I've seen a lot of lists this Christmas season, mostly generated by Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Amazon, with book recommendations for teens. I think it's great to see these lists, though as a blogger who reads a TON of different genres, it bugs me that these lists stick mainly to paranormal and vampire books and bestsellers. So here is my attempt at coming up with a more diverse list that will hopefully appeal to EVERY teen on your list.
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
This is one of my favorite lighthearted reads. The premise is pretty simple: Audrey breaks up with her boyfriend, a musician, who then proceeds to write a song about her titled Audrey, Wait that launches his unknown band into rockstar fame. Now, the press won't leave Audrey alone and every teen girl in the country thinks she's a horrid person. It's hysterically funny and unique, and cont
ains many, many musical references. You really can't go wrong with this book. And the bonus--this one's in paperback, so you can get it for under $10!
Willow by Julia Hoban
For the more thoughtful and mature reader on your list, Willow is a great read. Willow is a sixteen-year-old girl who is grappling with a load of guilt after her parents' death seven months earlier, and deals with it the only way she knows how: by cutting. This is an excellent and very well written book and a great conversation starter. Willow is also one of my favorite 2009 releases!
Headley's latest book will appeal to Sarah Dessen fans. The protagonist, Terra, has a large birthmark on her face that cannot be removed despite numerous surgeries. She and her mother live under the constant critcism and verbal abuse of her father, and Terra can't wait to escape. But then with one eye-opening trip to China, Terra and her mother will each discover the strength and confidence they need to see their own beauty and self-worth. This is a beautiful and moving book!
This is an excellent, intense book from the author of Pay It Forward. Ernie and Will are outcasts at their high school, and are constantly bullied. They usually manage to ignore it, but when Will's little brother dies tragically, something cracks in him, making him want to fight back. Told from Ernie's perspective, this is a quick, engrossing read that any guy or girl will enjoy.
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
Set in the early twentieth century, Donnelly's eye-opening book follows Mattie Gokey, a bright sixteen-year-old girl living in upstate New York who struggles against the conventions of her time, wanting to attend college when most girls barely make it through eighth grade. It is impeccably researched and heartbreakingly realistic, and set against the back drop of a true story, the death of Grace Brown. It's truly a stunning novel, one every girl should read. It also was a Printz Award finalist. Plus, it's in paperback! Yet another under $10 gift!Fire by Kristin Cashore
For the fantasy fan, get Fire, the standalone prequel to Graceling. Fire is a wonderfully complex and smart fantasy read full of political intrigue, magic, strange lands, and a truly amazing protagonist. This is one of the best YA fantasy books out there, trust me.
Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor, Illustrated by Jim Di-Bartolo
This delightful book contains three unique and fascinating paranormal short stories, accompanied by beautiful drawings. Taylor's style is exquisite and mesmerizing, and not only do the stories have all of the popular supernatural appeal, but they cause you to really think as well. This one was nominated for a National Book Award as well!
From the same guy that wrote the Uglies series, Leviathan is a very exciting and wholly unique steampunk read that wins the award for broadest appeal with its smart alternate world re-imagining of World War I. Nearly anyone will love this book; guys, girls, preteens, teens, adults... It's a very engaging blend of history, technology, adventure, and politics, and extremely witty to boot.
Bachorz tells the chilling story of a town completely brain-washed into compliance and peace by subliminal messages in the music piped throughout the town, and the son of the founder, Oscar, secretly rebelling by listening to his own messages. This is a great read for teen guys and girls; very modern and intriguing.
Academy 7 is an adventurous sci-fi read that actually reminded me a little of Star Wars. At the best school in the galaxy, two young students, Aerin and Dane, meet. Both come from very different backgrounds, but both have secrets that inexplicably tie them together. This is a great, imaginative, and romantic read!
I really hope that this list has been helpful, and if you have any specific questions or want any further recommendations, just give me a shout in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Happy shopping and merry Christmas!