YA Friday: Tropes Spring Eternal – The Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day was Sunday, February 2nd and Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, which legend tells us means that Spring will come early this year!

While Groundhog Day the holiday might be a fun ritual based on folklore, it inspired a Bill Murray cult favorite film Groundhog Day, where his character Phil Connors does everything he can to escape the repetition of living the same day on repeat.

This plot trope of time loops always end up being fan favorites and usually give insight of what life might be like if we had the ability to fall asleep and wake up with the ability to restart the day. It’s a fun way to play with characters, putting them through the emotional wringer while trying to solve a murder or win their boyfriend back. And the trope is an effective tool for mixing in a variety of genres and styles such as high school drama, horror, romantic comedies, or epic fantasy. And in (almost) all cases, the protagonist stuck in the time loop comes out on the other side all the better.

So take a break from listening to “I Got You Babe” and enjoy this list of YA time loop novels as we wait for Spring to come!

Before I Fall, book cover

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Week of Mondays, book cover

Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody

In the course of one Monday, Ellie Sparks gets a ticket for running a red light, fails a history quiz, gives a train wreck of a speech in front of the entire school, bombs softball tryouts, and, to top it all off, is dumped by her sexy rock star boyfriend. Just when Ellie thinks that things can't get much worse, she wakes up the next morning and quickly realizes that she is living the worst Monday of her life all over again. After the initial shock, the teen decides that if she is given this second chance to make things right, she has to do her very best to keep her boyfriend from dumping her again. Little does she know that there doesn't seem to be a way to make the cycle stop. Ellie will try everything in her power to make sure everything is set right in her life, even if it means reevaluating what right really is.

Opposite of Always, book cover

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Jack King is the King of "almost" with a slew of unfinished projects under his belt. He's almost athletic, almost a rock star, almost at everything. He is sitting on the stairs at a college party staring at his best friend and unrequited love interest Jillian, when he meets Kate. These two teens forge a bond over the love of cereal, bad dance moves, and nerdy movies. Jack becomes the Cap'n to Kate's Crunch until Kate is a no-show at Jack's high school prom. Jack survives the heartbreak through the efforts of Jillian and his other best friend Franny "Francisco," Jillian's boyfriend. Jack learns that Kate has sickle cell anemia and was in the hospital during prom. While at the hospital, Kate tells Jack about a doctor who has some promising experimental trials, but the treatment is expensive. Jack goes home to rest only to be awakened by a phone call from Kate's mother telling him that Kate has died. He's headed to his car when falls down the stairs and wakes up back at the college party where he first met Kate. Jake's life now cyclically reboots as he attempts to save Kate and maintain his friendships.

Neverworld Wake, book cover

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Beatrice Hartley, 19, has spent the past year distancing herself from her four best friends after the mysterious death of her boyfriend, Jim, in their senior year. With summer ending and the former friends gathering to celebrate a birthday, Bee decides to find out what they know. The reunion doesn’t go as expected, and a near-fatal drunk-driving accident brings the teens into the Neverworld, a place between life and death, where they live the same day over and over again until they can agree on who gets to survive. Caught between trying to save her life and solving the mystery surrounding Jim’s death, Bee discovers that everyone has a devastating secret.

Pretty in Punxsutawney, book cover

Pretty in Punxsutawney by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Andie is the type of girl who always comes up with the perfect thing to say…after it’s too late to say it. She’s addicted to romance movies—okay, all movies—but has yet to experience her first kiss. After a move to Punxsutawney, PA, for her senior year, she gets caught in an endless loop of her first day at her new school, reliving those 24 hours again and again.

Convinced the curse will be broken when she meets her true love, Andie embarks on a mission: infiltrating the various cliques to find the one boy who can break the spell. What she discovers along the way is that people who seem completely different can often share the very same hopes, dreams, and hang-ups. And that even a day that has been lived over and over can be filled with unexpected connections and plenty of happy endings.

The Square Root of Summer, book cover

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she's hurtled through wormholes to her past:

To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn't even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie's past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone's heart is about to be broken.

Further Reading

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, book cover
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, book cover
Loop, book cover
The Locket, book cover
When You Reach Me, book cover
Proof of Forever, book cover