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14 Best Books Set on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day

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If you're looking to get cozy with a book when the clock strikes midnight this December 31, these are the best books set on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

This is a post I have always wanted to write, both because some of the best books set on New Year's Eve and Day have made such a mark on me personally, and because this genre is often overlooked in holiday reading.

December 31 makes a great literary timeframe for nostalgic stories, and January 1 makes a great time for stories about change.

Below are my top 3 personal favorite books set on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, followed by 7 more amazing picks for festive, non-Christmas December reading.

Top 3 Best Books Set on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney


Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk takes place on one New Year's Eve in 1984 and draws upon the nostalgia of times past that can be associated with the holiday.

Eighty-five-year-old Lillian Boxfish is on her way to a party. She's a woman who worked her way up in 1930s New York to become the highest-paid advertising woman in the country.

As she walks along a grittier Manhattan, she meets everyone from bartenders to bodega clerks, security guards, and even criminals. And she reminisces the highs and lows of her life, as well as how New York has changed and stayed the same throughout eras of the Jazz Age, the AIDS epidemic, and the Great Depression.

It's quintessential New Year's Eve in book format, and it's a book I think about each and every late December.

The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Rules of Civility only begins on New Year's Eve, but it encapsulates the holiday so perfectly and sets into sequence the entire storyline, so it always feels like a New Year's book to me.

On New Year's Eve 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is celebrating in a Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, sits at the table next to hers.

This chance encounter and its long-lasting consequences set Katey on a year-long adventure into the upper echelons of New York society—for better or for worse.

This book set on New Year's Eve is beloved by readers for a reason -- it's exquisite.

This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens

This Time Next Year is the new kid on the block, and it's a great one at that!

Minnie believes her New Year's birthday is unlucky, all because of Quinn Hamilton, a man she's never met. Their mothers gave birth to them at the same hospital on New Year's Day, but Quinn was awarded the cash prize for being the first baby born in London that year. Each of Minnie's birthdays since then has been a disaster.

When Minnie unexpectedly runs into Quinn at a New Year's celebration on their thirtieth birthday, she finds him to be a gorgeous and charming business owner whose streak of luck has continued, all Minnie is about to lose both her pie-making company and her home.

But they keep bumping into each other, and each encounter leaves them both wanting more. It's a unique and engaging story about fate around the New Year.

More of the Best Books Set on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day

Although the prior three books are my personal favorites from this list, below are even more of the best books set on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day to help you find the best book to fit your own seasonal reading.

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding

  • USA Today's top 100 books to read while stuck at home social distancing 
  • The iconic #1 bestseller

The infamous Bridget Jones's Diary begins on New Year's and catapults the reader into the laugh-out-loud life (and love life) of the notorious singleton.

A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier

A Castle in the Clouds is a Young Adult book that takes place at a grand old hotel in the Swiss mountains on New Year's Eve at their famous ball. Hotel intern Sophie is hard at work when she finds herself in the middle of an adventure that places both her job and her heart at risk.

A Doll's House by Henrik Isben

A Doll's House is the classic pre-1900 play in which a married woman with little opportunity is destined to change her life come New Year's Day.

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

A Long Way Down is a popular, provocative, and moving novel in which four people come together on New Year's Eve: a former TV talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl, and a mother. They meet on a London rooftop known for being the place for those ready to end their lives.

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Middlemarch is a classic book that begins on New Year's Eve and dives into epic depth about the intersecting lives of the citizens of Middlemarch, as they encounter issues of the status of women, the nature of marriage, politics, religion, and education in the 19th century. 

Midnight Kiss by Robyn Carr

Fans of Robyn Carr's Virgin River book series and/or Netflix adaptation will love Midnight Kiss, which begins at the inaugural New Year's Eve party at a bar, where two lonely partygoers find that the best way to mend their broken hearts might just be with each other.

New Year's Eve Murder by Leslie Meier

From the popular seasonal mystery author comes New Year's Eve Murder. After Christmas in Maine has ended, Lucy Stone and her daughter Elizabeth plant to ring in the New Year with winter makeovers in Manhattan that they won from a magazine. However, things take a turn for the worst when fashion editor Nadine Nelson becomes ill and dies. When Elizabeth also becomes ill, Lucy knows she must solve this mystery.

Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimor

National bestseller

Oona Out of Order is a Good Morning America book club pick that begins on New Year's Eve 1982, the day before Oona’s 19th birthday. She struggles with the decision to commit to either her band and her boyfriend or her education and her best friend, but when she wakes up it's New Year's Day 2014. Each New Year she time travels to a completely different year, and it's quite an emotional ride.

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillroy

The Royal Holiday is the most delightful middle-aged diverse Christmas romance books set amidst English royalty, where Vivian has traveled with her daughter for work and meets one of the Queen's workers, with whom she bonds over the holiday and swears must end by New Year's Day. This story is all about what may or may not happen once the clock strikes midnight and a New Year begins.

Same Time, Next Year by Debbie Macomber

From the bestselling author, this novel is, you guessed it, a "Same Time, Next Year" trope. James almost married one of the Manning sisters, but after a broken engagement, he travels to Las Vegas for New Year’s Eve, where he meets Summer, who is reeling from a betrayal. They agree to correspond and meet at the same place in one year to see what has become of their lives.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

  • 2000 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction
  • The 2000 Whitbread Book Award in category best first novel
  • The Guardian First Book Award
  • The Commonwealth Writers First Book Prize
  • The Betty Trask Award. 
  • Time magazine's 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005

White Teeth begins on New Year's Day 1975, when Archie Jones, a 47-year-old whose disturbed wife has just walked out on him, is attempting suicide by gassing himself in his car, when a chance interruption changes his mind. Ultimately, this is the story of two hapless veterans of World War II, and their families, as they become agents of England’s irrevocable transformation.

Those are all the best books set on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Shop this entire list in one spot in my Amazon shop.

Happy New Year!

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