Season’s Greetings! I work in retail, and with one week left until Christmas, I’ve been spending a copious amount of time amongst people buying those elusive last few presents for their loved ones. Having read several good books this year, I thought I’d share a few of my favourites, and possibly recommend some for your bibliophile friends and relatives. Most of these suggestions fall into the ‘Young Adult Fiction’ genre, but are suitable for young and old adults alike :).
For Younger Readers:
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
Some of you may recognise the name Chris Colfer. He is one of the main cast on the hit TV series Glee. Since he was a boy, he has loved writing stories, and this book was inspired by a story he started writing while in Middle School. He brings many well-known book characters together in this enchanting story. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, twins Alex and Conner leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.
For the Fantasy Teen:
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
I love Maria V. Snyder, and Touch of Power is the first book in her latest Healer series. The book has just been re-released this month, and book two of the series comes out in January. It follows the adventures of Avry of Kazan, a healer in the Fifteen Realms. A plague decimated the Territories and healers were accused of spreading the disease. A bounty was put out on all healers, and Avry is the last one left. War has broken out, as competing leaders fight for control of all the Fifteen Realms, and Avry is stuck in the middle. Her choice: will she give her life to heal a prince, who may have started the rumour about the healers and the plague but who may also be able to reunite the realms, or try to continue avoiding bounty hunters for the rest of her life.
The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore
The third book in the Lorien Legacies series, The Rise of Nine is a fantasy/sci-fi book that leaves you hanging for more. To everyone else, they look like ordinary teenagers; but they’re not. They started as a group of nine aliens who left their home planet when it fell under attack. The original plan was for them to travel to Earth, develop their powers, and return to reclaim Lorien. But the Mogodorians found them on Earth, and want to finish what they started. These young teenagers are the only ones who can save Lorien, and now Earth. As those of the original nine that are left continue to find each other, the battle against the Mogodrians also continues.
For the Contemporary Teen:
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
John Green’s books never fail to impress, evoke emotions and inspire those who read them. This book has received some fantastic reviews, and 11 months after its release, is back in the number #1 spot on the Penguin Teen Australia chart. The Fault in our Stars follows Hazel, a 17 year old, terminally ill Cancer patient, as she falls in love and starts to actually feel alive and live her life; regardless of how long she has been sick, and how long she has left. Speaking from experience, this is a tear-jerker of a read. So you may want to include a box of tissues along with this book.
Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Everyone is a perpetrator, victim, or witness to bulling. Speechless makes you realise that all of your actions have consequences, and that sometimes actions do speak louder than words. After attending a party where she witnesses two male classmates in a bedroom together, Chelsea outs them to her friends. By the end of the night, one of the boys is in a critical condition in hospital, two other boys are left facing assault charges, and it’s all thanks to Chelsea. Deciding it is better to not say anything at all, then it is to risk getting anyone else into trouble, Chelsea takes a vow of silence. This only leads her to become further ignored, ridiculed and even attacked by her old friends and other classmates. But there is still hope, as Chelsea makes new friends and learns the real power of silence!
For Every Woman:
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
"The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey what words could not. For Victoria Jones, alone after a childhood in foster care, it is her way of expressing a legacy of grief and guilt. Believing she is damaged beyond hope, she trusts nobody, connecting with the world only through message-laden bouquets. But when a mysterious man at the flower market responds in kind, Victoria is caught between fascination and fear, and must decide if she can open herself to the possibilities of happiness...and forgiveness.
The Language of Flowers is a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about the meaning of flowers, the meaning of family, and the meaning of love." (The Language of Flowers, 2011)
Whatever you decide to buy for your loved ones this December, I hope that you will consider giving the gift of reading.