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10 Books to Read Before You Graduate: YA Edition

Reading is so fun. There is nothing I love more than curling up with a glass of red wine, a fluffy blanket, and a great novel. However, some books really do suck the fun out of reading. In college, it’s easy to decide you don’t like to read because all the material assigned to you sucks (ugh, Grapes of Wrath). Don’t let boring books get you down! When you feel like you just can’t take anymore middle English, pick up an easy, fun novel. YA books make great breaks from the humdrum ramblings of Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad. Here, I’ve compiled a list of the best YA books to read before you graduate. You’re welcome.

10. The Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

On the surface, The Catcher in the Rye is about a rebellious sixteen-year-old boy rambling around the streets of New York City. However, on a more metaphorical level, this book explores coming-of-age and mental health issues. Salinger’s work is truly a classic. Goodreads rating: 3.8

9. A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle

About to be a major motion picture (again), this book is about three children traveling through time and the fifth dimension, facing unreal dangers. Will they make it back home? Read (and watch!) to find out. Goodreads rating: 4.04

8. The Outsiders – SE Hinton

When Johnny, a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, kills a rival, Ponyboy’s world completely shifts. SE Hinton’s poignant novel deals with gang violence and the universal pain caused by it. Goodreads rating: 4.07

7. Princess Diaries – Meg Cabot

Think you know the story because you watched the movies? Think again. When fifteen-year-old Mia finds out she’s actually the heir to the Genovian throne, her world flips upside down. Throughout the series, Mia faces the struggles between duty to oneself and one’s country. Hilarious and romantic, this series is sure to become your next guilty pleasure. Goodreads rating (series collection): 4.12

6. Number the Stars – Lois Lowry

Number the Stars tells the tale of two young girls, Annemarie and Ellen, trying to survive in Nazi Germany. Heart-wrenching and beautiful, Lowry’s novel shows us what it means to be brave and good-hearted. Goodreads rating: 4.12

5. Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

One of the most popular contemporary YA novels, Chbosky’s tale follows Charlie as he tries to navigate through the hardships of high school, love, and trauma. A must-read for all wallflowers. Goodreads rating: 4.21

4. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Does this book even need a summary? Lee’s masterpiece deals with the larger coming-of-age issues, like solidifying values and learning the importance of compassion. Written in the 1960’s, this novel is all too relevant in today’s world. Goodreads rating: 4.26

3. Matilda – Roald Dahl

Matilda, an unwanted and unloved child, discovers her gifted talents at a new school. Dahl’s tale is funny, cute, and heart-warming. Plus, the Broadway musical and hit movie are great adaptations of the story. Goodreads rating: 4.29

2. Wonder – RJ Palacio

Wonder recently became a hit movie, and for good reason. Palacio writes the story of Auggie, a young boy with a deformed face who is just trying to fit in at his new school. Wonder will make you cry one minute and laugh the next. Goodreads rating: 4.45

1. Harry Potter – JK Rowling

This needs no summary. JK Rowling’s series is arguably the best thing that has ever been written. Read it, re-read it, and re-re-read it. You won’t regret it. Goodreads rating (average of all seven books): 4.51

Now get reading!

Adelaide is a senior at CNU pursuing a BA in English w/ an emphasis in writing. After graduation, she plans to become an Editorial Assistant in Manhattan. In her free time, Adelaide loves reading books, playing with her two wonderful cats, and spending time with her grandpa.
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