I've recently been reading alll the books, and these are some of the ones I've loved, and so of course I want EVERYONE to love them, and if they look like your cup of earl gray you should get them, because they're great:
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
This isn't a kid's book. I feel like I should say that. There was one part toward the end where I was just like, "Ewww?" *covers eyes and skips two pages because so much blood and guts* But not all books can be kids books, and this is just a sad fact of life that one must be understanding about, and so that being said this one is super well-written, and based on an actual 19th century murder-case, and reads almost like a mystery thriller. Actually it kind of reminded me of a Agatha Christie book, only 1000x darker. And set in Iceland. Great characters, stark, haunting atmosphere. . .
Also, I gave it to my sister right afterward and she loved it, too, which is important because she reads Aristotle and Sun Tzu for fun and thinks most of the books I give her are lame.
The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand
loved everything Legrand writes. Her first book The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls
was one of my favorites from last year, and this one was so good, too.
It's about a
girl who is enlisted by a group of ghosts in her dad's old music hall
to help remember the things that are keeping them from moving on. The
back-stories of each of the ghosts are the highlight of the book, I
thought. They become more and more heart-wrenching, right up until the
finale, at which point you're just like "Yaaaaaay!"
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K.Rowling
Okay, this one is maybe a little bit obscure and you might be hard-pressed to find it anywhere, but it's so worth going on a million-mile quest over mountains and dales to read. I just finished the first book for the first time, and while it's a lot of "Harry Potter inherits a vault full of gold, and Harry Potter gets the BEST FLYING BROOM EVER", it's written in such fun, charming, engaging way that you totally don't get sick of it and you start wishing you got flying brooms, which I think is the appeal. Basically, it's famous for a reason: because it's fun and happy-making and great. If you haven't read it yet, I think you should. :)
Also, I have four gifts cards for bookstores sitting on my desk, so if you've read anything recently that you thought was amazing I would probably buy it if you told me to.