Top coffee table books to buy this Christmas

I love young adult literature maybe because I am still a teen at heart. Here are my top 10 coffee table books including 2016 best Fiction for Young Adults to buy this Christmas (& beyond).

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If you thought the print publishing industry was overtaken by the electronic world, you need to re-think that in the light of this list of the best young adult novels published in 2016.coffee-table-books-2016-authors-penguin

My annual meeting with some authors at the Penguin annual showcase is unmissable. The venue itself is one of my favourite ones in London, 80 Strand overlooking the Thames. Even Monet would prefer it to the Savoy view (which is not bad at all!).

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I am a bit addicted to books and at this pace my house will become London’s next biggest books’ collection after the British Library. I cannot resist a good read. At weekends or on holidays I often find myself immersed so much in books that I even loose the sense of time.

With no further ado, here is my list of my coffee table books for 2016.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Little Brown)

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When the publication of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was announced this Spring, I had no doubt JK Rowling would not disappoint me. Of course she is milking the success of Harry Potter, but I still think that she has nailed this new novel in script format and to do an outstanding job she has co-authored with theatre director John Tiffany and playwright Jack Thorne. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth instalment of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and is set 19 years after The Deathly Hallows. Harry is 37 here, married to Ginny Weasley and father to three young children: Albus, James and Lily. It is a bit strange to see Harry Potter a father but over the course of this book he has to deal with all the problems parents have to face on a daily basis. For us mums and dads it’s really fab as we have grown up with Harry Potter (more or less) so he feels so close to our heart. The story opens at King’s Cross station, heading for Platform 9 ¾, where Albus is about to board the Hogwarts Express.

The old friends Ron, Hermione, Draco Malfoy have also children of their own who make unusual friendships (not necessarily the ones we expect). The whole plot is driven by the new generation of children not by Harry and friends. Albus is the main character along with his unlikely BFF (Best friend forever) Scorpius, Draco’s son, who were put together in the Slytherin House, not in Gryffindor.

Albus  is very different from his famous or infamous dad, apparently not as able as a wizard and is alienated from other students. So he feels a disappointment to his dad and his frustration plus fear of failure drive the plot.

Without spoiling the story, I just say that Albus and Scorpius revisits the past to correct what he perceives as Harry’s greatest mistake, which was the death of Cedric Diggory. Along this time-machine type of journey, people’s lives and history are altered forever.

The Cursed Child is a great read in its script form and people won’t be disappointed to know that Voldemort lives on to allow continuation. It’s all well made but I’d be interested in seeing how it is translated on stage.

 

MALORIE BLACKMAN: CHASING THE STARS (PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE)

With space being a big theme for 2016 inspired by astronaut Tim Peake’s mission and by the latest Star Wars movie, Malorie Blackman, the multi-million copy selling author of Naughts & Crosses, entwines mystery-thriller, heart-rendering love story and space adventure in her new breathtaking novel called Chasing the Stars, a novel aimed at teenagers and inspired by one of the world’s greatest stories.

The story is about Olivia and her twin brother Aidan who head back alone to Earth following the virus that completely wiped out the rest of their crew and their family. During the journey there’s an alien attack and Nathan and Vee are among the survivors. They are instantly and deeply attracted to each other. But not everyone is pleased about it. Without giving away spoilers, the story is about a young love that faces tough challenges. I dare say that both Star Wars and Shakespeare (whose 400th anniversary from his death was celebrated on 23 April) have somehow influenced Malorie along the way.

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Malorie Blackman has a nature affinity for space tales and this shines through in her novel Chasing the Stars, which is set in 2164.

It’s an enjoyable story! Teens and romantic literature lovers will enjoy the fact that there’s space sex too but in line with the story of Vee and Nathan. Watch out for a sequel!

 

The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop

Written by Clare Balding Illustrated by Tony Ross

The Racehorse Who Wouldn't Gallop by Clare Balding

Clare Balding is a very versatile author as well as TV personality. I really don’t know how she does it all. I have heard her talk about her books for the second time now and she comes across as very passionate about writing. But surprisingly I preferred her now talking about her first young adult novel featuring an equestrian girl. It felt very much autobiographical from the way she discussed it.

The morale of this book is ‘follow your dreams’, one we always want to hear. Steeped in farm and family life and full of fascinating details from the world of horse racing (which Clare is so familiar with), it’s the story of Charlie who buys the racehorse no-one else wants and goes on to enter him in the Derby. Other characters include animals and humans and it’s like a Disney film turned to novel. I bet there will be a movie and a lot of sequels. The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop is a beautifully written story with an underlying positive message: if you want something and work hard at it, you can achieve your dream.

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Blame by Simon Mayo

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I could not avoid including a suspense thriller in my coffee table books’ list. In Blame Simon Mayo questions what society would be like if children were put behind bars for crimes committed by their parents. Wow! It’s really the idea I would have wanted to pin down in paper. It is action-packed and thought-provoking, unsurprisingly well written. Blame is perfect for fans of The Hunger Games and the Divergent series. Again I think Blame would make a great blockbuster on the big screen. The ideal stocking filler for teens.

The story in a nutshell: That’s the situation in which Ant finds herself – together with her little brother Mattie and their foster-parents, she’s locked up in a new kind of family prison. None of the inmates are themselves criminals, but wider society wants them to do time for the unpunished ‘heritage’ crimes of their parents. Tensions are bubbling inside the London prison network Ant and Mattie call home – and when things finally erupt, they realize they’ve got one chance to break out. Everyone wants to see them punished for the sins of their mum and dad, but it’s time for Ant to show the world that they’re not to blame.

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