If you're looking for a great book to read, or even a gift for a loved one in high school, this is the perfect list for you. All of the books below are beautifully written, touching, and offer some amazing insight into the process of growing up, graduating, falling in love, and persevering through tough times. They have the ability to teach you a lot about yourself, so get reading, and remember, there are amazing things ahead!
1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
If forced to choose, The Book Thief would have to be what I consider my favorite novel of all time. With a unique style of narration told by Death himself, the story follows nine year old “book thief” Liesel Meminger during World War II. Living with foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann in Germany, the family hides a Jewish man named Max in their basement for much of the war. The writing in this story is absolutely gorgeous, and allows you to find compassion and beauty in the everyday moments at a time in history when such things were generally lacking.
2. Looking For Alaska by John Green
Recently, John Green has become very well known for the novel The Fault In Our Stars and its accompanying film. However, Green’s debut novel Looking For Alaska is just as worthy of praise. Miles, obsessed with famous last words and known by his friends as “Pudge,” lives an uneventful life before attending Culver Creek Boarding School in an effort to seek his “Great Perhaps.” During his first year away, Miles’ life is changed by roommate Chip “The Colonel” and Alaska, the beautiful girl who lives down the hall.
3. Noggin by John Corey Whaley
Noggin is a book that sounds extremely strange, and don’t get me wrong, it truly is...but it is also beautiful and funny and overwhelmingly sad and touching all at once. The story follows 16-year-old Travis Coates, one of the first successful recipients of a full head transplant. After his body is ravaged by cancer, Travis’ head is frozen for five years until it is transplanted onto a new body. When Travis wakes up, it is as if he never died, and he must come to terms with the fact that everyone else in his life has grown up and changed, while for him everything remains the same.
4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Written in the form of letters to an unknown friend, The Perks of Being a Wallflower tells the story of a high school freshman named Charlie. A little bit awkward, shy, and introspective, Charlie is extremely perceptive and often finds himself examining the lives of others instead of living his own. This coming of age story follows Charlie through his first year of high school as he discovers himself through his new friends, first loves, family dramas, and the perfect songs to accompany it all.
5. Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher
Chris Crutcher is an author whose entire body of work appears on a censorship list somewhere. And that is only one reason to read his books, which often contain sports themes that make them enjoyable for both teen boys and girls. In Chinese Handcuffs, high school student Dillon is training for the Ironman Triathlon, in part to distract himself from memories of his brother’s suicide. The story follows his developing friendship with Jennifer, the school’s star basketball player who is struggling to come to terms with her own devastating past.