I am so far behind in posting this stuff that I'll probably forget some books but here goes.
I would highly recommend Markus Zusak's, The Book Thief. This one had two strikes against it in my mind before I read it: it was getting very good reviews in library journals, and it was about the Holocaust. So many books that have gotten rave reviews in journals lately I've considered either the same sappy stuff about the main character or a parent dying, or the main character or a parent being gay that it's become formulaic and just plain, lousy reading. Yes there were deaths in this book, but it wasn't the usual sappy stuff. There are some great books for teens on the Holocaust also, but they all started to seem about the same to me too. Again, this one was different. Having the book narrated by Death could have been really gimmicky but it was very well done. The author intentionally gives very obvious clues, or tells you outright, some of the things that are about to happen, but it is so well written that even though you know what is going to happen, you're still compelled to keep reading. It reminded me of when I first saw the movie, Apollo 13. I'm old enough to remember when the actual event occurred so I knew the ending, but it was so well done that I was still on the edge of my seat. Again, The Book Thief is something a bit different. I highly recommend it!
I'm still waiting for Scott Westerfeld's Pretties, so I while I was waiting I read his So Yesterday. Ever wonder why some things are considered cool, especially when just a few months earlier that same thing would have been considered really dorky? Or why some things stay cool and others fizzle out really quickly? If these sort of thoughts keep you up at night, or if you love a good conspiracy theory, this book's for you. We'll never know how much of the book is based on facts, but it does make you wonder about the amount of time and resources that are wasted on advertising and gimmicks to get us to buy, buy, buy. There's a mysterious disappearance that the main characters are trying to solve, as well as a massive conspiracy. Fun and thought provoking. I'd recommend this one as well.
Right now I'm in the middle of Hilari Bell's A Matter of Profit. This book has been on my list of wanna-reads for a few years now, and I've finally gotten to it. I'll let you know what I think when I'm finished.