2. "Until There Was You," by Kristan Higgins
Posey Osterhagen, protagonist of Until There Was You, is one of the most interesting heroines I've read in a long time. She's skinny as a rail, funny, eccentric, and overlooked. She hasn't truly been in love since the days of her unrequited passion for Liam Murphy, the town bad boy, so she lavishes affection on her galumphing dog, her friends, and her family. At least, until Liam comes back. But it turns out he's no longer the reckless ne'er-do-well (albeit with a sweet heart) who used to swagger around their high school. His beloved wife died of leukemia three years earlier, leaving him the single parent to a teenage daughter. He's forgotten how to enjoy himself, caught up in a morass of rigid parenting rules and fits of near OCD anxiety. When Liam's custody of his daughter is threatened, he promptly dumps Posey, and it's to HIggins's credit that this wrenching, humiliating scene evokes our sympathy for both characters – and makes the pages turn faster and faster until Liam finally realizes that he has to fight for Posey as fiercely as he fights for his daughter.