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Teen

The Best YA Books to Gift Teens

by Devon A. Corneal

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Photo credit: FatCamera, E+ Collection. Getty Images

Oh, holiday shopping! There is nothing I love more than picking out gifts for the readers in my life, even very picky teenagers. This year’s book list is exciting because we’ve included everything from poetry to ghost stories to coloring books. I promise even the most discerning young adult reader will find something to love. May your holidays be joyous, peaceful, and filled with books!

  • Beasts of Prey

    by Ayana Gray

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    In Lkossa, 16-year-old Koffi lives as an indentured servant at the Night Zoo, working with dangerous creatures to pay off her family’s debts. Ekon dreams of joining the warriors known as the Son of the Six and continuing his family’s legacy. But when their lives collide and Koffi’s magical powers get discovered, both of them must leave their expected paths behind and set off together into the Greater Jungle and hunt a terrifying monster to save themselves and the people they love.

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  • House of Hollow

    by Krystal Sutherland

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    Iris Hollow wants to graduate high school like a regular teenager, but Iris and her sisters, Grey and Vivi, are anything but ordinary. They disappeared for a month when they were children but do not know what happened or why they returned unharmed. Strange things happen whenever they’re around, and now Grey has gone missing — again — and this time, it’s up to Iris and Vivi to find their sister and bring her home.

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  • The Taking of Jake Livingston

    by Ryan Douglass

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    Talking to ghosts is all fun and games until one of them decides to haunt you. That’s a lesson sixteen-year-old Jake Livingston learns the hard way. As a student at a nearly all-white prep school, Jake can handle racist teachers, but the ghosts he sees every day present a more significant challenge. Although most are harmless and just need guidance to the other side, a new arrival to the spectral plain wants a great deal more from Jake — and things are about to get really complicated.

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  • Worlds of Wonder

    by Johanna Basford

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    Johanna Basford is the master of coloring books, and she filled her newest collection with magic, whimsy, and escapism. Add a beautiful set of colored pencils, and you have a wonderful gift for the young artist in your life. (We won’t tell if you get a copy for yourself too!)

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  • Call Us What We Carry

    by Amanda Gorman

    Amanda Gorman has made poetry cool again — bringing youthful vitality to an art form often overlooked by teens. From her powerful inaugural poem to gracing the cover of Vogue, Gorman challenges our conceptions of who poets are and what they bring to social discourse. This collection is powerful, engaging, and accessible — perfect for a budding poet.

  • The Desolation of Devil’s Acre

    by Ransom Riggs

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    If you’ve been waiting for the conclusion to Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series, you’re in luck! The final chapter in this odd, unusual, and captivating narrative has arrived and is available to include in your holiday shopping. I can’t wait to curl up with it this winter and find out if Jacob and Noor reunite with Miss Peregrine and defeat the evil Caul or if the peculiar children’s luck has finally run out.

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  • Winterkeep

    by Kristin Cashore

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    You’ll love this YA fantasy about a queen trying to rebuild her kingdom, a disgraced aristocrat trying to uncover a conspiracy, and a politician’s daughter whose parents have something to hide. Combine that with a telepathic fox and a sea creature whose underwater home gets destroyed, and you get an electric, humorous, and engaging coming-of-age story that will be a holiday favorite.

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  • We Are Inevitable

    by Gayle Forman

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    Aaron Stein’s world has crumbled around him. His mother and brother vanished, his old friends are nowhere to be found, his father is a mess, and the family bookstore is on the verge of collapse. But with the help of a new friend, a musically talented love interest, and a robust community that refuses to desert him, Aaron might discover a reason to keep going.

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  • Allies

    by Shakirah Bourne and Dana Alison Levy

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    Being an ally can be complicated — you have to use your power to help others, stand up for what you believe in, and for what others deserve. In this collection, 17 YA authors share true stories from their lives about the challenges and rewards of being an ally and provide a template for us to do the same.

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  • They’ll Never Catch Us

    by Jessica Goodman

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    Stella and Ellie Steckler are sisters, runners, and competitors with an eye on the finish line and college recruiters. They’re both focused on being the best until Mila moves to town, and both girls find themselves distracted by her. When Mila disappears and the sisters become suspects, their entire world turns upside down.

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  • Skin of the Sea

    by Natasha Bowen

    When mermaid Simi breaks an ancient rule by saving the life of a human boy thrown overboard, she puts herself and her people at risk. She embarks on a journey to the Supreme Creator to save herself, shadowed by an evil force determined to stop her and destroy everything she treasures.

  • Six Crimson Cranes

    by Elizabeth Lim

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    A magical mix of Cinderella and East Asian folk stories, Six Crimson Cranes introduces readers to Shiori’anma, a princess with hidden magical powers. When her stepmother discovers her secret, she turns Shiori’s brothers into cranes, banishes Shiori, and seizes the throne for herself. To save the kingdom, Shiori finds unusual allies in a paper bird, a dragon, her former betrothed, and the magic she worked so hard to hide.

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  • The Gilded Ones

    by Namina Forna

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    Sixteen-year-old Deka’s golden blood and heightened intuition mark her as an outcast. However, she gets a chance at redemption when she leaves the only home she’s ever known and joins an army of gifted girls who dedicate their lives to fighting for the emperor. If you loved the fierce women of Black Panther, this book is a must-read.

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  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

    by Holly Jackson

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    Everyone knows that Sal Singh killed his girlfriend, Andie Bell. Or did he? That’s the question Pip asks herself five years later. She can’t believe that her childhood friend is a murderer, so she decides to dig up the cold case and possibly prove Sal’s innocence. But someone doesn’t like Pip digging around in the past, and she soon realizes that by trying to save her former friend, she put a target on herself.

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  • Instructions for Dancing

    by Nicola Yoon

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    Sometimes, you need a feel-good love story, and Instructions for Dancing delivers — with a twist. Evie stops believing in love when she witnesses two strangers kiss and sees the entire course of their relationship, including their eventual breakup. To make things more complicated, her handsome dance partner X patiently breaks through the walls Evie erected around herself and asks her to open her heart to new possibilities.

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  • The Downstairs Girl

    by Stacey Lee

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    With a touch of Bridgerton’s Lady Whistledown, The Downstairs Girl is a fabulous read for teens who love historical fiction. Seventeen-year-old Jo Kuan might be a lady’s maid by day, but at night she writes a biting advice column that captivates Atlanta’s wealthy elite. But when she uses the column to challenge the racism of the New South, she becomes a target for those who prefer the status quo.

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