my warning to you: some of this is y.a. trash.
i rate everything on a 1-10 system. i wrote a piece about it; you can find it here if you like (it was written back in the days i used uppercase).
without further ado:
9/10harry potter series (j.k. rowling) - personal bible, filled with everything i love about life. i'll say no more; i don't think i can fit into a single piece.
8/10the book thief (markus zusak) - i read it for school (i'm shallow like that) and i absolutely adored the lovely language. it contains wonderful use of everything figurative. it's positively heartbreaking, as well.
8/10 the penderwicks series - this novel set is pretty much for eight-year-olds, but i will not be ashamed by the fact that i still love it––it's multi-generational. purely entertaining, filled with wonderful family dynamic.
7/10flowers for algernon (daniel keyes) - the short story is actually better than the novel, but both are wonderful and satisfactory. what amazed me most about algernon was the use of progression in simple things such as punctuation and spelling––it's one clever way to tell a story. and the ending will rip your heart out.
7/10the screwtape letters (c.s. lewis) - it's one of his adult books and it's hilarious, interesting, and clever. technically a christian book but accessible to any religion just for the humor and lovely writing.
7/10 amours de voyage (arthur hugh cloth) - you're lucky if you can get your hands on this one; it's not entirely in print anymore. it's one of those renaissance books about pretty women and architecture. told in letters and very beautiful.
7/10 sapiens (yuval noah havari) - nonfiction. i read it out of an obsession with anthropology and it's just brilliant. you don't have to be a scholar to understand it; the language is easy and humorous. it's a remarkable book.
6/10 cormoran strike series (robert galbraith) - for any harry potter fans, these are works of j.k. rowling, written under a pseudonym. they're adult crime novels and can be quite grisly (stay away from career of evil unless you've got a stomach for twenty-first century jack the ripper) but the dynamics between characters are what makes this crime novel set so interesting.
6/10 bridge of clay (markus zusak) - nowhere near as good as the book thief but still beautiful and provocative in essence. it's riddled with flashbacks and interesting writing. a bit slow but worth it. the ending is tragic, classic zusak.
6/10 his dark materials series - young adult but much better written than its genre––very interesting. there's a lot of anti-religious stuff though, so you might want to avoid it if you're bothered by that.
6/10 what happened (hillary clinton) - i know this book might not be compatible with a lot of people, but it's a great take on the 2016 election and it gives you insight into the minds and daily lives of politicians.
6/10 the once and future king (e.b. white) - this is a compilation of four arthurian novels. some of the subject matter is adult, but i read it when i was eleven, so it's not horrendously inappropriate. the plots are wonderful. my favorite was the ill-made knight, although it involves a lot of insufferable romantic drama. still a great read.
6/10 the girl who drank the moon (kelly barnhill) - this is a standout novel from its genre––it's like a rare orchid among daisies––delightful and magical. you might say it's preteen crap, but it's good preteen crap.
i'm not trying to enforce reading on anyone; my list is about a half a mile long and i hate it when people give me recommendations. but if you've read any of these books please tell me in the comments––i love ranting about these things, i'd be delighted to have a conversation.