If you are like most high school students, summer is your time for pleasure reading Each year, we ask our clients who are soon to be seniors to name their favorite books. Some of their suggestions are below along with additional recommendations in the genre.
Recently released on film, The Perks of Being a Wallflower star Emma Watson of Harry Potter Fame.
Best Sellers Turned Films. Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being A Wallflower is the coming-of-age story of Charlie whose letters to a stranger become a coping mechanism for dealing with the loss of his dear friend and the strain that being a shy, unconventional thinker in high school can put on a teenager. Perks appeals to multiple generations, those who are trying to find their place in high school and those who struggled through it years ago, and introduces its audience to various genres of literature, music & films that Charlie explores as he tries to find his place in high school.
If you liked either the novel or film The Perks of Being A Wallflower, you may also enjoy John Green’s Looking for Alaska, whose protagonist is often compared to J.D. Salinger’s Holden Caulfield and has an interest studying people’s famous last words finding his own adventure as well.
Not Yet Films. If you’re tired of seeing a film only to find out later that it was based on a book, check out Jeannette Walls’s The Glass Castle, a New York Times Best Seller memoir that has been optioned by Paramount Films. The novel tells the story of Jeannette’s upbringing in poverty by less than ideal parents. While her childhood was anything but ideal, the story does convey that a person can excel even in the worst conditions. Jeannette, now a successful editor and writer, has the ability to deliver the dark tales of her youth as if they were great adventures. This is what makes this book not only worth checking out, but also is why Paramount cannot wait to put her story on the big screen.
Set for release in 2014, Divergent, the first installment in Veronica Roth’s dystopian trilogy, similar to The Hunger Games, is another book to check out before it hits theaters!
Ender’s Game originated as a short sci-fi story.
Science Fiction or Fantasy. Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game originally started as a short story that Card elaborated on over the years. Today the sci-fi novel tells the story of Ender, who lives on a futuristic Earth, and is attending a special military training school in anticipation of another alien attack. While the book has been criticized for some overly violent scenes, especially with children as the main characters, it is not any more intense than other books of the same genre, such as Hunger Games.
If this sounds like something you would enjoy, or if you have already checked it out, then try Rick Yancey’s The Fifth Ways next. While some adults may have felt awkward displaying The Hunger Games on their morning commute, The Fifth Ways clouds the line between young adult and adult fiction and may be reminiscent of The War of the Worlds to some sci-fi connoisseurs.
Uses Verisimilitude. You have a vague memory of your English teacher throwing around this term but never dreamed that it would help you find your next favorite novel. Authors who write meta-fiction, or semi-fiction, employ the use of verisimilitude, or a style that blends fact and fiction to create a story. Tim O’Brien has divulged to using these techniques in his novel The Things They Carried, because they only helped to convey his message better. Things tells the stories of American soldiers in the Vietnam War and has become one of the most important reads for middle and high school aged students.
Into the Wild, another option that uses verisimilitude to intrigue the reader, adheres more closely to the tale of Christopher McCandless, who gives up his college fund only to hitchhike across America and backpack through the wilderness, but has been met with acclaimed success and is another great true-life read.
From Across the Pond. The Office’s Jim Halpert attempts to read Angela’s Ashes for a monthly book club, but is unsuccessful and describes it as a “a fun read,” which couldn’t be further from the truth as it is no lighthearted tale. However, this Pulitzer Prize winning memoir by Frank McCourt relies on anecdotes from his life to tell the story of growing up impoverished in Ireland and then immigrating to America in adulthood. If you’re looking for something deeper and a biography, this is the way to go!
To explore another somber, yet enlightening read from across the pond try Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night Time.
A Recommendation from Brookline Booksmith. Amy, a young fiction sales associate at Brookline Booksmith, wishes that more adolescents were stopping in to visit them and use their expertise on all books historical, fantastical or realistic. Unfortunately, Brookline Booksmith had to cancel their young adults book club due to poor attendance, but if it were to come back she has a few suggestions for reading.
Read World War Z for an interesting take on the zombie apocalypse craze and then see the movie!
“The Scorpio Races is a really awesome read. It’s a mix of Celtic mythology and the story of the water horse race,” says Amy. “I’m not even doing it justice. Definitely fantasy elements to it, but the author grounds the story so much in reality that the reader is not overwhelmed.”
Amy also advocated for several of the alternative options on this list and even submitted one that is currently out in film – World War Z by Max Brooks. While some commentators have criticized the film’s choppy plotline, many audiences have given the film rave reviews. Additionally, Amy assured us that the book is very appealing and thought-provoking.
So if you’re just looking to find a book to take to the beach or even start your own book club, try one of our suggestions above or visit our blog for previous summer recommendations.
Further Suggested Readings:
The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman
All Souls: A Family Story From Southie by Michael Patrick MacDonald
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont