The blogosphere is awash with Christmas gift ideas and as a family of prolific readers we are always on the look out for a good book. I have picked my daughter's brains to put together a few recommendations (in no particular order) for the tween or young teenage book lover in your house, each with a personal comment from my daughter.
- Bitter Sixteen : Stefan Mohamed
A story about a sixteen year old boy Stanly Bird from Wales whose best friend is a talking beagle named Daryl. On his sixteenth birthday, Stanly gains superhero powers of flight and telekinesis and after a series of extraordinary events decides to move to London, only to experience events even more traumatic and terrifying than those he left behind in Wales. "The perfect combination of funny and supernatural elements with just the right amount of weird horror to keep you on your toes. A real page turner."
- Burn After Writing : Rhiannon Shove
An interactive book that invites the teen reader to face life's big questions "Who are you now? How did you get here? Where are you going?" and to record them as a personal journal. Divided into three sections The Past, The Present and The Future, the author encourages her readers to have fun with it as there are no right answers and then once they are finished to burn after writing. "A book for people who like to think and ask questions of themselves and the world they live in. I loved exploring myself through this book. It is full of interesting activities and I want to keep it as a reminder of myself as I am now and refer back to it later in life."
- FanGirl : RainbowPowell
Cath and her sister Wren had always bonded over their love and obsession with Simon Snow, but this all changes when they go to university. An aspiring writer, with a social anxiety disorder, Cath is abandoned by her sister in favour of a high octane social life and left to her own devices. The book charts Cath's struggle to branch out alone, a romantic dalliance, a clash with her fiction-writing professor, the betrayal of her writing partner, the psychological break down of her father and her determination to publish her own fan fiction Carry On, Simon. "Writing is a passion of mine and I loved this story of Cath's pursuit of her dream against all the odds. A really uplifting novel."
- Goodbye Stranger : Rebecca Stead
Three friends Bridge, Emily and Tabitha are best friends with just the one rule - no fighting, but seventh grade forces physical and emotional changes upon their friendship group via a series of new experiences. "Secondary school is a game changer for many friendships. This is a sensitive portrayal of growing up and raises a number of important questions about staying true to yourself."
- Life In A Fishbowl : Len Vlahos
The world of fifteen year old Jackie Stone is turned upside down when she discovers her father Jared has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour. Jared does not tell his family immediately and decides to auction off what remains of his life on eBay in an attempt to raise money and ease the financial burden of his loss upon his family. Although the ad is removed, it is not before the highest bidder a reality TV producer, has arranged with Jared to film their lives 24/7. In a quest to regain her family's privacy and dignity Jackie sets out to end the show. "Humorous but sad. A modern day tragicomedy reflecting on unpopularity, family life, reality television and the entertainment industry as a whole."
- Me Earl & The Dying Girl : Jesse Andrews
High schooler Greg and his one friend Earl spend all their time making films. One day he is told by his mother to make friends with Rachel, a childhood friend diagnosed with Leukaemia. Andrews is a comic genius and manages to turn a commonly depressing subject matter into a hilarious story filled with teenage awkwardness, love and friendship at its centre. "A bizarrely laugh out loud book which makes you have faith in the real power and value of teenage friendship."
- Say Her Name : James Dawson
A Halloween dare at boarding school between Roberta "Bobbie" Rowe, her best friend Naya and local boy Caine to summon the legendary ghost of Bloody Mary by chanting her name five times in front of a candle-lit mirror at midnight, has unforeseen circumstances. The words "five days" left on her bathroom mirror the next day start a sequence of events for Bobbie and her friends and a race against time before Bloody Mary comes for them. "A chilling but witty horror story born out of a seemingly innocent teenage scenario."
- The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time : Mark Haddon
The tale of a boy detective with autism, this book turned popular West End play, needs little introduction. 15 year old Christopher Boone lives in Swindon with his dad and his pet rat and has never been further than the end of the road until the murder of his neighbour's dog turns him into a detective. Christopher knows a lot about maths but very little about interacting with people. His world is logical and he turns to his favourite character Sherlock Holmes for inspiration to track down the dog's killer, which simultaneously brings him face to face with the breakdown of his parent's marriage. The book is funny and sad in equal measure and gives the reader an insight into the clinical world of an emotionally dissociated mind. "I knew very little about autism before reading this and found the book both enlightening and incredibly moving. The play is also definitely worth seeing!"
Editor's Note: This is not a comprehensive list but if you have any books to add please do let me know in the comments below - I need new book ideas for Christmas too!