Adult Novel: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Young Adult Novel: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
This book was EVERYTHING! Rainbow Rowell so accurately captures the intensity of first love and what it’s like to be an outsider, and she does it all with the backdrop of the 80s. This book had me crying in public on a plane, staying up all night to read in bed, and calling my husband to ask if he remembered what it was like to fall in love. (Do you remember the phone calls, where you talked in the dark?!) Major swoon! Eleanor and Park are two truly unforgettable characters.
Young Adult Honorable Mentions:
Forgive Me Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
It takes skill to make a book about a school shooter funny, deep, painful, and hopeful. Don’t let the synopsis turn you off, this book is worth reading.
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Yes, yes, yes! This book was awesome. Man, this book came out of leftfield. I thought I was getting a dystopian/alien/heroine 1st book of a trilogy, but I got so much more. Can he even write those next two books fast enough?
Middle Childhood Book: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
The best middle childhood books have a story kids can relate to, but also inform us about life. Which is what makes such a satisfying read for adults. This book had memorable characters and a touching storyline. But don’t worry, no sap here…this is the real deal.