BOOKS make a great present at Christmas and this year there are some fantastic new titles available. Here are some of the books which many youngsters would be delighted to receive in their stocking this festive season.

Love Lessons by Jacqueline Wilson (Doubleday, £12.99).

Children's Poet Laureate Jacqueline Wilson has the winning knack of engaging her readers with stories which focus on issues affecting children today.

In Love Lessons we meet sisters Prue and Grace, who have been educated at home by their controlling, strict father almost all their lives. When he is rushed to hospital, 15-year-old Prue at last discovers what it's like to have a little freedom.

Sent to school for the first time in years, she finds it difficult to fit in but is drawn to her handsome young art teacher, Rax.

Wilson's characters are realistic, modern children who have all the usual hang-ups and worries about life. This latest book will delight her fans and is bound to win her more teenage readers.

Alex Rider: The Gadgets by Anthony Horowitz (Walker Books, £7.99) and Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz (Walker Books, £6.99).

Anthony Horowitz has scored a huge success with his Alex Rider series about a 14-year-old boy recruited by MI6 for special operations to combat a variety of deadly threats.

There is no new Rider novel this Christmas but fans of the teenage super spy will love The Gadgets, which contains blueprints and technical data for some of the equipment Alex has at his disposal.

They include an Exploding Ear Stud, a Geiger Counter Games Console, a stun grenade key ring and a modified bicycle, complete with smokescreens and ejector seats.

Meanwhile, Horowitz has launched a brand new series of supernatural adventures. Matt Freeman is a troubled 14-year-old, who is persuaded to raid a warehouse full of CDs and DVDs. When the burglary goes horribly wrong and a guard is stabbed, Matt is sent to Yorkshire to foster parents.

Before long he senses there is something wrong about his guardian - and the whole village - and he finally begins to understand his own special powers.

Pacy, exciting and very well written, Horowitz has created another winner.

All American Girl: Ready Or Not by Meg Cabot (Macmillan, £9.99).

Samantha Madison saved the life of the President of the United Sates in All American Girl, but in the sequel, Ready Or Not, she starts by listing ten reasons why it sucks to be her. These include the fact that she's not popular at school, she doesn't like her out-of-school job and rarely gets to see her boyfriend as being Teen Ambassador to the United Nations takes up the rest of her spare time.

Ready Or Not is a funny book, which shows that even 17-year-old heroes like Sam face all the usual problems when growing up.

Pool Boy by Michael Simmons ((Scholastic, £4.99).

This short and thoughtful book focuses on Brett Gerson who, until now, has had everything - looks, brains and cash. But when his life turns upside down and he has to get a summer job as a pool attendant, he meets 70-year-old Alfie, whose outlook on life will change the way Brett thinks forever.

Amber and the Hot Pepper Jelly by Karen McCombie (Scholastic, £4.99).

Karen McCombie has hit a winning streak with her chatty, seaside tales in the Stella etc series.

The latest focuses on Amber, the Teen Queen of Shyness. Stella, TJ and Rachel decide to give her a hair, make-up and attitude makeover in preparation for the fancy dress party she's dreading going to.

It's not an easy task - but a bit of magic, some well thought-out emails and a bit of blackmail might just do the trick.

Payback by Andy McNab and Robert Rigby (Doubleday, hardback £9.99).

A bomb in central London causes carnage and also means a recall to action for 17-year-old Danny and his grandfather, ex-SAS explosive expert Fergus Watts, who are still living under cover following the dramatic events of Boy Soldier.

Soon the duo is on the run again from deadly enemies - and also hoping to find out who committed the atrocity in London.

Boys in particular will like this explosive, fast-moving adventure story, which draws on Andy McNab's SAS expertise.

Secrets Of The Fearless by Elizabeth Laird (Macmillan, hardback, £12.99).

At the age of 12, John Barr is press-ganged into the Navy and has his first taste of bloody sea battles as a powder monkey' aboard HMS Fearless.

But even greater adventures lie ahead because John possesses a French code book, which could make all the difference in the war against Napoleon. Soon young John is embroiled in a secret operation to outwit a nest of spies.

This book has good period detail and captures the fear and excitement of a youngster caught up in events beyond his imagination.