Young Adult and Intermediate Favorites:
The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
I was bound and determined I was not going to read this series. The gory description of the plot on the back of the book made me say, "Are you kidding? This sounds awful!" But after hearing so many people talk about how wonderful the writing was and being nudged by a librarian friend, I finally caved and listened to the audiobook over the summer. Am I ever glad I did! Catching Fire was not nearly as suspenseful as the first one, but oh boy did the last line of this book give me chills all over my body.
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
As a dog-lover, I can't resist books about dogs. Not only is this a heartwarming, feel-good book, but it's nice to read a dog book that has a happy ending for a change. Most dog books require a pile of tissues by the time you make it to the last chapter.
Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
Such a simple story about a teenage waitress, but beautifully written.
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Not a shred of humor or lightheartedness can be found in this story about a girl struggling with anorexia, but the writing is haunting and lyrical.
Paper Towns by John Green
This was by far my favorite of John Green's books. The story and the characters were a perfect blend of mystery, humor, and teen-angst.
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Told as the narrator looks over her body in ICU after she loses her parents in a car accident. Keep your tissues handy with this one. Despite the tears, it is so worth the read.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
A teenage girl leaves tapes behind for the people who drove her to kill herself. A heavy, yet beautifully penned story.
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Vivid and exotic. This book whisks you away to another land and time. Not only was this one of my favorite books of the year, it was probably my favorite audiobook I've ever listened to.
Columbine by Dave Cullen
Ten years after the tragedy, Cullen sets the record straight about what really happened that day in April of 1999. Just don't read this book before bed -- it will give you nightmares!
Finn by Jon Clinch
Throw away all you thought you knew about Huck and Pap Finn when you pick up this book. Jon Clinch weaves a new tale that will have you questioning everything you learned in tenth grade English.
My Life in France by Julia Child
Hunger pangs abound when you read this sumptuous tale of Child's life in Paris.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Stockett creates a story that sticks in your mind well after you put it down. I often found myself in the kitchen making dinner thinking about these characters as if they were real people.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
A wonderful, feel-good book that just makes you want to sigh and smile at the same time. The only word that keeps repeating in my head over and over again when thinking about this book is just "beautiful."
Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution -- And How it Can Renew America by Thomas Friedman
We can't deny it anymore. Going green is not just helping the earth, it's going to help business in the long run and Thomas Friedman lays out an excellent case for why it needs to happen.