His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass

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The first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, Lyra Belacqua is an orphan who lives at Jordan College in Oxford... though it’s a different Oxford than the one in our universe. She’s too smart for her own good and winds up on the most intriguing adventure with her dæmon familiar, Pan, to see what scientists have found in something called Dust way up in the North where armored bears rule and her fearsome uncle is trying to make his way to a parallel universe.

This was one of Nikki’s very favorite books to read when she was in high school. Totally different and kind of  mind blowing, really, for ages 10-17 (or 34, whatever)!