The Young Adult Christmas Gift Guide

5th Dec 2013

You can find the most exciting characters and stories in the YA section. Here’s a few to ask Santa for this Christmas...

The Fun, Creative Stocking Filler

Rookie Yearbook Two edited by Tavi Gevinson came out this autumn, just in time for your Christmas list. Rookie is an online magazine aimed at young, creative feminists (but loved by all ages) and the yearbook contains content from YA fiction hero Judy Blume, as well as Lena Dunham, Mindy Kaling and a whole host of others. It covers fashion, friendship, sex and sexuality, worries and art and comes with stickers. Stickers are always a welcome addition to anything.

Similarly, The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop gives the reader a charming look at teen life in a northern town. The book is a scrapbook of life – offering up sketches, cartoons and photographs as well as a healthy dose of advice! Fans of Laura Dockrill will appreciate finding this in their stocking.

The Dystopian Thriller

Katie Coyle won the 2012 Guardian/Hot Key Books Young Writer’s Prize and has released the brilliant Vivian Versus the Apocalypse. It’s a chillingly possible world, in which the US has become dominated by a cult-like religion and rumours about the Rapture are rife. Viv and her best friend Harp embark on a road trip across America to find the truth.

Another great new dystopian thriller is The Elites by Natasha Ngan. Our main character Silver lives in Neo-Babel, the last remaining city. However, it’s not the perfect city Silver thinks it is and soon she finds herself Outside and fighting for survival. The writing is beautiful, the plot gets your blood racing, and it’s great to see a YA novel with diverse characters.

Let’s not forget the classics this Christmas; Malorie Blackman was named the Children’s Laureate this year, so why not celebrate this by buying someone (or yourself) the amazing Noughts and Crosses. Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games, because it weaves politics and action together, plus it expertly tackles prejudice and racism in a way which holds a mirror up to our own world.

Something to Tug at Your Heart

How about a book to make you cry on the bus? Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is endorsed by YA fiction royalty John Green, and loved by all who read it. This book is crammed with 80s nostalgia and so many feelings. It’s a novel about first love, but it’s also one of the most realistic depictions of poverty within a teen book I’ve read for a while. Social outsiders Eleanor and Park will stay with you long after the Christmas decorations come down.

The Miseduction of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth came out this year in paperback, so it’s the perfect stocking filler! Cameron is kissing a girl the same day her parents die in a car crash, and so starts one of the most beautiful coming-of-age stories ever. Emily Danforth’s début follows Cameron Post as she negotiates being in love with the most popular girl in school, dealing with homophobic relatives, and understanding herself (and it’s chock full of great pop-culture references!). Every time someone buys this book a gay girl gets her wings.

The Funny Ones

Books that make you actually laugh out loud are always a welcome gift. So it’s handy that books one and two of Holly Smale’s Geek Girl series were out this year because that’ll double the amount of laughter this Christmas. The Geek Girl herself is Harriet Manners – she loves science, reading, maths, fossils, lists and her brilliant best friend Nat. Then all of a sudden, awkward Harriet is picked to be a model and chaos ensues.

While the books are set within the fashion industry, Smale’s attention isn’t on looks. Clothes are described, especially the outlandish ones, but the spotlight is on character. These books are perfect for anyone who loves Louise Rennison, America’s Next Top Model and watching YouTube clips of people falling over.

This autumn also saw the UK release of Maureen Johnson’s Suite Scarlett, a brilliant book about the Martin family who run and live in a New York hotel. The story begins with fifteen year old Scarlett taking responsibility for a suite containing the eccentric Mrs. Amberson. It’s a great book, full of chaotic moments, sibling issues, and MJ’s brilliant humour.

The Historical Novel

The teen fiction world is filled with great historical novels, so there are always plenty of gifting ideas for history buffs. Why not try Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, it’s a companion novel to wonderful Code Name Verity. You’re in safe hands with Wein, she can write amazing female characters while she sleeps.

Rose Justice is an American pilot working for the RAF during the summer of 1944 but after a mission goes wrong she finds herself in the horrific Ravensbruck concentration camp. Wein once again writes with immense skill about the disturbing parts of history, and has created another memorable and strong character in Rose.

What YA titles will you be asking for this Christmas?


  • Jess says:

    The best YA this year I’ve read has been historical- The Quietness by Alison Rattle, about two girls caught up in Victorian baby farming, and Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross set in 1890s Paris were both just extraordinary.