When a story takes place over the course of 24 hours (or fewer!), you know that every single moment is going to be important. Even though quarantine means more of us than ever are relating to Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day, we don’t mind these one-day books repeating in our hearts forever.
Books That Take Place Over 24 Hours
1. We Are the Wildcats by Siobhan Vivian
The Wildcats hockey team has a tradition. Every year, on the night before their first big game, they host an epic sleepover, sneak out after dark, and get up to good-natured mischief that strengthens their bonds as a team. But this year’s night of shenanigans is different. Several players are coming to separate realizations that their charismatic coach might not be treating them fairly, and when the events of the night reveal their shared simmering distrust, they have until morning to do something about it—as a team.
2. Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Rowan and Neil have spent their entire high school careers competing against each other. So when Neil beats her out for valedictorian, Rowan has one last chance to go out on a win. A ruthless, all-night scavenger hunt around Seattle will crown one senior class victor, and Rowan is determined that it will be her. Due to unforeseen and highly regrettable circumstances, Rowan soon agrees to team up with Neil until they’re the last players left. But the more time they spend together, the more Rowan realizes that the two of them have a lot in common. Maybe Neil could be more than a rival after all.
3. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Forget 24 hours—this novel in verse takes place during a 60-second elevator ride. Will gets on the elevator at the seventh floor with a gun tucked into his waistband. When he gets to the bottom, he plans to shoot the guy who murdered his brother. But at each stop, someone connected to his brother gets on and tells Will a piece of a bigger story. The cycle of revenge will be doomed to repeat again, over and over, unless Will changes his plans before he reaches the ground floor.
4. This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher
Five teens are summoned to a spooky old mansion. The lure? A cash prize for participating in an innocent game. The truth? Revenge. Someone is very angry about the part they all played in the death of a classmate last summer, and they mean to scare out the confessions they so desperately need to hear. But as the terror escalates, the five teens fight to live through the night—even as they start to doubt each other.
5. A Complicated Love Story Set in Space by Shaun David Hutchinson
Okay, this one is cheating. It takes place over the course of many days. HOWEVER. There is a collection of chapters in the middle of the book in which Noa, our protagonist trapped on a space station with no idea how he got there—gets stuck in a time loop. He must replay over and over the day a sweet boy plans a surprise picnic date for him. The first time this happened, he panicked and bailed. But the time loop gives him the chance to replay those 24 hours over and over and see what happens if he makes another choice.
Looking for more? Check out these standalone novels you can read in one sitting!