When you’re in high school, a ton of books to read are going to be thrown at you – most of them will be textbooks or literary classics. You’ll also get a ton of advice thrown at you. Some of it will be great, some of it will be unwanted, but a lot of it will be bad. The good news is that there is a whole world of books out there that you’ll actually enjoy reading and that will simultaneously help you get through high school in one piece.
Sometimes authors you’ve never met understand your high school experience better than anyone else does. They say the things you wish you could say and write about the situations you’re going through, or at least something similar. Sometimes reading these books makes you feel better than any advice ever could.
There are thousands of options to choose from out there, but I think the 15 below are a great place to start. They capture the high school experience in a way many people can’t. These are especially great to read if you’re a freshman or an incoming freshman and don’t know what to expect, but honestly, they can be read at any age. Here are 15 books every high school freshman girl needs to read now:
Anthropology Of An American Girl by Hilary Thayer HamannThis book is really long, but don't let that turn you off - it is absolutely worth the read. This is one of my favorite books about being a young girl. It's so well written and it's very complex. The book follows the main character, Eveline, through high school and college. We watch as Eveline falls for her first serious boyfriend, then falls out of love with him, we watch her deal with sexual harassment and more, we watch her fall in love with her teacher, deal with an absentee mom, watch her ex-boyfriend who still loves her get addicted to drugs, all the while watching her try to get through life. It's really, really great, and I recommend it to everyone. You can buy this from Amazon for $12.89
Dare Me by Megan AbbottI read this book recently and I was surprised by how much I liked it. Dare Me is about two high school cheerleaders, Addy and Beth, and their new coach. It's about the power struggle among peers we all experience in high school. But it's more than that - the book is also a sort of mystery/thriller because it's also about a suicide that shakes up everything Addy knows. This book explores friendship and passion in a way you will totally relate to. You can buy this from Amazon for $12.41
Honey Baby Sweetheart by Deb CalettiIf you've ever had a crush on the bad boy in school, or ever actually dated him, you should read this. But this book isn't just about love - it's also about one of the most important relationships in every girl's life: the one with her mother. Honey Baby Sweetheart tells us the story of Ruby, who falls for the wrong guy, and then finds solace in unlikely company - her mother and her friends. It's a really sweet story that will make you rethink your relationship with your mom. You can buy this from Amazon for $9.18
Prep by Curtis SittenfeldPrep is probably the best book I've ever read about a boarding school experience. I've never been to boarding school, but I can imagine that it's just like this. This book tells the story of Lee, a girl who is just trying to get through a boarding school where she feels like she doesn't really belong. Lee is an awkward and shy outsider who is just trying to fit in, and ends up observing everything else. This book understands high school in the best way. You can buy this from Amazon for $13.65
This Lullaby by Sarah DessenSarah Dessen is probably my favorite YA author ever. I've read all of her books, and I even read them now that I'm not technically a teen anymore. But This Lullaby is still my number one favorite. I've read it countless times, and it never gets old. This Lullaby is narrated by Remy, a recent high school graduate who is sarcastic, kind of angry, and very jaded about relationships, thanks to a dramatic family history. Remy vows to never fall in love or take a relationship seriously - until she meets Dexter, who is different than everyone else. No one gets your first love quite as well as Sarah Dessen, and you won't be able to put this down. You can buy this from Amazon for $9.63
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow RowellThis is the only book on this list that I haven't read yet, but I had to add it because I've heard so many good things about it, and it's on my list. This book is a story of first love between two outsiders. It sounds cliche, but there are so many rave reviews for this book that there must be something extra special about it. It definitely seems worth the read. You can buy this from Amazon for $11.20
The Center of Everything by Laura MoriarityIf you deal with a difficult family life, I think you'll really enjoy this book. The Center Of Everything tells the story of Evelyn, a girl who is just trying to get through adolescence in some difficult conditions. She has a scatterbrained single mom who falls for her married boss (who gets her pregnant and then ditches her), she lives in the middle of nowhere, she's in love with a guy who loves her best friend, and she's also trying to figure out who she is and what she wants. This book addresses all of the insecurities and confusion you've felt. You can buy this from Amazon for $12.31
Cut by Patricia McCormickYou've probably heard of this book, because it's been around for a while. Cut is about exactly what it sounds and looks like : Callie, a girl who cuts herself to deal with the depression and anxiety she has. It's also about Callie's time in a rehabilitation treatment facility - the people she meets, her experiences, and how she finally learns to open up. This is such an important book, especially if you're someone who deals with depression and cutting. You can buy this from Amazon for $5.66
Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCaffertySloppy Firsts is the first book in the Jessica Darling series, which is one of my favorite book series ever. If you've never read any of these, you're really missing out. The Jessica Darling series follows the main character, Jessica, through high school, college, and after college, but this first book focuses on her in high school. Jessica is the sarcastic, jaded, hilarious girl you wish you were best friends with. She's smart, funny, and not afraid to be herself, even though she deals with a ton of anxiety, lonlieness, and insecurities. Jessica is the virgin good girl who is bored of her life and seriously missing her best friend, who moved far away. And then she meets Marcus Flutie, who is the exact person she shouldn't be with. This book is totally engrossing and will understand you better than you understand yourself. You can buy this from Amazon for $11.31
Slam by Nick HornbyNick Hornby is one of my favorite authors in the world. He's hilarious, sharp, and witty, and his books are just so much fun to read. Slam is written in the narrative of a teen boy, Sam, who gets his girlfriend pregnant. It's fun to read a book that isn't written from the perspective of a girl, because it's interesting to see how the male mind works. Sam turns to his hero, Tony Hawk, to get through his girlfriend's pregnancy. It sounds silly, but it's so great. And if you love it, read High Fidelity and About A Boy. SO good. You can buy this from Amazon for $8.00
Someone Like You by Sarah DessenA lot of young adult books focus just on love and relationships, but this one focuses on friendship (and love, too, but mainly friendship). It's about Halley and Scarlett, who have to stick together through one of the toughest situations imaginable: Scarlett's boyfriend and first love dies, leaving her pregnant and alone. This book totally gets female friendships in high school, and again, it's written by Sarah Dessen, who is just the best. You can buy this from Amazon for $9.99
The Spectacular Now by Tim TharpThis book was recently made into a movie with Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley. I saw the movie, but I thought the book was better. This is another pick that tells the story from a guy's point of view. It's about Sutter Keely, who is the definition of "bad boy." He ends up accidentally falling for the stereotypical good girl, Aimee. It's different because instead of being told from the perspective of the girl falling for the bad boy, it's told from the perspective of the bad boy. Sutter is the character you'll simultaneously love and hate, but in some moments, he'll explain your feelings better than you can. You can buy this from Amazon for $9.99
White Oleander by Janet FitchEveryone who has a complicated relationship with their mother needs to read this book. It's the story of Ingrid and her young daughter Astrid. Ingrid is a famous and brilliant poet who is in prison for murder, leaving Astrid to fend for herself in a world of terrible foster homes. It's engrossing, depressing, but very, very good. You can buy this from Amazon for $13.45
Speak by Laurie Halse AndersonI'm sure you've heard of Speak - in fact, a lot of schools require students to read this book. Don't let that deter you - it really is so good and important. It tells the story of Melinda, a quiet outcast who has no friends after she called the cops on a big party. She stops talking altogether, only finding peace in art. Readers eventually find out that Melinda was raped, and her rapist is still at large in her school, making her feel threatened. The book tells Melinda's story, and is such a must-read for every young girl. You can buy this from Amazon for $8.01
The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyEvery must-read book list for high school students includes this book, but there's a reason for that - it really is that good. In case you haven't heard, The Perks of Being A Wallflower is about a highly observant high school boy named Charlie who is kind f a loner... until he meets friends. It's so good you'll want to read it more than once. You can buy this from Amazon for $7.58
Which of these books have you already read? Which is your favorite? What did I forget to include? Tell me in the comments.