During this time of year we get all sorts of “help” requests—“help me find a book for my history loving father”, “I need a book about cute pigs for my sister”, “what’s the newest and best thriller for my husband”—you get the drift. Lately, possibly because of the location of my office, the most common question I’ve been hearing is regarding books for teenagers, namely, “what book do I get for my teenager for the holidays”. So, parents, aunts, uncles, friends, and grandparents—here’s your heads-up, a list of some of the newer and better teen* reads out there.
For lovers of The Hunger Games and all things dystopic:
Legend by Marie Lu: You can’t put this one down. It’s one of the few teen reads that has captivated readers of different genres. Dystopic, with alternating boy and girl chapters, this is fast paced and addictive. A must read.
Crossed by Ally Condie: This sequel to Matched still has the romance of its predecessor, but is equally filled with action and adventure. Its cliffhanger style ending is a little frustrating, but it is the middle book of a trilogy, so it goes with the territory. Solid series read.
Across the Universe by Beth Revis: Dystopia in space—that ought to draw you in alone! New in paperback, this is an interesting story revolving around a ship carrying frozen personnel as well as generations of ship workers, destined for a new Earth. Chaos begins when the lone teen boy on board awakes one of the frozen. The sequel, A Million Suns, arrives in January and is just as intriguing.
For those who dig zombies, creepy schools, and a touch of fantasy:
Dearly Departed by Lia Habel: Zombie armies, underground cities, and a modern America turned Victorian, all make for one heck of a surprising read. Don’t let the cover fool you on this one; it’s chapters alternate between multiple characters—boys, girls, army generals, and scientists—it’s for anyone who enjoys a good science fiction mystery (with a skosh of romance). Entertaining and original Dearly Departed is a definite pleaser.
Variant by Robison Wells: What do you do at a mysterious academy that’s surrounded by wire fences, monitored by video cameras, and ruled by three very specific cliques—trust no one! A great mystery with a slight sci-fi twist, Variant is the perfect guy read (girls will enjoy too) this holiday season.
Mastiff by Tamora Pierce: The last in the Beka Cooper series, Mastiff is a fun action-adventure fantasy. The series is a nice prequel to her other Tortall books, and Mastiff does a fantastic job of sucking you in—such a good job in fact that it led me to reread all of the other Tortall books upon finishing (that’s 14 books, 15 if you count the short stories).
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater: With the Shiver trilogy under her belt you can guarantee that Maggie Stiefvater will take a myth and turn it on it’s head in a remarkable way. In The Scorpio Races she takes the kelpie myth and turns it into a beautifully written story that follows a boy and a girl as they prepare for the gruesomely difficult Scorpio Race, a race that is stalked by death. This is an unusual tale, gripping for guys and girls, and very satisfying.
The one non-paranormal/dystopic/fantasy etc. on my list:
The Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John: New in paperback, this is a great all around teen read. It centers on Piper, a young deaf teen who takes up the challenge of managing a band. Filled with fantastic music references, a touch of romance, and enough angst to satisfy fans of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti, Five Flavors of Dumb, is a solid and engaging read for young adults.
Hopefully this list gives you some ideas for the holiday season; of course we have many fabulous booksellers who are filled with far more recommends than I could possibly list here. So, come in and talk to them, I promise you will learn about some amazing books.
*or the adult reader who just enjoys good fiction (hey, I’m one of them)