• The Sapling

Terrific gifts for Teens

The Sapling is dedicated to bringing you the best books from Aotearoa for gifting this holidays. It's our final batch of recommendations for the holiday season, and we're finishing with a bang! Check out these top-notch titles for the teens in your life.

A Trio of Sophies, by Eileen Merriman (Penguin NZ)

This is definitely a book for the older chunk of young adult readers, not for your ahead-of-their-age-reading-level intermediate kids. But for that 15+ audience, A Trio of Sophies is an absolute page-turner. Intrigue, mystery, outrage.


Half My Life, by Diana Noonan (OneTree House)

[Don't judge a book by its cover is a oft-quoted phrase for a reason. Look past the cover and] When you crack open this YA novel, you're in for a compelling combo of relationship drama, mental health examination... and Greece!


Neands, by Dan Salmon (OneTree House)

Something strange is happening to Charlie's friends, and his father was the one to spot it first. Now he's been thrust together with other still-humans, with no way of knowing who the genome disease will strike next. A dystopian YA choice with some stunningly good writing.


Rise of the Remarkables: Brasswitch and Bot, by Gareth Ward (Walker Books Australia)

Another steampunk delight from Gareth Ward, featuring the inimitable Wrench on a journey of self-realisation as she comes into her full powers. There's some Voldemort-scale evil at play, and Wrench needs to figure out who to trust as she fights to stop wholesale destruction.


Children of the Furnace: Heartsblood, by Brin Murray (The Copy Press) This is the third in the Children of the Furnace series by Brin Murray, telling the story of a post climate-change world overtaken by a dangerous religious cult bent on persecution. A fantastic story comes to a gripping end.


Aspiring, by Damien Wilkins (Massey University Press/Annual Ink)

Look, it won best YA at the NZCYA Awards for a reason. Damien Wilkins is a national icon in the adult space, and his shift to a young adult audience loses none of the deftness and sophistication. It's a coming-of-age-ish story with a touch of weirdness and a whole lot of Central Otago and St Louis.


Snow, by Gina Inverarity (Wakefield Press)

Snow doesn't know who she truly is, but she knows she is going to survive. This post climate-change retelling of Snow White is a dark, delicious adventure into forest wilds with a little bear as a companion.