Holiday Gift Ideas: Books

If you need a gift idea, check out these suggestions for books:

Our friends at Wellesley Books offer suggestions in a range of genres:

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Darius just doesn’t fit.  He’s half Persian, but knows more Klingon than Farsi and is more comfortable with Hobbit social cues than Persian.  So, Darius fears the worst when his parents announce a trip to Iran to visit his mother’s family for the first time. Struggling with depression, a difficult relationship with his father, and a little sister who is everything he isn’t, Darius feels way out of place. That starts to change when he meets Sohrab and an entirely new world is opened up.  Sohrab is a lifeline, helping Darius discover himself and his place within this new sprawling Persian family.  

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon

Twinkle Mehra is an aspiring filmmaker with a problem–no one notices her. Her best friend dropped her, and the boy she’s crushing on doesn’t know she exists. A chance encounter at a coffee shop leads her to Sahil, the twin brother of her crush. The two team up to make a movie for the Midsummer festival at school (a gender swapped Dracula!) and Twinkle finds herself falling for the wrong brother…or maybe it’s the right one?

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Civil War–era America—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children to attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

A year after an accidental whirlwind tour of Europe, which she spent evading highwaymen and pirates with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of Callum Doyle, and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.

But then a small window of hope opens. Dr. Alexander Platt, an eccentric physician who Felicity idolizes, is looking for research assistants, and Felicity is sure that someone as forward-thinking as her hero would be willing to take her on. However, Platt is in Germany and Felicity has no money to make the trip.

In another stroke of luck, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as a maid. In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that leads them from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.

The Light Between Worlds by Laura Weymouth

Six years ago, sisters Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell were swept away to a strange and beautiful kingdom called the Woodlands, where they lived for years. But ever since they returned to their lives in post-WWII England, they have struggled to adjust. Evelyn desperately wants to return to the Woodlands, and Philippa just wants to move on. When Evelyn goes missing, Philippa must confront the depth of her sister’s despair and the painful truths they’ve been running from. As the weeks unfold, Philippa wonders if Evelyn truly did find a way home, or if the weight of their worlds pulled her under.

Told in dual POV and chapters that alternate between the fantasy world of the Woodlands and post-WWII England, debut author Laura E. Weymouth’s magical and lyrical YA fantasy is an exploration of loss and healing and what it means to find where you belong.

The War Outside by Monica Hesse

It’s 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan.

Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a “family internment camp” for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposite in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them piece by piece.  

With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone, even each other?

American Panda by Gloria Chao

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth—that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

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