I love giving books. They really are the gift that keeps on giving – a good story can stay with you a lifetime. For the past seventeen years, I’ve made sure there’s at least one book under the tree for my girl and this year will be no different.
Here are some wonderful YA books released in the past year that will make great gifts for teens this holiday season and beyond.
This post contains affiliate links meaning you don’t pay anything additional if you make a purchase but I may make a small commission to help keep the holiday lights on and twinkling.
Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton
In a starred review, Publishers Weekly described this as a “[f]unny and sweetly oddball book… At the story’s core is an unsentimental treatment of a bullied kid and his one-time bully discovering their commonalities. That Norton accomplishes this without moralizing and in inventively rhythmic and pop-culture-saturated language only adds to the fun.”
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
This murder mystery will appeal to fans of the Divergent series and those who like books that feel a bit like rollercoaster rides with unexpected turns, plot twists and suspense that makes your heart race.
This nonfiction account of young (often teen) female aviators in World War II was just named to the short list for the YALSA’s Award for Excellence in Nonfiction earlier this month. It’s great for those who like true stories, history, and strong female characters. I’m thinking it may also be a decent way to remind teens that others have faced enormous challenges at young ages.
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
It’s easy to understand why this was a finalist for the National Book Award. Infused with both humor and heartbreak, School Library Journal gave it a starred review, saying the book is a “timely and must-have account of survival in a culturally contested world.”
American Royals by Katharine McGee
If you have a royal fan in your house, this fun book explores what would it be like if the U.S. had a royal family. The book follows fictitious descendants of George Washington in a world in which the founders opted for a king and not a president. Fans of Meghan and Kate in particular will appreciate this but many teens will identify with the questions of identity and expectations.
Frankly In Love by David Yoon
This romance is told from the point of view of Frank Li, the son of South Korean immigrants living in Southern California. The New York Times describes it as a “beautifully layered novel about first love, tribalism and that brief, magical period when kids have one foot in high school, one foot out the door” and adds that it “explores themes of racism, forgiveness and acceptance without getting earnest or preachy or letting anyone off the hook. And there’s a universality to the story that cuts across cultures.”
There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
My daughter and I both really enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi so when I saw the author had a new companion book out, we were excited. (This is a great pairing if you’re looking to give a few books to the same recipient.)
Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds
This book is also a finalist for the National Book Award and is a great option for kids in middle school or junior high, but it’s still clever enough to suck in older readers. The book is unique – there are ten stories – one per block – and Reynolds does a wonderful job weaving them together in a remarkably engaging way. There’s a lot to talk about – this book would be a great family read.
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Prior Post: What parents need to know about teens and pot
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