Required Reading: What high school English classes should be reading

Jennifer Verzuh, Entertainment Editor

We’ve all been subjected to them at some point in our high school career, the dreaded Required Reading of English class. And not to say they’re all bad, in fact I enjoyed some of them. But I think we can all agree that the list could use an update with some more modern and even teenage orientated works. The following is a list of books that not only deserve to be read and studied by a high school audience but that students would actually enjoy and perhaps, if we’re lucky, even read.


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

-Literary Significance: Anderson deals with topics such as depression, isolation, sexual violence and its effects on someone, recovery, and the importance of using one’s voice. This is a very significant novel that deserves an audience, especially one of teens.

-Why Teens Will Like It: The story is told in first person by a high school student who teens will find easy to empathize with. Her story unfolds like a mystery, with the occasionally flashback, and the result is a beautiful story of an incredible young woman that I believe all teens will appreciate and learn from.


The Fault in Our Starsby John Green

-Literary Significance: Yes, this is the story of a young woman with terminal cancer. No, it isn’t oversentimental or Lifetime special-y in the least. This book deals with disease, death, and the acceptance of one’s fate in a real, no BS way. However, though the main character is constantly being followed by the shadow of death the story becomes more about living in the end than dying.

-Why teens Will Like It: John Green is the master of modern day YA fiction. He writes a beautiful story that shifts between being funny and sweet to heartbreaking seamlessly. While suffering from a terminal disease and wise beyond her years, Green’s heroine is still a teenager and completely relatable in her love of trashy reality TV, the pains and joys of first love, and the strength of friendship.


The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

-Literary Significance: Let me start by saying that though these books may be incredibly popular, it is no Twilight, and deserves its audience. Not merely a love triangle among teens, the novels tackle such themes as poverty, government control and abuse, the effects of war on children, and humanity among humans, all in a dystopian future setting.

-Why Teens Will Love It: Did I mention it had a love triangle? Children fighting to the death? Plus, a strong, independent female at the core of its story? And the first book has already been adapted into a hit movie? I seriously doubt any English teacher would have trouble getting their students to read these books. That is if they haven’t already.


The Help by Kathryn Stockett

-Literary Significance: An inspirational story that needs to be told, The Help, is an extraordinary piece of fiction that takes place during a revolutionary time in United States history (1960s Mississippi). More than a look into the past, the book also looks into the soul of humans, racism, love, hate, faith, courage, and friendship.

-Why Teens Will Like It: Far more interesting than your typical historical fiction (see: “The Scarlet Letter”) novel, this story is told from the unique perspective of three unique and strong women that one cannot help falling in love with in this superb novel that is sure to touch anyone who reads it.