Nikki M’s Favorite Books for Reading and Giving

Books for young readers and teens.

Books for young readers and teens.

Norman Bridwell’s Clifford Collection by Norman Bridwell 9780545450133 $12.99 All Ages This isn’t just any collection of classic books; it is THE collection of classic books. THE ORIGINAL 6 Clifford books, as they were originally illustrated (yes, they look different and beyond lovely), complete with an introduction by Norman himself. The Clifford books were a love letter to Norman’s daughter, the REAL Emily Elizabeth, and now they can be a love letter for your child or grandchild. A perfect gift.

Unspoken: A story from the Underground Railroad by Henry Cole 9780545399975 $16.99 All Ages Turn the pages slowly. Listen to a story being whispered into your ear. A story of courage. A story of hope. A story of doing what is right in a world full of wrongs. This is the book that EVERYONE on my Holiday list is getting from me this year.

every day by David Levithan 9780307931887 $16.99 Ages 14+ Imagine every day waking up in a different body. A different face looks back at you from the mirror every morning. Every day, a new life, a new personality awaits. And yet…you are still you, trying to maintain that thread while living a different lie every 24 hours. Now imagine falling in love for the first time, and breaking all the rules you set for yourself to stay with that person and finally live a life that is only yours. Breathtaking and life affirming, this book takes no prisoners except for your heart.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater 9780545424929 $18.99 Ages 14+ If you’ve discovered Maggie already, then congratulations—she is the BEST teen writer on the planet. If you have yet to meet her, now is the time. On many year end lists for the BEST YA BOOK THIS YEAR, The Raven Boys is all that and more. What would you do if you were told that your kiss would kill your first love? For Blue, that means not getting close to anyone…until she meets the Aglionby boys and becomes wrapped up in a mystery that they are trying to solve. The twist will leave you breathless, and a Maggie fan for life. BUY TWO COPIES—you will want to keep one for yourself.

Undead by Kirsty McKay 9780545381888 $17.99 Ages 14+ If you had told me that I would fall for a zombie end-of-the-world thriller, I would have laughed at you. Undead has me laughing for a different reason—fresh, funny, exciting, suspenseful, somehow romantic throughout all the gore, this might very well be my favorite read of the year. Because it was a happy surprise to find something so fun with something so unexpected. And next fall, book two: Unfed. Die young, stay hungry. Hungry for more good books.

For the adults on your list.

For the adults on your list.

The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen 9780393062922 $23.95 Good things come in small packages. This slim novel is a gem, and a must read. The four inhabitants of a very small, snow covered island are living with a secret. Twelve-year-old Minou is determined to find out where her mother went. Wistful and bittersweet, a ghost of a novel that will long haunt your dreams.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 9780307744432 $15.00 The Night Circus casts a spell from the first sentence: “The circus arrives without warning.” What circus? Where does it come from? This is that book that you fall into, head first. When you turn the last page, and are pulled out of the spell, you look around, blinking, thinking you should be inside a big, striped tent, sipping on apple cider and wondering at the magic all around you. Erin Morgenstern weaves a world that you wish was real, and that deep down, you know must be real. Because you were there.

Peyton Place by Grace Metalious 9781555534004 $17.95 Every winter, I want to re-read an old favorite—a book that wraps itself around me and keeps me safe and warm no matter how frightful the weather outside may be. One of my go-to books is Peyton Place—a small town New England book about, well, small towns, and the people who live there. Delicious, quite scandalous, and completely un-put-downable.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 9780307588364 $25.00 I’ve been hearing people rave about Gillian Flynn and her amazing ability to weave a story for a few years, but it wasn’t until Gone Girl that I actually gave her a try. And I think I have found a new author to love. Dark, twisted, funny, smart, sexy—Gillian delivers all that and more. I COULD NOT stop thinking about this book. I gasped out loud at parts, and stayed up way past my bedtime to discover all the twists and turns, trying to guess what would happen before it happened. This woman knows how to tell a story. I know that I will be on the lookout for whatever she writes next, even if it’s just scrambled words on a cocktail napkin.

barefoot contessa Foolproof by Ina Garten 9780307464873 $35.00 This Contessa is more of a Goddess. I have every single one of her cookbooks, and use them often. This one is particularly a great gift for an unsure cook (or even someone who loves to mess around with the mixing bowls). Easy, delicious, and palate pleasing. And did I mention the best feature? A picture for every dish! (This is a MUST for me when buying a cookbook.)

Nikki M

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