10. Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
Sweet fairy tale with just enough humor, romance, creative detail, and sarcasm for me to fall in love with.
9. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A remarkable combination of wit, wisdom, innocence and hatred. This novel entertains as it reveals profound truths about humanity. A treasured classic that I loved infinitely more in my adulthood reading than my adolescent reading.
8. Birdwing by Rafe Martin
A thoroughly engrossing and well-paced fantasy. I enjoyed all the coming-of-age angst, magic, betrayal, and triumph. There is a just a hint of romance, a lot of adventure, unexpected twists in the plot, and several quiet, tender moments.
7. Peony In Love by Lisa See
A beautiful, haunting love story set in 17th century China. I loved how all the hurts and injustices of the past were finally washed away by the end of the novel and Peony finally finds redemption after all those long years! Absolutely recommended.
6. Katherine by Anya Seton
Lovely piece of historical fiction with a beautiful, timeless romance as well. This novel is highly emotional, epic in scope, richly detailed with some of my favorite themes in literature: the enduring quality of love, redemption, personal growth.
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Collins gives it to us all: compelling plot, smart writing, strong female character, a great balance between horror and hope, brutality and tenderness. I could not put this book down and nearly had a coronary when I read the words "end of book one". (You're killing me Ms. Collins) I can't wait to see what happens next. A thoroughly entertaining read, with the beginnings of a devastating love triangle, and no end to the suspense. Well done!
4. Anything written by Shannon Hale
Shannon is better known in our house as the Writer Who Can Do No Wrong. I love anything she has written. If you are just getting started, I would recommend The Goose Girl. It is the first of a delightful, loose series. Or possibly you might enjoy a contemporary romance Austenland, or her Newberry Honor book Princess Academy or her book published last fall Book of a Thousand Days... anything she writes I love.
3. Beautiful Boy by David Sheff
Intensely emotional story of a father's unconditional love for his son. I could not put it down. It was raw, yet tender and achingly familiar. I loved Sheff's use of words, as well as all the many quotes from many resources--Shakespeare to Cobain and the way he weaved them into his story. I grieved for Sheff as I grieve for myself, my drug addict brother, my entire family, and every family whose lives are ripped apart by the insidiousness of addiction. This book was validating, motivating and fascinating. (Reader beware: high use of profanity)
2. These Is My Words by Nancy Turner
The characters lived, laughed, struggled, loved, breathed, and died around me while I read. The detailed historical authenticity and voice of the novel seemed so real I could not believe it wasn't coming from an actual diary. I instantly fell in love with the main character, Sarah, for her courage, child-like innocence, and down-and-dirty-spunkiness. I could not get enough of Captain Jack Elliot! What a great hero–ranking right up there with Rhett and Gilbert as my all time favorites. Their love story was so beautiful and true to life from beginning to end. This book was so funny, so exciting, so tender, and at times so sad I thought I would find a whole in my chest for the aching I felt (as well as the laughing I did). A COMPELLING, BEAUTIFUL read. I will read this one again and again. "A nice girl should never go anywhere without a loaded gun and a big knife."”
1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Best book I've read about Nazi Germany, and one of the best books I've ever read OF ALL TIME. Heart wrenching, beautiful, creative prose, vivid detail, rich characters. Although it is written about one of the most tragic events in human history, the story itself leaves one feeling hopeful and very satisfied. A MUST READ.