The Best YA Novels to Gift Your Teen

Teenagers can be tricky to shop for during the holidays. But you can never go wrong with a good book to keep them busy. Whether you can see your teen getting lost in a creature-filled fantasy land or relating to the feels of having a first crush, here are 13 endearing, coming-of-age novels they'll love to find under the tree.

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December 13, 2018

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Discover the story behind the Netflix movie phenomenon with this beloved series. What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them all at once? Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters tucked away, until the day they're mysteriously mailed. Suddenly, Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Buy It: Amazon, $29.59

The Hate U Give

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter's world shatters when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood (and unarmed) best friend at the hands of a police officer. In the midst of national headlines, protests and intimidation tactics, the public's unanswered questions only lie with Starr. Don't miss out on the film adaptation starring Amandla Stenberg.

Buy It: Amazon, $11.99 and up

Dumplin'

Learn about the fearless and funny Willowdean Dixon as she takes on her small town's beauty pageant and sets out to make a name for herself. Find the big-screen version of Willowdean in the Netflix adaptation with Jennifer Aniston and Danielle Macdonald.

Buy It: Amazon, $7.99 and up

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

In this heartwarming novel, young Julia finds herself navigating a world after the death of her sister, Olga. Julia is far from perfect, although being perfect was Olga's role. After a tragic accident takes Olga's life, Julia sets out to learn her sister's story and in the process, creates her own amidst the struggles of family expectations and seeking independence.

Buy It: Amazon, $10.99 and up

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Did you catch the adorable flick Love, Simon this year? Find yourself smiling from ear-to-ear again with its origin story in Becky Albertalli's debut novel. Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight.

Buy It: Amazon, $9.89 and up

One of Us Is Lying

A brain, a beauty, a criminal, an athlete and an outcast walk into detention. But not all five make it out of the classroom. Simon, the outcast, dies that afternoon, just as he'd planned to post juicy reveals about his detention buddies. Now, all four of them are suspects in his murder. Could any of them have committed the crime? Or are they being set up by a killer who's still on the loose?

Buy It: Amazon, $8.99 and up

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

In this powerful novel about the devastating impact of prejudice, we meet a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl named Shirin who experiences varying degrees of hatred a year after the Sept. 11 attacks. Though Shirin has built up walls to shield her from this pain, meeting Ocean James just might be what it takes to knock the barriers down.

Buy It: Amazon, $8.14 and up

The Darkest Minds Series

Your newest dystopian obsession is in this box set. On her tenth birthday, Ruby was sent to a brutal government "rehabilitation camp" after surviving a disease that killed most of America's children. Now, she's sixteen and on the run with other kids who share frightening abilities that they cannot control. Book one in this hit series is now a major motion picture starring Amandla Stenberg and Mandy Moore.

Buy It: Amazon, $24.99

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Dive into the mystical realm of this New York Times bestselling fantasy series. When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal but Tamlin, one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

Buy It: Amazon, $19.03 and up

Turtles All the Way Down

In his long-awaited return to YA literature, award-winning author John Green shares the resilient story of sixteen-year-old Aza. With her best friend, Daisy, Aza pursues the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett. Along the way, Aza aspires to become the person she's always wanted while harboring her thoughts of self-doubt.

Buy It: Amazon, $10.99 and up

Darius the Great Is Not Okay

During Darius' first trip to his family's homeland in Iran, he meets Sohrab, the boy next door. Darius begins to feel more like himself than he ever has thanks to their strong friendship.

Buy It: Amazon, $10.99 and up

Emergency Contact

If you loved the adorable clumsiness in To All the Boys I've Loved Before, then you'll fall for Penny and Sam's, too. When they cross paths, it's less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable.

Buy It: Amazon, $10.99 and up

Children of Blood and Bone

In Tomi Adeyemi's entrancing fantasy debut, heroine Zelie Adebola only has one chance to bring back magic. With the help of a rogue princess, Zelie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. The greatest danger may be Zelie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

Buy It: Amazon, $9.99 and up