I think teenagers are the hardest to buy for, for the same reasons that YA authors like to write for them--a teen reader has no qualms about telling you they love a book or can't stand it and they are passionate either way.
Luckily, this holiday season there are some really great choices in books so I thought I'd share a handful of editor's picks for the best gift ideas--as you'll see, I love a box set (especially when the price is right) and, in fact, I still have a couple battered box sets that I received many years ago (Little House, Narnia--though my set looks like this). And why limit these gift ideas to just teens? I would recommend them for adults who read YA or popular fiction as well. You can find more editor's picks in gifts for kids & teens here. What books are on your wish list?
Matched Trilogy Box Set: This is a series tailor-made for Hunger Games readers. Romance and action in a Big Brother society, and I'm not giving anything away to tell you that it starts with a teen girl, Cassia, who is shown her expected marriage match--but for a brief second another boy's face appears on the screen. Hmmm... The story builds from there, each book adding a new layer and new voices to the narrative. Addictive reading.
John Green Box Set: Oh, John Green, how do I love thee...The Fault in Our Stars is our #1 pick for the Best Teen books of 2012 and he hasn't won the Printz award and Honor for nothin'. If you are the one to introduce Green's books to someone who has never read him they will thank you later and I bet you'll get a really good gift from that person next year. Funny and smart with characters you fall in love with, Green's books are memorable and relatable. The set includes updated hardcover editions of four favorites: Looking for Alaska (Printz Award winner), An Abundance of Katherines (Printz Honor winner), Paper Towns, and The Fault in Our Stars.
Lauren Conrad Beauty: Lauren Conrad has managed to maintain her popularity in the fickle teen world. Her new book of beauty tips isn't going to have anyone heading to school looking like Lady Gaga, but rather like a well-coiffed and skillfully made-up version of themselves. I'm happy to report that I tried her methods for glamorous (but not ridiculous) eyeliner and hair curling and met with success.
Not Exactly a Love Story: My top pick for December in YA. A loner boy in love with Miss Popular who happens to live next door might sound cliché, but this is funny and sincere with a lot of heart. Vinnie's parents have recently divorced and his mom quickly re-married--of all people--the gym teacher at Vinnie's new high school. The perfect anecdote for teen girls suffering teen boy angst and a reminder that some of the best guys in high school (and beyond) might be the nice one right under your nose.
The Hobbit (Deluxe Collector's Edition): The big movie of the holiday season, The Hobbit film should have people of all ages reading or re-reading the Tolkien classic. This edition is gorgeous and unique, besides the swanky cover there is a map and text pages printed in black with green accents (!)--it will make a beautiful gift for any bookshelf and especially so for the Tolkien obsessed.
Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-up Adventure: Who doesn't love a cool pop-up book? This would be a good one for those tough tween boys and Matthew Reinhart is the paper genius behind the best-selling Star Wars Pop Up Guide to the Galaxy. The new book is elaborate, with small pop-ups off pages with big ones and even a lightsaber that lights up when you open the page. There is an awesome customer review video on the page that can show you more than I could ever hope to explain. May the force be with you this holiday season.