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holiday book list (and last signing of the year)!

Many thanks to everyone who came out for the tour–in Salt Lake City, Chicago, Omaha, Houston, Miami, Washington, D.C./Bethesda, and Raleigh. It was such a pleasure to have a chance to meet so many readers, and I LOVED visiting schools and having a chance to speak with students, teachers, and librarians. Also, a huge thank-you to the independent booksellers who hosted the events. There are so many good people in this world and it was a privilege to have a chance to interact with all these dedicated educators, kids, and others who care about and work for literacy.

I got home just in time to help my family put up the Christmas tree and it reminded me that the holidays are indeed in full swing! It also made me realize that I should mention the event this Saturday, December 8th, at the Orem Public Library in Orem, Utah. It’s a holiday extravaganza, and so many fun authors/illustrators will be there–Jessica Day George, Chris Crowe, Brandon Mull, Lisa Mangum, Nathan Hale, Dean Hughes, and Rick Walton. There will be an author panel from 11-12 and then a signing from 12-2. This is where I like to get all my shopping done–signed books for everyone. The Orem Public Library is fantastic and I love, love, love working with Eliot and Marilee (and many others!) who put together these events. This is my last public event on the calendar for the next few months, and I would love to see any of you there who can make it!

Thinking about all the holiday books I want to buy made me want to continue the tradition (see previous posts here and here) of listing the books I’m giving this year. If you are related to me or are my friend, STOP READING NOW! 🙂

For my oldest son:


THE ARCADE CATASTROPHE by Brandon Mull (Book 2 in the Candy Shop War series). My son freely admits that the best part about my being an author is that it means that, since I know Brandon, sometimes my son gets to see Brandon too.

For my middle son:

NO, DAVID by David Shannon. We lost our copy of this book earlier in the year, and the poor kid has been pining for it ever since.

For my youngest son:

SKY COLOR by Peter Reynolds. My youngest boy loves to draw, cut, paint, make collages…I think he will love this book.

For my daughter:

SWEET MOON BABY by Karen Henry Clark. The illustrations are lovely, and I always want my daughter to grow up knowing how beloved she is, and how glad we are that she “sailed” all the way around the world to be our baby. She is fun and feisty and, as lovely as it is to have the series finished, the greatest even of this year was her homecoming in February.

For my friends (books I either have given during the year or plan to give during the holidays):

FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS by Diana Peterfreund. I’ve posted about this book before, but it bears repeating–this book is a lot of fun. It’s a dystopian retelling of Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, and it’s extremely well-written, AND you could give it to anyone from age 9-90. It’s fast-paced and cultured and clean and gorgeous.


IN A GLASS GRIMMLY by Adam Gidwitz. I’m giving this to friends with kids who will love a gory, glorious read-aloud. And, frankly, I should give this to  some adults too, because it’s hysterically funny. In addition to the impeccable pacing and excellent humor, the writing is also extraordinarily beautiful, with passages that you’ll want to underline. Yes, it’s hilarious, but there is also so much heart.

PAPER TOWNS by John Green. Yes, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and LOOKING FOR ALASKA are both dominating the NYT list right now (as they should be–both wonderful books). But I have always found PAPER TOWNS particularly haunting, and there’s a particular passage near the end that I love so much it ranks up there with the opening line of Stegner’s CROSSING TO SAFETY as a beautifully written description of what it means to be human.

And… drumroll please…

NO LIMITS by Michael Phelps. You knew this one was coming! I love this because even though I am not a swimmer, I find it fascinating to read the account of how one person could work so hard for YEARS. It is such a pleasure to watch someone do something so well, but it’s also inspiring to see how hard you have to work to get there. When I feel like I don’t want to write, I remind myself that AT LEAST I DON’T HAVE TO GET UP BEFORE DAWN AND SWIM FOR HOURS WITH WEIGHTS ATTACHED TO MY FEET.

Other books I’ve  loved over the past year that I’ve just had to give to someone else: SUMMER AND BIRD by Katherine Catmull, EDENBROOKE by Julianne Donaldson, CHIME by Franny Billingsley, and many, many books by Brandon Mull. I’m sure there are others too but I am out of time (as indicated by the screaming of the children in the next room).

Happy holidays to all of you–what books are you hoping to get and planning to give?


+ comments (13)
  • Sarah
    December 4, 2012

    Now that I have Reached, I hope to get Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick, and Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcie and Margaret Stohl, and The first two books in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. Actually I have a lot of books on my wish list. I don’t know what I’d give. The people I know who like to read, usually buy the books they want as soon as they are out, some before they are released.

    • Ashley R.
      December 6, 2012

      That is totally something I do. Sometimes I feel bad about it, but my mom doesn’t usually buy me books for Christmas that I have already read. So those are the ones that I buy. The solution is to just buy a gift card for them, then they choose what books they want the most. 🙂

  • Libby P.
    December 4, 2012

    Jack just finished reading the second Candy Shop War book and loved it! I should have been smart like you and saved it for Christmas (although I didn’t buy….borrowed from library). I love when you list good books! I love all the new ideas!!

  • Amber
    December 4, 2012

    Thank you for the great suggestions! I’ve heard a lot of good things about For The Darkness Shows the Stars and since I’m a huge Austen fan I’m going to have to give that a try. Maybe I’ll even suggest it for book club. Also, I just finished Reached in the wee hours of the morning (2:30) which makes it hard to get up and make the kids lunches! It was beautiful! Thanks for being so amazing!

  • Sarah M
    December 4, 2012

    I LOVED Paper Towns…It was my favorite of his books. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is on list Chritmas list.

  • Rachel Fike
    December 5, 2012

    Interesting choices; I’ll have to check out the dystopian one. I’m getting your entire series for Christmas, (The Matched series)and I’m super excited!!

  • Rosemary
    December 5, 2012

    Thanks for the list Ally! I’m gong to give “The Window Builder” for Christmas. It is a short-story written by one of my former students. It is a heart-warming, Hallmark movie channel type story 🙂
    P.S. Loving REACHED!

  • Mariam
    December 5, 2012

    Hello friend,
    I feel like I have ignored you. Thanks for the new reading list. I will send you an email with more.

  • Sydney
    December 5, 2012

    I have yet to read In a Glass Grimmly!! Adam Gidwitz is an extremely talented author, I’d recommend this to (almost) anyone!

  • Ashley R.
    December 6, 2012

    I am giving my best friend The Battle of the Labyrinth, as that is the only one of that series that she doesn’t have. Such a great series.
    I am hoping to get Ever. I have Ella Enchanted, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, and Fairest, and I have been wanting Ever for a long time.

  • Ashley R.
    December 6, 2012

    I am really hoping to be there on Saturday. There are multiple authors I want to see. 🙂

  • Ali
    December 9, 2012

    I absolutely love your books and just got “Reached” as an early holiday gift. Loving it so far! I’m planning to get some series’, and I’m hoping to give “Matched” and “The Mysterious Benedict Society” to my sister and convince her to read them.

  • Danielle PHILLIPS
    January 1, 2013

    Dear allie condie you are a really great author. I love your series. Cant wait to read reachex. Your books make ms hungry for more. When i read i comprehend as i go but yours really make me stop and think. Thank you so much for writing/publishing your books. They are awesome and so are you. P.S. are you really 1 years old ? If you don’t know what I’m talking about look up your age on google.

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