The best books to grab your emotions and not let go even after you’ve read them

Who am I?

What can better give expertise on the books one loves than decades of reading? I’ve always had a passion for sympathetic, strong characters, especially women. At the core of all my novels, readers will find a sympathetic and strong heroine. In Girlfriend Trouble, Lian is the catalyst that changes the lives of everyone around her for the better; or, more precisely, Lian’s compassion, wisdom, and serene nature are what change things. I’m probably too idealistic, but it’s better than being a cynic. There’s an element of this in all the books I’ve recommended, and those I’ve written. I like to think there’s more of it in the real world too.


I wrote...

Girlfriend Trouble

By Robert Shaw,

Book cover of Girlfriend Trouble

What is my book about?

Karate Kid meets Wimpy Kid in this YA coming-of-age story.

14-year-old Mikey dreams of the girl he longs to meet; she's so real he can almost reach out and touch her... if he didn't keep waking up and getting in trouble with the school bully. Then Mikey meets Lian in the real world, and she changes everything for everyone. Girlfriend Trouble is a funny, heart-warming story about tolerance, understanding, and the acceptance of the unpopular kids; it's about having self-confidence, self-respect, and respect for one’s peers, and about dealing with bullies both youthful and grown-up.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

Robert Shaw Why did I love this book?

This book speaks to something we all had inside us when we were kids: a fervent hope that we’d all have an adventure like the one Charlotte Doyle has. As adults, we realize we wouldn’t last a day in the sort of life Charlotte falls into in this story, but if ever there was a Young Adult novel that should be famous and adapted into a movie, this is the one. Not a romance per se, unless 13-year-old Charlotte’s romance with action, adventure, and escaping to sea count, but certainly a book to fall in love with. Set in 1832, this novel is one that deserves to be called a rollicking good old-fashioned adventure.

By Avi,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Avi's treasured Newbery Honor Book now with exclusive bonus content!

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle joins the Scholastic Gold line, which features award-winning and beloved novels. Includes exclusive bonus content!A Newbery Honor Book* "A thrilling tale, tautly plotted, vividly narrated." --Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewThirteen-year-old Charlotte Doyle is excited to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832. But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a…


Book cover of About a Boy

Robert Shaw Why did I love this book?

While not written for Young Adults, one of this book’s main characters is a young teen that I believe many of us can relate to; I know I certainly could, having been a total outsider and outcast when I was in school. Thank God, though, that I had both my parents and they were wonderful, and not ‘loopy’ like Marcus’s mom is made out to be. Still, I think that many of us are either going through similar experiences to what Marcus deals with throughout this story, or we went through them as teens. And I believe that, even though the character of Will starts out to be a somewhat reprehensibly selfish person, he learns, as we all need to, that the world doesn’t revolve around us as individuals. At least not all the time. 

By Nick Hornby,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked About a Boy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE MILLION COPY NO. 1 BESTSELLER THAT BECAMEAN ACCLAIMED FILM STARRING HUGH GRANT AND NICOLAS HOULT

'A very entertaining and endearing read' The Times
___________________

Thirty-six-year-old Londoner Will loves his life. Living carefree off the royalties of his dad's Christmas song, he's rich, unattached and has zero responsibilities - just the way he likes it.

But when Will meets Marcus, an awkward twelve-year-old who listens to Joni Mitchell and accidentally kills ducks with loaves of bread, an unlikely friendship starts to bloom.

Can this odd duo teach each another how to finally act their age?

Hugely funny and equally heartfelt,…


Book cover of Made in the U.S.A.

Robert Shaw Why did I love this book?

For me, personally, this book taught me how truly lucky I was while living in my truck for 5 years in the early 2000s. 15-year-old Lutie and her 12-year-old brother, Fate, are thrown into a desperate adventure after their stepmom dies. Their odyssey across America in an attempt to find their long-lost father, and the perils of being homeless in Las Vegas and avoiding the life-threatening perils of living in a car and dodging unsavory and predatory people, is a harshly realistic depiction of...well, reality.

By Billie Letts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Made in the U.S.A. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lutie McFee's history has taught her to avoid attachments...to people, to places, and to almost everything. With her mother long dead and her father long gone to find his fortune in Las Vegas, 15-year-old Lutie lives in the god-forsaken town of Spearfish, South Dakota with her twelve-year-old brother, Fate, and Floy Satterfield, the 300-pound ex-girlfriend of her father.
While Lutie shoplifts for kicks, Fate spends most of his time reading, watching weird TV shows and worrying about global warming and the endangerment of pandas. As if their life is not dismal enough, one day, while shopping in their local Wal-Mart,…


Book cover of Where the Heart Is

Robert Shaw Why did I love this book?

Because it really is about where the heart is, a tribute to the fact that one really can find love out in the world among strangers: brotherly or sisterly love that comes from the kindness and caring of good people; or the romantic love of someone who has given up their life’s dream to care for an ailing alcoholic. These may seem like ideals that can ‘only exist in a storybook’, but they are based, I believe, in the truth of the real world, if one is brave or desperate enough to seek them out; or, like Novalee, one has no choice but to hope love and salvation find them.

By Billie Letts,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Where the Heart Is as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A 17-year-old pregnant girl heading for Califonia with her boyfriend finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But she's about to be helped by a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people, including a bible-thumping nun and an eccentric librarian.


Book cover of Playing Beatie Bow

Robert Shaw Why did I love this book?

Like with my first recommendation, I feel that this book appeals to a desire for adventure that we all had as kids. Who didn’t dream of Time Travel adventures as a kid? And again, as an adult, I have of course come to realize that I’d not last a day if I were to fall into this sort of adventure – and although time travel is supposedly possible, albeit only as a one-way journey due to the nature of time-dilation, the undertaking of such a journey, and the physical aspects of what is involved, I’d never want to do it now. Of course, in Playing Beatie Bow, Abigail’s time travel method is very simple (and impossible), but the trouble she gets into in the past is complicated, complex, and dangerous. The book’s dual settings might not appeal to young readers of today, but its lessons about learning to live without pretensions, luxuries, or even the simplest of modern conveniences, are timeless and would, hopefully, always appeal to anyone’s better angels.

By Ruth Park,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Playing Beatie Bow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Disturbed that her mother could welcome back her unfaithful father, Abigail Kirk undergoes a mysterious voyage to nineteenth-century Australia, where her experiences help her to understand the power of love and to accept her father


You might also like...

Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle

By Jennifer Ivy Walker,

Book cover of Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle

Jennifer Ivy Walker Author Of Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author French teacher Avid reader Lover of medieval romance European traveler

Jennifer's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A medieval romance between a flame haired, fire hearted French princess descended from Viking Valkyrie and the chivalrous knight who suffers an impossible love for her-- the daughter of the king he is sworn to protect.

A Yuletide Joust will determine who wins Princess Gabrielle's royal hand in marriage and her valuable dowry, the Breton kingdom of Finistère. Without a title of nobility, the man she loves--Sir Bastien de Landuc-- is ineligible to compete in the tournament, and she will be forced to marry a man she loathes.

Will Yuletide wishes make impossible dreams come true? Can the valiant knight win the coveted hand of his Viking Valkyrie?

Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle

By Jennifer Ivy Walker,

What is this book about?

Gabrielle is a flame haired, fire hearted French princess who dreams of becoming a Valkyrie warrior queen like her Viking ancestors from Normandy. Sent to Paris to learn the proper etiquette for a future French queen, she is called home to le Château de Beaufort for a forced marriage to a man she loathes when her father the king's precarious health takes a sudden turn for the worse. Chivalrous, solitary knight Sir Bastien de Landuc suffers an impossible love for Gabrielle, the unattainable princess he can never have. Without a title of nobility, he is ineligible to compete in the…


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