by Mark Haddon
Christopher Boone is a 15-year-old autistic boy who loves math, computer games, and his pet rat, Toby. He lives with his dad, who does his best to care for a very challenging kid. One night Christopher finds the neighbor's dog impaled on a garden fork, and he's accused of the crime. He decides to solve the mystery in the manner of his hero, Sherlock Holmes. While he shares Holmes's logical mind, he is hampered in his detective work by his inability to understand other people's emotions, or even to look them in the eye. He's also incapable of lying and metaphor - ("You're the apple of my eye!") is incomprehensible to him. The book is written as if it's Christopher's journal, and it doesn't take long to slip inside his head. It starts as sort of a quirky whodunnit but turns out to have surprising depth and suspense. Christopher Boone is unforgettable.