Five Books You Should Read Before Finishing High School


From the outside, a book is merely pieces of paper wrapped in a protective cover. Open up the right novel, however, and it can transport you to worlds you could only dream of traveling to.  (Photo in public domain)

With so many books available in libraries and bookstores, it is hard to decide which novels are worth reading and which ones are not. To help combat this issue, here is a compiled list of five classic books to share some recommendations on what to read next. 

Little Women 

Little Women is the fictional story of the March family. The book takes place in the early 1860s and shares the life experiences of the March sisters, Amy, Beth, Jo, and Meg. Little Women follows the girls over a period of several years from adolescence to young adulthood, and is truly one of the most heartwarming coming of age stories there is. 

Little Women is available for free here in epub, kindle and html formats.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Written by Mark Twain, a famous American novelist, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer follows the main character Tom and his friend Huckleberry through their daily misadventures in the fictional town of St.Petersburg, Missouri. The two boys are quite mischievous and end up in multiple exciting predicaments throughout the book.                                    

As well as following Tom and Huck, the book takes a look at antebellum southern culture, and is known for being one of the first novels to depict a southern dialect in the writing.

You can find “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” for free download here in epub and kindle forms as well as in html format. 

The Book Thief

Recently written in 2004, The Book Thief is a modern classic. The novel is narrated from the point of view of Death — yes, the collector of souls — and follows nine-year-old Liesel Memenger through her life in Nazi Germany. Though The Book Thief is written about a child, it deals with delicate adult subjects with grace and sensitivity.  

The Book Thief is relatively new and therefore is not available for free in most forms, but you can find it in PDF format here

Animal Farm

Animal Farm is a satire/allegory written in 1944 about the Russian Revolution. The book takes place on a small English farm. When the animals become fed up with the farm owner’s ways, they rebel against him in order to create a place where “all animals are equal.” Overall, the book is filled with symbolism and provides a great way to understand the corrupting effect of greed, and people’s hunger for power over others.

“I would recommend it [Animal Farm] if you’re into politics and how government systems work,” said Corey Baudreau, a sophomore at Leesville Road High School via text. “The book does a great job modeling why communism doesn’t work and how certain government systems can and can’t run.”

Animal Farm is available for free in PDF and audio format here

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a historical fiction book about the life of an immigrant living in New York during the early 1900s. The novel features Francie Nolan and her family, made of her mother, father, and brother. It takes place over a period of almost ten years, from when Francie was seven to age seventeen. The heartwarming novel shows perseverance through tough times, poverty, and most of all the importance of family. 

“I would definitely recommend this book,” said Gretchen Stern, a junior at Leesville Road High School. “The author paints a very realistic picture of people’s lives at this time, both their joys and their hardships. While I was reading, I felt that I was in the story, experiencing what the characters were feeling and I was impacted by the deeper meaning behind many events.” 

You can access a free PDF version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn here

Deciding on your next read should not be a daunting task, and this list will hopefully help you avoid making it such.


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