G’s Holiday Gift Guide🎁 For The Young Adult (Teen) In Your Life
I had a number of young adult titles that I read and enjoyed this year. A number of them were sequels, or parts of trilogies. A few were even the beginning of trilogies. I don’t like to throw those in the gift guide, because it can be assumed that those who follow and may read it are not always guaranteed to like it. And if you don’t like it, who’s going to read the next one? Not I. I always like to recommend standalone titles for the gift guide, in the hope it helps some of you discover the greatness of the authors behind them. This year? I have two that really stayed with me. And I bet my kids’ front list buyer hasn’t read either of them. But you? I hope YOU will consider getting one or both of these books for your teen this holiday season.
My interest in this book was mainly because the character’s mom loved to do birth charts and was into astrology. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did! I had a blast reading this back in January. 12 months ago, and it stayed with me as one of my favorites this year. Wil lost her mom at a young age, but she has been on the lookout for a Sagittarius male as a potential mate, because that’s what her mom’s chart said was her destined soulmate. She meets Seth, a nice guy who she strikes up an easygoing friendship with. Read: dull as dishwater. Too nice, no sparks lighting the way for these two. Then Wil meets Grant, a Pisces (a sign she is supposed to run like hell from), and they share one dance and kaboom!!! Fireworks, sparks, an instant connection. But due to her steadfast belief in that birth chart, Wil denies her feelings, ignoring advice from her friend Irina and her grandmother. Things do not go as planned, and it takes a near death experience for Wil to face her feelings and the truth. This has romance, which is usually a huge turn-off for me, but it was real and dragons fornicating with peonies was not part of it. I loved Wil. Great character. If you want an unusual story for your teen with a sweet and nice ending to it, and an added bonus of some astrological know-how, this is the one to go with. And look up Darcy Woods, the author, on Twitter, and follow her. She’s a sweetheart and a hoot.
The Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati
I thought this book was going to be a bummer when I read the back. Then again, I am fond of reading those books that aren’t shiny, happy books. This appealed because I liked the title and something about the cover got me. Haven’t we all felt lost at some point in our lives? How hard is it to feel like that all the time? Catherine is a 17-year old girl suffering from bipolar depression. Having been in the grip of “Zero”(her name for her depression) several times, Catherine has begun stockpiling her meds, for her next suicide attempt, which she believes is always around the corner. Can a new therapist, medication, and new friends pull her back from the brink? I loved the realism in this book. There are parts that are hard to read, but if you have grappled with (or know those who have) mental illness, this is stark reality and I am so glad that Fortunati wrote a brave soul like Catherine who is upfront about her illness, and didn’t take the wuss road. I loved the character and the book. Definitely my other favorite of the year. If you have a teen who likes to talk about or read about social issues or enjoys realistic YA, this is the one to get them.
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
This came out the end of last year, but I think it got lost in the shuffle, so I am throwing it in here in the hope it finds a new audience. I really loved this book on the last gasp of 2015. It’s a great book about confidence and self esteem, and learning to love yourself and your body, even if you don’t fit in a certain box. Willowdean works in a little mom and pp shop in town, and values her friendship with Ellen while nursing a crush on Bo, a popular, cute guy . Wil doesn’t think she has a chance, though, because she us a big girl. Her friendship with Ellen begins to totter when Ellen begins hanging out with a new group of stuck up, narcissistic kids who judge Willow because she us not a size zero. She decides to get her revenge..and her groove back…by entering the town’s teen pageant. What a fun, great, liberating book this was! If young adult existed as a category when I was a teen and I had a book like this to read, maybe I would have had a better body image growing up as a chunky monkey. Maybe this book will reach someone who has similar issues now like I had as a kid, and maybe it will help them make it through. A great book for the young adult who likes a funny and courageous story.
We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen
I really liked this one because it had tornadoes in the title (I like weather). No, I think that was one of the reasons Holly found this one for me. That, and the little matter if it taking place in the 80’s, a decade I will worship until the day I die. I am a vampire for nostalgia, and I also loved the carefree cover. The title refers to a line from a speech in the book. This was also great because your authors each wrote the dialogue of the respective characters, another thing not seen too often in young adult literature. It’s also told entirely in letters from the characters, so the book flies quickly. Cath and Scott are best friends, until graduation. Cath’s smarts get her a great place in a college, while Scott is left behind in their hometown, playing in a band and hoping to make it big, while working in his dad’s apparel shop.Cath asks for Scott’s opinion, he says the wrong thing, and they become estranged for the first time. Tragedy in Scott’s life brings growing pains and they reconcile, but can things go back to the way they were? I liked this because of the pop culture references, the true friendship between the two, and the realism of growing up and not necessarily growing closer. A fun, fun book. If you have a teen who expresses interest in John Green, but with a FUN angle instead of depressive tears, get them this book!
So..many young adult titles came and went in 2016, but those were the standouts.