A fabulous book I read recently was Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. It's of the sci-fi genre but please trust me when I say that even if you are not a sci-fi fan. It is NOT a book to miss. It's a few hundred pages long but you won't notice it. In fact, you'll be wishing there were more pages when you actually reach the end. Ender's Game is the first instalment of a trilogy.
It's about a young boy, age 6 no less, who has been hand-picked as the only one capable of saving the Earth from total destruction to be wreaked on them by an alien race. The fight has been on for years and years but this is the Final Battle and only Ender can ultimately 'end the fight'. He is plucked from the 'relative' safety (he has a malicious cruel brother, a caring sensitive sister and non-descript parents) of his home to train intensively at Battle School.
All sorts of techniques, challenges and strategies are thrown at him to physically and mentally prepare as well as test his abilities. Along the way, the seemingly destined to remain friendless and lonely, does manage to gain the friendship and loyalty of several fellow students, Alai, Bean, Hot Soup (!) and the one fighther girl in the whole story, Petra. Even Card's sub-plot with Peter and Valentine, Ender's siblings, ties in more tightly than usual sub-plots in novels.
This novel was written in 1977 with fantastic imagination for the 'futuristic' use of computers, 360 degree views and graphics (excuse my poor use of technical terms).
The great thing about Ender's Game is that it succesfully draws you into the story and you are able to empathise as well as symphatise with Ender. It seems an awful load to lay on the shoulders of a boy this young...a fact you may have to keep reminding yourself because of the way he talks, presents ideas and devises strategies. But we ARE dealing with child geniuses here.
Ender's Game is a book to be read by readers and non-readers period. You will not regret it....I will not reveal the ending to you but I must say I had different notions of how it could have gone. One of which was that the whole 'adventure' was the Ultimate Dream of a Loser Boy. But as I got along with the story, I realised the revelation in the end. It's Unbelievably, Indescribably Good-Feeling Inducing.
P.S. The person to whom I will be forever grateful for introducing me to the book, albeit as a passing sentence, just commited "A Grave Mistake" and a half! He suggested Ender's Game be made into a cartoon!!!!!