The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Imagine a school in a castle filled with moving staircases, a sport played on flying broomsticks, an evil wizard intent on domination, an ordinary boy who’s the hero of a whole world he doesn’t know. This is the story that comes to life in the marvelous Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling.
The Dark Lord, Voldemort, tried to murder Harry when he was just a baby—but he failed, killing Harry’s parents but leaving him with a lightning-bolt scar. After Voldemort’s disappearance, Harry is sent to live with his nasty aunt and uncle, far away from any hint of magic. But at the age of eleven, he is invited to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and a magical world opens before him.
Each of the seven books in the series chronicles one year in Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts and his battle against Lord Voldemort. Harry makes two marvelous best friends named Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. He studies topics like Transfiguration and Potions under wise headmaster Albus Dumbledore and the malevolent Severus Snape. He becomes expert at a game called Quidditch; encounters incredible creatures like phoenixes and dragons; and discovers an entire Wizarding universe hidden just out of sight, as prone to the darker aspects of human experience as our own, but brightened by a quirky original magic.
And slowly, Harry unravels the mysteries of his original confrontation with Voldemort: why the Dark Lord tried to kill him, how he lived… and what he must do to survive another encounter.
The first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was published in the United Kingdom in 1997; a decade later, the last novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, broke all records to become the fastest-selling book in history. The seven novels have been translated into sixty-eight languages, selling over four hundred million copies in more than two hundred countries. (Scholastic)
If you can get your hands on one or both of the published illustrated editions I highly recommend them.
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.
Maybe that was always beside the point.
Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.
When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.
That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…
Is that what she’s supposed to do?
Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened? (Goodreads)
Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, & Lauren Myracle
Sparkling white snowdrifts, beautiful presents wrapped in ribbons, and multicolored lights glittering in the night through the falling snow. A Christmas Eve snowstorm transforms one small town into a romantic haven, the kind you see only in movies. Well, kinda. After all, a cold and wet hike from a stranded train through the middle of nowhere would not normally end with a delicious kiss from a charming stranger. And no one would think that a trip to the Waffle House through four feet of snow would lead to love with an old friend. Or that the way back to true love begins with a painfully early morning shift at Starbucks. Thanks to three of today’s bestselling teen authors—John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle—the magic of the holidays shines on these hilarious and charming interconnected tales of love, romance, and breathtaking kisses. (Goodreads)
My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins (& more!)
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins. Whether you enjoy celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, Winter Solstice or New Year’s there’s something here for everyone. So curl up by the fireplace and get cozy. You have twelve reasons this season to stay indoors and fall in love. (Goodreads)
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.
Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever. (Goodreads)
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.
So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own. (Goodreads)