I have a great many favorite books, but this one is definitely near the top of the list. Hosseini writes a beautiful story here about two boys connected in a way neither of them knows about until one is older- rich, privileged Amir and his servant, Hassan. They grow up together in Kabul, Afghanistan, before and then through the torment the country is thrown into. An unspeakable act and then a lie brings them apart, and it's not until Amir is an adult and is brought back to Kabul from the U.S. to save Hassan's son that he finds a way to "be good again," in the words of his father's best friend Rahim Khan. Hosseini, in both this book and his second, A Thousand Splendid Suns, weaves history and fiction together beautifully to create an unforgettable book.
This book was challenged in 2008 and 2009 in Morgantown, North Carolina; Marianna, Florida; and Champaign, Illinois because of vulgar language (use of the c-word, the f-word describing homosexuals, other curses) and a sodomy rape scene. There are also other violent scenes in the book and the overall theme of war, plus the implication of a boy being prostituted to grown men; however, none of this is gratuitous or pointless- it all serves the plot in a meaningful way. While some parts are hard to read without wincing or crying, it is a beautifully written novel, and one I would recommend to anyone. And as with The Lovely Bones, the book version is much, much better than the movie.
UPDATE: Got less than halfway through Leaves of Grass. Whitman is talented, no doubt, but the lengthy poems and oft-repeated phrases in different pieces got to me, and I had to stop. Got to read Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews, however... review to come soon.