Today's gift guide is probably no surprise if you've been reading the blog for a while--I had to do a book gift guide. My husband and I try to make it a goal to give at least a few people on our list books and I can't imagine a better gift than the gift of reading a great book! Here are some of my favorites:
Before we get into book specifics, Audible is worth mentioning. With Audible, you get one book to listen to a month. As a commuter, I've loved being able to listen to audiobooks on the drive to make that time feel a bit more productive and go by faster. It's also great if you like to workout, especially run; walk; or bike, or just to listen to while you cook or work around the house.
Whenever someone says they're looking for a book I always ask them what type of book because we all have such different reading tastes. So, if your person likes science, space, or more of a realistic fiction read then they'll love The Martian. You can read more about it in my review, too!
If they're more into fantasy and / or horror then they'd probably love Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I don't know why I resisted this one for so long but it was really good and seems to appeal to many types of readers in my classes. Read more about it in my review!
If your reader likes historical fiction, non-fiction, spy, or action books then they'll love The Nazi Hunters. This was one of my favorite reads of 2016 and the review will be up on the blog at the end of December, but needless to say you have to get this one!
If your reader is interested in current events, is in high school, or likes realistic fiction, they will appreciate All American Boys. This was the Global Read Aloud choice for high school this year so I picked it up and really liked how realistic and complex it was. Read more about it in my review!
If your reader likes emotional books or ones that deal with mental illness then they will love All the Bright Places as much as I did. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone below 8th grade as there are some very dark moments (contemplating suicide and such) in the book, but Niven does it in a realistic and honest way that I think will resonate with all readers. This one really touched me and reminded me why I'm a teacher of young people.
If your reader likes science fiction, fantasy, or magic, then they'll love The Young Elites. I'm a big Marie Lu fan from Legend and really enjoyed this one as well. I love that the protagonist in this one isn't a "good guy" and in fact struggles with her "evil side." Your reader will be hooked and the third book came out in October so you could even buy the series!
If your reader likes sports, particularly basketball, then they'll love Boy 21. This is somewhat more of a boy book since it's a male protagonist but it's also part romance, part mystery and suspense, and part drama with a twist ending. This book has something for everyone and was a favorite among some of my reluctant readers last year.
If I had to pick one book for an unknown male teen, I would pick Winger. This book is constantly getting passed around from boy to boy in my class. It's much less of a girl book since the protagonist is definitely a male teen but it is SO funny, like laugh out loud in a quiet room funny. I love the illustrations, the wit, the humor, the surprising seriousness in some parts, the adventure, and more. If you're not sure, as long as your reader is at least 13 and doesn't mind swearing, get. this. one.
My third boy book choice is Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly. It's about a boy who loses his mother and channels his emotion into riding dirt bikes and flying drones until he gets recruited by the U.S. government to fly drones for them. It has some adventure and has a male protagonist so it's more of a boy book BUT it has so many relatable parts that anyone would love it. Again, if your male teen reader is at least 13 then totally get this one.
If your reader loves dystopian novels then I have three choices for them--I couldn't pick! First up was one of my favorite series of 2015. I am obsessed with this series. The main character, Lena, lives in Portland, Maine (!!!) in a society where love is a disease. Big life and existential questions are raised, there's a romance, a crisis, some action, and lots of complications. It's definitely more of a girl book than boy book but if you have a female teen definitely pick this one up!
If your dystopian reader is male then I would definitely recommend The Maze Runner. It has become a cult favorite over the last few years and is even a movie now. I liked the second book even better so consider getting the series!
Okay, my other favorite series of last school year is Red Queen. I ADORE this series. It's SO GOOD. In their society there are red blooded people (who are second class citizens) and silver blooded people (who have magic powers and are the elite) until our main character, Mare, discovers that she is both red blooded and silver powered. There are twists, turns, surprises, action, suspense, and power struggles. The third book comes out in February and I'm dying to pre-order it so I can power read it the day it comes out. I've seen both girls and boys enjoy this one so pick it up for your reader for Christmas!
If your reader enjoys historical fiction or is in high school / an adult then definitely pick up The Nightingale. I grabbed this as a Christmas present for a few people last year and then read it myself and we all loved it. The story follows two sisters and their struggles through World War II and you'll be hooked.
On my list of books to read in 2017? When Breath Becomes Air is a memoir written by a neurosurgeon who was suddenly faced with terminal cancer and decided to delve into questions such as "what makes life worth living?"
If you're looking for a thought provoking, deep read then this one looks good. I've also heard great things about A Man Called Ove which is about a crumugeny old man whose life gets disrupted the way all of ours do -- by happy accidents. This is also making my list!
I'm usually not into non-fiction but Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? sounds fascinating. I'm pretty sure you know what it's about, but the examples in the Amazon description for why animals are probably just as smart as we are sounded really interesting so I'm checking this one out too.
Salt to the Sea is marketed as a young adult novel but it sounds like anyone who likes historical fiction would enjoy it. Set in World War II and inspired by true events, it's about three women who unite to survive. It sounds so good!
Finally, I've been a Liane Moriarty fan since Big Little Lies (then The Husband's Secret and then What Alice Forgot) so her new book, Truly, Madly, Guilty is obviously on my list. Her writing is engaging, descriptive, and just a good, quick read. Her books are like your favorite pajamas and a cozy night in.
What book gifts are you picking up this year? Tell us in the comments!
"'Have you really read all those books in your room?' Alaska laughing- 'Oh God no. I’ve maybe read a third of ‘em. But I’m going to read them all. I call it my Life’s Library. Every summer since I was little, I’ve gone to garage sales and bought all the books that looked interesting. So I always have something to read.'" -John Green