Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Should Be Required Reading

It’s time for a Top Ten Tuesday list! As always, thank you to the folks at The Broke and the Bookish for hosting. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books that should be required reading for teens. The biggest challenge I had with this list was deciding between classic and contemporary works. A required reading list is a tricky thing. On the one hand, I feel it’s important to read classics. One the other hand, some of them are just so darn boring! A list of classics only will turn a lot of teens off of reading. So, let’s mix it up!

  1. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. Not only is this book fast-paced and suspenseful, it is also packed with thought-provoking issues. Physical perfection comes at a price. In Uglies, people sacrifice their individuality and free-will for physical beauty. In return, the government provides a life of peace, stability, and equal access to resources. It’s a tempting offer, but some are not willing to accept this life.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The world still needs the powerful words of Atticus Finch.




3. Endgame by Nancy Garden. This is a disturbing look inside the mind of the victim of bullying. Gray feels trapped, ignored, and alienated by both his peers and the adults in his life. When he finally snaps and takes matters into his own hands the outcome is devastating.



4. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This cautionary tale is not just about censorship, it is about what happens when people is society stop questioning and challenging authority. This classic continues to be relevant today.



5. Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. This moving and entertaining story about a deaf girl managing a high school band is all about rising to a challenge, overcoming obstacles, and coming out the other side with a better understanding of yourself. It is an inspiring, feel-good story and it’s the perfect balance to a lot of the heavy material teens are required to read.


6. Mythology. The lives of the Greek and Roman gods and goddesses were full of violence, treachery, betrayal, sex, love, and debauchery. Talk about a good time! Of course these stories all come with a moral and valuable insight into human nature. Let’s not forget history and language skills that can be learned from myths. They entertain and educate, what’s not to love!

7. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. This book about World War II offers a unique narrator, Death, describing life for civilian Germans. It’s about small defiances having a huge impact and how the power of words can lead people to both good and evil.



8. Lord of the Flies by William Golding. This is a haunting cautionary tale about the corrupting nature of power and egotism.  It begs readers to wonder how they would act in an uncivilized environment.



9. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. This compelling story about sexual assault is sure to be a classic. It explores the trauma and isolation felt by survivors of rape.



10. Shakespeare. The original writer of teen angst! The works of Shakespeare are so ingrained in pop culture, you really need to know his stuff.




And there you have, another Top Ten List. Next week I will have a list of books that tackle tough issues.

Happy Reading!



3 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Should Be Required Reading

  1. Uglies is a great choice, I really enjoy seeing Tally’s growth and transformation and the world that Westerfeld has created has so much potential. And yay for Shakespeare! He made my list too 🙂

  2. I’ve heard such great things about Five Flavors of Dumb. Must check it out.

    My ten:

  3. +JMJ+

    I think we could all use more mythology and Shakespeare! =D

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