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Back To School Book List For Teens

(Parents may help their younger kids with this!)

As your summer break is winding down, you’re probably getting ready for school. So why do you need a back to school book list now? Two reasons: one, you might be in a rush to find a good book to read  for your summer reading assignment (procrastination is common!) and two, reading during the school year is a great way to build your study skills, and depending on the book, have some fun too (learn why reading helps here).


So without further ado, here are two teacher-curated lists of books for high-school readers (and advanced middle-schoolers too).
Books marked with a ‘*’ are best for advanced readers due to content and/or reading level. Please check the description, and if necessary, with your school and parents, to ensure it is an appropriate choice for you.

Selections for Academic Reading

Coming of Age

Sandra Cisneros,The House on Mango Street    

Franciso Jimenez,The Circuit

Lensey Namioka,Ties That Bind, Ties That Break

John Knowles, A Separate Peace

*Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees


Rudolfo Anaya,Bless Me, Ultima

Julia Alvarez,How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

*Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake

*Chinua Achebe,Things Fall Apart

*Khaled Hosseini,The Kite Runner

American Literature

Ernest Gaines,A Lesson Before Dying

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

*Tim O’Brien,The Things They Carried  

*Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God  

*John Steinbeck,The Grapes of Wrath  

British Literature

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre  

Charles Dickens,Great Expectations  

Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles  

**Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray  

**Virginia Woolf,Mrs. Dalloway


Helen Keller, The Story of My Life  

Racquel J. Palacio,Wonder  

Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming   

Mark Mathabane, Kaffir Boy  

Frederick Douglass,The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass  

Fresh and Uncommon Reads


James Hirsch, Hurricane: The Miraculous Journey of Reuben Carter

Martin Pistoris,Ghost Boy

Steve Sheinkin, Lincoln’s Grave Robbers

Deborah Heligman, Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith

Maya Van Wagenen,Popular

Agnieszka Biskup & Tammy Enz, Batman Science: The Real-World Science Behind Batman’s Gear

Graphic Novels

Alexander Lagos, Sons of Liberty (10+)

Doug, TenNapel, Ghostopolis (10+)

Raina Telgemeir, Smile (14+)

Gene Luen Yi, Level Up (14+)

Emily Carroll, Through the Woods(14+)

Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis (16+)

Middle Level Reading

Kelly Fiore, Just Like the Movies

Megan Shull, The Swap

Lauren Morrill, Being Sloane Jacobs

Firoozeh Dumas, It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel

Jason Reynolds, As Brave as You

Kwame Alexander, The Crossover

Up All Night Reads

Frances Hardinge, The Lie Tree

Alex London, Proxy

T.L. Costa, Playing Tyler

Michael Grant, Gone

E.L. Lockhart, We Were Liars

Oh, What a World

M.T. Anderson, Feed

Joelle Charbonneau, The Testing

Sally Gardner, Maggot Moon

Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go

Mark Frost, The Paladin Prophecy

Ernest Cline, Ready Player One

Exploring the Unusual

Robin Sloane, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Mistress of Spices

Cath Crowley, Graffiti Moon

Kate Hattemer, The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy

Leslye Walton, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Max Barry, Lexicon


Reading is good for us in so many ways, but we hope that some of these books help you realize that reading is fun and something pleasurable you can do all your life. Save this list, and as social reading is even more fun, share it with friends!

We enjoyed putting this list together and would love to make it better. If you have books you’d like to add to the lists, leave us a reply – Happy Reading!


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