As we start thinking about school (*sigh) we can’t help thinking about the best high school books from our own educational careers.
Some books we loved and shaped our tastes later in life. Others left a bad taste in our mouths. While some of my teachers fostered a lifelong love of learning, some teachers were just the opposite.
I definitely had some teachers who were grouchy and bored and seemed to take joy in the failure of their students. Not surprisingly, my least favorite books were taught by my least favorite teachers.
We decided to provide you with our picks for best high school reads if you didn’t get assigned them in high school. And just for fun, we wanted to list our least favorite book as well.
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Jackie’s Picks for Best High School Books
The funny thing about my list is that one of my favorite high school books and my least favorite book are written by the same author!
I read this book in both English and French. After all, I am from Canada. This is not a long book, it is easy to read. Yet, the full meaning is deep and poetic. This is the perfect classic to tackle if you are intimidated by very long books.
This book is another one of my favorites and it also happens to be a short one. George and Lennie have stuck with me for the last 20 plus years.
There is something about Lennie’s innocence that is haunting. There is a moment (if you have read it, you know what I am talking about) that makes this book unforgettable.
I cannot count the number of times I have read this book. It is a book that was ahead of its time and is even more relevant to the world today.
This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was also made into an Academy Award-winning movie. It’s unforgettable and a must-read.
I can still recite the soliloquy that I learned for this play. I think it is an unconventional one to teach as Shakespeare goes but, it was my introduction to this great writer.
I loved this play. It is funny and has a great storyline. It’s not too serious and was a great introduction to the world of Shakespeare.
This book is my least favorite book. I honestly could not stand it enough to even remember what it was about.
I remember reading and reading and nothing ever happening. It clearly did not make the impression on me that it has on so many others.
Kirsten’s Picks for Best High School Books
The Odyssey is one of the top 5 books of my life. Seriously. My 11th-grade English teacher taught it to us then had our class act it out and shoot it as a movie.
I adored the story so much that I use to reread it every summer. I’ll be re-reading it again this summer to see if I still adore it!
For the record, I read this book BEFORE Oprah picked it! We spent a semester learning about this book my Senior Year.
Each person was assigned a symbol to report on throughout the book each week. Mine was goldfish -part of the symbolism of amnesia and the duality between amnesia and nostalgia. Yep. I still remember the lesson.
Technically, I read this in middle school and then re-read it later in high school (I switched schools for 9th grade which explains the double lesson.)
I’ve read numerous works by Shakespeare but none of them captured my imagination quite like Puck and his lovely friends.
Another of the top 5 books of my life was a high school read. This was a summer reading pick for me, but I still adored it.
I read it in my parent’s garden which helped to set the regency era scene. I’ve re-read it countless times and have seen every movie adaptation. Austen fan for life!
Oh, big white whale, how I despised you. I could not stand this book! My senior English professor is obsessed with it. We would get into debates CONSTANTLY, which actually made learning about it enjoyable and memorable.
But lordy, call me bored with this tale. (See what I did there?) Whaling, oil making, and vulgar fishermen are not for me.