By John Irving
This is a strange book, but it's strange because it's packed with so many great characters. It's the story of a little boy, Owen Meany, who has a peculiar voice and believes he is an instrument of God. He and his friend Johnny are on a Little League team when Owen hits a foul ball that kills Johnny's mother. From that moment, the boys' lives are intertwined. I could picture and smell and hear what Owen Meany was like. Irving captures the innocence of youth, of people growing up together and figuring out who they want to be, and discovering the pain of separation—that made the book great for me. It's about faith and fate, and how you don't know who the messenger is going to be.