov, is killed, one in a long line of murdered Jewish boys. Possessed by his friend’s spirit, Alter must track down the killer before he becomes the next victim. This Jewish historical fantasy is set during the Chicago World’s Fair and features dybbuks, malicious spirits from Jewish folklore. 

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or your local bookstore via Indiebound here

    18. It's a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories edited by Laura Silverman and Katherine Locke

    Blue cover featuring Jewish teenagers. Title reads: 'It's a Whole Spiel."
    Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers / Via penguinrandomhouse.com

    Release date: September 17, 2019

    What it's about: Want even more Jewish stories? Check out It’s a Whole Spiel, an entire YA short story anthology featuring #ownvoices Jewish representation from some of the absolute best YA writers working today. Then go read all of their other books — some of them are already on this list! 

    Get it from Bookshop or your local bookstore via Indiebound here