I have always – I mean always – loved reading. I also love recommending books to others, especially books that fit my standards of being generally free of language, violence, and sexual content (but are still compelling and well-written). When friends and blog followers ask me what they should read next, these are 10 books that often rise to the top of the list:
A Drowned Maiden’s Hair, by Laura Amy Schlitz; Young Adult Fiction.
Clever, gothic, mysterious. Some plot twists and totally memorable characters. Think “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” meets “Oliver Twist” meets “Arsenic and Old Lace.” With maybe a smattering of “The Sixth Sense.”
Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale; Young Adult Fiction.
Probably one of the worst names for one of the best books I’ve ever read. It has a fairy tale feel to it, with a fabulous, strong young heroine. This Newberry Honor recipient leaves you feeling enriched and uplifted.
Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld; Young Adult Science Fiction.
This meaty book about a seemingly-utopian society has a lot to say about what it means to be “pretty” – on the outside AND inside.
The Rest of Her Life, by Laura Moriarty; Adult General Fiction
What would you do if it was YOUR child whose careless accident caused others unspeakable grief and despair? This book examines that scenario, with a lot of profound observations on the mother/daughter relationship.
The Know-It-All, A.J. Jacobs; Adult Nonfiction
AJ Jacobs has made a name for himself living a type of “experimental life” and sharing his humorous finding with readers. In this book, Jacobs endeavors to read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica in one year. Sound dull? Not hardly!
Love Walked In, by Marisa de Los Santos; Adult General Fiction
This is probably the most blush-worthy book on the list, but even considering the mild language and sexual situations, this is a tender, sweet love story, coupled with an endearing coming-of-age journey. Can’t wait for the movie to come out!
The Graveyard Book, by Neal Gaiman; Young Adult Fiction.
Neil Gaiman is like the Tim Burton of the Young Adult Fiction world. With a highly stylized and slightly macabre slant on life and death (or living and dying), The Graveyard Book is bound to be unlike anything you’ve ever read.
The City of Ember, by Jeanne DuPrau; Young Adult Science Fiction.
I love books in which strong young protagonists decide to go against the status quo, especially when you as the reader know they have every good reason to. The two leads in this book try to shake things up and uncover deep secrets, unearthing some amazing twists and turns near the end.
The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo; Juvenile Fiction.
My one-word review: GLORIOUS. This is a must-read-aloud book for families; sweet, earnest, and deeply moving – everyone will feel bigger for having heard the story.
Austenland, by Shannon Hale; Adult General Fiction.
Another appearance by Shannon Hale on this list is no surprise – she’s a great author with a collection of strong, clean, enjoyable works. Austenland is for every woman who ever breathed a little more shallow at the sight of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. Fun and witty, this book is a great, quick read.
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