Books Every Teenager Should Read at Least Once in Their Life


Nikki Gomez, Staff Writer

There are many books out there that teenagers can read, however here are a list of books I think every teen should read at least once in their life. They each contain a component that every teenager could relate to, while also being an interesting story to read.

“Catcher in the Rye”

“Catcher in the Rye”  written by J.D. Salinger is a well-known book that many teens have to read for school. However, it is known for being a relatable novel for teens because of the main character, Holden Caulfield. The novel is written through a stream of consciousness through the main character while using excessive provocative language. Holden is a rebellious teenager who has been kicked out of 3 boarding schools, and always finds himself in trouble. “Catcher in the Rye” is a critique on superficiality in society and talks about issues teenagers deal with such as: loss of innocence, identity, and belonging.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a coming of age epistolary novel written by Stephen Chbosky. The novel is written from the point of view of the main character, Charlie, during his freshman year in high school. In the beginning, Charlie does not have many friends. He is an introverted teen who loves reading and struggles finding a group to belong to. The novel covers adolescence, friendship, drug use, loss, grief and mental health. Many teenagers could relate to the protagonist of the novel, as many teenagers throughout their years in high school struggle with finding friends and putting themselves out there. 

“The Book Thief”

“The Book Thief” is a historical fiction novel written by Marcus Zusak and is his most well-known novel. The novel is narrated by Death, following Liesal Meminger, a teenager coming of age in Nazi Germany during WWII. Liesel Meminger is the “Book Thief” the title refers to because during WWII, German soldiers were forced to burn books. Liesal is forced to steal books from the people around her. The Hubermanns take care of Liesel and Liesel has a strong bond with her “father” Hans Huberman. This book will expose teenagers to the harsh reality teenagers during the war had to face. It is a very interesting read and many will begin to love the character Liesel, as she is a teenager who makes the best of her situation and always finds the positives despite what is going on around her.

“The Outsiders”

“The Outsiders” written by S.E Hinton is another coming of age novel written in first person point of view by the teenage protagonist, Ponyboy Curtis. He is involved in a group called the “Greasers,” who rival with another group called the “Socials.” The Greasers struggle to exist in a society that seems designed to only dismiss them. The main character, Ponyboy, is different from his other gang members as he struggles with this inner turmoil and considers himself an “outsider.”  

“The Bell Jar”

“The Bell Jar ” is a story about a 19-year-old woman named Ester Greenwood, who aspires to become a poet, but she suffers from mental illness and struggles with her identity and conforming to societal norms. ‘The Bell Jar ” written by Sylvia Plath, parallels Plath’s own mind and her struggles with depression. Throughout the novel Ester’s mind deteriorates and her mental state weakens. The title symbolizes her depression as a feeling of being under a “bell jar,” struggling to break free from this grasp it has on her. “The Bell Jar ” is a short read, and vividly shows readers how mental illnesses affect people.  

The main point each of the novels listed contain is the sense of belonging every teen finds themselves wanting. A sense of identity is another component they all have and how the characters deal with discovering their identity. In high school, it can be hard to discover your own identity without being warped into the social hierarchy and trying to fit in. It is important for teenagers to know they’re not alone in their thoughts of wanting to fit in, and these novels corroborate these feelings.