I am a teenager when it comes to reading so these are all really great books for teens OR adults. Most are girl-friendly but I'm gonna include some dude ones too. First off - Prep. This is the ultimate "oh my god that was my freaking life as a teen" book. Not in that I was shipped off to boarding school, but more in that I over thought everything and the book encapsulates every feeling I've ever had - some of which I still have! Ugh (boots).
Okay, I have the Prep for boys - and it's non-fiction! Paul Feig, the author of Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence is responsible for the life-changing television Freaks & Geeks. Along with Judd Apatow, I owe many hours of bliss to him. If you do not know this show, then go and buy it. Don't rent it. That will not do. Buy and watch it and fall in love for the first time. Okay, so he wrote this book and it's filled with embarrassing stories of masturbation and gym class. And yes, they go together.
Again, this could apply to a cool teenager or yourself or really to anyone with a sense of humor and the slightest knowledge of who Motley Crue is. The Dirt is one of the juiciest, most insane rock stories ever. Each band member tells their own version of what they were going through during their quick rise to fame and the aftermath of making it big. Think sex, drugs and more sex. Even with a burrito!
So lets say you get The Dirt for a guy, what do you get for his twin sister? Or your other cousin??? While any girl after my own heart would love to get The Dirt, a more obviously girl version of that book is the juicy tell-all I'm With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie. Pamela Des Barres paved the way for every other rock tell-all that came in her wake and if I were a college professor teaching cultural studies I bet I'd teach that this was the start of our tabloid and celebrity culture. This is good. Although be careful how old people are reading these two rock books - there is some seriously graphic stuff, but that makes it all the more exciting for teens, no?
Know a teen with a killer interest? Special Topics in Calamity Physics is one of my all time favorite books. Put it on your list as well as get it for your sister or younger cousin. It's very Dawson's Creek meets Buffy sans the vampires but with all the suspense. I can't recommend it enough!
Have a younger boy you need to buy for? Or maybe it's a young girl? Or maybe it's for your friend who is crafty and nostalgic for their childhood? I cannot tell you how awesome these books are. The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Daring Book for Girls. I have the girls one and have perused the boys one and I love them both. Learn how to make a paper airplane, build a treehouse and the history of princesses. In a nutshell, it's everything you've ever wanted to know. I also like getting gifts on Christmas that allow for you to explore them after all the presents are opened and you are lounging with coffee in your pj's. These books are perfect for that.
So if you need to get a book for your parents and they aren't into stories of teenage woe, then hmmm, I might not be able to help. But perhaps you could get your mom Eat, Pray, Love. That seems to be a mom book. I've never read it but I did interview the author once and she was so nice and gracious. That's a solid combo in my book. For dad? My dad is really into The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. I have no idea what it's about but it seems dad-friendly. It's a joke, people. But you can lighten the mood by telling a great 9/11 joke after you give it to him.
I thought you said you'd never forget.