Aw, You Shouldn’t Have!
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!
BEST BOOKS FOR BOYS/GUYS
*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)
BEST FANTASY FOR TEEN GIRLS
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)
BEST CONTEMPORARY FICTION FOR TEEN GIRLS
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)
BEST SERIES FOR THE HARRY POTTER FAN
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)
BEST CROSS-OVER BOOKS FOR MATURE TEEN READERS
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!