Top 10 Must Read Books for High Schoolers

Encouraging the love of reading during the high school years can help promote a love of reading into adulthood. The goal in creating this list is to give high schoolers options for literature to help them obtain their high school English credits and give them options that will broaden their worlds.

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
    Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever…•Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read•The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching…A startling and haunting vision of the world, 1984 is so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the influence of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.

    *Book description courtesy of Amazon.com
    Purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.com or read online for free at george-orwell.org
  2. The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann
    “Most people just laugh when they hear that the secret to success is giving. . . . Then again, most people are nowhere near as successful as they wish they were.”The Go-Giver tells the story of an ambitious young man named Joe who yearns for success. Joe is a true go-getter, though sometimes he feels as if the harder and faster he works, the further away his goals seem to be. Desperate to land a key sale at the end of a bad quarter, he seeks advice from the enigmatic Pindar, a legendary consultant referred to by his many devotees sim­ply as the Chairman.Over the next week, Pindar introduces Joe to a series of “go-givers”: a restaurateur, a CEO, a financial adviser, a real estate broker, and the “Connector” who brought them all together. Pindar’s friends teach Joe the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success and help him open himself up to the power of giving.Joe learns that changing his focus from getting to giving—putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives—ultimately leads to unexpected returns.Imparted with wit and grace, The Go-Giver is a classic bestseller that brings to life the old proverb “Give and you shall receive.”Nearly a decade since its original publication, the term “go-giver” has become shorthand for a defining set of values embraced by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Today this timeless story continues to help its readers find fulfillment and greater success in business, in their personal lives and in their communities.

    *Book description courtesy of Amazon.com
    Purchase a copy of this book at Amazon.com

  3. Great Gaspy F. Scott Fitzgerald
    The authentic edition from Fitzgerald’s original publisher. This edition approved by the Holden-Crowther Literary Organisation.The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book stands as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.*Book Description courtesy of Amazon.com
    Purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.com or read online for free at planetbook.com
  4. The Outsiders by S.E Hinton
    No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he’s got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends—true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is beating up on “greasers” like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect—until the night someone takes things too far.The Outsiders is a dramatic and enduring work of fiction that laid the groundwork for the YA genre. S. E. Hinton’s classic story of a boy who finds himself on the outskirts of regular society remains as powerful today as it was the day it was first published.*Book Description courtesy of Amazon.com
    Purchase a copy of this book at Amazon.com or read online for free at betterlesson.com
  5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
    Celie has grown up poor in rural Georgia, despised by the society around her and abused by her own family. She strives to protect her sister, Nettie, from a similar fate, and while Nettie escapes to a new life as a missionary in Africa, Celie is left behind without her best friend and confidante, married off to an older suitor, and sentenced to a life alone with a harsh and brutal husband.In an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear, Celie begins writing letters directly to God. The letters, spanning twenty years, record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment guided by the light of a few strong women. She meets Shug Avery, her husband’s mistress and a jazz singer with a zest for life, and her stepson’s wife, Sophia, who challenges her to fight for independence. And though the many letters from Celie’s sister are hidden by her husband, Nettie’s unwavering support will prove to be the most breathtaking of all.The Color Purple has sold more than five million copies, inspired an Academy Award-nominated film starring Oprah Winfrey and directed by Steven Spielberg, and been adapted into a Tony-nominated Broadway musical. Lauded as a literary masterpiece, this is the groundbreaking novel that placed Walker “in the company of Faulkner” (The Nation) and remains a wrenching—yet intensely uplifting—experience for new generations of readers.*Book description courtesy of Amazon.com
    Purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.com
  6. Wonder by R.J Palacio
    The book that inspired the Choose Kind movement.
    I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse. August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.”Wonder is the best kids’ book of the year,” said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.*Book description courtesy of Amazon.com
    Purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.com
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and the wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.*Book description courtesy of Amazon.com
    Purchase a copy of this book at Amazon.com or read online for free at CleverAcademy.vn 
  8. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
    Novel by Charles Dickens published both serially and in book form in 1859. The story is set in the late 18th century against the background of the French Revolution. Although Dickens borrowed from Thomas Carlyle’s history, The French Revolution, for his sprawling tale of London and revolutionary Paris, the novel offers more drama than accuracy. The scenes of large-scale mob violence are especially vivid, if superficial in historical understanding. The complex plot involves Sydney Carton’s sacrifice of his own life on behalf of his friends Charles Darnay and Lucie Manette. While political events drive the story, Dickens takes a decidedly antipolitical tone, lambasting both aristocratic tyranny and revolutionary excess–the latter memorably caricatured in Madame Defarge, who knits beside the guillotine. The book is perhaps best known for its opening lines, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” and for Carton’s last speech, in which he says of his replacing Darnay in a prison cell, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.*Book description courtesy of Amazon.com
    Purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.com or read online for free at planetebook.com
  9. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
    The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, caught in the tragic sweep of history, The Kite Runner transports readers to Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of change and destruction. A powerful story of friendship, it is also about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.Since its publication in 2003 Kite Runner has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic of contemporary literature, touching millions of readers and launching the career of one of America’s most treasured writers.*Book description courtesy or Amazon.com
    Purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.com
  10. Coming Up For Air by Miranda Kenneally
    Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat.All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming.  She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics.  It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team, and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic tryout, so Maggie feels even more pressure to succeed.  And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool.No one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year.  First up? Making out with a guy.  And Levi could be the perfect candidate.  After all, they already spend a lot of time together.  But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to sacrifice in the water to win at love?Book description courtesy of Amazon.com
    Purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.com

While there are several more books that we could add to this list we chose a variety that we believe will engage high schoolers and encourage them to broaden their literary minds and encourage a love of reading. This list will help any homeschooled high schooler earn their English credits for their transcript, our tracking system can help track reading and other activities for homeschooled high schoolers.