1. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver- This is a book everyone should read...I feel like it's a classic or will be.
2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith- A modern classic for good reason. A beautiful coming of age story.
3. Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross- Fantastic writing about the alleged female pope back in the 900s or so. I just loved it.
4. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver- Also a soon-to-be modern classic. Makes you think about religion, U.S., and what we're really contributing to the world to make it a better place for all. Beautiful.
5. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta- A beautiful story of how one girl is trying to fit in at an all-boys school, deal with her mother's mental illness and somehow maintain her own sanity. Marchetta is an amazing writer.
6. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley- How does someone break away from the emotional and verbal abuse of a father and find her own beauty? Heart-warming, sad, thoughtful all describe this amazing novel.
7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman- Such a beautiful and different novel. A fast read and one that really made go wow.
8. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon- A book about books! Mystery, intrigue, romance, death, it's all in here set in Spain. I was in Spain for a bit and it took me back there. Loved it.
9. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest- Steampunk and zombies. I couldn't have asked for more. Action and characters that I actually cared for. Great.
10. The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James- James really made Charlotte and her family come alive. I learned so many things I didn't know before.
Honorable mention goes to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows- An epistolary novel and it was done tremendously. I really fell in love with the Guernsey Isles and want to visit some day.
1. Death From the Skies by Phil Plait- Great book on how the Earth and the Universe will end some day when we're all really dead and recycled.
2. Bad Astronomy by Phil Plait- He clears up misconceptions about science and other space hoaxes. Really fascinating.
3. Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali- Beautiful story of her journey out of Islam and her fight for women's rights and the fight to also save herself.
4. The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan- Concise and readable talking about how important science and critical thinking are in our world today.
5. The Varieties of Scientific Experience by Carl Sagan- A collection of several of his lectures. Really informative. The man was a genius.
6. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd- Her journey out of her religion and into her own spirituality. Really amazing.
7. Game Change by John Heilemann- I loved all the tidbits Heilemann gathered about what went on behind the scenes with the major presidential candidates. Pretty scary, too....
Honorable mention goes to The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean- All about the stories behind all the elements on the periodic table. Great read.