Setting the scene: This novel is simple on the surface but packed with emotion. It's about a couple falling apart, with little regard for their 16-year-old son.

Why she chose it: I read this while I was pregnant, and the relationship between these reckless parents and their son left me with the wincing notion that, yikes, children are piercingly observant. I thought, "Drat, one day my boy will find me out." He will realize that his perfect Momma, whom he's looked up to as his protector, his guardian, and his example, is indeed contradictory, erratic, and human.

Memorable passage: The most simple sentences affected me profoundly—the mother asking her son, "Is that your best opinion on the subject?" What a wonderful way to parent, I thought, flat out asking your child's opinion. I don't ever recall being asked what I thought when I was young.

—As told to M Healey

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