My love language is book giving and I thought it would be interesting to make a list of the books I have already gifted in the past and why. My thought process when I give books is essentially seeing first what type of reader the receiver is, that means: if they regularly read books or if they’re more of an occasional reader and then I try to figure out the person’s reading tastes from what they’ve told me. To be honest, I mostly give people books I have read and enjoyed because it’s safer but other times I just trust other people’s reviews or if the synopsis catches my eye.
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Synopsis: First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations. The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?
Red, White and Royal Blue is the book that I have gifted the most. I can’t count the amount of times I have gifted this book to people. I love everything about it: the characters are so unique and lovable, their circumstances are so different from the ones of regular people (royal family and first family), the epistolary correspondance melts my heart and the overall atmosphere of the book screams “feel-good’. Gifting this book is like gifting sunshine.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Synopsis: After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus. A flying demon feeding on human energies. A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down. And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw. The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates. She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.
There’s no surprise that Legendborn is an all-time favourite of mine and I’m trying to get as many people to read and that implies forcibly gifting this book to people. It’s the perfect dose between Black girl magic, Arthurian retelling, LGBTQ+ rep, social commentary and pure genius.
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Synopsis: Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars. Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she'll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There's just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job. Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia's task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise. And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor's reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
I gifted this book to my sister last Christmas because we have the same reading tastes and I still hadn’t gotten the chance to read it so she was kind of my guinea pig. She actually ended up enjoying it a lot and gave it four stars but I haven’t gotten around to read it.
Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson
Synopsis: Three days. Two girls. One life-changing music festival. Olivia is an expert at falling in love . . . and at being dumped. But after the fallout from her last breakup has left her an outcast at school and at home, she’s determined to turn over a new leaf. A crush-free weekend at Farmland Music and Arts Festival with her best friend is just what she needs to get her mind off the senior year that awaits her. Toni is one week away from starting college, and it’s the last place she wants to be. Unsure about who she wants to become and still reeling in the wake of the loss of her musician-turned-roadie father, she’s heading back to the music festival that changed his life in hopes that following in his footsteps will help her find her own way forward. When the two arrive at Farmland, the last thing they expect is to realize that they’ll need to join forces in order to get what they’re searching for out of the weekend. As they work together, the festival becomes so much more complicated than they bargained for, and Olivia and Toni will find that they need each other, and music, more than they ever could have imagined. Packed with irresistible romance and irrepressible heart, bestselling author Leah Johnson delivers a stunning and cinematic story about grief, love, and the remarkable power of music to heal and connect us all.
I gifted this book to one of my friends for her birthday. We started talking because she told me that she had loved You Should See Me In the Crown and then we ended up co-hosting a YA queer book club together. I thought it would be perfect to gift her Leah Johnson’s new book. (She still hasn’t read it and neither have I, but I’m hoping to get to it by the end of the year).
Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Synopsis: An incendiary and utterly compelling thriller with a shocking twist that delves deep into the heart of institutionalized racism, from an exceptional new YA voice. Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students' dark secrets to light. Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can't escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn't afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power. Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they're planning much more than a high-school game...
I gifted this book to several people for the same reason I give Legendborn: to spread the genius around; This was such a wonderful thriller with difficult topics handled beautifully (see my review here!) and I just wanted all of my friends to read it. The author announced that a French translation was on its way so I can’t wait to gift it to my french-reading friends too!
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever. And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe. Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences. As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
Of course I am going to shove my favourite series into the faces of every single person. This series is a proper “enemies to lovers” book. They actually try to kill each other. And there’s interesting folklore, family secrets and betrayals at every turn. I bought the first book to my friend and she ended up binging the series and I was so happy that she loved it as much as I did!