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Holiday Gift Guide: 2022 YA Edition 

Looking for some book gift ideas for the people in your life? We love to give and receive books. Check out the list of our recommended YA books. Some of these are even on our personal wish list this year.

1. The Romantic

It’s Valentine’s Day! Emilie Hornby can’t wait to share the perfect day with her boyfriend Josh. She has every detail planned and nothing could mess with her excitement. Well, except getting into a car accident, seeing Josh kiss another girl, losing her dream journalism summer program and finding out her dad is moving to Texas. She can’t wait for the day to be over and move on, but Emilie starts reliving Valentine’s day over and over again.

The plot of The Do-Over has been done many times in books, but Painter give it a fun romantic twist. We found ourselves loving this time loop book more than any other book we’ve read (or even watched in a movie or TV version) before. We credit that to the A+ romance, dialogue and pacing. The book captured our attention on the first page and kept us engaged through the entire story. 

2. The Wannabe Detective

When you think Sara Shepard, you think Pretty Little Liars or The Lying Game. The Amateurs was Shepard’s most recent series. Years ago, Helena Kelly went missing. Now, a group of amateur detectives, including Helena’s younger sister Aerin, meet up in Connecticut to figure out what really happened. Too bad this group is in way over their heads and the mysterious killer is closer than they think.

For fans of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and true crime, this YA trilogy about a group of people determined to learn the truth about forgotten cold cases is unforgettable. The trilogy takes the characters on an expedition to both figure out what happened in the past, while trying to prevent the killer from striking again.

3. The Dark Academic

The Atlas Six is on our Christmas list this year! We’ve seen a lot of hype surrounding the book and once we read the description, we knew that we had to read it. It gave us major Killing November vibes.

The Atlas Six is about the Alexandrian Society, a secret society of academic entrusted with preserving knowledge from the greatest civilizations. Each decade, six outstanding candidates are selected for initiation. They have to spend on year together to decide which of of them will officially get initiated. But first, they have to prove their worth.

4. The Christmas Obsessed

If you’re anything like Noelle, then you’re full of Christmas cheer. But this year, nothing is going as planned. Her dad has to work and her friends blow her off, which leads Noelle to take a babysitting job over the holidays. Noelle gets to spend Christmas at a fancy ski resort with her favorite family. Unexpectedly, the children’s half-brother shows up, turning Noelle into a nervous wreck. Wyatt is the perfect guy she’s admired from photos for years, but having to speak to him? That’s a different story.

I’m Dreaming of a Wyatt Christmas is a fun story to inspire some Christmas cheer. The beautiful resort setting and the adorable romance is perfect for Hallmark movie fans.

5. The Chef

Top Chef meets a YA contemporary romance in Schmitt’s Where There’s a Wisk. Peyton Sinclaire wants to escape her terrible life in Florida. When she gets a chance to compete on Top Teen Chef, Food TV’s new reality show, Peyton jumps at the chance to spend the summer in Manhattan. The winner receives a culinary scholarship, which would change Peyton’s life. But things aren’t so easy when you have people out to get you, snarky judges and cameras in your face 24/7. 

We found Where There’s a Wisk to be entertaining, creative and as sweet as Peyton’s famous Key Lime Pie. One of our favorite parts of the story were the different challenges. They had to be inspired by places in NYC, such as Broadway, the Statue of Liberty and the Bronx Zoo. We definitely recommend this one as a light summer read for those interested in the culinary arts.

6. The Adventurer

Exactly Where You Need to Be is near the top of our TBR. Florie’s OCD and her mother’s worrying have stopped her from living. With her best friend leaving for college, Florie decides to take a gap year But now Florie is having second thoughts and questions who she wants to be. So with her best friend Kacey, the two (with Kacey’s hot older brother) head out on an unforgettable summer road trip. Let’s see if they can get to San Francisco and back to Washington state before their parents find out. We love a good roadtrip story!

7. The History Buff

It’s 1989 and Eastern Europe is changing. However, Nicolae Ceaușescu remains in power in Romania, meaning citizens don’t have much freedom. Cristian Florescu, a 17 year old student, just wants to be a writer and learn about the world outside Bucharest, Romania, but It’s not that easy. Cristian is being watched by the Securitate and when they find him committing a crime, they have the chance to blackmail him into being an informer.

I Must Betray You was one of the most powerful YA books we’ve ever read. While the book is a work of fiction, the historical events that happened are true. Romania has been overlooked by most of the world, but it had a rich history worth studying. While we knew about the horrors of Ceaușescu’s Romania, reading about it from the point of view of a student made it even more shocking. 

8. The Athlete

Jake Hammond, aka the Prince of Juniper Falls, is the star of the hockey team and destined for greatness. Brooke moved to Juniper Falls from Texes. Even though it’s where her mom grew up, she doesn’t know how to fit in until she signs up for the new girls high school hockey team. Hockey has always only been for the guys by the time high school rolls around, but Brooke is determined to learn.

One night when Brooke goes for a run in the woods, she comes across popular Jake and the rest of the senior varsity guys.  Jake never meant for it to get out of hand, he didn’t want to be there that night. In one night, Jake sees his future slip away and the family of the freshman boy wants justice.

On Thin Ice is easily the best book in the Juniper Falls series based on chemistry alone. We expect many YA fans to fall for Jake Hammond’s charm. Brooke at first thinks he’s another popular jerk, but the more time the two spends, she learns there is a lot more to him than just hockey. 

9. The Indie Reader

Mallory James is beyond pissed at her parents when they drop a bombshell on her: she’s being sent to London for a three week exchange during her junior year. Mallory’s been to London already– it’s stuffy, rainy, and boring. What more is there to see? Her parents don’t seem to grasp what an utter nightmare this will be for Mallory’s perfect New York lifestyle. 

What we love about the London Prep series is that every book takes place during a week of Mallory’s exchange, so the books are always fast-paced and packed with juicy drama and swoon-worthy romance. This first installment did not disappoint! We absolutely loved getting to know Mallory, Mohammad, Harry and Noah. 

10. The Mental Health Advocate

Paige Vickers is most likely to be forgotten. She’s in year 11 and nobody really knows who she is and she’s okay with that. Paige’s home life isn’t great either. Her older brother Adam moved away to start university, leaving Paige alone with her emotionally abusive father and complicit mother. It’s best for Paige to stay out of everyone’s way because they all treat her like she doesn’t exist.

But when Paige starts to find writing in the margins of the books she checks out at the school library, she realizes that maybe one other person gets it. His observations of the world around him hit close to home. Elijah Jones is unlike any other person she’s ever met. He’s confident, self-aware and doesn’t buy into the things that everyone in Paige’s year does. 

The Yearbook is an emotional YA contemporary about mental health, abuse and learning to love yourself. Based on the description, we were expecting a Mean Girls style romcom. But what we got was so much better than we could have imagined.

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