Skip to content

Aw, You Shouldn’t Have!

November 24, 2009

That’s what people will say if you give them a great book for the holidays.

But they won’t mean it. What they’ll mean is, “I’m so glad you DID!”

Seriously, there IS no better gift than a book, so in honor of Black Friday and the upcoming holiday season, I’m presenting my list of Best Books to Give as Gifts.

Prophecy of the Sisters will NOT be on this list because 1) that would be cheesy, 2) if you’re here on my website you’ve probably already read it or plan to read it, and 3) there are so many great books out there. And I LOVE spreading the word about great books!

I WILL say, though, that if you have bought or plan to buy Prophecy as a holiday gift, I’ll send you a free personalized and signed bookplate to give as part of your gift. Just email me on Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter and tell me the name of the person you’d like it made out to and a little about them so I can write a more personal message. And don’t forget the address!

Also, I’ll be signing books in person as part of the 2009 Debutantes Holidaze Tour on December 6th at Books of Wonder in New York City. It’s a great opportunity to get a signed copy of Prophecy in addition to TONS of other amazing books from the 2009 Debutantes, seven of whom will also be there signing. More information is available on the Appearances page of this website!

And listen, in the interest of full disclosure, I AM friends with some of the authors on this list. It’s bound to happen, because it’s only natural to make friends with people in the same line of work. But I PROMISE that I never recommend a book I don’t love. Ever.

Happy shopping! And reading!


*Going Bovine by Libba Bray (that asterisk is not a typo! My daughter just pronounced this “the best YA book I’ve ever read”. And she’s read A LOT of books! That said, it’s a great book for boys, too, and is narrated by a guy)

Struts and Frets by Jon Skovron (both my teen daughter AND teen son LOVED this book! especially great for the music lover)

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (great for the technologically savvy)

Mudville by Kurtis Scaletta (baseball. and life)

Looking for Alaska by John Green (poignant coming-of-age)

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (and anything else by Neil, actually. Fantasy)

The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques (Fantasy. My now seventeen-year-old son read every one of these in middle school and just went back to re-read them a couple of months ago. They’re THAT good).

The Sword of Shannara Series by Terry Brooks (Fantasy)

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan (Fantasy)

The Rangers Apprentice Series by John Flanagan (Fantasy)

The Legend of Drizzt by R. A. Salvatore (Fantasy)

The Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer (Fantasy)

The Inheritance Trilogy by Christopher Paolini (Fantasy. With Dragons!)

The Lord of the Rings Series by J.R.R. Tolkien (Need I say more?)

The Cirque Du freak series by Darren Shan (Clever, witty fantasy. Just made into a movie)

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Sailnger (yeah, it’s a classic, but my son LOVES this book and he’s hard to please, so I figure it deserves a place on the list)


The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray (I’m convinced this series will still be around when we are all long gone. Classic!)

The Protector of the Small Series (younger teens) and The Legend of Beka Cooper Series by Tamora Pearce (older teens) – plus anything else written by Tamora! Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to choose just TWO?!

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev (a brilliant, fun romp through a magical theater)

Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore (breathtaking fantasy)

Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside by Holly Black (Holly is the Queen of edgy, urban fantasy.)

The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare (fun, adventurous urban fantasy)

Ash by Malinda Lo (a lesbian retelling of Cinderella. Gorgeous!)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (bleak and beautiful end-of-the world Zombie fantasy)

The Devouring (and its sequel Soulstice) by Simon Holt (creeeeepy!)

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (southern romantic fantasy)

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (edgy, urban take on faery fantasy)


Story of a Girl and Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr (very touching)

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (a moving coming-of-age novel about love and loss)

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series by Ann Brashares (friendship and growing up)

Anything by Sarah Dessen (she writes about being a teenager like it really is)

BEST HARD-HITTING, GUT-WRENCHINGLY UNFORGETTABLE CONTEMPORARY NOVELS FOR TEEN GIRLS OR BOYS (in my opinion, these books should be required reading by all teenagers everywhere)

Crank, Glass, Impulse or anything else by Ellen Hopkins (Ellen tackles topics like drug abuse, teen prostitution, and suicide while still leaving the reader full of hope – no small feat)

Hate List by Jennifer Brown (a well-rounded telling of the aftermath of a school shooting)

Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan (an amazing story of love and hope in post-9/11 New York)

Speak and Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (sexual assault and anorexia told with Anderson’s beautiful and compelling voice)


The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (my fifteen-year-old daughter is unashamed to say that she has waited breathlessly for each new addition to this series)


White Oleander by Janet Fitch (best. book. ever.)

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (dark, Gothic, fantasy set in Barcelona in the 1920s)

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (another Gothic!)

The Twentieth Wife (historical fiction) by Indu Sundaresan

My Sister’s Keeper, The Pact or Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (a good entry into tough subjects like terminal illness, suicide, and school violence)

The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (a beautiful, fantastical love story)

And don’t forget! You can win a few of these amazing books by entering my Happy Holidays Swag Contest!

P.S. Even now, I KNOW I’ve forgotten a bunch of amazing books! If yours is one of them, please know that my mind is boggled on a regular basis by the quantity of awesome reading material available to teens today. This is just a minute sampling of what’s out there!

20 Comments leave one →
  1. November 28, 2009 2:43 am

    There are so many books up there that I adore! And there are some that I have on my TBR list. All in all, this is a fantastic list!

    Another good series for boys and for Harry Potter fans is the Erec Rex series by Kaza Kingsley. They’re good fun fantasy, kinda like a MG Harry Potter. They’re cute and fun, and I am not ashamed that I am eagerly waiting for the next one!

  2. November 27, 2009 7:45 am

    Great post! Loving your suggestions. Do you know which would be good for a 11 year old boy? Hunger Games or Gone or Percy Jackson? And what would you rec. to him? πŸ™‚


    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      November 27, 2009 12:29 pm

      Hi, Kate! My 12-year-old son LOVES The Rangers Apprentice series! Loves it! And he also really likes The Lord of the Rings series.

      That said, I’m sure he’d love the others you mentioned, too.

  3. November 26, 2009 12:39 pm

    I absolutely love A great and terrible beauty, I havent read it yet but my friend Nina gave it to me a few days ago, and after I finish reading The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong, Im going straight to a great and terrible beauty, and I absolutely LOVE White Oleander, I have seen the movie, and Im hoping to get the book for christmass, along with 10 million other books, ahahahahaha πŸ™‚

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      November 26, 2009 1:48 pm

      Let me know if you don’t get White Oleander for Christmas, hon, and I’ll send you a copy. You MUST read it.

  4. November 25, 2009 10:30 pm

    I’m almost nineteen years old and I really enjoy reading The Mysterious Benedict Society. I really can’t wait to read The Time Travelers Wife.

    Also for any fans of science fiction of teen age should read Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series and his new book Leviathan for steam punk fans. πŸ™‚

  5. November 25, 2009 4:31 am

    Thanks for the awesome list! I’m afraid I’m going to use it for myself more than for others. Oops!

  6. November 25, 2009 1:45 am

    Awesome list!! I’ve been wanting to read a lot of these for a while now. And surprisingly, I’ve read very few on the list.

  7. Kurtis permalink
    November 24, 2009 11:53 pm

    Thanks so much for including Mudville on this list of luminaries.

    I love to give books as presents, usually something I’ve read and think a person will like, sometimes a stab in the dark. And nothing is better than giving a book that becomes that person’s favorite, as happened when I gave my niece Lynne Jonnel’s EMMY AND THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING RAT. So there’s my tip for folks with nine year old girls on their gift list. Of course for that demographic, CHARLOTTE’S WEB is also, always, a great gift idea.

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      November 25, 2009 12:11 am

      Oh, totally agree! Charlotte’s Web is one of my all-time favorites! And now I’ll have to go check out EMMY, too!

      • January 9, 2010 5:12 pm

        why didnt u put 1 for girls i read ur prophecy of the sisters and im 11

  8. November 24, 2009 10:39 pm

    Also can’t wait for The Dead-Tossed Waves!!! *sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth* and Guardian of the Gate!!! There are so many books coming out in the new year!!! I’m so excited!!!:):):)

  9. November 24, 2009 10:36 pm

    My Sister’s Keeper was such a good sad book!!! I also love the books you put on your list. Many of the books on there are one’s on my reading list:):):)

  10. November 24, 2009 10:35 pm

    oh, so many of these I’ve either read or are on my list to read…great gift ideas too…(Carrie Ryan is soooo amazing. Loved LOVED Forest of Hands and Teeth.)

  11. November 24, 2009 10:09 pm

    Great job compiling these list. plus I think I’ll be recommending some books to my teens at the library. These books are amazing! THANKS!

  12. November 24, 2009 10:02 pm

    I LOVE White Oleander! One of my favorite books of all time. And I actually love the movie version too, even though it isn’t as good as the book.

  13. November 24, 2009 9:56 pm

    Ellen Hopkins is my favorite author πŸ˜€

    • michellezinkbooks permalink*
      November 24, 2009 10:00 pm

      Isn’t she amazing?!

  14. gushingenthusiasm permalink
    November 24, 2009 9:49 pm

    The Time Travelers Wife was one of my favorite books I have ever read. A fantastic gift suggestion,
    And I am giving it to my mother for Christmas. =)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s