9th Dec 2010
Christmas Gift Guide: Young Adults
These are some of the most popular titles that older teens love in my library, plus a few that I adore too:
Vampires might be so 2008, but this ever-growing series set in a ‘school for vampyres’ (so the best bits of Harry and Edward combined) flies off the shelves, is easy to get into and also features openly gay characters, a rarity in YA fiction. Marked is the first in the series, but at £10.50 for the first three, this is an easy stocking filler for love-struck teens.
I’ve waxed lyrical about this award-winning series on many an occasion, but seriously, if you or your young ‘un haven’t got into it before, then this is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself to some of the best young adult fiction around. With themes that wouldn’t patronise a 16-year-old, but at the same time not faze an avid pre-teen, I can’t recommend this series enough.
Sadly, Dowd passed away before she saw this excellent novel win the CILIP Carnegie Gold Medal in 2009. The story of a young man living on the Northern Irish border during the early 80s, it is a powerful tale of what it means to sacrifice yourself for the betterment of your community.
When Fergus discovers a body in the bog, it brings fame to his small town. With his brother, a member of the Provisional IRA, on hunger strike in prison and his parents constantly fighting over the trouble, plus the arrival of his first love and his A-Levels around the corner, Fergus has a lot to think about without the ghost of an Iron Age child invading his dreams. I absolutely loved this book, and Dowd is an author well worth discovering.
Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
My teenage cousin absolutely loves this series, and it’s easy to see why. Combining mythology, ‘normal boy discovers mysterious past,’ adventure and friendship, this carries on where Harry left off. “Getting boys into books” is the watch-word of YA fiction, but I enjoyed the first of the series (though wouldn’t dedicate myself to them entirely) and you can get the box-set from Amazon for £16.83.
The Beautiful Dead series by Eden Maguire
The slightly morbid set-up (four young people die in strange circumstances; grief-stricken girlfriend keeps seeing their ghosts, turns out they are zombies whose souls she must rescue) and the ridiculously emo covers do not detract from how popular this series is with my young readers, who lap up anything to do with death/forever/romance/forever/death.
Zombies are the new black, and unlike other teen series, there are only four of these books and they’re all fairly slim. And at less than £4 each, they’re another ideal stocking filler for the love-struck teen in your life.
In my opinion, Charlie Higson has done more for “getting boys into books” than anyone but Alex Rider. His Young Bond series is excellent, with fun, gripping stories that play heavily on the English Hero theme. The Enemy is the first in a new series of thrillers that were recommended to me by a class of fourteen-year-old boys, and The Dead (currently only in hardback) is definitely at the top of my libraries’ wish list.