Books for Christmas Part 10 - Evil, Magic, Wishes and Fairies: our favourite Young Adult Books of 2015

Buying books for teens can seem daunting, but in many ways the teen - or Young Adult - book world is the most exciting area of publishing at the moment. We really passionate about books for teens at Mostly Books (at least two of the staff would claim this was their specialist area!), and we work hard to match the book to the reader - so come in and ask for our help!

In the meantime, here are some of our favourite titles of the year to give you inspiration...

Six of Crows- Leigh Bardugo (£9.99)

Six teenagers. One heist. Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price - and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy, Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction - if they don't kill each other first. 

This is Imogen's favourite book of 2015, and perfect for anyone who likes going headfirst into a fantasy adventure with a set of criminals.

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain - John Boyne (£12.99)
The powerful, unforgettable new novel from the bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, and, like that book, this is a powerful, thought-provoking read which will definitely challenge a few pre-conceptions about a specific period of history...

When Pierrot becomes an orphan, he must leave his home in Paris for a new life with his Aunt Beatrix, a servant in a wealthy household at the top of the German mountains. But this is no ordinary time, for it is 1935 and the Second World War is fast approaching; and this is no ordinary house, for this is the Berghof, the home of Adolf Hitler. Quickly, Pierrot is taken under Hitler's wing, and is thrown into an increasingly dangerous new world: a world of terror, secrets and betrayal, one from which he may never be able to escape.

Tinder - Sally Gardner and David Roberts (£7.99)
A young soldier, a captive princess, witches, wolves and Death walk hand in hand in Costa Award winner Sally Gardner's exquisitely written novel inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, The Tinderbox, illustrated by David Roberts.

Otto Hundebiss is tired of war, but when he defies Death he walks a dangerous path. A half-beast, half-man gives him shoes and dice which will lead him deep into a web of dark magic and mystery. He meets the beautiful Safire - pure of heart and spirit, the scheming Mistress Jabber and the terrifying Lady of the Nail. He learns the powers of the tinderbox and the wolves whose master he becomes. But will all the riches in the world bring him the thing he most desires? Fairy tales are often the cruellest stories of all; in this exquisite novel Sally Gardner writes about great love and great loss.

Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairy Tales (£12.99)    
A beautifully illustrated anthology of Doctor Who-themed fairy tales. Includes an original, specially commissioned illustrated cover and fifteen illustrated plates, one for each fairy tale, in a beautiful paper cut-out style. But aside from gorgeousness of how it looks, the stories themselves will thrill and captivate in equal measure...

These captivating stories include mysterious myths and legends about heroes and monsters of all kinds, from every corner of the universe. Originally told to young Time Lords at bedtime, these twisted tales are an enchanting read for Doctor Who fans of all ages.

Boy 23 - Jim Carrington (£7.99)
Boy 23 isn't in My Place any more. He can't see The Screen, he can't hear The Voice. Boy 23 is totally, utterly alone...

One dark night, Boy 23 is thrown in the back of the van and driven out of My Place - the only home he has ever known. He is abandoned in a forest with a rucksack containing the bare essentials for survival. Before the van drives away, a voice tells him he must run as far as he can. His life depends on it. Boy 23 has never known another human. Boy 23 has never even been outside. So who is he? Why do people want to kill him? And more to the point, who is the voice that wants to save him?

This is one of Julia's big recommends this Christmas: A hugely fast-paced dystopian page-turner which by the end will leave you in a state of shock. For fans of Chaos Walking and Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror.

Arsene Lupin vs Sherlock Holmes - Maurice Leblanc (£6.99)   
This volume contains two adventures which pit the gentleman thief Arsene Lupin against Sherlock Holmes, the world's most famous detective. In 'The Blonde Lady', Holmes must discover the identity of a mysterious female thief who is linked to Lupin, while in 'The Jewish Lamp' he finds out that the theft of a lamp containing a precious jewel conceals an astonishing secret. While their tone is at times ironic and firmly tongue-in-cheek, the two stories in Arsene Lupin vs Sherlock Holmes bear all the hallmarks of classic detective fiction, and will put a smile on the lips and set the pulses racing of all fans of mystery and detective fiction.

Anything That Isn't This - Chris Priestley (£6.99)
A Kafka-esque nightmare of a story…about love. Seventeen-year-old Frank Palp lives in a grim little apartment, in a grim little building, in an exceedingly grim (and rather large) city. He mostly hates his life, he definitely hates the ludicrous city he is forced to live in and he absolutely with complete certainty hates the idiots he's surrounded by...and yet he is in love. A love so pure and sparkling and colourful, Frank feels sure it is 'meant to be.' His love is a reward for all the terrible grey that he is surrounded by - which would be great, if the girl in question knew he existed.

And then one day, the perfect sign appears to land in his lap. A message, in a bottle. A wish, for 'anything that isn't this.' The girl who wrote this is surely his soulmate - and now he just needs to find her.

This is a rather splendid mash-up of stories, part horror, part dystopian fiction, all accompanied by the unsettling yet brilliant illustrations of Chris Priestley.

A Thousand Nights - E.K. Johnston (£12.99)
"Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village, looking for a wife." When Lo-Melkhiin - a formidable king - arrives at her desert home, she knows that he will take her beautiful sister for a wife. Desperate to save her sister from certain death, she makes the ultimate sacrifice - leaving home and family behind to live with a fearful man. But it seems that a strange magic flows between her and Lo-Melkhiin, and night after night, she survives.

Finding power in storytelling, the words she speaks are given strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. But she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king ...if only she can stop her heart from falling for a monster.

Set against a harsh desert backdrop, A Thousand Nights by E K Johnston is an evocative tale of love, mystery and magic that would not feel out of place if Scheherazade herself were telling it. And perhaps she is...
Carry On - Rainbow Rowell (£12.99)
Rainbow Rowell continues to break down boundaries with 'Carry On', an epic fantasy following the triumphs and heartaches of Simon and Baz from her beloved bestselling book, Fangirl.

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savour his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest and his mentor keeps trying to hied him away in the mountains where maybe he'll be safe. Simon can't even enjoy the fact that his room-mate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can't stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you're the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savour anything.

This a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much snogging and heart-to-heart talking as you'd expect from a Rainbow Rowell story - but far, far more monsters!
Liquidator - Andy Mulligan (£12.99)
Hilarious, terrifying and ultimately heart-warming - from the author of Trash comes the tale of a few ordinary kids doing work experience all over the city on the day of the launch of a new global brand. Liquidator - the new and incredibly popular sports drink is in fact a genetically-modified, sugar-based slime that's highly addictive. It's been trialed in Africa, and children have been left damaged and dying. What a shock, therefore, when a nervous girl on work experience stumbles upon confidential files revealing this hideous cover-up. Will she walk away? Or will she tell her friends?

Capsized into a world without principles - where your life is worth nothing and you are forced to rely only on each other. A bunch of kids using their work experience placements to take on the world...Liquidator is bang up to date, a fantastic, twisty-turny thrill ride, and you'll never look at a can of coke in the same way again...

Silence is Goldfish - Annabel Pitcher (£10.99)
The third YA novel from the bestselling and prize-winning author of My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece and Ketchup Clouds.

Tessie-T has never really felt she fitted in and after what she read that night on her father's blog she knows for certain that she never will. How she deals with her discovery makes an entirely riveting, heart-breaking story told through Tess's eyes as she tries to find her place in the world.

Pitcher's talent is beautifully-crafted, deceptively easy prose, which allows you to plunge headlong into a teen word, with all its heartbreak and loneliness, promise and excitement. Quirky, funny and a great alternative if you are really not that in to the dystopian vibe. 
Illuminae: The Illuminae Files Book 1 -
Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff (£8.99)
The year is 2575 and two mega-corporations are at war over a planet that's little more than an ice covered speck. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them Ezra and Kady have to make their escape on the evacuating fleet. But their troubles are just beginning. A deadly plague has broken out on one of the space ships and it is mutating with terrifying results. Their ships protection is seriously flawed. No one will say what is going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth its clear only one person can help her. Ezra. And the only problem with that is they split up before all this trouble started and she isn't supposed to be talking to him.

This is a fantastically original, heart-stopping adventure where everything is definitely more dangerous than it seems. There are hints of everything in here, from Orson Scott Card to Rainbow Rowell, great science fiction works and cutting-edge graphic novels. Spectacular.

Night Owls - Jenn Bennett (£7.99)    
Meeting Jack on the Owl - San Francisco's night bus - turns Beatrix's world upside down. Jack is charming, wildly attractive ...and possibly one of San Francisco's most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight rides and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who this enigmatic boy really is. But Jack is hiding much more - and can she uncover the truth that leaves him so wounded?

A unique and profoundly moving novel, Night Owls will linger in your memory long after the final page. Unashamedly romantic and blisteringly honest about love and sex.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here - Patrick Ness (£12.99)    
What if you weren't the Chosen One? What if you just want to graduate and go to prom?

Following a group of "normal" kids as their "indie" counterparts are busy saving the universe around them, Ness has huge fun subverting familiar YA tropes. But this is ultimately a book about what it is to be human, exploring the hopes, dreams and bonds that we all need to thrive.

Ness is one of the coolest YA writers around at the moment, and this book cements his reputation as one of the surest guides through the difficult and dramatic teenage years.

Asking For It - Louise O'Neill (£12.99)
Louise O'Neill won the inaugural UK YA Prize for her disturbing dystopian book 'Only Ever Yours', which took body-image concerns, sexism and female competition to a satirical climax. And she again asks awkward and profound questions in 'Asking For It', a book which asks: 'Does it matter if you can't remember?'

18-year-old Emma wakes up after a party, in pain and with no memory of the previous night. But thanks to smart phones and social media, everyone else has seen what happened - in explicit detail. A book which boldly tackles issues of rape, consent, betrayal, and victim-blaming in a blistering second novel. Without the cushion of dystopia the result is bold, brave and even more brutal

One - Sarah Crossan (£10.99)    
The story of an unbreakable bond and love between two sisters; the twist is that they are conjoined twins. No longer able to afford home-schooling, they must venture out into the world.

Heartbreaking, life-affirming and quite exceptional, can the girls get beyond the stares and cruelty to find friends, and even love? For fans of Wonder sure, but also fans of Crossan's other uplifting novels including the Carnegie-shortlisted 'Apple and Rain'.

Demon Road - Derek Landy (£14.99)    
Amber is just your average 16 year old, a bit plain with a few extra pounds, but her life is about to change forever when she has to go on the run from her parents who want to kill her. An ally teams her up with Milo, a man with his own secret, to protect her on a road trip with a difference along the demon road to find the one man who may be able to save her.

We love Derek Landy, his Skulduggery Pleasant series is a triumph and a modern classic, and this new book has it all, from Demons and Killer Cars to Vampires and even Witches. A gruesome supernatural fest, and not for the faint-hearted.
Trollhunters - Guillermo del Torro (£10.99)
In San Bernardino, California, children are going missing. The townspeople don't believe the rumours of trolls, but fifteen-year-old Jim Jnr knows that they're a very real threat. At night, is anyone safe? 

Trollhunters is a funny, gruesome and undeniably del Toro-esque adventure perfect for teen readers and fans of Pan's Labyrinth.

Queen of Shadows - Sarah J Maas (£7.99)    
"The fourth breathtaking instalment in the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series. Bloodthirsty for revenge on the two men responsible for destroying her life, and desperate to find out if the prince and his captain are safe, Celaena returns to Rifthold, the seat of so much evil. She has accepted her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, there are dark truths to learn and debts to be paid. 

Readers will be held rapt as Celaena's story builds to an agonising crescendo, packed with heart-pounding action and swoon-worthy romance."

Jackaby - William Ritter (£7.99)    
Doctor Who meets Sherlock in the first in a series which features a detective of the paranormal and his adventurous, intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humour and a dose of the macabre.

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