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5 Books to Grab Your High Schooler's Attention

by: Kimberly Dee Zarate

For many parents, getting their high school student to pick up a book is a gigantic feat in and of itself, let alone hoping they both understand and enjoy it! The key is finding one book the student loves, and building from there. Here are five excellent places to begin:
  1. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
    After high school student Melinda Sordino is raped at the biggest party of the year, she is bullied and treated as an outcast. She loses her voice to speak the truth, and it isn't until she is able to delve into her art class that she begins to heal and recover. This story has a voice that resonates with many students today who are struggling to fit in, stand up, and overcome. With only 224 pages, the length isn't too daunting for most students, and it is written in a tone that is easy to follow.
  2. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
    Written in poetic form, this book is unique in both voice and structure. Often times, the story is told through both reading across the line, as well as down it. Each character has an individualized voice, and each page is written as if the character is journaling their thoughts. Hopkins tackles tough subject matter with an artistic twist. This book requires the student to infer deeper meaning and theme from the sparse words on the page. For students who enjoy this novel, she has eight more like it.
  3. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
    This utopian novel takes place in the future where love is a disease. Being "cured" means never experiencing love, while being an "invalid" means you are a danger to society. Those who believe in love exist in the wilds, constantly on the run from those who wish to cure them. Lena Holoway falls in love just three months before her procedure to be cured. Her life is forever changed.
  4. Looking for Alaska by John Green
    A coming of age novel in which Miles Halter leaves for prep school and meets the friends who will forever impact his way of thinking. At the top of this list is Alaska Young, a stunning, free spirited girl who challenges everything he believes. Though her time in his life is brief, the impact is forever. Green's narration through Miles is both relatable and honest.
  5. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
    Macy has lost her father, and consequently feels lost herself. Her mom doesn't want to talk, and her boyfriend is away and not emotionally available. When she gets a new job, she meets Wes who is just the person she needs in her life; it is through her new experiences and relationships that she is able to realize there is more to life than how she'd been living, and finds a new sense of passion and drive.