•The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly's novel about a 12-year-old who loses his mother and finds an alternative world in books.
•The Whistling Season, Ivan Doig's novel about an unforgettable teacher and a one-room school in Montana.
•Eagle Blue, Michael D'Orso's non-fiction take on a high school basketball season in arctic Alaska.
•Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen's novel narrated by a former veterinary student who runs away and joins a struggling traveling circus.
•Color of the Sea, John Hamamura's Japanese-American coming-of-age novel.
•The Floor of the Sky, Pamela Carter Joern's novel about a pregnant teenager who is sent to live with her grandmother on her Nebraska ranch.
•The Blind Side, Michael Lewis' non-fiction account of a teenage football star making his way from poverty to the pros.
•Black Swan Green, David Mitchell's version of The Lord of the Flies, set in rural England.
•The World Made Straight, Ron Rash's novel about a pot-stealing high school dropout and his unlikely mentor.
•The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield's novel about a bookseller's daughter transported, literally and figuratively, by a book.
I'm reading The Thirteenth Tale now. It's a story that would only work as a book. What she describes are characters and events that could only take place in a book, never real life. But for some reason, it still works.