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Books We Like to Give: 10 Reads that Make Perfect Holiday Gifts for Bookish Friends

by and  | December 12

Are you a last-minute holiday shopper? We’ve certainly been cruising the holiday sales, but suddenly realized that we’ve been embracing the “treat yo’ self” mantra a little too well and haven’t finished picking out gifts for our friends yet! (Ooops.) Thankfully, we live in an age where you can shop online and have something shipped directly to the person receiving the gift, all while sipping eggnog from the comfort of your couch (bless the Internet!). Here are some of the books that we’ll be sending to our friends and family this holiday season as we count down to the end of the year.

P.S. For even more recommendations, be sure to visit Simon & Schuster’s handy Books I Like to Give holiday gift guide here!

My Friend Anna

My Friend Anna

by Rachel DeLoache Williams

For the friend who loves a juicy true-crime story (that doesn’t include a bloody murder):

Without a doubt, this is the BEST nonfiction book that I (Saimah) have read this year. It has everything I want in a true-crime story!

When Rachel DeLoache Williams met Anna “Delvey” Sorokin through mutual friends, she had no idea the mess she was stepping into. Now infamously known as the “SoHo grifter,” Anna Sorokin conned Rachel and many others by claiming she was a German heiress named Anna Delvey. Shortly after the two girls met, Anna began inviting Rachel to go with her to all the New York hot spots, to her personal training sessions with a celebrity trainer, and more! Rachel was a photo editor at Vanity Fair at the time and didn’t have the means to pay for all the extravagance that Anna was so accustomed to. So when Anna extended an invite to Rachel to join her on an all-expenses-paid luxury trip to Morocco, Rachel couldn’t resist the incredible offer…but that’s when everything started to crumble. My Friend Anna shares Rachel’s side of the story and how she helped uncover Anna’s real identity.

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The Last House Guest

The Last House Guest

by Megan Miranda

For the friend who loves a mystery that keeps ’em guessing ’til the end:

Megan Miranda’s latest book should be at the top of your holiday gift list! Take a trip to Littleport, Maine—an ideal vacay hot spot for the wealthy crowd (think the Hamptons or Martha’s Vineyard).

Avery Greer grew up in Littleport and worked around the town for many summers with her friends. Usually the locals and the rich summer kids didn’t really interact and become friends, but over the years Avery forms a strong bond with Sadie Loman—one of the wealthiest summer guests. The girls become inseparable, until the night that Sadie is found dead. The cops rule Sadie’s death a suicide, but Avery can’t shake the feeling that there is something more to her friend’s mysterious death, and tries to uncover what really happened.

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Cookies & Cocktails

Cookies & Cocktails

by Katherine Cobbs

For the friend who has a sweet tooth and enjoys yummy cocktails:

Every year my (Saimah’s) friend’s family hosts a big holiday baking party, during which we happen to eat about a dozen cookies and drink plenty of cocktails. This book is the perfect gift for the occasion and others like it!

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Twice in a Blue Moon

Twice in a Blue Moon

by Christina Lauren

For the friend who’s binge-watching Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas marathon:

The holiday season is full of it’s-cheesy-but-I-can’t-stop-watching holiday movies about falling in love with a new mystery man or that heartbreaker you used to know. So it’s the perfect season for a second-chance romance!

Twice in a Blue Moon is less laugh-out-loud rom-com and more heartfelt story of young love. During a whirlwind two-week vacation to London, Tate meets Sam, and they fall head over heels for each other. Tate reveals her biggest secret to Sam, and he betrays her. Fourteen years later, they meet again…. Tate is now an up-and-coming actress, who has landed the role of a lifetime. The last person she expects to see on set is Sam. As the days pass and they are forced to spend more time together, secrets are revealed and truths are uncovered. Can Tate find it in her heart to forgive Sam and trust him again? You’ll have to pick up the book to find out!

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SLAY

SLAY

by Brittney Morris

For the friend who always has the latest video games and won’t stop talking about how to beat that raid boss:

I (Saimah) still can’t believe we live in an age where virtual reality and augmented reality are becoming the norm and are integrated in many video games. I still remember listening to music on my parents’ record player when we were kids. But if your friend is a fan of the latest cutting-edge tech and is a gamer, they will love SLAY!

 

The story follows a young black girl, Kiera, who secretly codes her own VR game (also called SLAY) once she realizes that all the games she is used to playing feature only characters who look nothing like her. The game is unique because it is built to be a safe space for POCs to truly be themselves and show off all the beauty that their culture and ancestry entails. But when someone is killed in real life over a dispute in the game, Kiera’s world starts to spin. Nobody knows that she is the creator of the game, but the media outlets start calling the game discriminatory, and an anonymous troll threatens to sue the developer for being anti-white. Fans of The Hate U Give and Ready Player One will enjoy this story where the BLM movement and gaming-tech intersect.

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The World That We Knew

The World That We Knew

by Alice Hoffman

For the friend who loves history, but appreciates a touch of the magical as well:

At their best, the holidays are a magical time, and what better way to extend that feeling than with a powerful read by the author of Practical Magic?

In The World That We Knew, Alice Hoffman transports readers to 1941 Europe, where a desperate mother and a renowned rabbi will do anything and everything to save their daughters, Lea and Ettie, from the Nazi regime. Little do they know that a chance at salvation will come in the form of a mystical Jewish creature named Ava, created by Ettie to protect Lea, thus binding the three of them together forever. From a desperate flight from Berlin to a meeting of soul mates in Paris to a respite at the mountaintop village school that saved three thousand Jews, their journeys will change the course of their lives forever.

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The Institute

The Institute

by Stephen King

For the friend who got you hooked on Stranger Things:

The Institute is here to keep your friend with a weakness for suspense and horror reading long into the night, because this is Stephen King at the top of his game.

One minute, Luke Ellis is living a relatively normal life with his parents in Minneapolis—and the next, he’s confronting a nightmarish reality in which his parents are dead and he’s being held captive in a facility known as The Institute. There he meets others like him, kids with psychic powers of telekinesis and telepathy. The more Luke learns about the tests and experiments that the staff conducts on the kids under the leadership of the evil Mrs. Sigsby, the more determined he is to do what no one else has ever done: break out of the Institute and make a run for help.

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This Tender Land

This Tender Land

by William Kent Krueger

For the friend who wouldn’t rest until you took their advice and read Where the Crawdads Sing: 

Okay, so your book-recommending friend was totally right—you could hardly bear to put down your copy of Where the Crawdads Sing until you’d read every word. Well, now you can return the favor with William Kent Krueger’s equally mesmerizing new novel, This Tender Land.

The Great Depression spared no one and nothing, least of all Minnesota’s Lincoln School, a bleak institution where Native American children separated from their parents and orphans were sent to study. It’s certainly no place for a spirited young troublemaker like Odie O’Banion, who gets on the superintendent’s bad side one too many times and decides to run away with his brother, Albert, and their friends Mose and Emmy. Fueled by dreams of reaching the Mississippi River and finding a true home, the four children embark on the trip of a lifetime across the uniquely American landscape we all know and love.

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Where Winter Finds You

Where Winter Finds You

by J.R. Ward

For the friend who’s still drooling over Robert Pattinson and Ian Somerhalder as vampires (with good reason): 

Sexy and intense, vampire romances will never die, so J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood novella Where Winter Finds You is the perfect way to say “Who knows you best?” to the friend who never missed an episode of The Vampire Diaries.

Ever since the shocking, devastating death of Trez’s soul mate, the grief-stricken vampire has been in the dark about what lay ahead for him. Now he sees a light at the end of the tunnel, though, because it would appear that there is reason to hope that his lost love isn’t gone for good after all. When the enigmatic Therese shows up in Caldwell, Trez becomes convinced that she’s actually a reincarnated version of his beloved Selena. Could it be true? Will Trez get his happily ever after at last?

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Gracefully You

Gracefully You

by Jenna Dewan

For the friend who’s ready for a fresh start in 2020:

Longtime Jenna Dewan fans and newcomers alike will be delighted by this book’s positive, uplifting message about tuning out excess noise and tuning into your own true voice.

Between her star turn in Step Up, hosting duties for World of Dance, and a truly iconic performance in Lip Sync Battle, actress and dancer Jenna Dewan has won hearts the world over. Now, she’s opening up about her personal life and how she stays motivated. In her gorgeously styled first book, Gracefully You, graced with lovely photos, Jenna offers peeks behind the curtain at her experiences as a businesswoman, mother, artist—that is, as one who is working to balance it all.

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Photo Credit // Ben White on Unsplash

Categories // Bookish Lists

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Saimah works on the Corporate Digital Marketing team at Simon & Schuster. She is a fan of dystopian fiction, celeb memoirs, contemporary rom-coms and murder mysteries. When she's not reading, she is binge-watching her favorite shows, exploring the best rooftop bars in the city and watching sports. Follow her on Instagram at @fire.escape.reads!