Want to buy a book or two for a teenager in your life that they’ll actually want to read? Picking books for others can be a bit intimidating… but lucky for you, it’s one of my favorite things to do! So, I’m giving you a holiday gift buying guide for YA Literature. Below you’ll see categories, book recs within them, and links to buy (I’m linking to Amazon this time, but shop around for the best prices, or just head into your local bookstore). Also, I’ve linked to previous blog posts for books I’ve already recommended for more information.
The Best Book Published This Year (2012): The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
This book is just really, really great. The protagonist is smart and full of life despite having had cancer for years, and it’s impossible to read TFIOS without falling in love with the protagonist’s love interest. This book has a HUGE following among teens and those of us who love YA Lit. My only wish for this book is that there was a stronger faith element to provide hope. That being said, though, there’s plenty to think about and discuss with teens already solid in their faith. Previous Post.
The Best Book Published Last Year (2011): How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
How to Save a Life is one of the best books I’ve read, period. It deals with teen pregnancy, adoption, and family issues wonderfully, gracefully, and positively. It’s intriguing, has an element of romance, and is FULL of characters that you’ll love to root for. Previous Post.
A Classic That’s Still Relevant: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
I’m sure we all remember reading The Outsiders in school, but I didn’t realize how incredibly relevant it still is to teenage life today until I taught it to my 8th graders last year. They loved it. I highly recommend this for teenagers of all ages – 8th grade and up. No, we don’t have the Greasers and the Socials in our society today, but they’ve been replaced by groups that teens identify immediately. Highly recommended for girls and boys, but especially for boys.
A More Modern Classic: The Giver by Lois Lowry
This book is great for so many reasons. In order to really get it and get a lot out of the story, I’d recommend this most to 8th grade and up strong readers. I’ve taught it in 7th grade before, but it required a lot of input from me to get students to really, truly understand the book. There are so many elements to this story that are relevant to events on our nightly news that it’s unbelievable. Previous Post.
For Girls Who Love The Beach Life: The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy by Jenny Han
I was so jealous of this main character, Belly, that it’s kind of embarrassing to admit. She got to spend her summers as a child at a beach house (literally right ON the beach) surrounded by cute boys. Belly’s story through these three books is intoxicating and will absolutely draw in and stick with teenage girls. Previous Post.
Fun, Romantic Comedy Mysteries: The Charmed Life trilogy by Jenny B. Jones
I absolutely loved this trilogy and was really sad they didn’t continue past the three books in this trilogy. They are smart, fun, and full of romance and mystery. The content of these is totally appropriate for middle school readers and also interesting enough to be wonderful for high schoolers. I’m a serious fan of Jenny B. Jones and own everything she’s ever written. You seriously cannot go wrong with her books. Previous Post.
For Middle School Boys: Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
This is one of my favorite books ever. Sonnenblick deals with serious topics like leukemia and the awkwardness of growing up in a way that is direct, funny, and all kinds of awesome. The companion to this one, Notes From A Midnight Driver, is also amazing. 7th-9th grade boys will identify with the protagonist, Steven, who is in 8th grade. Previous Post.
For Girls Who Dream of a Romance in Paris: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I have never wanted to live INSIDE of a book so much as I wanted to live in this one. It’s about an American girl spending her senior year at a boarding school in Paris, and I just can’t handle how much I love it. And it’s not just the setting, either… Perkins is a great writer of current YA. This has a follow-up, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and I’m eagerly awaiting the third one, which will be published in 2013. Best for high school or college girls. Previous Post.
For a Girl Struggling to Fit In: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
I know ALL teenage girls struggle to fit in at times, so the category might be a little redundant, but this is just a great book for teenage girls. The protagonist has a sister dealing with an eating disorder, family drama, and her friends have shut her out of their circle. She learns a lot about herself, her family, and her friends. Great read.
Inspiration for Girls Headed Towards or Already in College: There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones
The main character in this, Finley, is 18 years old and in that period of time between high school and college. She has suffered a loss within her family, throwing her into a time of uncertainty about what she wants to do with her future. As with my recommendation of a Jenny B. Jones book above, everything she writes is so inspirational and encouraging in a not cheesy way. You can’t go wrong with her books! Previous Post.