It doesn’t matter how far removed you are from fifteen years old, this book will slam you in the heart. Sensitive, teenaged Charlie’s letters to an unknown “friend” chronicle his first year of high school, a time of massive turmoil, new experiences (read: sex, drugs and very cool music), love and lasting friendships. Struggling to cope with the collision of a traumatic, repressed incident in his childhood and his newfound maturity, Charlie stands on the periphery, unable to fully participate in his own life. Charlie’s voice and his observances from the outside are gut-checking, beautiful and insightful – and will leave the reader aching. This one will stick with you forever.
Frozen Heat by Richard Castle (2012)
This fourth novel in the Nikki Heat series may be the most entertaining of the bunch so far – and I don’t know if I just don’t read enough mysteries (something I mean to rectify), but the ultimate whodunit totally slapped me in the face. The dynamic between detective Nikki Heat and her boyfriend, award-winning journalist Jameson Rook, just keeps getting hotter book after book, the mysteries more complicated and creative. This time, Nikki is in for the shock of her life when a woman’s body found in an old suitcase seems to hold clues to her mother’s unsolved murder. From New York, to Boston, to Paris, Nikki and Jameson follow the breadcrumbs, as the reader gleefully rides along for the romantic repartee and the near-death experiences. Pure pleasure!