The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman: Hey, so, I read this for my reading group (book club for grad students, basically), and you may have heard that it won the Newbery. WELL. Clearly, we are psychic. Anyway, while I was reading the book, I didn't think I would like it, but when I finished...I realized I did. Here's my favorite quote from the book:
You're alive [...]. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change. Potential. Once you're dead, it's gone. Over. You've made what you've made, dreamed your dream, written your name. [...] [T]hat potential is finished.
Secret Spaces of Childhood by Elizabeth Goodenough: I had to read this for class, and some of the selections were an absolute chore to get through.