Marie Lu's debut young-adult novel is a gripping, gritty, dystopian story of two teenagers, wealthy prodigy June and wanted criminal Day. The author's sharp eye for detail makes the militaristic "Republic" (once the western U.S.) they live in seem all too real, and with fearless command of plot and pace she delivers a smashing opener of a new series. Perfect for readers who have devoured Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games.

April 17: "In less than three years, both GM and Chrysler would be bankrupt, and a resurgent Ford would wow Wall Street..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…