We love to read.
We have been known to have 2 family novels and 1 audiobook going at the same time. We have definitely been known to hold off all other school work to finish an amazing novel (thank goodness we're homeschoolers and we have that freedom!). We especially love books about kids saving the day, even more so if the background is fantastically creepy.
The Wildwood Chronicles (series)
I love this series! The Impassible Wilderness is very similar to our cedar & spruce rainforest in southeast Alaska. (Every time I go for a hike I imagine I'm walking into Wildwood.) Strong characters, rich landscape...and amazing illustrations. A little tidbit for you, the author and illustrator are a husband and wife team; the husband is also the lead vocalist for The Decemberists.
The Lost Children
My kids loved this one in particular. We read it in a dark rustic cabin in Alaska, by firelight no less. Kidnapped children, strange creatures, unknown worlds...yep, it's a good one!
This is not a series, which is nice. Sometimes it's good to just read a good book and move on with life. That's how Spirit's Key was. When it was over, it was just over...no need to wonder what happens next. And that can be a really good thing. Another strong lead character, a young girl this time...if you're turned off by the supernatural, then this one isn't for you. There are animal spirits, trances, and reading of futures.
The City of Ember (series)
Ok, I know I said Wildwood is my favorite series...but City of Ember is also my favorite series. They are quite a bit different, seeing as how Wildwood is fantasy, while Ember falls more into the dystopian future genre. What I love most is that her characters are good. There are no evil President Snow type characters here (Hunger Game reference, in case you were wondering). Not to say that everyone is perfect (there is a bad mayor in the first one), but mostly it's about always being willing to try, to fight for what is right, and to decide for yourself what is good and honorable.
The Giver (series)
I love this entire series, but I really love the second book the most. I love that each book seems unrelated to the one before, and eventually get weaved together into one story. The author is creative by nature (she has written MANY books worth checking out), but what I like the most is that she doesn't write for reality...imagination weaves in and out of normal life seamlessly.
The Five Kingdoms (series)
My son found this series, and thank goodness he did! We had just finished the last City of Ember book, and we were looking for something new. We felt like the writing was similar to the Percy Jackson series. It definitely has something for everyone...strange worlds, kidnapped children...and kids that can hold their own. (an obviously favorite recurring theme for us)
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (series)
The author's silly humor is infectious...and I swear, if Jane Austen were to write a childrens' series, it would be this one. The strength of the main character isn't quite what we usually like (a bit prim for our taste), but her unstoppable positivity more than makes up for it.