Let’s Get Gifty! Recommendations from the Pitch Wars ’15 Class

Move over, Elf on the Shelf, gotta make space for this year’s book haul! If you need a little help gift shopping, the Pitch Wars ’15 class has you covered. Check out our list of recommendations for all the book lovers in your life:

Tracy Gold recommends: THE HEIRS OF WATSON ISLAND series by Martina Boone
“Martina Boone’s Heirs of Watson Island series for the Southern Gothic feel of Trueblood minus the vampires and written for teens!”

Amanda Rawson Hill recommends: BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert
“For the writer in your life. Or the painter, or the actor, or anyone trying to pursue a creative endeavor.”

Courtney Howell recommends: AN EMBER IN THE ASHES & A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT by Sabaa Tahir
“I recommend this series to everyone, whether they like fantasy or not because to me, it transcends the genre. The characters are so real and so flawed and so compelling. It’s also great as an audiobook. The narrators are incredibly talented and make this already amazing story truly gripping.”

An Anonymous Elf recommends: THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES by Mindy McGinnis
“The perfect gift for your teen girl. Or your teen guy. Or your best friend who is all about Pantsuit Nation. Or anyone who needs to learn something about the female of our species. Plus you get three really sharp POVs and an ending that I’m not sure you’ll be able to predict.”

JR Yates recommends: BORN TO RUN by Bruce Springsteen
“For lovers of music, pursuers of art, and liver’s of life. Springsteen reflects on his childhood, his father’s mental illness, marriage, love and his music.”

Mike Mammay recommends: OUTRIDERS by Jay Posey
“For people who like Military Science Fiction. . . Posey writes soldiers right.”

Mairi Kilaine recommends: SOFIA KHAN IS NOT OBLIGED by Ayisha Malik
“Laugh out loud funny women’s fiction often described as the “Muslim Bridget Jones.” Malik deftly weaves comedy, romance, and the intricacies of finding love as a Muslim woman in London. I stayed up until 3am to finish it, my highest bar for a good read.”

Sarah Madsen recommends: THE HOLLOWS series by Kim Harrison
“For those who want a COMPLETE urban fantasy series . . . great fun with wonderful characters and a rich world. I adore it.”

Julie Artz recommends: PAX by Sara Pennypacker
“This lyrical story has the feel of the animal stories we loved as kids, but with a touching message of peace, hope, and second chances that feels awfully appropriate right now.”

Ashley MacKenzie recommends: THE HEARTBREAKERS by Ali Novak
“It’s a fun, voicy romp through teenage romance and sibling relationships.”

Elizabeth Leis-Newman recommends: LIFE AFTER LIFE by Kate Atkinson
“For your friend who likes literary fiction with an element of fantasy . . . it follows Ursula as she lives and dies in each chapter, and I think it is a book that examines how choices you make have ripple effects.”

Wendy Langlas Parris recommends: HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. by Casey Lyall
“Great for kids to read on their own and perfect for parents who want to read aloud to their kids—it’s from the POV of a middle schooler who talks/thinks/acts like Humphrey Bogart in THE MALTESE FALCON. Very funny film noir voice.”

Caitlan McCollum recommends: EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire
“Featuring a gorgeous diverse cast, this gorgeously creepy novella is for anyone who ever wondered what it was like to travel through the looking glass or a wardrobe to Narnia and beyond, and for those struggling to return to the real world after having an adventure.”

Leigh Mar recommends: THE HATING GAME by Sally Thorne
“For the RomCom lover in your life . . . It’s fun from page one as long-time work rivals Lucy and Joshua compete for the same job.”

Heather Murphy Capps recommends: THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colton Whitehead
“Magical Realism. The story of Cora’s escape from slavery, via an imagined actual underground train. I was concerned because the device foments the regrettable (frustrating) misunderstanding that the railway was an actual train. But it’s a beautiful, brutal, important story.”

Isabel Andrew Davis recommends: THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon

Maria Mora recommends: SWORDSPOINT by Ellen Kushner
“Adult Fantasy. Rich world-building and delightful, subtle romance. Such a cozy, unique book and worth hanging onto for many rereads. I read it once a year.”

Kristen Lepionka recommends: WOMEN CRIME WRITERS: Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940s & 50s
“Boxed set collected by Sarah Weinman. A crash course on the female writers who shaped the crime fiction genre alongside writers like Chandler or Hammett back in the day, but whom you might not be as familiar with. Dorothy B. Hughes, Margaret Millar, and Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, to name a few. On top of that, it looks gorgeous on a bookshelf!”

Lyndsay Ely recommends: THE GODS OF GOTHAM by Lyndsay Faye
“Picked up this book purely for the author’s name and ended up being seduced into the series, which follows the fictional first New York City “detective.” A dark, lusciously gritty story full of street slang, devastating characters, and pull-no-punches period details.”

Happy book buying!

Lyndsay Ely

Lyndsay Ely is a writer who tends toward speculative YA, but if you want any more clarification than that, she’ll probably create a distraction and run. She should definitely not be allowed to write for young children. Find her on Twitter at @LyndsayEly.

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