Hey, last minute shoppers. Looking for the YA reader on your list? As an author, I often get asked to share the titles I buy people for the holidays. Here’s the list this year in no particular order. I’ve put a little star (*) by them if they are for mature readers (you know mature themes with sex and drugs and such) but I think all were tastefully done.
1. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Actually, I bought the trilogy. Uglies. Pretties. Specials. Future. Environmental. Cleanly written and fast-paced. They’re wonderful for the hard to please reader.
2. You Remind Me of You by Eireann Corrigan (*)
For the language lover. A writer’s writer. Hands down, she’s one of the best writers in YA (in my opinion) for her raw lyricism. These are all poems but have a story arc. Delicious.
3. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (*)
Beautifully written futuristic tale that packs an emotional punch. All of my students have loved this one.
4. The Tribes of Palos Verdes by Joy Nicholson (*)
For the surfer in your life. Or the person who just likes a really good story about a girl trying to make sense of her life. My male students have also loved the rich writing and tone of this novel.
5. Looking for Alaska by John Green (*)
Funny, heartbreaking, so well written it makes me want to cry. For the Catcher in the Rye fan in your life.
6. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
My friend and I were talking yesterday about the single literary relationship that defined our childhoods…Gil and Anne. Hands down. I will never stop loving these books.
7. I Was A Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block(*)
Wild, interesting writing. Great characterization. Block’s books are for the edgy reader in your life who is still, deeply, a romantic.
8. Saving Zoe by Alyson Noel (*)
Alyson is one of the nicest writers I know. Her books are great and your teenage girls
should be reading them. Romantic and fast-paced, this is what you should be buying instead of Gossip Girl.
9. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
For the sweet middle school reader in your life (and those of us who love those stories). This is a story of breaking free of conformity and also a story of love. Doesn’t get better than that.
10. Sabriel by Garth Nix
If you’ve got a fantasy lover on your hands and he or she hasn’t read this (and the two that follow), this is a wonderful journey with a strong female lead.
--Kim Culbertson, author
"Songs for a Teenage Nomad"