The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is the most powerful, touching, thrilling, page-turning, adrenaline pumping book I have read in some time.
Theo Decker is only 13 when he loses his mother in a tragic terrorist attack on a museum. The book could have become mired in this incident, but it does not. It tracks Theo, who finds himself alone in the world after the tragedy and who, in many ways, remains that way for the rest of his life. He floats between existences with the wealthy family of a friend in Manhatten to time with his no-count father and his loser girlfriend in Las Vegas. Theo makes a friend for life in Vegas in the Ukrainian immigrant Boris, and he finally finds a home with antiques-restorer Hoby back in New York City.
Still, the explosion at the museum guides his life from that moment forward. A chance encounter with a beautiful girl, the dying moments of an elderly man, and a small painting Theo takes from the museum all impact his life from that moment on. He suffers, battles addiction, and falls to the depths of shady antiques dealing and the underworld of stolen art. Still, Theo perseveres and shines from time to time.
You will not soon forget these characters or this story.