The YA Shopping List 2014
It's that time of year again, when the festive masses swarm the malls and shopping districts, looking for those perfect gifts fort the people in their lives. Books are an ambitious gift, with tastes being very personal and reading preferences sometimes being quite surprising.
What has become incredibly popular over the lsat few years, across all demographics, is the Young Adult novel. Fast paced, simply structured and full of easily relatable characters, Young Adult as a classification has much to offer both the occasional and the voracious reader.
And so, here's a list of some of the best of YA, all of which would make great gifts.
Steampunk is still going strong, and Gail Carriger is a founding author of the new wave. Her adult series, the Parasol Protectorate, is wildly popular and has been spun off into this prequel series. Taking place in a floating finishing school, these young ladies of Quality learn all manners of...finishing.
Young Adult novels are full of Chosen One characters. These young protagonists end up starting revolutions and leading armies. Miranda of Life as We Knew It is a refreshingly normal girl, simply trying to help her family alife as the world around her falls apart. She is hardly perfect, and all the more endearing and relatable for it.
Some of the most popular settings in YA fiction are the post-apocalyptic world and the oppressive dictatorship. These settings lend themselves to all sorts of flights of fancy, from zombies to televised battles. But The Book Thief takes place in World War II Germany, and history itself is all the horror the story needs.
Eleanor and Park
While so many books have perfect families and read like adult romance novels, Eleanor and Park is a refreshingly honest look at high school first love. Park is awkward, Eleanor has more to worry about than just her schoolwork, and anyone who remembers being fourteen will find something that rings true.
Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
People complain that there aren't enough strong female characters in literature, or that the women who are there are just skinned men. Balsa is perhaps the best example of a strong woman who actually acts and thinks like a female. Whether she's fighting off assassins, taking care of her young charge Chagum, or reconnecting with a childhood friend who could have been something more, Balsa is a woman who everyone could aspire to be.
The Midnight Palace
Magical Realism goes hand in hand with Young Adult, and no one does it better than Carlos Ruiz Zafon in The Midnight Palace. With twins separated at birth, a group of orphans and a villain who might be more than he appears, combined with prose that is an absolute pleasure to read, this is perhaps the best-written of the bunch.
And that should give you a good start on your holiday book buying. With stories safe enough to hand to most teenagers, and writing compelling enough to hold the attention of a well-read adult, these are some of the hidden gems of the Young Adult field. Good luck with your shopping, and as always, gift receipts are a lifesaver.