1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. This immediately engaging, surprising story is a whole new take on the dangers of being different. The fantasy elements are quite original and unexpected, and resonate quite powerfully with metaphorical meaning. I can't wait for the promised sequel!
2. Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan. This is the first book in a series (actually 2 series, with 5 in the first and 3 so far in the "sequel" series, The Gods of Olympus) and they are ALL terrific! Told in first-person narrative by a relatable teen boy hero who actually becomes a Hero (i.e. saves the world and that sort of thing), these stories are written with humor and sophistication and breathe fascinating life into Greek Mythology, a canonical subject that helps form the basis of western civilization... so you feel you're gaining an appreciation for your cultural heritage even as you're being thrillingly entertained!
3. Camille and And Both Were Young by Madeleine L'Engle. Less well-known than her A Wrinkle in Time series, this pair of books about girls on the brink of adolescence are almost painfully accurate in their rendering of the moments of hopeless yearning, dread, and disillusionment that can strike when parents aren't there (emotionally or otherwise) for children and seemingly overwhelming social hurdles loom large.