Whether you’re a parent or a teacher, a high school reading list is crucial to getting students excited about reading. But it can be challenging to find books that appeal to all students.
Here are 15 classics and novels that are sure to intrigue high schoolers, no matter their age or reading level. From a harrowing World War II tale to a story about love and remembrance, these timeless stories are sure to capture the attention of your student.
The Odyssey is an epic poem written by Homer. It is the second of his two poems (the first being the Iliad).
In The Odyssey, Odysseus travels from Troy to Ithaca and back again over a period of ten years. It is a story of a mighty hero who battles cyclops, Circe, and the Sirens to return to his wife Penelope and son Telemachos.
It is also a story of family and home, the importance of love, and the strength and resilience of a man who aspires to be a hero. Its themes of imagination and transformation are timeless.
The Iliad, an epic poem by Homer, is one of the most important and beloved stories of all time. It tells the story of the Greeks’ siege of Troy, which took place nearly 2500 years ago.
The poem was probably written down in Homeric Greek, a literary blend of Ionic Greek and other dialects. It was composed in the 8th century BCE and is considered to be the earliest work of Western literature.
Its authorship was not always established, but most scholars believe that Homer wrote the poem independently and as part of a long oral tradition. As a result, The Iliad is a complex work that can be challenging to read.
The Aeneid is an epic poem about the founding of Rome written by Virgil, a Roman poet. It tells the story of Aeneas, the ancestor of the Romans, as he escapes Troy and sails the Mediterranean looking for a new home.
The poem was written during a time of political and social upheaval in Rome, where the faith of many Romans in their country’s greatness was on the rocks. It was a time of transition, and so Virgil sought to exalt the virtues and finest features of the new, ordered society that Augustus was instituting.
He distilled these values and best features into an archetypal Roman hero in the form of Aeneas, and portrayed him as embodying the highest and noblest aspects of the new, orderly Rome. His vision of this ideal society has continued to influence the world in ways that are still felt today, and is one of the reasons why The Aeneid remains so popular.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell’s debut novel Eleanor & Park is the story of two star-crossed misfits smart enough to know first love rarely lasts but brave and desperate enough to try. The engrossing tale follows the unlikely duo as they navigate their way through high school in 1986.
The story begins when Eleanor, a sixteen-year-old girl with big red hair and unique dressing sense, transfers to her new school in Omaha, Nebraska. She and Park meet on a bus, and through an accidental connection of comic books and mix tapes of 80’s rock music, they form a relationship that blossoms into more than either of them could have ever dreamed.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner is a powerful novel that examines morality and human nature. It is set in Afghanistan, and its characters and themes are universal.
Khaled Hosseini’s debut novel is a coming-of-age story that takes place in 1970s Afghanistan. The novel follows the relationship between Amir and Hassan, two young boys who grow up in the same house and share the same father.
The book is a fascinating and captivating story that is impossible to put down once you begin reading it. It explores the idea of redemption and how it relates to sin, forgiveness, and atonement. It also addresses the issue of power and class conflict, the immigrant experience, and Afghani history.
The Book of the Dead by Edith Hamilton
The Book of the Dead contains spells and magic formulas that were believed to help guide the dead into the afterlife. Its earliest compositions appear in Coffin Texts and Pyramid Texts from the 16th century BCE, but its most famous writings come from a later compilation.
The book explains how the dead traveled through the Duat (underworld), the field of the reeds, and finally came before Osiris and the other gods for judgement. It also included a series of rituals and tests designed to help the deceased avoid harm or loss in the afterlife.