Selecting gifts for teens can be troublesome, there are so many ways to get it wrong no matter what type of gift you are looking for. I stand by books as the perfect solution but you need to be a lot more careful with the books you are selecting.
The range of books for teens is extensive and there is sure to be something to capture the imagination of every teen, if you have the patience to find it. Teen novels have the added minefield of more grown-up themes so you have to think about whether the teen is ready for that, and whether the teens parents are ready for that.
I have a selection of books for teens here that will suit teens, and almost teens, of different tastes.
When the Lyrebird Calls – Kim Kane
My first thought when I saw this one and read the blurb on the back is that it reminds me of ‘Playing Beatie Bow’. I have to admit I don’t remember much of that story except that the main character landed herself back in time.
When the Lyrebird Calls sees Madeleine tumble back in time to 1900 where she is taken in by a wealthy family. The book is a novel for young Australians that will allow them to learn about our history. The historical aspects of the novel have been researched in depth and as such there are elements of sexism and racism that we as a country have fought hard to overcome but they need to be included to give an honest and accurate picture of the Australia of that time. There is language that is unacceptable in today’s society and the characters behave in ways we wouldn’t tolerate now but in the time the book was set that was a much more normal and accepted behaviour.
Written for an 11-13 year old audience When The Lyrebird Calls offers a look into the Australian past and some fantastic historical learning at an age appropriate level.
What happens to a girl of the 21st century who finds herself stranded in 1900? Obviously the best way to get a proper history education is to immerse yourself in the time, and what better way to do that than live in it.
The writing is engaging and the characters are enchanting. I think this is sure to delight a wide range of readers.
When the Lyrebird Calls is published by Allen & Unwin and available where all good books are sold.
The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily – Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily is for a slightly older audience, this one’s for 15+ as it’s a romantic comedy for teenagers.
The story is told from the perspectives of both Dash and Lily in alternating chapters, some with names inspired by the 12 days of Christmas.
What makes this the perfect gift for Christmas is that it is a Christmas novel, it will help you get into the festive spirit while also taking you on the emotional rollercoaster of teen romance.
The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily is the sequel to Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, the couple have been dating for nearly a year now and it hasn’t been an easy year. Lily’s grandfather had a heart attack and a fall, which he survived but recovery has been slow. Lily insists she’s fine but Dash knows her well enough to know that she’s losing her spark. Christmas has always been her favourite time of year but even that isn’t enough to reignite her enthusiasm.
Dash has twelve days to help her find her spark, her love of life and her Christmas spirit and what better place to do it than Manhattan.
While this isn’t all love and happiness, there is lots of heartache and angst to go along with the love and friendship it’s also a tale of getting through the heartbreak and finding the way forward.
Beautifully set against a December in New York this one is sure to engage teens with a white Christmas escape and a quest to discover the missing Christmas spirit.
The Twelve Days of Lily & Dash is published by Allen & Unwin and available where all good books are sold.
Something in Between – Melissa De La Cruz
Melissa De La Cruz is an author I fell in love with years ago when she was first writing the Blue Bloods series, since then I have lost sight of her work in the piles of amazing books that get released every month. I was attracted to her Blue Bloods series, which was vampires, there are also series about witches and wolves as well as more mainstream contemporary fiction for all ages.
Something In Between is a tale of immigration, friendship, family and finding a sense of belonging.
Jasmine de los Santos is a high school senior who worked hard to be offered a college scholarship. She’s always tried to be the best, make her parents proud and try to bridge the gap between her younger brothers and her parents. The family are Filipino immigrants and the boys have been in America long enough that they are American through and through whereas their parents are still very much Filipino and Jasmine is stuck somewhere in the middle.
Everything starts to look extremely bleak when Jasmine discovers that her parents were in the country on work visas, which are now expired, and she isn’t eligible for the scholarship program but even worse than that is the fear that they may be deported. Everything she thought she knew about her new life is thrown into turmoil.
This is a story of navigating through the minefield of falling for someone from a totally different class, trying to work out where you fit when what you thought you knew about your life isn’t true, family, friendship and budding relationships.
Something In Between is published by Harlequin Teen and is available where all good books are sold.
Replica – Lauren Oliver
Two great stories for the price of one, what better recommendation for a book really. This makes it a hefty volume that is sure to captivate.
Replica is something a little different so will appeal to lovers of mystery and science fiction.
The Haven Institute is tucked away on a private island and from a distance it looks serene and beautiful…. up close it’s a totally different scenario. There are biohazard suits and military guards because Haven is a top secret research facility – dealing with human replicas.
The two stories are separate, yet inextricably entwined, they mirror each other but each story contains important revelations imperative to the other.
I’m not sure that there is a particular order you need to read the stories but my thought would be to read Lyra then flip the book over and read Gemma’s.
Lyra, otherwise known as 24, is a replica at Haven and when a surprise attack is launched she manages to escape with a male replica known only as 72.
Gemma has spent her life in and out of hospital and has just found some disturbing information that sends her to Florida to try and get answers, and only raises more questions.
This one looks like an intriguing story focused on identity, individuality and what constitutes humanity. Where does the soul reside and where does it come from? I think there will be some thought-provoking questions raised in this one.
Replica is published by Hachette and is available now where all good books are sold.