I almost feel silly. The book that changed me was not profound at all. It was the book version of the movie Jeremy starring Glynnis O'Connor and Robby Benson. It wasn't the content of the book at all. I was in ninth grade and the teacher was taking Scholastic book orders. She stipulated that anyone who ordered that book needed a note from a parent giving permission (today, it would probably be rated PG13). Then she approached me after class and told me I didn't need a note, that she knew my reading level and maturity, and that I could handle it. I had attended Catholic school up to that year, and I had brought a lot of "teacher baggage" to public school with me. Having a teacher express that much confidence in me was huge, and from that point on, throughout high-school, I always made a conscious decision, when choosing books, to read far beyond grade level.
You could argue that it was the teacher who changed me, but if not for that book, the conversation would have never taken place. Thank you Marjorie Majors.