The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials Trilogy)Philip Pullman
Children are underestimated. They, too, are capable of tackling difficult issues and complicated ideas; the only hook they need is clear, accessible prose and the occasional fanciful setting. In The Golden Compass and the rest of the His Dark Materials trilogy, Philip Pullman twists his narrative through issues of theology, quantum physics, mythology, multiverse theory, religious authority, and the nature of consciousness, all couched in the language of a girl who befriends a talking polar bear. His Dark Materials joins Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and now The Hunger Games in a collection of books meant for, what I might call, the "Thinking Teenager."