1. Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist. This book of essays makes me think about faith, friendship, work, motherhood, and virtually every aspect of my life.
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. This book opened my eyes regarding the plights of Native Americans today.
3. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This book is the amazing story of how cells basically stolen from a poor black woman shaped the face of modern medicine. It also reveals a lot of facts about medical testing, development, and personal rights that I would never have dreamt of.
4. A Long Way Gone: Memoir of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah. I taught this book to my high school freshmen one year, and then we were fortunate enough to be able to hear Beah speak live. This memoir is the highly emotional, deeply disturbing story of his time as a boy soldier and the atrocities that he both witnessed and participated in.
5. Split by Swati Avasthi. This story of abuse and its consequences definitely touched my heart.
6. No Choir Boy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row by Susan Kuklin. In this book, Susan Kuklin tells the stories of several young convicts who have been sentenced to death row (some of whom still claim to be innocent). She reveals their living conditions and the circumstances that they must endure. Both hearbreaking and horrifying.
7. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. I couldn't help but obsess over every bite of food I put in my mouth while reading this story of a girl with severe anorexia. It was THAT absorbing.
8. Looking for Alaska by John Green. So did Alaska actually kill herself, or was it an accident? Makes you think about life.
9. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. In this book, a teenage girl gets to live the last day of her life over and over again. She alters her actions each day and then sees the consequences of what she has done. This book really makes it hit home how much impact every action we take can have on those around us, even without us realizing it.
10. Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin. A happily married woman encounters the former love of her life, who wants to give their relationship another try. For all those people whose lives didn't end up quite how they expected (and isn't that all of us?), this book really illustrates that what we get is so often better than what we used to think we wanted.