2014 Phinney Books Gift Guide: Teen Reads

Words and Their Meanings by Kate Bassett

"A powerful, beautifully written book that will appeal to John Green fans. A talented, blossoming writer feels responsible for her brother's death and looks to Patti Smith's poetry to express her grief, since she has decided to quit writing. A great love story, coming-of-age tale, and family drama. Mature 12 and up." —Leighanne

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

"Five beautifully creepy graphic tales of intimate, otherworldly terror, of ghostly embraces, isolated farmhouses, and burrowing demons. The stories are short, but you'll keep coming back to them in the same way you keep looking under your bed to make sure the monster still isn't there. 12 and up." —Tom

Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls, edited by Karen Finneyfrock, Mindy Nettifee, and Rachel McKibbens

A collection of fierce, empowering poems aimed at girls 12 to 21 and destined to live in lockers, backpacks, and under beds for years.

The Graveyard Book, volumes 1 and 2, by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell

"One of my favorite YA books has become a gorgeous, creepy, spine-tingling graphic novel. Highly recommended." —Leighanne

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer

"Blending Ezra Pound, rhetoric and reality TV, this hilarious, subversive debut about a cadre of friends at an arts school is a treat from cover to cover." —Kirkus Reviews

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

"I loved this suspenseful, dramatic fairy tale of a love story and would recommend it to anyone who wants to be swept up in a great mystery. 12 and up." —Leighanne

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Book three (after Cinder and Scarlet) in Meyer's ongoing Lunar Chronicles series. "All three of these books merge fantasy and sci-fi, and feature really strong female characters. A fun and imaginative series to get sucked into! 12 and up." —Leighanne

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Twins, a girl and a boy, opposites in many ways but intensely connected, find themselves divided by trauma. "Whether you're at that age right now or you've forgotten what it feels like, I'll Give You the Sun is that rare, immersive teen novel: To read it is a coming-of-age experience in itself. A-." —Stephan Lee, Entertainment Weekly

Clariel by Garth Nix

"A decade ago, Nix came out with his incredible Abhorsen trilogy about generations of necromancers trying to restore the balance of good and evil. Finally (finally!) there is a new book that takes place 600 years before that beloved series and follows an independent young woman, Clariel, who is chafing against the expectations of her family and who wants to be free to explore her powers." —Leighanne

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

"Can the magic of building a cohesive plot and compelling characters around a seemingly random collection of bizarre antique photographs happen twice? The short answer is, yes." —Chicago Tribune

Jackaby by William Ritter

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in a tale of detection and the supernatural in 1890s New England. "The murderous plot beautifully melds modern storytelling and classic fables. We honestly couldn't put it down." —Nerdist.com

Noggin by John Corey Whaley

National Book Award finalist. Finding his cryogenically frozen head revived after his death from leukemia at 16 and place on another boy's body puts Travis Coates in an unprecedented predicament, both goofily funny and poignantly heartbreaking. "Whaley's signature cadence and mad storytelling skills are worth every page. A satisfyingly oddball Frankenstein-like tale of connectivity." —Kirkus Reviews

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

"Mind-blowingly good YA! This book walks the line between realistic fiction and magical realism. Five troubled students have been plucked to take a mysterious English course at a school for 'fragile teens.' The class will be reading only works by Sylvia Plath, including The Bell Jar. But their writing journals have been taking the—literally, it seems—into a perfect world where their troubles can't touch them. Will they want to stay in 'Belzhar' or can they make the painful trip home?" —Leighanne

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

National Book Award winner for Young People's Literature. A poetic memoir of Woodson's own coming-of-age. "The triumph of 'Brown Girl Dreaming' is not just in how well Woodson tells us the story of her life, but in how elegantly she writes words that make us want to hold those carefully crafted poems close, apply them to our lives, reach into the mirror she holds up and make the words and the worlds she explores our own." —Veronica Chambers, New York Times