Book Reviews Gold Stars

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Adult who Loves Young Adult Fiction

As Gretchen Rubin says, “I’m a huge fan of children’s literature and young-adult literature. I read these books as a child, and I continue to read them as an adult.”

Thus, this year I have read quite a bit of young adult fiction simply because I gravitate towards the genre. There are many things to love about the young adult novel. Characters change tremendously, often you’ll find magical or dystopian universes, and though there is always an element of gloom, most authors balance that with a healthy dose of hope.

Right now the world has the lucky fortune of experiencing a golden age of children’s literature. In the last century there have been wonderful works in the genre. J. R. R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, or Lois Lowry anyone? But in past 20 years, following the tremendous success of Harry Potter, the genre has seen another wave of captivating books. And I couldn’t be loving it more. What a time to be alive.

If you’re thinking of buying your young-adult-fiction-loving friend or relative the gift of a good book this holiday season, I have compiled a list of recommendations.

Sarah J. Maas’ series Throne of Glass

Quite frankly this series is one that changed my life. I saw Sarah J. Maas at an event in Winston-Salem, NC when I was seriously contemplating returning to my first love: writing. Her talk gave me the courage to do so. She is as engaging in person as she is on the page.

This is a series that your relative will gobble down gleefully as she wonders what will happen next to Celaena, Chaol, Dorian, and company. Celaena can be a bit hard to handle at first, but with time your Aunt Susan will come to adore her. I cannot recommend this series highly enough. It has everything a person could want: magic, intrigue, good-looking men and women, love, lust, power. Many people compare it to a tamed-down version of Game of Thrones.

The series is a must read for young adult fiction lovers. Get your relative started with the first book or purchase the complete set. Either way, you cannot go wrong by introducing them to the Adarlan Empire.

James Dashner’s The Maze Runner series

Dashner’s series about kiddos who are trapped in an intensely sick (in more ways than one) dystopian society, is one that will have your friend reeling. The shock of what has been done to the children of the maze. The terrifying idea that our society has degraded into a vile and twisted game. The horrors and victories of the gladers. Your friend will flip through the first book, trying, along with the main character, Thomas, to figure out what has happened to our world as we know it.

As much a mystery as it is a warped adventure, the characters are tested at every turn. Think Lord of the Flies meets Terminator. A group of boys stuck in a maze with crazy technology attacking them. Fascinating.

And if you get your friend the first three installments, they’ll be able to read them just in time for the next movie, which is set to release on January 26, 2018.

V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic

I have read the first book in V.E. Schwab’s series, and I am enthralled.

Any book that begins with the sentences, “Kell wore a very peculiar coat. It had neither one side, which would be conventional, nor two, which would be unexpected but several, which was of course, impossible,” is sure to be an interesting journey. I mean, c’mon you can’t read that and not be captivated. And the premise, that there are four concurrent Londons, each one ruled by different governments, is compelling. The main character, of course, can travel between the worlds, but others cannot. And you guessed it, he works for the rulers of one of the Londons.

Things get interesting and dicey and magical. Three things that make for an excellent read.

I had the pleasure of listening to V.E. Schwab speak at the Bookmark’s Festival in Winston-Salem, the same place I saw Sarah J. Mass. (Perhaps, this post is kind of a shootout to Bookmarks, too, which is an awesome festival by the way.) She had great insight into what her process is like and how she generates ideas. And she has written over 10 book, so you probably should check out her others while you’re at it.

Next on my own personal reading list: The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, which I hear are similarly engrossing.

If you deliver any of these books as a gift to your young-adult-fiction-loving friends or relatives, you are sure to put smiles on their faces. Be a young-adult-book-delivering champion this holiday season and get that person on your list something he really wants.