Pullman has written a rich tale full of adventure, courage, betrayal and friendship. Lyra Belacqua sets out on a dangerous jouney to find her best friend and the other children who have disappeared. On the way she encounters many enemies and makes some invaluable allies. This is a classic fantasy. Pullman is one of the best fantasy writers of all time.
P.S. You will be totally confused for the first ten pages, but then all will be revealed...
Recommended by PJ
The fantastic, fast paced prequel to the award winning series His Dark Materials, in which a young boy named Malcolm stumbles into a world of danger and intrigue surrounding a baby named Lyra, a mysterious forced called Dust, and an indecipherable prophecy that impacts his life in unimaginable ways. Filled with strife, mystery and magic, The Book of Dust launches the reader into a world of beauty and tragedy that they won't want to leave.
Recommended by Lexi
Yes, this novel revisits well-trodden themes of unrealized magical powers and coming of age. However, Forest brilliantly addresses this subject matter in a unique and fresh manner. With a basically good but flawed main character, the first few chapters are disturbing and force the reader to examine some of their own preconceived ideas. Yet as the protagonist grows, the story unfolds with understanding and hope. Any of these quotes could apply to this story:
"History is written by the victors"
"You've got to be taught to hate and fear"
"When you know better, do better"
Recommended by Sandy
As many young adult novels do, I'll Give You the Sun addresses the well-trodden themes of self-discovery, angst, and strife that is contained within every coming of age story. However, Nelson's fresh and unique approach makes tiresome themes seem innovative and shockinly advanced. Both heart-wrenching and fast-paced, the characters who reside within this newly discovered world are multi-dimensional, authentic and undeniably human. A juvenile dispute between twins is mirrored by an adult heartbreak, a tortured artist finds himself unwillingly tied to a broken fmaily, a daughter loses herself to guilt and her dead mother's ghost, and a boy forgets how to live. As each individual traces their past, more and more is revealed in their desperate attempts to discern who they truly are.
Recommended by Lexi
An anachronistic historical frolic through the colorful world of gender expression. Set in 19th Century Paris, a dressmaker and a prince form an unlikely friendship. A jewel of a book, this one is sure to warm your heart.
Recommended by Katharine
A stunningly written book that pulls no punches in its honest dealing with anorexia. Through a novel writing technique, the reader fully understands Lia's issues as she plunges further into her eating disorder. This was my favorite book of 2009. Tough. heart-breaking and ultimately redemptive, this book begs to be read in one sitting, it's that good.
Recommended by Josie
Sanchez's masterpiece debut novel could be described as a tragedy, a coming-of-age chronicle, a mystery an odyssey, all labels are equally justifiable. As you read, the narrator, Julia, will become your new best friend. She is perspicuous and irreverant, sharing her story with a sparkling wit that is both delightful and heartbreaking. Don't begin this book if you have any deadlines in the next 24 hours because you wont be albe to pull yourself away untile the soaring last page.
Shorlisted for the national book award.
A darkly humorous, heart-pounding tale set from the eyes of a self-proclaimed "coward," Code Name Verity whisks the reader into a sweetly complicated world of friendship and love, paralleled by the sharp and dangerous life of a British spy in a Gestapo prison. "Verity" narrates the tale of her best friend and pilot, Maddie, from bargained pages, slipping in her story between locations and figures, A hauntingly pessimistic account of a woman in war, Code Name Verity will allow the reader to be taken on a journey in which they may never leave.
Recommended by Lexi
Told from the perspective of death, The Book Thief follows a young German girl during World War II whose family conceals a Jewish man in their basement. The touching story uses elegant language to have the reader fall in love with each character they meet, including the narrator-death himself. A thoughtful perspective on the human experience of war.
Recommended by Gretta
As political tension mounts, 13-year-old Shahen wants to move to America but his twin sister Sosi is in love and doesn't want to leave. when all the able-bodied men are rounded up, Papa and Mama send Sosi, Shahen and their little sister to run away in the mountains. Gripping, sad and beautiful.
Recommended by Laura
Gripping YA-crossover (good for adults too) fiction. I learned so much about the Manson-girls era, about LA, and about how easy it is to find parallels between an individual life and the rise of America.
Recommended by Emily