1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon: Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor’s dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.
2. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker: Imagines the coming-of-age story of young Julia, whose world is thrown into upheaval when it is discovered that the Earth’s rotation has suddenly begun to slow, posing a catastrophic threat to all life.
3. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell: The Bigtree children struggle to protect their Florida Everglades alligator-wrestling theme park from a sophisticated competitor after losing their parents.
4. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt: It is 1987, and the only person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus is her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can only be herself in Finn’s company. So when he dies, far too young, June’s world is turned upside down. But Finn’s death brings a surprise acquaintance into June’s life.
5. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. The story of a woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own past.
6. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple: When her notorious, hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled, and agoraphobic mother goes missing, teenage Bee begins a trip that takes her to the ends of the earth to find her.
7. Life of Pi by Yann Martel: After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wide, wild Pacific. The crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, one zebra (with broken leg), an orangutan, a 450-pound Royal Bengal Tiger named Richard Parker and Pi — a 16-year-old Indian boy. As the “crew” begin to assert their natural places in the food chain, Pi’s fear mounts, and he must use all his wit and daring to develop an understanding with Richard the tiger.
8. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón: A boy named Daniel selects a novel from a library of rare books, enjoying it so much that he searches for the rest of the author’s works, only to discover that someone is destroying every book the author has ever written.
9. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion: Alienated from his fellow zombies because of his dislike of having to kill humans and his enjoyment of Sinatra music, “R” meets a living girl who sharply contrasts with his cold and dreary world and whom he resolves to protect in spite of her delicious appearance.
10. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: Immersing himself in a mid-twenty-first-century technological virtual utopia to escape an ugly real world of famine, poverty, and disease, Wade Watts joins an increasingly violent effort to solve a series of puzzles by the virtual world’s creator.