Why did I love this book?
I had to start this list with Lyra Belacqua: the definition of a fierce girl who never gives up, even in the face of murder, betrayal, and heartbreak. The Golden Compass (or Northern Lights, to those of us of a British persuasion) is the first book I can remember reading where I really fell in love with the protagonist. Partly because she’s so good at lying – I’m a terrible liar, I blush every time – and partly because she’s so loyal to the people she loves. Also, I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit trying to decide what form my daemon would take. (Answer: a robin.)