Neverwhere is a book by Neil Gaiman about a man named Richard Mayhew of London. When he finds a girl on the street bleeding, he attempts to help. The world begins to twist and turn from this point giving him a world of angels and odd subway tunnels. This book is very different from the average fiction stories I have read and it keeps the reader guessing just what the heck is going on.
2. The Girl Who Owned a City
This book is by O.T. Nelson about two young children, Lisa and Todd. The world has been silenced by the death of all people over the age of 12 years old. These two children learn to survive in a world without any adults to guide them, leading them to other children who are also trying to survive. This story is interesting in that it looks at how children would function in a society without adults. It can be cynical, but it also has moments that can be cheered for.
3. What is the What
Written by Dave Eggers, What is the What is a biography on the life of Valentino Achak Deng of Sudan and his journey as a Lost Boy. It tells of the Second Sudanese Civil War in which thousands of boys were forced to walk, often times without food and water, from their homes in Sudan to Ethiopia or face death or admittance into the child army of the rebels. This book is definitely for the more mature high school audience, but is still a great read for those wanting to expand their views on countries outside of their own.
4. The Catcher in the Rye
Normally I would not add a book that is typically required for class reading, but this one encapsulates adolescence. I recommend reading this one when you are feeling down because it makes you feel like life could be worse. The story is by J.D. Salinger about a Pencey Prep student Holden Caulfield. He starts off not having any concern about where life is going to lead him which takes him down a road of unsatisfactory events that slowly become taxing to both Holden and the reader.
5. Harry Potter Series
People have probably said to read this over and over again, but if you have not already, get to it. J.K. Rowling creates a seamless world of magic and wonder centered around the life of one Harry Potter. Every high school student needs to have a book to take them out of the real world every once in a while, and this book truly does so. Plus, Dumbledore.
For the more horror-oriented readers, It is a story that will disturb you right done to the bone. Stephen King uses the town of Derry, Maine, as he does in other stories, to tell about the creature It. It has many different forms, but what he consistently does is terrify children and kill. The story focuses on the events of Bill Denbrough and his friends in their childhood and their adulthood when they return to the town of their nightmares. This book can get very graphic, so reading it may be disturbing. Please do not blame me if you get nightmares.
7. Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress
The reason why I love this book is because it talks about growing up and all the awkward parts of it. Susan Jane Gilman's autobiography does not skim over the tougher parts of living life, she instead makes them the central stories in the book. Although she grew up in a different time period than the kids of today, it is still interesting to see the similarities of her time and ours.
8. The Graveyard Book
Okay, it's another Neil Gaiman book, but can you blame me? The guy is really great. Anyways, the book is about Nobody. By Nobody, I mean Nobody Owens, a living boy among the graveyard's residents. He arrived there one night as a child after he had gotten out of his crib and into the streets after a man named Jack killed his family. He grew up learning from the ghosts of the graveyard and has no complexes with them. The only thing he did not grow out of was Jack, who is still pursuing him.
9. Ender's Game
Genius children. In space. With an alien race as their enemy. I say yes. Orson Scott Card wrote this about 30-40 years ago, but the story is still great. The children in question are not only smart, but they are the best of the best, outsmarting even adults. These kids are sent to a place called Battle School where they are trained to fight the Buggers, named because of their appearance. Ender Wiggin, a Third, lives in this world with his genius brother and sister, bored out of his wits by the normal classes, that is, until he decides to defend himself against his favorite bully.
10. A Thousand Splendid Suns
This book has gone on my list of my all-time favorite books. Khaled Hosseini (also wrote The Kite Runner) explains the situation in Afghanistan from the time Soviet Russia controlled it, to the time the Taliban lost their control. He centers his story around two women, Mariam and Laila, and tells a compelling and somber tale of how they survived the changes in leadership. It opens eyes to the life of these people and gives a glimpse beyond the war in Afghanistan.