Fun Books to Read in High School
I’ve never taught high school, so I can’t speak with expertise about fun books to read in high school. However, that won’t stop me from offering my two cents.
Check the Websites
If you’d like to know what junior- and high-school English teachers have tended to assign, either currently or in the past, some answers are just a few clicks away:
- Goodreads: Popular High School Books
- Buzzfeed Books: 23 Books You Didn’t Read in High School but Actually Should
- Publishers Weekly: 10 Classic Books You Read in High School You Should Reread Right Now
If you have a practical need to know what you or your children should be reading in high school or junior high, you can look at their schools’ websites. For example, here is Milford Schools’ summer reading list for junior high and high school students: http://summerreading.milfordschools.org/
My 11th grade English class was amazing, because the teacher asked us to read a book by each of the American writers who had won the Nobel Prize at that time. A lot of the
se really were fun books. We read Main Street (Sinclair Lewis), The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck), Mourning Becomes Electra (Eugene O’Neill), As I Lay Dying (William Faulkner), The Good Earth (Pearl Buck), and The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway), although much about that book remained mysterious until I got to college. For example, Why didn’t Brett and Jake just go ahead and get married?
Fun Books: What’s Changed? What’s Stayed the Same?
Surprisingly, my children read many of the same books I did in school, with the exception that they, as well as other children who went to other schools, read Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet, apparently multiple times, in junior high and beyond. From the number of copies on CCPL library shelves, I can see that it’s still very popular. Comparing my own 11th-grade reading list to lists I’m seeing online, I do see a few differences. The first: a lot more diversity. Skimming11th-grade American Literature lists online, I’m seeing a far larger number of writers who are not Caucasian men, including Maya Angelou, Sandra Cisneros, Khaled Hosseini, Amy Tan, Ralph Ellison, Gloria Naylor, Toni Morrison, Ernest J. Gaines, and many others, than I saw as a youth. The second difference is that the lists are much longer, and students have much more choice in what they read. It seems that in many classes, students aren’t all reading the same books at the same time.
Now that I’m a grown-up, I still read a lot, but nobody requires me to read certain things and gives me bad grades if I don’t. Perhaps that’s too bad, and I really should go back and read some of those books that, while required reading in many high schools, were not required at mine. Okay, I’m going to take advice now from Little Edie in Grey Gardens and start Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun. And I’ll go on from there. And remember that you can download many classic works of literature from the Library’s Downloads page, as well as online for free from Project Gutenberg. Happy reading!