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Hi there,

This week, I’ve been thinking about books that would make great Christmas presents.

I can remember as a child that at least one of my Christmas presents would be a book. One of my favourites was a large book of fairy tales which I read over and over again. My sister was given a similar book the same year so it was two lots of reading for both of us! Every year, there were also annuals of the different comics we read over the year.

I don’t remember there being many YA books available as I grew older. At high school I enjoyed the books in our literature lessons and would seek out other books by the same authors. Excerpts of well-known books in comprehension passages were also a great way to find interesting reading material. I couldn’t always afford to buy the books new and depended on the local library stocking the ones that grabbed my interest. If they weren’t there, I could always add them to my birthday and Christmas list.

I’ve been talking to writers and readers about YA books they would recommend as Christmas presents and here are some of the books they have suggested.

Maria Dougherty-De Vivo has written a very seasonal series of books:

The dark fantasy YA series THE COAL ELF CHRONICLES is about the dark side of Christmas.

Ember Skye is a fed-up teenage Coal Elf with a big ashy chip on her shoulder. Torn away from a carefree life and forced into a world of dirt and darkness has started to get the better of her. And being the only girl-elf working as a coal miner at the North Pole doesn’t help much either!

When a mysterious illness threatens to decimate elves both Above and Underground, Ember finds herself on a journey that will see her confront the literal and figurative demons of her past and lead her to the head of the North Pole himself.

Yes! Santa is real. But this isn’t your childhood Christmas tale…

The Coal Elf Chronicles are written with 7th Grade age range in mind, mainly female readers, although many boys around this age have enjoyed them, too.


 1. THE COAL ELF (2012) 2. THE RISE OF STURD (2015) 3. ABOVE THE ASH (2017)


My own book, Shrinking Violet, takes place during the Autumn term leading up to Christmas. This is aimed at readers between 14 to 19 years old.

As many teenagers know, life can be tough. Violet, Suranna and Charlie are well aware of this fact.

How can Violet learn how to overcome her shyness and speak up for herself?
Will Suranna ever be able to overcome the stigma of her dysfunctional family and achieve her academic goals?

Can Charlie follow his dream and stand up for himself at school and at home?

When three new students make their appearance at the school during the busy autumn term; things start to happen and their lives begin to change. They find themselves caught up in action and drama they never imagined would happen to them.

And Shrinking Violet is at the special stocking filler price of 99p for December!


Escape to Reality by Kathi Sprayberry is mainly for teens but has been enjoyed by adults and older teenagers, too.


Andi Johnson is more of a parent to her younger siblings than their real parents. Her older siblings are away at college when the Camp Fire races toward their home and Andi must get them away from the danger of the flames and reunited with their family. Once she's in San Francisco, at her beloved Granny's home, Andi learns of an incredible legacy she's been awarded which greatly angers her parents….



Looking for Alaska by John Green is a story with a dark side that is aimed at older teens.

Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave "the Great Perhaps" even more (François Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. After. Nothing is ever the same.


Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Prudence Daniels is always quick to judge the lazy rude people in her town. When she wakes up with the gift of casting karma, she is soon giving gossips and vandals their just deserts. One person her powers don’t work on is Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner. When Pru works alongside him at the animal rescue centre she realises how thin the line is between good and bad. A book that gets you thinking.


One of Us Is Lying and One of Us Is Next by Karen M McManus

YA thrillers that keep you guessing right to the end!

Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, dies 24 hours before he could post someone’s deepest secrets online.

Investigators conclude his death was no accident. Four students are suspects. They all have secrets. How far would they go to protect them?


A year later, someone else has started playing a sinister game of Truth or Dare.

Choose truth? You must reveal your darkest secret.
Choose dare? Well, that could be even more dangerous. Even deadly.

Will they find out who is behind the game, before it's too late?



Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon

A romantic comedy about identity and how hard it can sometimes feel to simply be yourself.

When Sunny Dae - self-proclaimed total nerd - meets Cirrus Soh, he can't believe how cool and confident she is. So when Cirrus mistakes Sunny's older brother Gray's bedroom - with its collection of electric guitars and rock posters - for Sunny's own, he sort of, kind of, accidentally winds up telling her he's the front man of a rock band. Before he knows it, Sunny is knee-deep in the lie. He ropes his best friends into his scheme, begging them to form a fake band with him and soon the strangest things start happening; people are starting to notice him.

But as his lies begin to catch up with him, Sunny Dae is forced to wonder whether it was all worth it - and if it's possible to ever truly change.


Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

An alien race called the Krell leads onslaught after onslaught from the sky in a never-ending campaign to destroy humankind. Humanity's only defence is to take to their ships and fight the enemy in the skies. Pilots have become the heroes of what's left of the human race.

Spensa has always dreamed of being one of them; of soaring above Earth and proving her bravery.


The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson was also recommended as a great read for adults.

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