Wicked by Gregory Maguire
I honestly don't know why it took me so long to read this book. Before starting it, I'd heard only good things about it and I've had my mom's copy of the novel sitting on my bookshelf for at least a couple years (if not longer). This week I finally decided that now was the time and I'm so glad that I did. I really enjoyed Wicked and even though I kind of knew what to expect from it, I found it both surprising and compelling.
I loved how Maguire turned the story that we all know (from the movie, if not from the Oz books themselves) on its head. I have to say his version of the story challenged my expectations even up until the very end (I was particularly impressed by that because at that point in any story, we readers tend to think that we know the name of the game). I found his exploration of evil fascinating and I absolutely loved the fact that Elphaba was a profoundly sympathetic character especially considering the fact that the scenes from her very early life seem to indicate that she won't be.