41. The Giver by Lois Lowry:
In a world with no poverty, no crime, no sickness and no unemployment, and where every family is happy, 12-year-old Jonas is chosen to be the community's Receiver of Memories. Under the tutelage of the Elders and an old man known as the Giver, he discovers the disturbing truth about his utopian world and struggles against the weight of its hypocrisy. With echoes of Brave New World, in this 1994 Newbery Medal winner, Lowry examines the idea that people might freely choose to give up their humanity in order to create a more stable society. Gradually Jonas learns just how costly this ordered and pain-free society can be, and boldly decides he cannot pay the price
Why you should read it: This is a book that lingers. With echoes of ignorance is bliss and you don't know what you have until you've lost it and, well, pretty much the standard malfunctioning utopia fair, it is a great book for any age.
“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”
“They were satisfied with their lives which had none of the vibrance his own was taking on. And he was angry at himself, that he could not change that for them.”
42. The Abhorson Triology by Garth Nix:
Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death—and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny.
Why you should read it: This triology - Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorson - contains some of my favourite books. It's... well, IDK how to really describe it, only that this isn't one of those kids series where the realities of life are glossed over. There is life and death and pain and loss and evil - and hope. Truely brillant.
“Does the walker choose the path or the path choose the walker?”
“Let this be my final lesson. Everyone and everything has a time to die.”
43. A Wrinkle In Time by Madelene L'Engle:
Everyone in town thinks Meg Murry is volatile and dull-witted, and that her younger brother, Charles Wallace, is dumb. People are also saying that their physicist father has run off and left their brilliant scientist mother. Spurred on by these rumors and an unearthly stranger, the tesseract-touting Mrs Whatsit, Meg and Charles Wallace and their new friend Calvin O'Keefe embark on a perilous quest through space to find their father. In doing so, they must travel behind the shadow of an evil power that is darkening the cosmos, one planet at a time. This is no superhero tale, nor is it science fiction, although it shares elements of both. The travelers must rely on their individual and collective strengths, delving deep within themselves to find answers.
A well-loved classic and 1963 Newbery Medal winner, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time is sophisticated in concept yet warm in tone, with mystery and love coursing through its pages. Meg's shattering, yet ultimately freeing, discovery that her father is not omnipotent provides a satisfying coming-of-age element. Readers will feel a sense of power as they travel with these three children, challenging concepts of time, space, and the triumph of good over evil.Why you should read it: You just should? IDK, the later books in the series get a little too... mystical for my taste, but this is a genuinely good book.
“Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself."
44. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien:
If you care for journeys there and back, out of the comfortable Western world, over the edge of the Wild, and home again, and can take an interest in a humble hero (blessed with a little wisdom and a little courage and considerable good luck), here is a record of such a journey and such a traveler. The period is the ancient time between the age of Faerie and the dominion of men, when the famous forest of Mirkwood was still standing, and the mountains were full of danger. In following the path of this humble adventurer, you will learn by the way (as he did) -- if you do not already know all about these things -- much about trolls, goblins, dwarves, and elves, and get some glimpses into the history and politics of a neglected but important period. For Mr. Bilbo Baggins visited various notable persons; conversed with the dragon, Smaug the Magnificent; and was present, rather unwillingly, at the Battle of the Five Armies. This is all the more remarkable, since he was a hobbit. Hobbits have hitherto been passed over in history and legend, perhaps because they as a rule preferred comfort to excitement. But this account, based on his personal memoirs, of the one exciting year in the otherwise quiet life of Mr. Baggins will give you a fair idea of the estimable people now (it is said) becoming rather rare. They do not like noise.
Why you should read it: A fun, light-hearted tale almost completely at odds with the terrible death and destruction that comes in Lord of the Rings. Granted, prefer the later, being a fan of the darker, more realistic things than anything quite so... happy, but even in this "children's" book, things can get quite dark... Plus, you kinda have to have read this to live in the 21st century these days.
“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”
45. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett:
“One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands out and throws one's head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one's heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun--which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so. And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with the millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in someone's eyes.”