YA Books Featuring Time Loops


A recurring situation in movies, books, and TV shows is the time loop, where a character gets stuck reliving the same day over and over again. One of the most notable time-loop stories is the movie Groundhog Day, but there are also a lot of great YA books where the main character is stuck in a time loop. It is an underrated subgenre that some great authors have dabbled in, and these are just a few titles that I’ve loved!

The Do-Over by Lynn Painter

“I love you Nick Stark…It won’t count tomorrow and it’ll be like I never said it, but on this Valentine’s Day, I fell in love with you.”

The Do-Over is a YA contemporary romance where the main character, Emilie Hornby, has to relive the worst Valentine’s Day ever over and over again. After falling asleep on her grandmother’s couch, she wakes up back at home on February 14, again. Stuck in a time loop, she has to repeatedly watch as her boyfriend cheats on her and her life goes up in smoke. Emilie also finds herself constantly running into Nick, a guy from her school, and getting to know him as the days repeat themselves. It’s only a matter of time before she starts to take control of her life, even if it’s in a continuous loop.

Lynn Painter never disappoints, and The Do-Over was no exception. I love books set in time loops, especially when there is a romance involved. Emilie slowly made crazier decisions as the day continued to repeat, but, throughout it, she realized what’s really important in life. As someone who never took charge of her life, the time loop gave her the opportunity to do everything she was too scared to do. I thought it was so powerful, though stressful at times, and the relationship she formed with Nick was adorable. It had the perfect balance of coming-of-age and romcom that Lynn Painter flawlessly includes in so many of her books.

Check out our full review of The Do-Over here!

See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon

“I could wake up on the same day a thousand times, and every single one would be different because of you. Every single one would be life-changing. Because of you.”

See You Yesterday follows Barrett Bloom as she has a disastrous first day of college involving humiliation, a bad interview, setting a frat on fire, and being locked out of her room. When she wakes up, it’s the same day all over again. She finds herself stuck in a time loop, but she’s not the only one. Miles, who humiliated her in her physics class, has been trapped in the same time loop for months. They agree to work together to find a way out, but, as Barrett and Miles start falling for each other, they wonder what
will happen if they ever reach tomorrow.

This was the second Rachel Lynn Solomon book I read, and it’s by far my favorite. Before See You Yesterday, I had never read a book where multiple people were stuck in the time loop. I loved the added dynamic of Barrett and Miles being stuck together and trying to find a way out. They both learned so much about themselves and each other, and the romance that bloomed between them was perfect. It was really interesting to watch as they became scared, not only of being stuck forever in the time loop, but of what would happen to them if they ever made it to the next day.

Midnight Strikes by Zeba Shahnaz

“So I love him without hope… My love is a fact that no one knows to be true and that, in the grand scheme of this endless day, will change nothing. But if I can save him—if I can save them all—it will be enough.”

In Zeba Shahnaz’s debut novel Midnight Strikes, Anaïs is at the kingdom’s anniversary ball, but she is an outsider with no desire to interact with the denizens of the court. When the clock strikes midnight, the palace explodes, killing everyone in it. She remembers the explosion and the chaos, and then she wakes up in her room hours before the ball. Stuck in a time loop where disaster strikes again and again, she starts working with the Prince to stop the attack and, hopefully, stop the time loop, too. Throughout this, she has to navigate the dark secrets of the kingdom and find out the truth before midnight strikes for good.

From the moment I read the synopsis for this book, I knew I was going to love it. This was the first time loop book I’d read set in a fantasy world, and I thought it was done beautifully. When an entire book consists of the same night over and over, you might think it would get boring and repetitive at some point. However, Shahnaz created an addictive book that felt like the plot was constantly moving forward, even if time wasn’t. There was so much variety in the interactions Anaïs had with the same characters, and my favorite parts were when it was just her and Leo, our favorite second prince. They connected instantly, and they had so many great moments and conversations that, ultimately, were erased by the time loop. It added so much to the angst and longing, and their relationship somehow continued to move forward a bit. I highly recommend this one in particular to those who are looking for a YA fantasy with the unique time-loop element.

A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody

Ellison Sparks has the worst Monday of her life, wishing she could do it all over. When she wakes up and it’s Monday morning again, she realizes she has to try and fix everything that went wrong. As the day keeps repeating, Ellie keeps trying to stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her, but it never seems to work. Follow Ellie in A Week of Mondays as she tries to change her Monday for the better and make it to Tuesday, figuring out what she truly wants along the way.

I loved Jessica Brody in high school, and I read other books of hers like The Chaos of Standing Still and The Geography of Lost Things. In my experience, she has a great way of taking serious topics and moments in a teenager’s life and incorporating those emotions into a high school romance. A Week of Mondays has been on my TBR list for a while now, and I’ve heard great things about it! I know that Brody’s storytelling, paired with the time loop, are the perfect recipe for a captivating and heartfelt story.

Sam Yanis, Pine Reads Review Writer