It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vezzini
Being a secondary education major (i.e. professional torturer of teenagers), I'm a bit of a young adult (YA) lit. junkie. I love me a good story about angsty teens and this one takes the cake. It's Kind of a Funny Story is a kind of funny story about a teenage boy with depression, his contemplation of suicide, and his eventual (and fairly hilarious) stay at a hospital psych ward.
While the story is light, the subject is not, and the book repsects that. Having dealt with depression/anxiety myself as a teenager, I feel that the story that's told is accurate and fair, and respects the very individual, though not uncommon experiences of those with depression. And while we don't want kids to think it's "cool" to be depressed or suicidal, the book takes away some of the negative stigma that might be associated with depression while showing how serious things may be for those suffering. And it still manages to be wicked funny.
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L'Engle
This is an old favorite of mine, a book that inspired me to look at the universe in an entirely different way. While my reading of the book is far different than it was when I was 12 (totally an anti-Communist message behind a lot of what is being written), it's still a thoroughly enjoyable read. For anyone who has a love for the underdog or can relate to the "outcast" and needs a quick escape to a whole other universe (literally), then this is a great read.
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
I love me some Dan Brown. I've read many of his books and he is one of the few authors who I happily race through and will reread over and over (the other books include Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, which I'm probably in love with and the Harry Potter books). If you've read the other two Robert Langdon books (including The Da Vinci Code), you're looking at the same kind of deal: Robert Langdon finds himself in a history-rich location (in this case, D.C.) and craziness ensues. Here, you have a disembodied hand showing up, followed by a race against time all over D.C. (similar to the races against time in Rome, France, and London in his previous books). It's all very formulaic (if you've read the other two, you'll most definitely see a pattern), but, in my opinion, it's a damn good formula. Also, if you have a small conspiracy theorist/history buff living inside you that you like to indulge, this is a great read (Freemasons, hidden government power circles, the CIA...all the good stuff).