11. Graceling by Kristi Cashore
When I started reading this book, I didn't think I would finish it. Although the idea of a special killing ability was intriguing, I felt like a foreigner in a territory where I didn't belong. The fantasy world was complex. There seemed to be so many characters. But my local librarian had assured me this was a great book, so I persevered. Was I glad I did! By the time I got towards the middle, I just didn't want to put it down. You have to admire a writer who can so completely create a different world, down to the smallest of details. And I loved the moral dilemmas that the main character, Katsa, had to face because of her ability and her feelings for Prince Po.
When I read great books like this, I sometimes wonder if my own writing will ever reach a point where the reader will escape into it so completely. I think that's my ultimate goal as a writer.