THE GIFT OF BOOKS: YA EDITION

Confession: I was that kid who always had at least three books on my Christmas list each year. I know, I know. I'm *totally* the reason why we can't have nice things. But just in case you know someone like that, here are twenty books I've read and loved.
  1. Disclaimer: Before anyone whines at me about John Green, J.K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins being absent from here, I've limited this list to just the books/authors I've recommended to others semi-recently. If I didn't then this list would probably reach the ninety-nine point limit.
  2. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
    Why I Heart It: I won't lie to you: this one will break your heart, but it does it in such a way that it'll have you picking up the phone to call your loved ones or reaching out to the stranger beside you just to make sure they're okay.
  3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
    Why I Heart It: With Anna, Stephanie Perkins not only managed to craft a narrator who's engaging and often times laugh-out-loud funny, but one who can deal with the conflicts in her life without becoming melodramatic. Not to mention that Étienne isn't the typical bad boy or stalker/admirer so often found in YA novels, but more like a guy you could easily bump into while out & about in the real world.
  4. Anything Could Happen by Will Walton
    Why I Heart It: The way it portrays the sometimes beautiful, often times frustrating, and always heartbreaking situation of being in love with someone you know you're never going to be able to have.
  5. Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
    Why I Heart It: It's a fresh twist on the classic fairy tale that ended up connecting me not just to my misfit teen years, but to the "pleeeeease, just one more story" nights of my childhood. (P.S. If you decide you can't get enough Delilah and Oliver, there's an equally as wonderful companion novel called Off The Page.)
  6. The Diviners by Libba Bray
    Why I Heart It: Secrets and the supernatural in a Prohibition era New York City. Still not interested? How about the fact that Libba Bray can spin a tale so deliciously creepy that it'll leave you checking your closet and under your bed for Naughty John? (P.S. Evie O'Neill and company continue their adventures in Lair of Dreams.)
  7. Every Day by David Levithan
    Why I Heart It: Aside from its brilliant concept (an entity known only as A wakes up in a different body each day), it's filled with writing like this: "If you want to live within the definition of your own truth, you have to choose to go through the initially painful and ultimately comforting process of finding it."
  8. The Giver by Lois Lowry
    Why I Heart It: Because it's a book that forces you to consider if a world cleansed of war and chaos is one worth sacrificing love and free will for.
  9. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
    Why I Heart It: Jennifer E. Smith and the way she kept me wondering if first love could be forever love long after I'd finished reading. (I also believe this could make a really sweet indie film.)
  10. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
    Why I Heart It: Because (re)living Mia's memories alongside her as she struggles to decide whether to come back to a life torn apart or move on to a world unknown is a sucker punch to the feels in the most heartbreaking yet beautiful way. (P.S. Go ahead and pick up the sequel, Where She Went.)
  11. Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler
    Why I Heart It: It's reminiscent of The Breakfast Club with its story of five teens from different social orbits who dip in and out of each other's lives over the course of high school.
  12. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
    Why I Heart It: The message I got, which is Fate can only take you so far before you have to step in and take control of your own destiny.
  13. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
    Why I Heart It: This rich, quirky tale about murder, secrets, and yes, a group of peculiar children was built around a collection of eerie vintage photographs. Who does that? Ransom Riggs, that's who. (The story continues in Hollow City and Library of Souls.)
  14. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
    Why I Heart It: Well, I didn't the first time I read it because I had a teacher that year who made English- a class I'd always found solace in- truly miserable. Time and maturity, though, convinced me I needed to reread it and this time, I found myself falling in love with the bonds of brotherhood, the questions of social class, and the frank depictions of teens drinking, smoking, and rumbling during a time when most married couples on TV weren't even sharing the same bed.
  15. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
    Why I Heart It: The raw, honest, unflinching way Chbosky tackles everything from crushes and school dances to teen suicide and sexuality.
  16. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
    Why I Heart It: A normal teen finds out that she's actually the princess of a small European country--um, what's not to love? More than that, it's a tale about figuring out how to stay true to yourself, your family, and your friends even when your world's been shaken up and left upside down.
  17. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
    I heart Sarah's work to the point that she could rewrite my AP Chem notes from high school & I would probably read them. It's true. She just has this unbelievable ability to write books that so entwine themselves with her readers' hearts that you could probably hear them echoed back in their heartbeats. So why this one? Because if the first eleven books represent who she was as an author then SA is an evolving point that will carry her into the next eleven books of her career.
  18. Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
    Why I Heart It: Well, I'm a fan of Alexandra Duncan the person because she crawled under a table in order to take a picture with me. As for Alexandra Duncan the author, she managed to build a world so enthralling that it left me unable to walk away from it until I'd read the very last page.
  19. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
    Why I Heart It: Jessica Darling. She's funny, smart, a touch emotional, a little outrageous with a gift for sarcasm and a heart that cares deeply even if it does so with an eye roll or two. Oh, and let's not forget Marcus Flutie. *swoons* (This is the first book in the Jessica Darling series.)
  20. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
    Why I Heart It: The box of letters and the way they force Lara Jean to confront her crushes, her feelings, and even herself at times. But while it's a story about boys and the love (and-let's face it- hate) that come with them, it's also a story about family and the hearts and glue that hold us together. Plus have you seen the cover? Gorgeous. (Lara Jean and Peter K's story continues in P.S. I Still Love You.)
  21. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
    Why I Heart It: It's an exquisite reimagining of One Thousand and One Nights filled with characters as complex as the secrets they keep. (This is easily one of the overall top 5 books I read this year. The sequel, The Rose and the Dagger, comes out May 3, 2016.)
  22. BOOKS I HAVE ON *MY* CHRISTMAS LIST THIS YEAR:
    I'm basically putting this here in case someone else has read them. If you have, feel free to let me know what you thought about them.
  23. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  24. Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
  25. The End or Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis
  26. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  27. Extraordinary Means by Robin Schneider
  28. I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
  29. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
    I realized semi-recently that I've never read anything by this author, which is (probably) a tragedy that I'd like to correct.
  30. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  31. The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord
  32. The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill
    I've actually already got this one, courtesy of an early Christmas gift to myself.