Here they are, 15 never-fail, love to recommend books:
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda - Tom Angleberger
A great recommendation for middle-school boys. Or Star Wars fans. Good realistic fiction, with a bit of fun doodles and drawings, it's also a nice go-to for the kid who's read all of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and is looking for more along the same vein.
Candor - Pam Bachorz
I recommend this one to teen boys a lot. The main character starts out so smarmy, but gradually, he wins you over. Plus the premise is so Twilight Zone - totally Stepford Teens.
The Folk Keeper - Franny Billingsly
I love all of Billingsly's books. I recommend this and her other middle-grade novel, Well-Wished, rather a lot. Kids gravitate to the idea that the main character's paid job is to wrangle magical folk.
Airhead - Meg Cabot
What a great book! I recommend this for teen girls who love girly stuff like Gossip Girls and the like. But, I also recommend this to girls who like science-fiction and fantasy, too. I like that this is a neat little trilogy, not a series that goes on forever. Who wouldn't love to be dumped into a supermodel's life, overnight?
The Ear, The Eye and The Arm - Nancy Farmer
I'm always amazed by how many people don't know this book. Futuristic Africa, people with superpowers, some kidnapped kids. This one's a pageturner for sure.
The Girl With 500 Middle Names - Margaret Peterson Haddix
This is a short, early chapter book. But I loved this one when I was a kid, and I love it still. Haddix really gets into the experience of what it's like to be in a family that is really struggling to get along. Forced by her mother's failed business venture into wearing personalized sweaters originally created for other girls, Janie puts on a brave face and pretends that all is well. In these tight economic times, plenty of kids can really relate to this book.
Wait Til Helen Comes - Mary Downing Hahn
I always ask kids, "Do you like ghost stories?" and if the answer is yes, this is the book I steer them to. Love this haunting tale! And, if readers like this one, there's always The Doll in the Garden also by Mary Downing Hahn to follow up with.
Night Road - A.M. Jenkins
I love to recommend this one to teen guys. It's a vampire road trip! I'll put this in the hands of the occasional Twi-hard as well.
Dark Lord of Derkholm - Dianna Wynne Jones
Dianna Wynne Jones is the perfect author for readers who love Harry Potter. What I love about this one is all the individual personalities and family dynamics in a big, crazy, loving magical family. Imagine if the Weasleys had adopted some griffins and a mermaid or two, and you basically get the picture.
The Host - Stephenie Meyer
Why don't more people go crazy over this book? It came out the same time as Breaking Dawn, but I think it's about a million times better. Once I saw the book was being made into a movie, I figured demand for this story would be sky-high, but that hasn't really happened. This story, about trying to hang onto one's humanity in the face of an all-out alien invasion, absolutely pulled me in from the first page!
The Adoration of Jenna Fox - Mary E. Pearson
Here's another book I love. There's a real mystery behind this one, as Jenna is recuperating from a horrible accident and her overprotective family are obviously keeping secrets from her. What's going on? There's a real surprise at the ending that I didn't see coming.
Larklight - Philip Reeve
I love this steampunk Jr. trilogy. Fun alternate history reading for middle-schoolers. Fancy Victorian manners, plus spaceships! It's just awesome.
Alcatraz Vs. the Evil Librarians - Brandon Sanderson
There's something so appealing about the idea that, yes, we DO live in a magical world. It's just those evil librarians, in the Hushlands (a.k.a. the USA) that have hidden all the magic away for their own nefarious purposes. Great sense of humor to this middle-grade series.
Penny Dreadful - Laurel Snyder
Penelope wishes for an "everything change" - a whole-life transformation. Well, be careful what you wish for! Before you know it, her father loses his job, and they move to a ramshackle home in the countryside where Penny has a whole new set of circumstances to adjust to.
The Amulet of Samarkand - Jonathan Stroud
I love footnotes, and I love this book about spoiled prat Nathaniel and the wisecracking centuries-old genie Bartimaeus. Perfect for readers who have graduated from Harry Potter.