2021 YA Book Holiday Gift Guide

Need to finish (or start) your holiday shopping? We’ve got you covered. Books are the best gifts in our opinion. We’re sharing with you some of our favorite YA books and the perfect audience for them.

Do you have any books on your holiday list this year? Let us know which ones in the comments.

1. The Hopeless Romantic: Better Than the Movie by Lynn Painter


Better Than the Movies follows hopeless romantic Liz as she tries to impress her former crush. Enter Wes: the guy next door and a serious pain in the ass. But if Liz can get Wes’s help, she can definitely succeed. But as they spend more time plotting, the more Liz realizes she actually more-than-tolerates Wes—she likes him. Painter’s debut book is perfect for fans of romcoms and those you just want something fun for the holiday season.

2. The Disney Lover: Glimpsed by G.F. Miller

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Alright all you Disney Princesses, don’t you think the fairy godmother deserves her happily ever after? Charity spend her life helping “Cindies” get exactly what they want. But after one disaster, Charity gets blackmailed by Noah, who hates what she does. In exchange for helping the adorkable Noah win back his ex, he will keep his mouth shut about Charity’s fairy godmother status. But along the way, they become allies, working together to understand the glimpses and learning that maybe being a fairy godmother is more than it seems. Glimpsed is perfect for fans of an unexpected twist on a fairytale.

3. The World Traveler: Girl off the Grid by Jillian Dodd

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For those who love to travel, Girl off the Grid is full of adventure, exploration and romance. Fashion blogger Camille didn’t think twice when was offered a position from a magazine to write about Costa Rica. However, she thought she’d be at a resort, not on a trip for eco-tourism. Adam grew up with these kinds of experiences and thinks Camille is a spoiled brat. But it doesn’t take these two long to realize they’re not so different. Dodd gave us a fun and unique way to learn about preservation and eco-tourism in Central America. Add in some adorable romance and we were hooked.

4. The 1980s Throwback Fan: No Experience Required (Heartbreak Cafe #1) by Janet Quin-Harkin


No Experience Required throws it back to 1989. Deborah “Debbie” Lesley had the perfect life. Her parents were well-off, she belonged to a country club, she had a great boyfriend, and a loving family— that is, until she didn’t anymore. After her parents unexpected split, Debbie is thrust into a life she could never have imagined. Unable to pay her car insurance, Debbie takes a job at the Heartbreak Café by the beach. How hard could it be to flip burgers and refill drinks? Wrong. Suddenly, she realizes there is more to life than country clubs and posh cars. We enjoyed starting this series written in the 1980s, so if you love 1980s pop culture, you’ll want to read this ASAP.

5. The True Crime Aficionado: The Amateurs series by Sara Shepard 


Amateur detective Seneca Fraizer spends most of her free time on Case not Closed, a website for unsolved crimes. One day Aerin Kelly posts on the site about her sister who disappeared five years ago, Helena. Seneca, along with her online friends from the website meet up to help Aerin get closure. Seneca takes the train from Annapolis, Maryland to a small town in Connecticut. Her friend “Maddie” is not what she expected. First of all, Maddie (Maddox) is a hot guy. Second, he told his parents that Seneca was his friend from track camp. Maddox and Seneca track down Aerin to try to solve her case. Things quickly go crazy as the group starts to receive threats to not dig any further. Just when they think everything is clear, something happens that makes them question everything they knew and Helena Kelly. The Amateurs is ready to stump even the best true crime experts.

6. The Chef/Baker: Love from Scratch by Kaitlyn Hill


We just finished Love From Scratch yesterday and the full review will be out soon. Reese Camden can’t wait to start her dream marketing internship at a cooking channel in Seattle, Washington. If only she didn’t have to be around Benny Beneventi, the annoyingly charming culinary intern and her main competition for the fall job. Reese and Benny hope to avoid each other, until a work project leads them to becoming the cooking channel’s favorite ship. Any chef or baker would love to read this YA Romance set in the culinary world.

7. The History Expert: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier


Ruby Red is the first installment in the three-book Precious Stone series by German author, Kerstin Gier. Gwyn was never meant to have the time travel gene. Her cousin, the prim and proper, Charlotte had been primed for the role since birth— learning etiquette, ballroom dancing, and world history. Gwyneth had settled for being the mediocre grandchild. But one night, she accidentally travels to 18th century London, where she sees her doppelgänger kissing a boy she’s never met at a ball, and her life changes forever. She’s thrown into her family’s secret time travel society, the Circle of Twelve, and discovers she is the last of the time travelers, meant to fulfill a grand prophecy dating back centuries. If you’re a history buff, you’ll absolutely love travelling back in time across Europe with Gwen. Plus, this series has a great mystery as well.

8. The Paranormal Fan: Pivot Point by Kasie West


Pivot Point follows Addy Coleman a girl who lives in a hidden city for people with special mental abilities. Addy is a searcher, so when she has to make a tough decision, she can search the future to see the consequences of both paths. When Addy’s parents tell her they are divorcing, they give her a choice: stay in their current house with her or move to the normal world with her dad. Unable to decide, Addy lives six weeks of both futures. She thinks the choice has become clear. but when tragedy strikes, Addy must make choice to pursue her own happiness or protect the ones she loves. Even though West writes amazing books, we wished she would try another paranormal series. This series had mystery, powers and romance. You won’t want to miss it.  

9. The Mystery Expert: The Cousins by Karen McManus


Milly, Aubrey and Jonah Story have never met their grandmother. Years ago, she disinherited their parents and cut off all contact. Out of the blue, she sends them letters inviting them to stay at her resort on a small island off the coast of Massachusetts for the summer. Their parents make them go, hoping Milly, Aubrey and Jonah can reclaim the family inheritance. Only, it’s a lot more complicated than that. When they arrive on the island, nobody seems to expect them. Their grandmother keeps them at arm’s length, but the more time the cousins spend on the island, the more they realize the dark family secrets that have been hidden for the past 25 years.  We absolutely loved The Cousins, a YA mystery and the small creepy island setting.

10. The Dystopian Reader: Sword of the Seven Sins by Emily Colin


Life in the Commonwealth isn’t easy for Eva Marteinn. When it’s her turn to be chosen for a career path, Eva is picked as the first female Bellator — warriors who she sees as no more than killers. Suddenly, she’s moved into a world of training, weapons and always having to be one step ahead. Ari Westergaard never expected to have to train Eva. He’s had a crush on her since they we’re children. However, relationships are completely forbidden in the Commonwealth. Ari and Eva try to keep things professional, but the closer they become, the more difficult is to keep pretending they don’t want to be together. To make things more complicated, the rebels who live in the borderlands are getting stronger. They want Ari and Eva to leave the Commonwealth and join them. It’s been forever since we’ve read any YA dystopian, but thankfully Sword of the Seven Sins acetated our expectations.

11. The One Ready for Winter: In The Penalty Box by Lynn Rush and Kelly Anne Blount


Willow doesn’t want to be home in Wisconsin. She should be in Colorado training for Nationals and then the Olympics. One injury could ruin her entire figure skating career and she hasn’t made the PT progress she was hoping for. Brodie’s entire life revolves around hockey. His goal is to play at Boston College next year, just like his dad. When the best goalie on the team gets injured and Brodie sees Willow at the rink, he asks her to sub in for one game. Only, something clicks for Willow. She played street hockey as a kid with her friends and being back on the ice, However, Willow starts to love hockey and as it becomes a bigger part of her life, her recovery takes an optimistic turn. Only, she likes going to high school with her friends. Then, there’s Brodie. It’s clear they have a connection from the start. But, is it worth starting something if Willow is still trying to get back to her figure skating career? If you are a fan of everything winter and winter sports, In The Penalty Box is perfect. I mean, can you get more winter than winter in Wisconsin?

12. The Sports Fan: Whatever Life Throws at You by Julie Cross


Annie Lucas’s life changes in the blink of an eye when her dad gets offered the pitching coach position for the KC Royals. But, it’s hard to fall for the hot rookie pitcher, Jason Brody, when your dad is his coach. Except, he’s always at the house and Annie can’t get him out of her head. Whatever Life Throws at You is perfect for MLB fans. Annie goes to a lot of the games and gets to watch with all the player’s kids. However, Brody isn’t the only athlete. Annie is a track star determined to make the state championships. This is one of our favorite YA romances because of our love of baseball and the chemistry between Annie and Brody.

13. The Thriller Addict: Vendetta by Catherine Doyle


Sophie Gracewell’s life changes when five hot Italian brothers move into the creepy abandoned house in her town. Quickly, she falls for Nic Falcone, the hot youngest brother of the Falcone clan. She’s drawn to his charm and good looks. Yet, his brother Luca, is determined to keep the two apart. One night when Nic and Sophie are together, Luca interrupts with some shocking news that makes Nic question everything. Only problem: The guys spoke in Italian and Sophie has no idea what she did wrong. After distancing herself from the Falcone brothers, Sophie gets attacked and one of them comes to her rescue. That’s when Sophie realizes that these brothers are more dangerous than she thought…they are part of a Mafia crime family. To make things worse, Sophie’s family is connected to this in ways she never imagined. Vendetta is a non-stop thrill as Sophie gets pushed into the world of the Italian mafia in Chicago.

14. The Shadowhunter: Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare


If your friend is a shadowhunter super fan and hasn’t read Clare’s latest series, get them The Last Hours series. For years London has seen very few demon attacks. Lucie and James have spent their childhood hearing about their mother and father’s battles in the Clockwork War, but they never thought they, too, would find themselves at war with an inexplicable enemy. When the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London, they are met by an uptick in unexplainable demon attacks. Worse yet, these new demons can walk in sunlight and a mere scratch of their talons causes the victim to have a serious injury. The next generation of Herondales, Carstairs, Blackthorns and Lightwoods must work together in Edwardian London to prevent these demons from destroying the city in Chain of Gold.

15. The Former Theatre Kid: Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson


Kat and Stevie need an adventure. Kat’s anxious after the theatre teacher postponed the casting of the school play. Stevie pretends everything is okay after he dad cancels her birthday dinner to work, but she’s secretly devastated. Kat and Stevie head into New York City, lying to their parents that they are staying at their friend Teri’s house and not leaving suburban Connecticut. Since Stevie’s dad never cancelled the reservation at the fancy restaurant, the two girls expect to have an epic night. Except, nothing goes as planned as soon as they enter Grand Central Station. Stevie runs into her step sister, who needs a favor. That one action spirals into a crazy night of losing phones, having no money, getting completely lost and meeting some interesting characters along the way. Take Me Home Tonight follows two theatre kids as they discover themselves and what they want for the future in one epic NYC night.

16. The Indie Supporter: Mazarine by Cece Louise

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Mazarine is third book in The Forest Tales series. Darius, the former King of the Kingdom of Marcsnovia, has spent three years as prisoner on a fishing ship. Ever since Jay and Roselynn sentenced Darius, he’s been all alone in the world and paying for killing his father. When a storm hits the ship one night, Darius sees it as his on opportunity to escape. Except, the sea has other plans. When he wakes up on shore, he sees a girl trying to take care of him. Marilee of Kirdsortt has been cursed. As a mermaid by day and a human by night, she cannot easily live in one world. But when she finds a fisherman drowning, she has to save him. Marilee and Darius couldn’t be more opposite. However, they both need each other. The two strike a deal: help Marilee return to her kingdom and in return, Darius will be rewarded with enough to start over. We love a good story of redemption and Cece Louise, one of our favorite indie authors, never disappoints.

17. The Comedian: A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall


This cute and quirky story about finding love in college is told through every perspective except the main characters. Seriously, their teacher, the Starbucks employee, and even their friends are invested in Gabe and Lea getting together. Everyone notices their blooming chemistry, but will they? This is a cute and quick read for comedy fans. Gabe and Lea’s love story is hilarious and we love getting perspectives from every person in their lives, except them.

18. The Musician: Love Songs and Other Lies by Jessica


Vee Miller manages her friend’s band, while secretly writing her own music and posting songs online anonymously. When her best friend’s band gets offered a spot on a TV show for discovering the next great band, he offers Vee a chance to be an intern on the show. There’s only one problem…her friend forgot to tell her that her ex-boyfriend, who left without a word, recently joined the band. Love Songs and Other Lies is about first love, second chances and going after what you want. Anyone interested in the music industry will want to follow Vee’s journey to find the courage to play her own songs.  

19. The Detective: The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas


There are no more cheerleaders left in Sunnybrook, New York. Five years ago, five cheerleaders died within a few weeks of each other. Now, one of the cheerleader’s younger sisters, Monica, believes she doesn’t know everything about their deaths and is determined to find out what really happened. But, that would also mean a killer has been out there for years. Follow this dark and twisted path with Monica as she can finally comes to terms with the tragic events that haunt her childhood. This amateur detective is determined to know the truth about her sister.

20. The Activist Turned Fantasy Reader: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock


Hemlock is a favorite of ours that we haven’t read in years. Amy and Mackenzie were best friends until Amy was murdered by a werewolf. Mac’s life has turned crazy since what happened and a group of extremists of come to town to get rid of all werewolves. Lupin syndrome is on the rise around the country, causing backlash. Mac has to do what she can find out who killed her best friend and to learn the truth about werewolves living amongst her. This book is relevant now, because of the themes of violence, discrimination and political extremism. If you know an activist, present this as a fantasy version of current events.

28 thoughts on “2021 YA Book Holiday Gift Guide”

  1. I love that this list is packed with amazing books! No matter their genre, there are definitely some I am called to. Mainly Mazarine, The Cheerleaders, The Cousins, Love from Scratch, Girl off the Grid, and a Little Something Different all sound like fun, engaging reads.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a GREAT idea for a post! I may have to adopt it! I’ve always wondered if Ruby Red was a good series. How you described it made it sound like a good read!

    Liked by 1 person

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