Books, Real Life

Holiday Book Shopping Guide

Whether you’re buying gifts for friends and family or browsing for books for yourself, this list might help point you in a direction.

I hope you find something you like.


For the history buffs:



For the disaffected youths who never grew up:



For the spiritually-inclined:



For witches, Wiccans, and pagan pals:



For the optimists:



For people who love magic, space, and queer representation:

  • Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore
    • Two sisters. One rivalry. A curse that will turn one of them into a swan.
  • We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
    • The plot synopsis makes me really angry. I hope the protagonist sets her world on fire.
  • Crier’s War by Nina Varela
    • Enemies-to-lovers war romance WITH ANDROIDS??? Honestly, how dare you.
  • Reverie by Ryan La Sala
    • A “riotously queer” book about dreams that come to life
  • Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor
    • Think Repo Men for queer teens…in SPACE!
  • Beyond the Black Door by A. M. Strickland
    • An ace girl visits people’s souls while they sleep.
  • There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool
    • A prophecy tells of a Prophet who will save or end the world. Here are your five suspects.
  • The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen
    • A brutal caste system. A fearsome disease. A brewing revolution. A hot bodyguard that I have a huge crush on.
  • Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
    • A magical caste system forces human girls into sex slavery for the Demon King. These girls fight back.
  • The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
    • A diverse group of Parisian thieves seek an ancient treasure.
  • An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
    • Making the case for reparations…in space!
  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James
    • A man called the Tracker seeks a mysterious child.
  • Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
    • The most fractured fractured fairy tale ever written.
  • The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
    • A silly space opera starring a ragtag bunch of misfits fighting in an epic war.
  • The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
    • Take the popular “What if we killed Hitler?” plot, reverse it, and give it an all-female cast.



For aspiring astrologists:



For the pessimists predicting a future dystopia:

  • The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh
    • Ahem…a “feminist revenge fantasy???” Go at it.
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman
    • Detailed feminist revenge fantasy + biting satire.
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John
    • We’re due for another plague, y’all.
  • The Farm by Joanne Ramos
    • Eugenics, misogyny, and a crackdown on reproductive rights. So…the American South?
  • Bunny by Mona Awad
    • Suspiria for MFA students.
  • This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
    • Our possible futures are a Borg-like mass of organic matter or a technological wonderland where PEOPLE CAN TAKE OUT THEIR EYES.
  • Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera
    • Hi, hello, our future is Fury Road and all-girl crews are our only salvation.
  • How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin
    • In one story in this collection, a utopian society in a parallel universe tries to learn from our mistakes.
  • Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
    • Impossible things are happening on planet Earth. Several experts are sent in with guns. Nothing bad happens.
  • Internment by Samira Ahmed
    • Please don’t let this be our future.
  • The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
    • In this book, girls are sent into the woods when they turn sixteen to keep from driving men wild with their sensual bodies. Thanks, I hate it.



For intersectional feminists



For the comic book lover:

  • Cheshire Crossing by Andy Weir with illustrations by Sarah Andersen
    • Dorothy, Alice, and Wendy JOIN FORCES. THIS IS MY DREAM.
  • Nimona written and illustrated by Noelle Stevenson
    • From the synopsis: “Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism!” Stevenson is also the showrunner of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.
  • The Witch Boy written and illustrated by Molly Knox Ostertag
    • Because boys can be witches instead of shapeshifters.
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki with illustrations by Rosemary Valerio-O’Connell
    • The touching saga of a fed-up girl and her awful girlfriend.
  • I Moved to Los Angeles to Work in Animation written and illustrated by Natalie Nourigat
    • An insider look into the animation industry.
  • Blackbird, Vol. 1 by Sam Humphries with illustrations Jen Bartel
    • Jen Bartel’s artwork is GORGEOUS. She also worked on Black Panther and puts out glorious art prints and merch.
  • Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV, Werther Dell’Edera, Miquel Muerto, & Andworld Design
    • Oh, good, my nightmares have come to life.
  • Waves by Ingrid Chabbert with illustrations by Carole Maurel
    • A journey into conception, miscarriages, and infertility.
  • Mooncakes by Wendy Xu with illustrations by Suzanne Walker
    • It’s a queer werewolf-witch romance with cake. So, uh…go buy it.
  • The Tea Dragon Society written and illustrated by Katie O’Neill
  • Grease Bats written and illustrated by Archie Bongiovanni
    • “Think Dykes To Watch Out For in the current age with Tinder or Sex And The City but gay and actually good.”
  • Bloodlust and Bonnets written and illustrated by Emily McGovern
    • A debutante becomes the LEADER OF A VAMPIRE CULT.
  • Cats of the Louvre by Taiyo Matsumoto, translated by Michael Arias
    • Attic cats experience art.
  • Drawing Power: Women’s Stories of Sexual Violence, Harassment, and Survival: A Comics Anthology edited by Diane Noomin
    • May this anthology stoke your anger and bring you healing.
  • Cosmoknights written and illustrated by Hannah Templer
    • “For this ragtag band of space gays, liberation means beating the patriarchy at its own game.”
  • DC: Women of Action by Shea Fontana
    • Showing love for the kickass ladies of DC comics.
  • Shuri, Vol 1: The Search for the Black Panther by Nnedi Okorafor, Leonardo Romero, & Jordie Bellaire
    • Shuri deserves everything, including her own comic book series.



For the soft souls who love love:

  • Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
    • Jane the Virgin for teens with ocean magic.
  • Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite & Maritza Moulite
    • An epistolary novel cowritten by sisters? Yes. Want.
  • If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
    • The Taming of the Shrew set in high school…with Rocky Horror added in for fun.
  • The Universal Laws of Marco by Carmen Rodrigues
    • Stars. Fate. A love triangle. All sorts of quality content.
  • Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson
    • An epistolary novel about teens who fall in love over text. IT’S ADORABLE AND BI AND THE PHRASE “BURRITO CLOWN” MAKES AN APPEARANCE.
  • Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
    • Imagine a world with a female president whose son fell for the Prince of Wales. JUST GO WITH IT.
  • Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
    • A Puerto-Rican lesbian moves to Portland to intern with her favorite author, hello my dream life.



For the serious sort:

  • This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura
    • Oh cute, CJ likes working at her family’s flower ship… We’re revisiting the Japanese interment during WWII, you say? That took a turn.
  • Color Me In by Natasha Diaz
    • A biracial teen confronts her identity after experiencing prejudice from multiple camps.
  • With Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
    • Teen mom and aspiring chef Emoni dreams of cooking as a career.
  • The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante
    • Marisol takes part in an experimental grief study to keep her family in the United States.
  • They Could Have Named Her Anything by Stephanie Jimenez
    • Two students at a private school strike up a friendship and start to rebel.
  • The Art of Breaking Things by Laura Sibson
    • A teenager decides whether or not to speak out about her assault after her abuser’s return.
  • Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum
    • A photo of Abbi as a baby turned into a meme, giving her unwanted notoriety. Then a cute boy who knows all about the famous “Baby Hope” photo locates her at summer camp.
  • Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D Jackson
    • Three teens turn their murdered friend into a posthumous rap star.



For the literary types:

  • The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
    • Two sisters take charge of their nieces after their oldest sister is arrested.
  • Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn
    • A mother abandons her daughter to move to the U.S. Naturally, there are consequences for their relationship.
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
    • Local legend Kya Clark is suspected of murdering Chase Andrews. The landscape is magical or something.
  • The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
    • A history of New Orleans seen through the eyes of one family in a yellow house
  • Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
    • After experiencing trauma in the U.S., a spirit-touched Nigerian girl interacts with the many ọgbanje who occupy her body.
  • This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga
    • Dangarembga shows you exactly how colonialism and capitalism wear on the black body
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney
    • Depressed kids more-or-less stay friends as their lives change in monumental ways.
  • Inland by Téa Obreht
    • Spirits. Camels. Téa Obreht’s first novel since The Tiger’s Wife.
  • Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
    • Queenie battles anxiety, racism, a miscarriage, a breakup, and online dating. NO WONDER SHE’S TIRED.



For the creative nonfiction lover:



For the science geeks and futurists:


Happy shopping, friends.

Get out there and hit those book sales.

4 thoughts on “Holiday Book Shopping Guide”

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