Ten Books To Read Before High School


Picture of very famous books by very famous authors.

Emery Jovel, Features Editor

High school is a phase that every young teen needs to go through once we leave middle school. It’s a scary transition for most of us and we all want some advice and wisdom about the experience. In addition, it’s a time where we want to figure out our identity and what we want to do in life. But sometimes, we don’t know where to find this wisdom. So, here are the top ten books to read before high school to get a feel of the high school experience.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower By Stephen Chbosky

10. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower By Stephen Chbosky 

In this well-written novel, Charlie is a shy fifteen year old freshman who is a typical wallflower, meaning a person who is shy, awkward, and excluded. He begins to write letters about his life, including two traumatic events that have occurred. But when he befriends two seniors, Patrick and Sam, everything spins out of control. After having a mental breakdown, Charlie must find himself as a person in the real world. A member of the community states, “If you read this story you will laugh, cry and keep reading on. It is not to be missed. Charlie will show you that high school can be enjoyed if you have the right friends and becoming a teenager isn’t as scary as you think, even though it seems that way.” In 2012, the novel was turned into a major motion picture. So if you’re looking for a good coming-of-age book that shows the high school experience, then this is the book for you.

Does My Head Look Big In This? By Randa Abdel-Fattah

9. Does My Head Look Big In This? By Randa Abdel-Fattah 

Sixteen year old Amal, an Australian-Muslim-Palestinian, decides during winter break to wear her hijab. A hijab is a Muslim head scarf and she decides to wear it for the rest of the school year. Once she wears it, she gets stares and taunts and she struggles to find her true identity. Many people who have read this book have enjoyed it and favor the author. The Publishers Weekly stated, “Using a winning mix of humor and sensitivity, Abdel-Fattah ably demonstrates that her heroine is, at heart, a teen like any other. This debut should speak to anyone who has felt like an outsider for any reason.” This is a great read for those who stand out and doesn’t back down on their beliefs.

Eleanor & Park By Rainbow Rowell

8. Eleanor & Park By Rainbow Rowell

We all know this renowned book and its amazing author. It has won Michael L. Printz award, a New York Notable, among many others. The story takes place in Omaha, Nebraska from 1986 to 1987, where Eleanor a girl with big, curly red hair meets Park, an asian boy for the first time on their high school bus. At first, they ignore each other, which includes no eye contact. But as the days go by, they become friends. And their friendship turns into something more. “Funny, hopeful, foulmouthed, sexy, and tear-jerking, this winning romance will captivate teen and adult readers alike.” – Kirkus Reviews. Personally, this book made me feel what the characters were feeling and I really enjoyed it. This book captivates readers with tear-jerking, heartfelt moments about falling in love in the real world.

A Step Toward Falling By Cammie McGovern

7. A Step Toward Falling By Cammie McGovern

Without evading or sugarcoating difficult topics, McGovern shows that disabled and able aren’t binary states but part of a continuum-a human one.” – Publishers Weekly. Emily is the goody-two shoes, a girl who always does the right thing. That’s what makes her Emily. Until one night, something goes horribly wrong. Stuck doing community service at a center for disabled people, she explores what it means to fit in and grow up. This is a perfect book to learn about the daily struggles of disabled people and to help make a difference.

The Great American Whatever By Tim Federle

6. The Great American Whatever By Tim Federle 

Quinn Roberts is a gay sixteen year old who suffered a life changing experience: the accident that changed everything. His best friend, Geoff, insists that Quinn should wake up from his hibernation and have fun for once in his life. Shortly after receiving a brand new haircut, Quinn attends his first college party where everything changes, yet again. As he tries to come out of his shell, he’ll become the star role of his own coming-of-age tale. For fans who love Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, this book is just for you. In fact, Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda states this book is, “A raw nerve of a book—so perfectly tender and funny and true. My heart now belongs to The Great American Whatever. Officially. Completely.”

Wonder By R.J Palacio

5. Wonder By R.J Palacio

Wonder is essentially … a wonder. It’s well-written, engaging, and so much fun to read that the pages almost turn themselves. More than that, Wonder touches the heart in the most life-affirming, unexpected ways, delivering in August Pullman a character whom readers will remember forever. Do yourself a favor and read this book – your life will be better for it.” – Nicholas Sparks, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author. August Pullman, or commonly known as Auggie, is a homeschooled fifth grader born with a rare condition, Treacher Collins Syndrome. And as a result, left his entire face disfigured. But when he finally goes to school for the first time, he learns to finally accept himself for who he is. Even though this book is more for the children audience, it’s never too late to learn kindness and acceptance before hitting high school halls. This book personally is very wondrous and will change how you look at the world around you. It is now a major motion picture, featuring Jacob Tremblay as August Pullman.

Highly Illogical Behavior By John Corey Whaley

4. Highly Illogical Behavior By John Corey Whaley

Solomon is agoraphobic, meaning that he suffers a type of anxiety disorder where a person has a fear of places or situations that can cause panic, embarrassment, and helplessness. He hasn’t left his home for three long years. Lisa wants to be psychologist and wants to help Solomon so she can earn a spot in a college psych program. It’s a story filled with friendship, love, mental illness, and becoming who we would like to be. “Solomon’s descriptions of his anxiety are achingly real. Readers will easily come to care about these bright, wonderfully nerdy, flawed characters.” – Kirkus Reviews. This book is perfect for readers to learn about not-so-easy discussed topics and to understand the adversities of a person with anxiety disorder.

The Fault In Our Stars By John Green

3. The Fault In Our Stars By John Green

This novel is what readers would like to call, the modern twisted tale of Romeo and Juliet. Hazel Grace Lancaster is a sixteen year old who suffers Stage IV of Thyroid cancer with metastasis forming in her lungs. She goes to support group recommended by her doctor and meets Augustus Waters, an older boy who suffers osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Once these two cancer patients meet, both of their worlds change, leaving an unforgettable love for readers to laugh and cry. “The Fault in Our Stars takes a spin on universal themes—Will I be loved? Will I be remembered? Will I leave a mark on this world?—by dramatically raising the stakes for the characters who are asking.” – Jodi Picoult, bestselling author of My Sister’s Keeper & Sing You Home. It became a major motion picture in 2014, featuring Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Augustus.

The Unexpected Everything By Morgan Matson

2. The Unexpected Everything By Morgan Matson

Andie is the kind of girl who always sticks to the plan and avoids her dad as much as possible, which is considerably easy, since her dad is a congressman. But when her dad is caught in a congressman scandal, they get stuck in the same house together. And Andie is left doing things that isn’t Andie at all as their father-daughter bond mends. A member of the community states, “I like how the characters are not perfect; all of the major ones have flaws and those flaws are made evident.” This novel is great for readers so they can continue having a good relationship with their parents and to learn that when it comes to life, not everything will go as planned.

Special Topics In Calamity Physics By Marisha Pessl

1. Special Topics In Calamity Physics By Marisha Pessl

Blue Van Meer is a highly intelligent girl, but unfortunately has no friends. She believes that her life will change once she goes to the highly elite school, St. Gallway School. Her life changed alright, but not in the way she expected. Students begin to die and it’s up to Blue to solve the murder mysteries. “Extravagant, witty and dark, Special Topics in Calamity Physics is a sprawling campus novel, an intricate murder mystery, a coming-of-age tale and a sly satire of intellectualism and academia. Her prose is . . . vivid, erupting in a freefall of wordplay, wisecracks, encyclopedia tidbits, and a barrage of cultural references. . . . Her enthusiasm for language is a delight.” – Miami Herald. The novel will walk readers through high school while captivating readers with an abominable murder mystery.

In sum, high school is a turning point in all lives of adolescents, but that doesn’t mean you can’t read to learn. So these are just few of the many other books recommended to read before entering the great big world called high school.