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  • December 2009
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Holiday Giving

If you’re anything like me, you do most of your shopping the day before the holiday and end up getting more things for yourself than for your friends and family.  I’ll probably be doing that this year, too — but you don’t have to!  Rather than giving your loved ones things they’ll shove in a closet and never wear, or use once and forget about, why don’t you give them the gift that keeps on giving: BOOKS!!

You can read a book once, and it’ll keep you entertained for a week or so.  You can pass it on to a friend, and it’ll bring them joy, too.  You can add it to your library and read it again and again.

You might not think of giving teen books to your parents or grandparents, but hopefully this guide will give you some suggestions that’ll work for anyone on your list, regardless of age. (Okay, maybe not your one-year-old sister.  I recommend a nice stuffed animal for her.  Or talk to the children’s librarians, they’ll give you some book ideas.)

For Cooks (and those who like to eat):

Teens Cook Dessert / Megan and Jill Carle

From quick treats to impressive sweets, Teens Cook Dessert is a  guide to making delicious desserts-the kinds teens like to make and eat. Sisters Megan and Jill Carle understand what other teens know and don’t know about baking, and they clearly describe and explain everything their peers need to do to produce fabulous results.

For Sci-Fi Geeks:

Little Brother / Corey Doctorow

After being interrogated for days by the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco, California, seventeen-year-old Marcus, released into what is now a police state, decides to use his expertise in computer hacking to set things right.

Zoe’s Tale / John Scalzi

Zoe Boutin Perry: A colonist stranded on a deadly pioneer world. Holy icon to a race of aliens. A player (and a pawn) in a interstellar chess match to save humanity, or to see it fall. Witness to history. Friend. Daughter. Human. Seventeen years old. Everyone on Earth knows the tale she is part of. But you don’t know her tale: How she did what she did not just to stay alive but to keep you alive, too.

For Fantasy Freaks:

Beautiful Creatures / Kami Garcia and Margie Stohl

In a small South Carolina town, where it seems little has changed since the Civil War, sixteen-year-old Ethan is powerfully drawn to Lena, a new classmate with whom he shares a psychic connection and whose family hides a dark secret that may be revealed on her sixteenth birthday.

Fire / Kristin Cashore

In a kingdom called the Dells, Fire is the last human-shaped monster, with unimaginable beauty and the ability to control the minds of those around her. But even with these gifts she cannot escape the strife that overcomes her world.

For those Looking for Love:

Let It Snow / John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle

In three intertwining short stories, several high school couples experience the trials and tribulations along with the joys of romance during a Christmas Eve snowstorm in a small town.

Ransom My Heart / Princess Mia Thermopolis with help from Meg Cabot

Finnula needs money for her sister’s dowry, and fast. Hugo Fitzstephen, returning home to England from the Crusades with saddlebags of jewels, has money, and lots of it. What could be simpler than to kidnap him and hold him for ransom? Well, for starters, Finnula could make the terrible mistake of falling in love with her hostage.


If I Stay / Gayle Forman

While in a coma following an automobile accident that killed her parents and younger brother, seventeen-year-old Mia, a gifted cellist, weights whether to live with her grief or join her family in death.

Living Dead Girl / Elizabeth Scott

She remembers who she was: a little girl with pigtails and pink shoes.  She remembers that she once had a family who loved her.  And she knows that if she makes one false move, the man who’s held her captive for half of her life will kill them all.  **This is very intense.**

For History Buffs:

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party / M.T. Anderson

Young Octavian is being raised by a group of rational philosophers known only by numbers — but it is only after he opens a forbidden door that he learns the hideous nature of their experiments, and his own chilling role in them.

What I Saw and How I Lied/ Judy Blundell

In 1947, with her jovial stepfather Joe back from the war and family life returning to normal, teenaged Evie, smitten by the handsome young ex-GI who seems to have a secret hold on Joe, finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies whose devastating outcome changes her life and that of her family forever.

Need more ideas?

Amazon.com’s Gift Ideas in Books for Teens

Barnes and Nobles has a Holiday Gift Guide

A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy has tips for giving and receiving books as gifts.

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