Monday, November 30, 2015

The Only Holiday Book-Giving Guide You'll Need This Year



The season for gift-giving is officially upon us, which means it's time to start thinking about... books! And before I continue with what I optimistically call the only book-giving gift guide you'll need, don't forget that Penguin Random House is giving away a book to children in need for every time someone tweets #GiveABook. So, add that to your daily to-tweet list.

For the Middle Grade reader on your list:
If your MG reader hasn't read MAGNUS CHASE AND THE GODS OF ASGARD by Rick Riordan yet, you really can't go wrong. I mean, first of all, Rick Riordan. Second, Thor and Viking Gods. Where do *I* sign up?

Bought this one already? Another great one is THE MAGISTERIUM series by Holly Black and Cassandra Claire. This starts with THE IRON TRIAL and continues on to book 2, THE COPPER GAUNTLET. Both are terrific reads and perfect for fans of Harry Potter.

Last MG/YA rec -- The GEEK GIRL series by Holly Smale. This series is a huge hit in the UK and is laugh-out-loud funny. There are some situations where Harriet goes on dates, but it is very innocent. And, in typical Geek Girl fashion, hysterical.

For your 4th grader's Secret Santa
The Middle School series by James Patterson has that quality that kids seem to love -- graphics interspersed with text, funny jokes and a some borderline grossness (think booger jokes). Perfect for that kid who coughs on yours in art class.

For your niece/nephew who loved THE HUNGER GAMES:
HG fans can't go wrong with THE FIFTH WAVE by Rick Yancey. It's officially classified as Sci Fi, but it's creepy because it all seems so possible! In the same way that THE HUNGER GAMES draws you in so you feel the tension, THE FIFTH WAVE actually worked its way into my dreams. Book 2 in the series, THE INFINITE SEA, is also out and you'll be the cool aunt/uncle if you add on tix to see the Fifth Wave film, which comes out January 14 in the US. Also, with book 3 out in 2016, you've a birthday gift already!

For your teenage daughter's best friend:
DUMPLIN by Julie Murphy is a novel about friendship and body image and relationships. It's a true portrayal and manages it all without being preachy or saccharine.

For your teenage daughter to read over the Christmas holiday:
Phone? What phone? THE WINNER'S CURSE and THE WINNER'S CRIME by Marie Rutkoski are riveting. Romance, intrigue, glittering parties, glaring betrayals -- these books have it all. Plus the last installment due in 2016.

For your sister:
I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson. This book is classified as YA, but don't let that dissuade you. Nelson's portrayal of family is equal parts gorgeous heartbreaking, and the writing is beautiful. Your sister will be awed. Swear.

For your cool aunt:
THE BRIGHTWATER SERIES by Lia Riley has it all -- hot heroes, strong women, small-town shenanigans. With a side of sizzle that you can wink over. Or not. But know it's there. wink, wink.

For your brother/uncle/Dad:
Depending on how close they live to each other, you could possibly get HUMANS OF NEW YORK: STORIES by Brandon Stanton for all three. Equal parts humbling, inspiring, sad, this photo essay of residents of one of the greatest cities in the world is one of a kind.

For your mom:
EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU by Celeste Ng is one of those books that make you think *a lot* about the kind of parent you are. It might be a can of worms you want to open on the holidays. Or it might not. But, you can always order it for delivery after you're gone and say it got lost in the post.

For your iPhone-addicted friend:
Although it can be a little touchy-feely, the message and mantra of HANDS FREE LIFE by Rachel Macy Stafford is one that bears repeating. Often.

For your super-healthy coworker (or anyone vowing to get healthy in the new year):
Gluten-free, plant-based, easy, healthy and delicious. That's the claim DELICIOUSLY ELLA makes and, well, the proof is in the name. Because her recipes are pretty delicious.  Try the date and oat granola bars, and maybe use a little less sweet potatoes than I did in your sweet potato brownies. Trust me on this.

And, last but not least -- for you:
All that book buying for others, it would be a shame to leave yourself out, right? Oh, go on...you know you've earned at least one book. At least!

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