I really liked Atonement by Ian McEwan and I can see why it was honored with so many prizes. It starts off and you think it is a really well written historical novel - and then as you keep reading you realize that the author is doing a couple of really cool things. You wind up questioning who the narrator is and how much he or she actually knows about the events described in the book. I don't want to say too much more because I don't want to spoil it. This is one that I think Mike would really enjoy and I hope he has a chance to read it soon.
Also, McEwan captured the 13-year old girl so well in the early part of the novel. I could definitely relate to her urge to write, create, put on a play, write a story and give it decorative covers, etc.