search-icon

The 12 Baes of Christmas: Literary Loves We’re Happy to Share

by  | December 5

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” is a sweet song, but we all know that the way to an avid reader’s heart isn’t through partridges or pear trees—it’s through books, books, and more books! More specifically for fiction lovers, it’s through novels that take us on grand adventures and introduce us to unforgettable characters that we can’t help but fall a little bit in love with, characters we’d put Before Anyone Else: our book BAEs.

What better way to show you our love, then, than by sharing a few of the characters nearest and dearest to our hearts this holiday season? We’d be over the moon to unwrap any one of these books ourselves, which is why they also fall into the category of #BooksILiketoGive. So whether you’re shopping for a bookish bestie and need some inspiration, or you’re simply looking for a new literary love of your own, we hope you get a kick out of our 12 Baes of Christmas….

P.S. For even more recommendations, be sure to visit Simon & Schuster’s handy Books I Like to Give holiday gift guide here!

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating

by Christina Lauren

Heather & Saimah’s Pick: Josh Im and Hazel Bradford

Are we cheating? Yes. Do we care? Not a bit. For two best friends who plan to keep things “strictly platonic” because they’re just “too different as people,” Josh and Hazel sure do make a magnificent pair. That’s because it’s pretty obvious from the beginning that they’re made for each other, even if they can’t see it yet. Indeed, much of Christina Lauren’s Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating revolves around the hilariously bad double dates they set each other up on—dates that seem to get worse as they grow closer (hmm...). What takes this rom-com to the next level are these sweet, relatable characters, who truly are polar opposites: Hazel thrives in chaos, while Josh craves order; she’s exuberant, whereas he’s chill. But they both know who they are, and won’t change for anyone, even each other. The best part is watching them figure out that they don’t need to. We had no choice but to stan them both

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince

by Holly Black

Heather’s Pick #2: Prince Cardan Greenbriar

Is he a villain? A hero? Or something in between? The allure of Prince Cardan—youngest son of the High King of Elfhame and an heir to the throne—is that he’s all the above, depending on his mood. The one constant is his obvious, if grudging, love for Jude Duarte, a fierce mortal raised alongside him in the High Court of Faerie who wants nothing more than to prove she’s as worthy of a place in the court as anyone else. Though the Folk of the Air trilogy is told solely from Jude’s perspective, it’s obvious from pretty early on in The Cruel Prince that Cardan, whom Jude assumes truly hates her, has tormented her since they were kids as a way to hide his true feelings for her, which he fears are a weakness.

For all his studied indifference toward her, there’s no missing the way Cardan seems to delight in the way Jude meets him insult for insult, or how quickly he acquiesces to playing the pawn in her endless machinations. As powerful as he becomes, the unpredictable prince proves over and over again that he’d give it all up for Jude—and how could you not adore a character like that? By the time you reach book 2, The Wicked King, you’ll understand what I mean when I say that this is a trilogy that fantasy romance readers cannot miss, and that the grand finale, The Queen of Nothing, will leave you completely satisfied.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logo
The Vanishing Season

The Vanishing Season

by Joanna Schaffhausen

Heather’s Pick #3: Agent Reed Markham

Apparently I have a thing for heroes who realize that their heroines are smarter and tougher than them. Agent Reed Markham is a brilliant FBI profiler and a loving father, yet my favorite thing about him is his unwavering loyalty to Ellery Hathaway, a small-town cop with whom he shares a complex past. More than a decade ago, a 14-year-old girl named Abigail made headlines as the lone survivor of a sadistic serial killer. Reed, then a hotshot young agent, was the one who freed her from the monster’s closet. Though he wrote a book about solving the case, Reed never thought he’d see the girl again, so he’s shocked when, years later, he receives a call from a grown-up Abby, who now goes by Ellery. He’s the only person she can trust to help her investigate a string of disappearances she fears may be a message to her from her kidnapper or a copycat.

They quickly form an unconventional partnership in The Vanishing Season, which only deepens in the sequel, No Mercy, which seems to hint at the potential for a future romance between them. While Ellery’s unquestionably the heroine of the series, I’m a sucker for the way Reed is there to stand beside her, keep her grounded, and serve as the one person who never lets her down. We should all be so lucky to find that someone

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logo
SLAY

SLAY

by Brittney Morris

Heather’s Pick #4: Kiera Johnson

Kiera Johnson, the star of Brittney Morris’s Slay, is a geek hero and total badass. Not only is she an honors student, but the 17-year-old is also the anonymous mastermind developer behind a hit online role-playing card game called SLAY. As one of the few black students at her school, Jefferson Academy, Kiera feels most herself in her digital world, where she’s joined by hundreds of thousands of fellow black gamers from across the globe. The future of her game is called into question, however, when a virtual fight spills out into the real world, leaving a player in Kansas City dead and igniting a media firestorm. The increased scrutiny leads to unfair accusations that SLAY is exclusionary and incites violence, and an internet troll targets Kiera, threatening to sue her for “anti-white” discrimination. To regain control of the narrative around her game and to defend the community she’s built, she must go to battle. A smart, creative, confident woman who goes after what she wants from an early age, Kiera is my newest literary bae.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses

by Sarah J. Maas

Maddie’s Pick #1: Rhysand

Oh, Rhysand. I'd be lying if I said that you didn't immediately steal my heart and claim the title of my number one book BAE. Rhys is the strongest and most dangerous high lord to ever exist in the faerie land of Prythian. When Feyre, our strong and stubborn protagonist, first meets Rhys, she remarks that he is the most beautiful male she's ever laid eyes on. Of course, Rhysand is much more than just a pretty face. He has a sharp sense of humor, which is sure to delight any reader as he and Feyre verbally spar throughout the series. He is also fiercely loyal to his people and to his friends, and he will stop at nothing to protect the ones he loves. It doesn't hurt that he's also extremely attractive.

A Court of Thorns and Roses and its sequels (a.k.a. the A Court of Thorns and Roses or ACOTAR series) follow Feyre, who is whisked away to Prythian for breaking an ancient law she didn't know existed. There she begins to fall for Tamlin, the High Lord of the Spring Court, who has shown her a type of kindness she had not encountered before. As you might guess, though, not everything is what it seems, and Feyre can’t deny the way she’s drawn to Rhys too. Rhysand's character goes through a strong arc throughout the series as Feyre comes to understand the true identity of the High Lord of the Night Court and where she fits into this strange new land. What originated as an imaginative beauty and the beast retelling expands into a comprehensive fantasy world full of creatures, and so much more.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logo
Warm Bodies (Media Tie-In)

Warm Bodies (Media Tie-In)

by Isaac Marion

Maddie’s Pick #2: R

So what if he's a zombie? That doesn't stop R from listening to Sinatra or falling in love with Julie. Just like any good Romeo and Juliette story, R and Julie come from two different worlds, and thus their relationship seems doomed from the start. Yet, despite being a zombie, R doesn't want to eat Julie; instead, he wants to protect her. And Julie brings a sense of color, a sense of life into R’s vacuous existence that neither one of them can ignore. What truly makes Warm Bodies something special is the internal monologue that R gives the reader. Despite the fact that he's a zombie, he still has thoughts and feelings and is desperately fighting to hold on to some human aspect of himself. And he's nice. I'm not saying he is nice for a zombie, he actually is very charming in his own way as he tries to express himself to Julie despite his very limited ability to do so. This is a zombie book that will make you smile, but not in a cheesy way, as R and Julie attempt to navigate their new bond in this crazy brain-eating world.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
Where Winter Finds You

Where Winter Finds You

by J.R. Ward

Maddie’s Pick #3: Trez

Clearly, I have a thing for supernatural redemption arcs and second chance love. If you feel the same way, then you are bound to fall in love with Trez too. Where Winter Finds You takes place in J. R. Ward's elaborate Black Dagger Brotherhood universe, and while you don't need to have read the entire series to enjoy this special holiday novel, these characters were first introduced in The Shadows. Trez's world is broken and full of pain after he loses the love of his life, and Therese isn't doing much better when she arrives in Caldwell. When the two finally meet, Trez can't determine if fate has given him a second chance or if grief has finally made him delusional. This is an emotional, tense, and sensual book about two lost souls finding each other. If you like sexy supernatural redemption stories and second chance love, you'll be calling Trez BAE in no time. And, of course, it's a holiday story too, which makes it even more perfect.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
Love on Lexington Avenue

Love on Lexington Avenue

by Lauren Layne

Saimah’s Pick #2: Scott Turner

Scott Turner wins “bae” status in this funny read not only because he is hot and funny, but because, as a world-renowned contractor, he is able to literally build a dream home, which is how he meets Claire Hayes. Claire’s jackass of an ex-husband was cheating on her with multiple women and got what he deserved. (He fell overboard and drowned on a private boat ride that he arranged for one of his illicit hookups.) About a year after the funeral, Claire decides it’s time to redecorate her UES home, which still sported furnishings from her ex-husband’s grandmother.

Claire can’t decide on a color palette or theme for her house, and the only direction she gives Scott the contractor is “strawberry lemonade,” which of course drives him crazy. At first, Scott is rude and abrasive and pushes all of Claire’s buttons, but when he realizes why she chose that palette, he begins building the home that she truly deserves.

Love on Lexington Avenue is the second book in the Central Park Pact series, but it can be easily read as a stand-alone.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
Royally Screwed (Audio)

Royally Screwed (Audio)

by Emma Chase

Saimah’s Pick #3: Prince Nicholas

Fans of Netflix’s A Christmas Prince movie will fall head over heels for Prince Nicholas. He makes the cut for the perfect bae for the holiday season. The devilishly handsome prince is in New York City attending events on behalf of the kingdom of Wessco, when one night he and his friend drunkenly end up at Amelia’s, a local bakery. In his deeply inebriated state, he is a royal jerk to Olivia, whose family owns the bakery. But when the prince sobers up the next day, he realizes his mistake and returns to the bakery to apologize and make amends. It takes a while for Olivia to forgive him and inevitably concede to going on a date with him. But when she does, their chemistry is off the charts, and the charming prince woos Olivia like no other man could.

If you’re a fan of a story where a royal bad boy falls for a “regular” girl, you won’t want to miss Royally Screwed. And for even more baes, check out the rest of the Royally series.

Audible logoGoogle Play logoiTunes logoKobo logoLibro.fm logo
The Deal

The Deal

by Elle Kennedy

Saimah’s Pick #4: Garrett Graham

If your heart swoons over a guy who is a jock, Garrett Graham is the bae for you. Garrett is on the hockey team at Briar University with hopes of playing professionally after graduation; but if he doesn’t get his grades up, he’ll be kicked off the team before he can make those dreams a reality. Lucky for Garrett, Hannah Wells is smart and willing to tutor him—in exchange for a favor: Hannah will tutor Garrett if he helps her snag a date with the guy she’s been crushing on for a while. But when they start hanging out, Garrett comes to realize that he doesn’t want to set her up with his friend…he wants Hannah to be his and his alone.

The Deal is the first book in the Off-Campus series. If you love this one, you’ll want to keep reading the others!

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logo
Where The Crawdads Sing

Where The Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens

Holly’s Pick #1: Tate Walker

Tate Walker’s emotional capacity, patience, and nurturing character will instantly melt you to tears in Delia Owens’s touching debut novel, Where the Crawdads Sing. When his friend’s younger sister, Kya, is subject to a life of loneliness in his neighboring marsh, Tate takes it upon himself to help her regain her faith in humanity. Between fishing and boating lessons, he also teaches Kya to trust another person again, leading to a beautifully raw, romantic affair between them. Tate is the perfect example of how the good guy should always come out on top.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logo
Twice in a Blue Moon

Twice in a Blue Moon

by Christina Lauren

Holly’s Pick #2: Sam Brandis

The deepest love is often impossible to run from. That’s part of the reason why Sam Brandis, in Christina Lauren’s Twice in a Blue Moon, is so dreamy. After a brief summer fling—the epitome of  young romance—Sam Brandis and Tate Jones are left heartbroken and confused. Despite a hefty betrayal at the close of their romantic stint, Tate is again drawn to Sam when he reenters her life 14 years later. The most charming baes always seem to know how to weasel their way back into our lives. Sam, with his confident, irresistible, and incredibly crush-worthy personality, is no different. Once you pick up this book, Sam will instantly draw you in. But can looks and charm be enough for forgiveness?

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo

Photo Credit // Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Categories // Bookish Lists

Tagged //

Love to get lit... erary? Sign up to get the latest delivered to your inbox!