Holiday Shopping

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I’m very thankful to authors for writing fabulous stories with wonderful characters. I will never, ever tire of reading good books!

Just in time for the holidays, I’m sharing my list of recommended books. Every book that’s listed on my Reading List in the sidebar on this blog, I enjoyed and recommend!  Below are five books I’d like to highlight from my reading list this year:

Plain Kate by Erin Bow (Arthur A. Levine/2010)

Plain Kate is going to be a master carver, like her father, until a strange plague sweeps through her town and leaves her an orphan. With only her cat as her companion, Kate tries to survive on the streets. When a strange man shows up, she suspects he’s a witch and her fears are confirmed when he tricks her out of her shadow, but bestows an unusual gift upon her. Without a shadow and with the unasked for gift, Kate knows she must flee before being burned as a witch (even though she is not). MG fantasy

Where She Went by Gayle Foreman (Dutton Books/2011)

The sequel to the powerful If I Stay, this book follows the two main characters from the first book three years after Mia’s tragic accident. The first book was from Mia’s POV, and this one is from Adam’s as he struggles to understand Mia’s silence and distance. Both their lives are forever changed – Mia is studying at Julliard and Adam has become a popular rock star. It’s hard for me to give a good synopsis without giving away too much, both from the first book and this one. It’s an incredible story about love, friendship, and renewal – heart-wrenching and hopeful.  YA fiction

pearl by Jo Knowles (Henry Holt/2011)

In Pearl, fifteen-year-old Bean spends most of her time with her best friend Henry, watching soap operas with him and his homebound mother.  After a tragedy in her family, Bean feels like she might be living her own soap opera, as lies and secrets are revealed.  Bean learns some shocking truths about her beloved grandfather and why he and Bean’s mother were always so at odds.  Then there’s Claire, Bean’s mother’s friend whom Bean doesn’t really like, and suddenly is at the house all the time.  This is a story about secrets, family, and love.  YA fiction

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Dutton Books/2011)

Lola Nolan, age 17, loves her boyfriend Max and hates the Bell twins next door. She knows that Max is “the one.”  Unfortunately neither of her dads nor her best friend approve – Max is 22, in an indie punk rock band, and doesn’t quite mesh with their ideal for Lola. When the Bell twins move back next door – Calliope an up and coming figure-skating star and Cricket the boy who broke her heart – Lola is determined to ignore them. But Cricket won’t be ignored, and it’s apparent he has feelings for her. Lola fights her feelings for Cricket, but as their friendship grows, and as he apologizes for the past, she gets more confused and more determined to convince herself that Max IS the one.  Great cameos by Anna and St Claire (from Perkins’ other book, Anna & the French Kiss which I loved when I read it last year). YA fiction

how to save a life by Sara Zarr (Little, Brown & Company/2011)

After Jill loses her father unexpectedly in a car accident, she turns inward, pushing everyone away, including her boyfriend and best friends.  When her mother announces her decision to adopt a baby from a stranger on an open adoption web site, Jill becomes even more closed off.

When Mandy arrives at Jill’s house, she thinks she’s making the best decision for her unborn child. Mandy knows exactly what it’s like to be an unplanned and unwanted daughter. She’s relieved to escape her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, and finds herself growing attached to Jill’s mother and home.

As Jill’s and Mandy’s lives become entwined, both start having second thoughts about their initial decisions/reactions. Matters grow complicated and they are both forced to make decisions they have been unwilling to face. This is a story of loss and gain, of family and love.  YA fiction

Check out Mother Reader’s post for more gift book suggestions and very cool ways to wrap said gifts: Ways To Give a Book: 2011 Edition.

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