Holiday Gift Guide: Slytherin Stories

Posted November 30, 2018 by Madalyn || 9 Comments

Hi, everyone! As I’m sure you all have noticed, the holiday season is upon us. I always try to do some sort of bookish holiday gift guide on the blog, and for this year’s, I decided to recommend books to each Hogwarts House that I feel fit the characteristics of that House. I’ve wanted to do a series of book recommendations based on Hogwarts Houses for a while, and what better time than now, when you can add these to your holiday wishlist? (This was partially inspired by Rachel @ Rec-It Rachel’s holiday gift guide this year, which I’ve been loving.) In case you missed the Ravenclaw gift guide earlier this week, you can read it here!

Today, I’m recommending books to my secondary house, the house where I feel like, in my heart of hearts, I probably belong, although 11-year-old Madalyn would never have chosen it. (Fun fact: on Pottermore, I’ve gotten a hatstall between Ravenclaw and Slytherin every time I’ve taken the test.) Without further ado, allow me to recommend some books to my ambitious, cunning, resourceful Slytherin friends.

recommendations for slytherins

Holiday Gift Guide: Slytherin StoriesBad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
Published by Knopf Publishing Group on May 21, 2018
Genres: Non-Fiction
Pages: 352

The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the multibillion-dollar biotech startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from its charismatic CEO and threats by her lawyers.

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup "unicorn" promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes's worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn't work.

A riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.

I tried to include at least one nonfiction title on each House’s recommendation list, and Bad Blood immediately came to mind for Slytherin. This is one of the most page-turning, shocking pieces of nonfiction I’ve ever read– I literally CANNOT believe this actually happened. The entire premise of Theranos was built on manipulation and deceit. I think Slytherins will enjoy reading about such a large-scale act of deceit and how it was perpetuated for so many years, but I also think they’ll secretly plot how they could have handled this whole situation better than Elizabeth Holmes did. *shrug* I mean, that’s kinda what I did.

Holiday Gift Guide: Slytherin StoriesTiny Pretty Things (Tiny Pretty Things, #1) by Sona Charaipotra, Dhonielle Clayton
Published by HarperTeen on May 26, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 438

Black Swan meets Pretty Little Liars in this soapy, drama-packed novel featuring diverse characters who will do anything to be the prima at their elite ballet school.

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette's desire to escape the shadow of her ballet-star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever.

When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

For anyone who, like me, LIVES for reading about ambitious female protagonists in young adult, the Tiny Pretty Things duology is a must-read. I devoured this series when I read it, and it really reminded me of all the reasons I love YA. This book tackles a variety of heavy topics, but I mean, if backstabbing, ruthless (but still very human!) ballerinas are your thing, look no further. The perfect YA contemporary for a Slytherin! (Also, 2/3 of the POV characters are women of color!)

Holiday Gift Guide: Slytherin StoriesBlack Iris by Leah Raeder, Elliot Wake
Published by Atria on April 28, 2015
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 371

The next dark and sexy romantic suspense novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Unteachable.

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She's going to show them all.

Black Iris is one of my all-time favorite books. I think about it constantly, and it 100% deserves more love than it gets. If you like books that are dark as shit and that will leave your head spinning, READ THIS. I have a feeling Slytherins will really appreciate the huge plot twist. The MC is incredibly cunning and smart, and this whole book is just… wow. (Also, I live for the queer rep in this book.) Also, it’s new adult, so there are lots of A+ sexy scenes!

Holiday Gift Guide: Slytherin StoriesAn Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Published by Dutton on September 25, 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Science Fiction
Pages: 352

The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship--like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor--April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world--everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires--and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.

Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

AART totally took me by surprise with how much I loved it. April May, the protagonist, felt so human and relatable. Even though I’m not sure April has the foresight of a Slytherin, I think some of the decisions she makes in this book put her in positions that folks in Slytherin House will find all too familiar. What’s more Slytherin than twisting a chaotic major world event for your own gain whenever possible?

Holiday Gift Guide: Slytherin StoriesThe Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Atria Books on June 13, 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical, Romance
Pages: 388

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn's luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the '80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn's story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique's own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid's signature talent for creating "complex, likable characters" (Real Simple), this is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means -and what it costs- to face the truth.

I mean, come on. Evelyn Hugo EXUDES Slytherin energy. She’s one of the most ambitious, cunning characters I’ve ever read about in fiction. She’s whip-smart and uses those smarts to protect and advance both herself and the people she loves. Also, the cover is PEAK Slytherin aesthetic.

Holiday Gift Guide: Slytherin StoriesSadie by Courtney Summers
Published by Wednesday Books on September 4, 2018
Genres: Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 311

A New York Times bestseller!

A Booklist Top 10 YA Book for Adult ReadersOne of the Best YA Novels of 2018 by Publishers WeeklyIn NPR's Guide to 2018's Greatest ReadsNominated for YALSA's 2019 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers

4 Starred Reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, Booklist, Publishers Weekly!

"Sadie: a novel for readers of any age, and a character as indelible as a scar. Flat-out dazzling." ―A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

"Sadie is an electrifying, high-stakes road trip. Clear your schedule. You're not going anywhere until you've reached the end." ―Stephanie Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of There's Someone Inside Your House and Anna and the French Kiss

"A haunting, gut-wrenching, and relentlessly compelling read." ―Veronica Roth, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Carve the Mark and the Divergent series

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she's left behind. And an ending you won't be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

For some reason, when I sat down to write this list, Sadie wouldn’t stop popping into my brain as a Slytherin book. I’m still not 100% sure that Sadie is a Slytherin, but she certainly has the singleminded focus of one in this book. The revenge plot is compelling, and the larger themes being explored– the way we exploit lost, dead, and missing girls for society’s entertainment– will resonate with Slytherins. Plus, the format is SO COOL, and if you’re a public radio nerd like myself, you’ll completely love the podcast elements.

Have you read any of the books I mentioned? What books would you recommend to Slytherins?

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9 responses to “Holiday Gift Guide: Slytherin Stories

  1. I never thought about it, but Evelyn is DEFINITELY a Slytherin! I keep seeing you and a few others constantly talk about Bad Blood, and I’m going to have to check my library soon because I think I need to read it lol. Great list, I love reading about books for each house!

  2. I’m loving this recommendations! I’ve been hearing amazing things about Evelyn Hugo and Tiny Pretty Things, and the story of Theranos always facinates me. I mean, if only those investors are more well-versed in science or engineering, they know how virtually impossible the technology offered were! 😀 Great post!

  3. drey

    great post! i recently read “the shadows between us” which i would definitely recommend. its a ya fantasy romance novel, and both characters are definitely slytherins.

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