I'm doing something new this holiday season; I wanted to give book recommendations that would make good gifts! So I'm going to pick themes and list books that I think are the best of the best, making great gifts to the book lovers in your life! I will preface this by stating most of my recommendations will be YA, so keep that in mind!
Books to Buy for the Contemporary Book Lover!
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - One of the best contemporaries I've read this year, TFIOS explores mortality, love, and how we choose to live our lives. Heartbreaking and transcendent, The Fault in Our Stars should not be missed!
Send by Patty Blount - Hard hitting and very real, Send explores a topic that has been all over the news, bullying. But this isn't the story of the bullied, instead it follows the bully as he attempts to live on with what he did and the consequences it had. Excellently written, Send is an important book for everyone to read!
Purity by Jackson Pearce - A switch-up from Pearce's usual books, Purity explores what happens when a daughter tries to always honor her Mother's last wishes. Living life to the fullest is a lesson we all should learn, and Purity shows a way to do it.
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan - A beautiful book taking place during a tragic time, love, familial, friendly, and romantic is explored during the tragedy of 9/11. How does life go on after something so devastating? Levithan explores this with grace and tact creating a story that connects us all in the face of violence.
Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande - This book has always stuck with me because it discusses an interesting topic: evolution and how certain faiths view it. There is a frank discussion about the worlds of science and faith and the question of whether they can coincide. Something I haven't read before, this is an older book that needs to be kept on shelves!
Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger - An amazing book, Hard Love looks at the development of a relationship, one between a straight boy and a gay girl. How does this work? How do feelings evolve for people? Is sexuality cut-and-dry? Wittlinger takes an important topic and develops the plot beautifully, interspersing the prose with "zine" pages. One of my favorites, I recommend it for everyone!
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson - A traveler's dream, 13LBE takes place all over Europe as one girl tries to complete her deceased Aunt's last wishes. While the circumstances for Ginny's trip are sad, the opportunities she gains are amazing. This one summer will change her forever, and make everyone want to backpack across Europe as soon as possible!
Love, Football and Other Contact Sports by Alden R. Carter - Featuring the football team to the social outcasts, each character interconnects in a way that only surviving high school can do. Be it a conflict between a pacifist and a hothead or a feminist and a Neanderthal tradition, each story shapes the experiences of the Argyle High students that teenagers will relate to immediately. A great collection of short stories, a recommended book for the reluctant male reader!
Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic - Learning you're dying is never easy, accepting it is even harder. But Austin has gotten to that stage, and now he is saying his goodbyes. A heart-wrenching story, Bostic manages to portray a life realistically and beautifully in only 204 pages. A way for teens to experience death without actually experiencing, Never Eighteen is a must-read.
Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar - Freshman year sucks, and Scott's is no different. He works towards finding his place, getting his crush to notice him, dealing with a new sibling on the way, and being there for his older brother. Through this first year, Scott figures out that what is expected and what happens are two very different things. A very fresh and funny look on a time most people can relate to, Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie is a great middle-grade read!