10 Book Recommendations for High School Students

To keep with my ongoing Tuesday theme (childhood books, college books), I thought I’d use today’s school-themed freebie to give some recommended books for high school students. Some of these were required reading for me, but most were not, and half of them are relatively recent reads for me. I tried to pick books that are useful for a variety of reasons, whether that be overcoming grief, understanding others, or the importance of friendship. I think that all of these books have some sort of important message they are trying to send.

Today I’m linking up for a Top Ten Tuesday!
This week’s theme: back-to-school freebie

My theme: book recommendations for high school students


5107 2657

The Catcher in the Rye // J. D. Salinger
This was required reading in one of the upper-level English courses I took in high school. I was a little hesitant going in because I knew it was a classic and I thought it would be slow, boring, and hard to understand. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s the perfect book for high schoolers. It can be hilarious at times, but also really deep. It captures that sense of growing up and not quite knowing what to do.

To Kill a Mockingbird // Harper Lee
This is just an endearing story that also means so much. (Although to be honest, I think I prefer movie to book.)


231804 22628

The Outsiders // S. E. Hinton
We read this in our 7th grade English class and I fell in love with everything about it. I’ve since reread it two or three times. It’s practically the first modern YA novel, and was written by a 16-year-old, so it’s important for that, but it’s also important in that it shows groups of people that you might label as outcasts before getting to know them.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower // Stephen Chbosky
I know that this book is just a little outdated in terms of portraying the modern high school experience, but was there ever a YA book that captured the woes of adolescence so entirely?


439288 25528801

Speak // Laurie Halse Anderson
This has become another classic modern YA. It’s about the aftermath of trauma, where our main character is unable to tell people what happened to her.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear // E. K. Johnston
Like Speak, this book portrays the aftermath of trauma, but in an entirely different way (which is fitting, because everyone reacts to things differently). While this is a relatively new release, I include it here because I think the way it handles its topic is unprecedented, especially in its emphasis on the importance of friendship and support groups. It is bound to be controversial, though, so it’s probably not ideal for required reading, but I think it is extremely important. (click below if you want more details on the topic)

19063 15745753

The Book Thief // Markus Zusak
Gosh, this book. There is literally nothing like it. I hardly ever read historical fiction, but this is the exception. It takes place in Nazi Germany, where a German family adopts the main character, Liesel, and end up hiding a Jew in their basement. And Death is the narrator. It’s a beautifully written story.

Eleanor & Park // Rainbow Rowell
So last week, I mentioned that Fangirl is a good pick for college students because it captures the experience relatively well. While Eleanor & Park doesn’t quite capture my high school experience (though to be fair, it’s set in the 1980s), but I love the way it shows diversity, not just in the way Eleanor and Park look, but the families they come from. As a high schooler, I think it would have helped me see others more clearly and be less judgmental.  


13262783 6373717

Every Day // David Levithan
While I did have problems with this book, I think it also does a good job at showing you the lives of other people. It’s really difficult to fully understand what a person is going through, and this book makes you think about that. (though I wished it had focused on it more rather than being a love story)

Hold Still // Nina LaCour
Okay, I just finished reading this earlier this month so it’s fresh in my mind, but it’s honestly one of the best YA books I’ve read about grief. The main character’s best friend has committed suicide, and the entire book is about her working through that. It handles the topic with such delicacy, much more so than All the Bright Places or Thirteen Reasons Why (the latter of which I do really like, but it’s not a very good reference for grief). 


currently listening to // 20:17 by Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm

Which book would you recommend for high school students?


  1. Maria
    August 25, 2017

    These are all great. I have been wanting to read Eleanor and Parker since I was in High School, but i never got around to buy. Great post!
    How to Save Hundreds of Dollars on Books Every Year | She Blushes

    1. Emily @ Mixed Margins
      August 25, 2017

      Thanks, Maria! It took me awhile before I got around to reading it, but I’m glad I finally did. It surpassed my expectations!

  2. Kyra Morris
    August 29, 2017

    Ahh To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all-time favourites! That book is so dear to me.

    I really want to read The Outsiders and The Book Thief – I can’t believe I haven’t read them yet!

    1. Emily @ Mixed Margins
      September 1, 2017

      I can’t believe you haven’t read them yet, either! You should get on that. 😉


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: