Holiday Gift Ideas for Your YA Reader

Books are one of my favorite gifts to give (okay, and to receive!) because there’s something for everyone. There were years where we gave a book to each person on our Christmas list. I enjoyed my holiday shopping that year especially because it was a chance to take all that I knew about a person’s interests and try to match them up with a book. This year we’ve chosen to support a local charity organization for the majority of our gift purchases, but there are a few books that still made it onto our gift list. Here are my top picks for the readers on my Christmas list.

For the Fairy Tale Lover

Traitor's Masque by Kenley DavidsonTraitor’s Masque by Kenley Davidson
Page Nine Press
Published December 14, 2015

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Review: The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras

The Best Possible AnswerThe Best Possible Answer
E. Katherine Kottaras
St. Martin’s Griffin
Available November 1, 2016

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When a panic attack lands Viviana in the hospital, her mother insists that she slow down and stop taking her studies so seriously. But even the thought of slowing down stresses Vivi out. She has summer engineering camp to attend! And SATs to prep for! And college applications to write! Everything has to go perfectly, no room for error. It’s the only way her dad will stop being disappointed in her and come home. And after her failure at school, the one involving Dean and that photo she sent him, Vivi needs something to go right.

But her mom won’t … Continue reading

Review: The Homecoming by Stacie Ramey

The HomecomingThe Homecoming
Stacie Ramey
Sourcebooks Fire
Available November 1, 2016

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Trouble with the law sends John back to his mom’s house, a place he hasn’t lived since a year after his brother’s accident. Still reeling from his girlfriend’s death, John’s only plan is to keep his head down until he’s served out his time. Then he’s California bound. Connections, especially with a girl, are the last thing he needs. But as the issues he once left behind begin to catch up with John at home, he finds that his usual retreats—pot and alcohol—aren’t enough. As the pressure builds, John must make a choice: to face the terrible truth about his past or let it destroy him … Continue reading

Review: Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

bone-sparrowBone Sparrow
Zana Fraillon
Disney-Hyperion
Available November 1, 2016

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Every night, Subhi slips out of the compound in the refugee camp and finds the treasures he believes the magical Night Sea brings him from his far away father. Every morning he shows the gifts to his mother, now barely responsive. Subhi has only known life within the fences of the permanent detention center. Up the hill from the center lives a girl named Jimmie who bears her own grief. She comforts herself with her mother’s necklace pendant, a sparrow carved from bone. She meets Subhi, and begs him to read her mother’s journal to her. Subhi shares the pages, filled with stories and songs as magical as … Continue reading

Review: The Friendship Experiment by Erin Teagan

friendship-experimentThe Friendship Experiment
Erin Teagan
HMH Books for Young Readers
Available November 1, 2016

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Middle school isn’t at all what Maddie hoped it would be. Not when her best friend has changed schools. Not without the calm, sure presence of her grandfather. If only friendships were as simple, as reliable as science. Though she finds herself surrounded by new potential friends, Maddie can’t help but think about all the reasons those students are wrong or annoying. To cope with her losses, she writes Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in her journal. When Maddie’s new would-be friends read some of the SOPs that features how to escape them, they feel hurt and betrayed. Maddie realizes that pushing people … Continue reading

Review: Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

forbidden-wishForbidden Wish
Jessica Khoury
Razorbill
Available February 23, 2016

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From Goodreads:

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her … Continue reading

Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh BardugoCrooked Kingdom
Leigh Bardugo
Orion Children’s Books
Available September 27, 2016

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About Crooked Kingdom

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on … Continue reading

Review: Counterpart by Hayley Stone

counterpartCounterpart
Hayley Stone
Hydra/Random House
Available October 11, 2016

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About Counterpart

The machines believed their extermination of the human race would be over as quickly as it began. They were wrong. As the war against extinction intensifies, people are beginning to gain the upper hand.

Commander Rhona Long understands survival better than most. Killed in combat, she was brought back to life using her DNA, and she’s forged a new, even more powerful identity. Now the leader of the resistance, she’s determined to ensure the machines are shut down for good.

But victory is elusive. The machines have a new technology designed to overcome humanity’s most advanced weaponry. Despite Rhona’s peacekeeping efforts, former nations are feuding … Continue reading

Review: Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamilloFlora and Ulysses
Kate DiCamillo
Candlewick Press

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When Flora saves a squirrel from a powerful vacuum cleaner, she discovers that he has super powers. She names him Ulysses and brings him home to teach him what it means to be a hero, and she watches and waits for his true superpowers to emerge. Ulysses’ powers do emerge: a deep love for Flora and the gift of poetry. Her desire to protect him and his power to communicate changes Flora’s life in unexpected ways.

My family and I listened to this as an audiobook on our vacation. I loved the comics that Flora reads and how they were a bond between her and her dad. Ulysses … Continue reading

Review: Irena’s Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo

Irena's Children by Tilar J. MazzeoIrena’s Children: Young Readers Edition
Tilar J Mazzeo
Translated by Mary Cronk Farrell
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Available September 27, 2016

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During World War II, Irena Sendler worked with an underground network to rescue 2,500 Jewish children from Nazi occupied Poland. Her unwavering commitment to human rights began long before the war, and endured through her own incarceration and torture. She worked tirelessly to save as many as she could, and through it all insisted that she was not a hero. She’d only done what any ordinary human would do.

Though it’s nonfiction, I could not put this book down. I was so captured by the life of this incredible woman … Continue reading

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