Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Henry is a Chinese boy just trying to get through World War II whose life is complicated by a charming girl whose Japanese heritage makes her an enemy to his family.
What struck me most about this story was the innocence of the relationship between Henry and Keiko. They're so sweet and pure during a time of such darkness and turmoil that you want it to work for them, especially since nothing else in the world does.
Room by Emma Donoghue
Jack has lived his whole life in an eleven-by-eleven room with his mother. He doesn't know anything exists outside of the room until his mother shares an escape plan.
When I first started reading this book I didn't expect it to be so disturbing, and then I didn't expect it to be so uplifting. In the end, it's a story about healing and finding your place in the world. Using Jack as the narrator makes the story interesting, and I grew to really admire the mother.