The Book Thief by Markus Zusack. One of my favourites for too many reasons to list. Story is about Liesel Meminger during the time of Nazi Germany, who is fostered by an older couple outside Munich. The book is narrated by 'death'. The writing style captures you from the beginning. A beautiful book.
A truly Southern book that sets itself against Manhattan for contrast. Storytelling that lets you in on life in the South, but through an extraordinary family that does not exactly fit but lives in its own truly crazy way. I don't like any of Conroy's other books but this is a gem that will suck you in and spit you out.