What are the Best Books to Read in High School?
We asked professionals from various industries to share their favorite books from their high school years. From the humor and depth of Paper Towns by John Green to the vampire-era appeal of the Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost, here are the top eight picks from CEOs, marketing directors, and community managers.
- Paper Towns by John Green
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Michael Sacks
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and Malcolm X
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- 1984 by George Orwell
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost
Paper Towns by John Green
“People create places, and place creates people.” Paper Towns is not a novel that deals with the typical trivial topics that are common in mainstream books for young people. It is also not one of those one-offs that you read and then leave behind. I finished high school years ago and still catch myself going back to it in my thoughts. John Green has written a book full of humor—mainly because of the hilarious expressions of the characters, but also thought-provoking and touching.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Michael Sacks
It taught me many lessons about life, which I carry with me still today. On the surface, this novel is a funny tale of Billy Pilgrim’s experience as an American POW in Dresden during World War II and his time-traveling adventures afterward. However, beneath its lighthearted exterior lies a much deeper story, full of thoughtful commentary on war, free will, and the absurdity of life.
Slaughterhouse-Five has become one of the most enduring works from America’s postmodern era. It even earned a place on Time Magazine’s list of 100 best English language novels from 1923 to 2005.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and Malcolm X
Malcolm X collaborated with journalist Alex Haley to write one of the most interesting biographies I have ever read. My senior year English teacher assigned it to us, and it is probably the only book from high school I still think about today. The portrait of New York (a place I would eventually move to) from the 1940s-60s was vivid.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
My favorite book during high school days was The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. This powerful memoir tells the story of a young Jewish girl who, along with her family, went into hiding during the Holocaust. Anne’s diary is a remarkable record of her life in hiding and her thoughts, feelings, and fears during this time. This book is an important reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust and the courage and resilience of those who lived through it.
1984 by George Orwell
My favorite book during my high school days was 1984 by George Orwell. This dystopian novel depicts a future world where totalitarianism has taken over and individualism is suppressed. It tells the story of a man named Winston Smith who works for the government and becomes disillusioned with the system, eventually rebelling against it. This book is a warning about the dangers of authoritarianism and the importance of preserving our freedoms.
Head of Marketing, Sealions
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
In high school, my favorite book was The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I was drawn to the main character, Holden Caulfield, and his struggle with growing up and facing the reality of the world. Salinger’s writing style was also captivating, with the use of everyday language and the stream-of-consciousness narrative.
The book taught me valuable lessons about identity, individualism, and the complex nature of human relationships. In fact, it inspired me to pursue a career in literature and writing. Even to this day, The Catcher in the Rye remains a classic and thought-provoking read that I recommend to anyone seeking to understand the teenage experience.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
My favorite book during my high school days was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This classic novel is a powerful exploration of racism, justice, and courage, set in the Deep South during the Great Depression.
It tells the story of a young girl named Scout and her brother Jem, who learns valuable lessons about tolerance and human dignity from their father, a lawyer who defends an innocent black man accused of rape. This book is a masterpiece of storytelling that deals with important issues that remain relevant today.
Marketing Director, Yorkshire Fabric Shop
Night Huntress Series by Jeaniene Frost
When I was in high school, it was the vampire era. Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and Vampire Academy are just a few teenage girls we’re crazy about. Following that motif, the best book I read at that age was the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost.
The series follows the story of Cat Crawfield, a half-vampire, half-human, who is haunted by her past and seeks revenge against her vampire father. As she becomes a skilled vampire hunter, she meets Bones, a charismatic and dangerous vampire who changes her life forever. Together, they embark on a wild adventure full of action, romance, and danger as they fight against supernatural enemies and navigate their complex relationship.
The series features well-developed characters, fast-paced writing, vivid descriptions, and impressive world-building with detailed mythology and the history of supernatural creatures. It was everything to keep teenage girls on the edge of their seats from beginning to end.
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