2013 Holiday Gift Guide for Teen Readers

I rarely emerge from my office at work, especially during the holiday season. There’s too great a chance that I’ll be stopped by a customer and asked a question for which I have no good answer. That’s the problem with working off the floor at a bookstore, I’m mostly oblivious when it comes to knowing things like product location and which book is Karen Kingsbury’s latest. I could probably solve that by visiting the sales floor more often, but again, that raises the chance that I’ll be asked a question by a customer. It’s a vicious cycle of ignorance, but I’m pretty happy inside of it.

That is, until I get thrown under the bus by my coworkers. It’s happened twice in the last week that one of my coworkers has called me out to the sales floor to help a customer with a product recommendation. Fortunately, the customers in question were trying to find books for their teenagers and my coworker knows that I read a lot of YA Fiction. In each instance, I was able to guide the customers to some products that might suite their needs.

I’d like to do the same for you. Here are my book recommendations for 2013.

For fans of the Hunger Games or Divergent

9781441261021The Staff and the Sword Series by Patrick Carr – Although getting into this series took me a few chapters, it wasn’t long before I was hooked. The first two books (A Cast of Stones & The Hero’s Lot) are available now and book three (A Draw of Kings) comes out sometime this Spring. Fans of the fast-paced, weapon-filled, society-on-the-brink-of-revolution genre will appreciate the struggles of Errol Stone as he tries to navigate each new threat, be it from foe or friend.

For fans of the Hobbit or Chronicles of Narnia

edge-bookThe Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson – First and foremost, Andrew Peterson is a gifted storyteller. Whether it comes through in his prolific musical career or his youth fiction, Peterson’s ability to incite mirth as well as sadness ranks him among the greats in fantasy literature. The first three books are out now, with the final installment coming this Spring.

For college-bound readers

4981 168668Catch-22 by Joseph Heller or Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut – These books won’t be for everyone. To be honest, less than half the people to whom I have recommended them actually appreciate the message or the tenor of the writing. But these are classics for a reason. They are anti-war books that transcend specific grievances against military debacles and cause the reader to ask the age-old question central to growing up: Have I been sold a lie? These titles get to the core of what it means to be independent, so I’ll keep on recommending them to people. Because, whether you like them or not, they will make you grow up.

For a bit of Christmas fun

Hhogfatherbookogfather by Terry Pratchett – Things are a little different in the Discworld. For one thing, the world is flat and propels through space on the backs four elephants standing atop a giant turtle. For another, there is no Santa Claus. There is the Hogfather. And things are about to get messy when an “uncommonly psychotic member of the Assassin’s Guild” vows to kill the spirit of Hogswatchnight (Christmas) himself. This novel features some of my favorite characters (Death and his granddaughter Susan) in a clever and fun take on most wonderful time of the year.

As for recommendations for fans of books like Twilight and the like, I recommend reading better books. Hope this short list is helpful!

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