While I may be ten books behind on my Goodreads goal, *shutters* I have read some amazing books this year. Here are twelve books that I recommend for under the tree for book lovers!
Unblemished by Sara Ella
This book is phenomenal. I loved it! If you’re a fan of Urban Fantasy, this is a must for your Christmas Wishlist. Read my review here.
Eliyana has always recoiled from her own reflection in the mirror. But what if that were only one Reflection—one world? What if another world existed where her blemish could become her strength?
Eliyana is used to the shadows. With a hideous birthmark covering half her face, she just hopes to graduate high school unscathed. That is, until Joshua hops a fence and changes her perspective. No one, aside from her mother, has ever treated her as normal. Maybe even beautiful. Because of Joshua, Eliyana finally begins to believe she could be loved.
But one night her mother doesn’t come home, and that’s when everything gets weird.
Now Joshua is her new, and rather reluctant, legal Guardian. Add a hooded stalker and a Central Park battle to the mix and you’ve gone from weird to otherworldly.
Eliyana soon finds herself in a world much larger and more complicated than she’s ever known. A world enslaved by a powerful and vile man. And Eliyana holds the answer to defeating him. How can an ordinary girl, a blemished girl, become a savior when she can’t even save herself?
The Hard Count by Ginger Scott
Y’all’ve heard me talk about this book, right? Of course you have because I’m obsessed with Nico Medina! Sports lovers and love lovers can rejoice about this book about a boy from the other side of the tracks and the coach’s daughter. Read my review here.
Nico Medina’s world is eleven miles away from mine. During the day, it’s a place where doors are open—where homes are lived in, and neighbors love. But when the sun sets, it becomes a place where young boys are afraid, where eyes watch from idling cars that hide in the shadows and wicked smoke flows from pipes.
West End is the kind of place that people survive. It buries them—one at a time, one way or another. And when Nico was a little boy, his mom always told him to run.
I’m Reagan Prescott—coach’s daughter, sister to the prodigal son, daughter in the perfect family.
Life on top.
My world is the ugly one. Private school politics and one of the best high school football programs in the country can break even the toughest souls. Our darkness plays out in whispers and rumors, and money and status trump all. I would know—I’ve watched it kill my family slowly, strangling us for years.
In our twisted world, a boy from West End is the only shining light.
I hated him before I needed him.
I fell for him fast.
I loved him when it was almost too late.
When two ugly worlds collide, even the strongest fall. But my world…it hasn’t met the boy from West End.
Vernal by Randi Cooley Wilson
Oh my word, this book. This is probably the best NA that I read this year, and yes, I read some Colleen Hoover this year. Vernal was just…ah, so good! Read my review here.
Serena has a bright future etched in stone.
Tristan has a dark past that haunts him.
Together, they have a love that can never be.
Sheltered, and unable to escape her bloodline, Serena St. Michael has spent the last two years training at the Royal Protector Academy. Struggling with a dark past, Tristan Gallagher’s current assignment is to protect a lifetime of secrets. One chance encounter will change everything. Serena must decide if she will follow her heart, forsaking all she’s ever known and risking a future worse than non-existence. Tristan will break every rule to save Serena, even if he can’t keep her. In their world of darkness, one love will ignite an ancient war. When pasts collide with the present, and secrets are revealed, will love be enough? Or will one lie destroy it all?
When you’ve hidden behind a mask for so long, would you reveal yourself for love? Vernal, the first novel in The Royal Protector Academy series is a dangerously exciting and darkly romantic tale that will take your breath away.
The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts
Dallas. Lang. Need I say more? I am a McNerd cheerleader! Vivian Galdi is your romance junkie and secret McNerd swooner. I loved Vivian, swooned fiercely for Dallas, and am praying for more of this Californian town. Read my review here.
True love can’t be strategized.
After book blogger Vivian Galdi’s longtime crush pretends their secret summer kissing sessions never happened, Vivian creates a list of safe crushes, determined to protect her heart.
But nerd-hot Dallas, the sweet new guy in town, sends the mission and Vivian’s zing meter into chaos. While designing software for the bookstore where Vivian works, Dallas wages a counter-mission.
Operation Replacement Crush is in full effect. And Dallas is determined to take her heart off the shelf.
True Born by L.E. Sterling
This is a marvelous debut and beginning to a dystopian trilogy from Entangled Teen. Lucy and Margot Fox live in Dominion City, a peculiar place that’ll make you curious and keep you guessing. Jared Price is the best! He’s the Jace Lightwood of Dominion, and I want more of him. Read my review here.
Welcome to Dominion City.
After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.
The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…
And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.
When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?
As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.
What You Always Wanted by Kristin Rae
Fans of Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra will devour this YA romance. Even though this is book eight in the If Only series, it can be read as a standalone. Maddie Brooks is an old soul, in love with men from the 1940s and a musical connoisseur. She doesn’t anticipate Jesse Morales, and she most definitely doesn’t expect to fall for him. Read my review here.
If only…he was the boy she’s been dreaming of.
Theatre girl Maddie Brooks has always had high standards for guys. But she has yet to find one who can live up to the classic Hollywood heartthrobs, especially the dreamy song-and-dance man Gene Kelly. When Maddie begins to carpool with Jesse Morales, her new neighbor and star pitcher of the baseball team, she’s struck by his wit, good looks, and love for his family—but a guy so into sports is definitely not her style. Then Maddie discovers that Jesse was raised as a dancer and still practices in the community theatre’s dance studio to keep in shape. Perhaps her perfect dream guy exists after all! But when it becomes clear that baseball—not dance—is Jesse’s passion, can Maddie find a way to let her dream guy go and appreciate the charms of the amazing guy in front of her?
This fun, high school theatre romance in the If Only line is for anyone who has ever wished for that impossibly perfect guy.
The Row by J.R. Johansson
This book is Criminal Minds for YA lovers. It’s seriously so good and unputdownable. Do yourself a favor and get. This. Book. Read my review here.
A death sentence. A family torn apart. One girl’s hunt for the truth.
Seventeen-year-old Riley Beckett is no stranger to prison. Her father is a convicted serial killer on death row who has always maintained that he was falsely accused. Riley has never missed a single visit with her father. She wholeheartedly believes that he is innocent.
Then, a month before the execution date, Riley’s world is rocked when, in an attempt to help her move on, her father secretly confesses to her that he actually did carry out the murders. He takes it back almost immediately, but she cannot forget what he’s told her. Determined to uncover the truth for her own sake, she discovers something that will forever change everything she’s believed about the family she loves.
Love Me Never by Sara Wolf
Isis Blake is the sarcastic, witty voice you’ve been looking for. She’s not looking for love, so she goes to war with Jack Hunter, the Ice Prince of East Summit high. Don’t even get me started on that cliff-hanger! You might as well add book two, Forget Me Always, to your list, too. Read my review here.
Read the book that Kirkus Reviews called: “A complex, witty page-turner, ideal for YA fans of scandal and romance.”
Don’t love your enemy. Declare war on him.
Seventeen-year-old Isis Blake hasn’t fallen in love in three years, nine weeks, and five days, and after what happened last time, she intends to keep it that way. Since then she’s lost eighty-five pounds, gotten four streaks of purple in her hair, and moved to Buttcrack-of-Nowhere, Ohio, to help her mom escape a bad relationship.
All the girls in her new school want one thing—Jack Hunter, the Ice Prince of East Summit High. Hot as an Armani ad, smart enough to get into Yale, and colder than the Arctic, Jack Hunter’s never gone out with anyone. Sure, people have seen him downtown with beautiful women, but he’s never given high school girls the time of day. Until Isis punches him in the face.
Jack’s met his match. Suddenly everything is a game.
The goal: Make the other beg for mercy.
The game board: East Summit High.
The reward: Something neither of them expected.
Previously published as Lovely Vicious, this fully revised and updated edition is full of romance, intrigue, and laugh-out-loud moments.
How Willa Got Her Groove Back by Emily McKay
I recommend every book in the Creative HeArts series, but the ending of this one is the one that has me itching for more Finn McCain and Willa Schofer. Maybe it’s because it’s the first book from the series I read, or maybe it’s because THAT CLIFFHANGER JUST ISN’T RIGHT, EMILY MCKAY! Anyway, read my review here.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains an unbelievably hot bad boy, an unbelievably famous actress, and all the drama that comes with adding both to your family. Oh, and a forbidden flirtation with a soon-to-be stepbrother.
When Willa Schofer’s father comes home from a business trip with an über-famous new fiancée, Willa’s senior year blows up in paparazzi-fueled flames. Overnight, she has a new house, a new car, and a new soon-to-be stepbrother—the unbelievably hot, unbelievably arrogant, Finn McCain. Thank god he’s constantly pushing her buttons, or she might do something irresponsible. Like fall for the jerk.
Just when Willa’s decided to avoid him for, oh, ever, Finn lands in the center of her senior project team. Seriously—how hard is it to shake a guy? At least her work on the project snagged the attention of the (second) hottest guy in school. He might only be into her because of her famous stepmom, and he’s not quite as exciting as a certain annoying housemate, but at least she’s allowed to crush on the guy.
Because crushing on your annoying stepbrother? So not cool.
One Summer With Autumn by Julie Reece
I’ve fangirled hard over this book, so I really don’t think I have to explain myself. I would love to see more of the Behr family, maybe some Caden and Autumn Teslow cameos. Read my review here.
Seventeen-year-old Autumn Teslow arrives at her father’s job fair knowing she’ll never measure up to the perfect image of daddy’s little girl—her twin sister.
Wearing anger management issues like a second skin won’t help Autumn win her dad’s approval for the big trip she’s been planning—or meet his condition that she successfully complete a summer internship for college.
Autumn’s cool unravels when her sister lectures against disappointing the family again. And when a young, bearded guy steps through the crowd to settle the growing argument between siblings, Autumn lashes out, dubbing him a “Duck Dynasty wannabe.”
At Nineteen, Caden Behr is clueless as to why his man parts are threatened by the fearsome girl before him. He’d only come to find an intern for his recreational equipment company, not break up a girl-fight between two sisters.
Unfortunately, the only candidate left is the girl who just told him off. Without her, he’ll never prove to his CEO mother that he’s ready for more responsibility.
Autumn and Caden agree that if they can keep from killing one another, they can use one another to get what they want and then never have to see each other again. Which is what they want.
Until it isn’t.
Because despite her best efforts to scare him off, and his fading desire to push her into the lake, they’re beginning to enjoy the time they spend together. But pride is a hard habit to break. And if neither will admit their changing feelings, they could lose a whole lot more than one summer.
Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry
If Katie McGarry weren’t on this list, you should probably have me checked out. It’s Thomas “Razor” Turner, people! This doesn’t need anymore explanation. Plus, Breanna Miller is the smart, good girl that this bad boy needed. Read my review here.
One moment of recklessness will change their worlds.
Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.
Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.
And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.
The Rift Uprising by Amy S. Foster
This book appeals to classic sci-fi lovers. It’s a different sort of dystopian, as it takes place in the year 2020. It had more of an adult lit feel to me, so unless you like harder sci-fi, I’d stay away. But I enjoyed it and have to know what happens next after an ending like that.
The first book in the fast-paced action-adventure, The Rift Uprising trilogy—an enthralling mix of speculative fiction and military thriller—in which a young soldier comes to question the monsters she’s trained to fight against . . . and the monsters she fights for
Seventeen-year-old Ryn Whittaker is a Citadel: an elite, enhanced soldier specially chosen to guard a Rift, a mysterious and dangerous portal to alternate Earths scientists cannot control or close. Trained from the age of fourteen, Ryn can run faster, jump farther, and fight better than a Navy SEAL—which is good when you’re not sure if a laser-wielding Neanderthal or an axe-wielding Viking is trying to make it through the Rift and into her world.
But the teenager’s military conditioning and education have not prepared her for the boy who crosses through—a confused young man, seemingly lost and alone. Because while there’s an immediate physical attraction, it’s his intelligence and curiosity that throws Ryn off balance. The stranger asks disturbing questions about the Rift that Ryn herself has never considered—questions that lead her to wonder if everything about her life and what she’s been told these past six years has been a lie. Are the Rifts as dangerous as her leaders say? Should her people really try to close them . . . or learn how to travel through them?
There are obviously so many other books that I could recommend! All the books on the list above came out in 2016, however (except for Love Me Never, but I’m giving myself a pass). If you need more book recs, follow us on Goodreads or add me on my personal account!