What are some book recommendations for high school students that are cutting edge and will grab their attention?

We have a good list of titles, but are always looking for new ones.

Some that our students are reading include Things They Carried, Secret LIfe of Bees, Caramelo, Catcher in the Rye, etc.

But we're always looking for new titles that are powerful, and that a variety of readers would be interested in. Our Eng. teachers do give choice titles as well for different assignments.

Just looking for new recommendations....Please share!

Tags: books, english

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I love FEED by M.T. Anderson. Sort of a future, high-tech novel where everyone has chips implanted in their heads to constantly be downloading feeds. Great for discussion of advertising/media and the future of tech. I found it riveting as an adult.
When I was in high school my 10th grade English teacher had me read Muse (pronounced as mouse). There are two of them. It is a dark black and white comic that a man wrote about his fathers experience being in the holocaust. The Jews are drawn as mice, the Nazis are cats, and the Polish are pigs. It was a hard read at times, and there were times where I could not put it down. It is good because you do not feel like you are reading a schoolbook. Only four of us had to read it and I felt that the whole class should of read it.
You're talking about Maus by Art Spiegelman. Very good. It really snared my reluctant readers when I taught it. Problem is, I've been unable to get classroom set. I purchased my own copy of the books. You can launch student graphic novels using this as an example. Have them tell their family's story, or have them read another Holocaust novel and summarize it graphically.
A book you might want to pair with Speak, is Anderson's Twisted. It's very similar, but contains a male protagonist who is judged unfairly. I've allowed a few students to read my copy and they have all expressed a desire to own it themselves - even the guys!!

Feed is awesome! I plan to use it with either my utopia unit or my transcendental unit which leads in to another favorite - The Gospel According to Larry. This book explores nonconformity and anit-materialism. High school student posts "sermons" to internet site condemning materialistic society and preaching simplicity (he only has 75 possessions). Sophomore students really enjoyed it!!
For many years after first reading Tashian's Gospel According to Larry, I would weigh my purchases and wonder what I could give up in order to gain something new. If you liked Feed you might also like Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series similar if more pop-culturish.
It's great to know other English teachers continue to span the YA genre for bigger and better. Great titles already submitted.

Shopping for good reads myself; however, I need low readability, high interest.
Along my way, I've read to profound texts all teens can connect with. Content is very mature for both.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Looking for Alaska by John Green

The latter of the two has a Catcher in the Rye feel and the first (aside from the rape content) has connections to any teen in any high school setting.

The pair also serve well; one offering male perspective and the other female.

Lastly, LHAnderson also wrote Twisted, a male perspective, high school level read about a young man doing community service and trying to make it through high school.

read on...
I poll my students at the end of each year. Anonymously, they tell me the percentage of the novels they actually read, then add comments. I then eliminate what they cannot stand (if I can insert another novel that creates the same discourses on literary devices, themes, and so on). Consistently, the two they sincerely adore are One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey and Life of Pi by Yann Martel. I use countless cross-curricular lessons with these two. Cuckoo's Nest: psychology, history, sociology, art. Life of Pi: biology, religion, philosophy, art, psychology, history, sociology. The more connections I can make to other classes my students take, the better. Then, they can construct their writing and projects based on their interests and talents. My world meets their world, essentially. The Road by Cormac McCarthy was mentioned earlier in this thread. I'm really considering that; my friend teaches it at a nearby college and she says that the essays students produced were remarkable.
A Whole New Mind and Deep Economy would be top on my list to provoke thought and, perhaps, ACTION about an uncertain but potentially liberating future.
I am surprised that no one has suggested Chris Crutcher's books. My favorite is Chinese Handcuffs This book covers teenage suicide, dealing with suicide, sexual abuse, as well as other relevant topics. I have read most of his books and find them to be very insightful and my students love them.
Hi everyone,

I was really struck by the quality and the time everyone took to make this list of really great books. Amazing! Not the usual stuff......

I put these on the forthcoming Classroom 2.0 bookstore shelf (see H.S. Best), so all teachers can see them permanently and review. A great way to collect and keep our collected wisdom. (discussions get buried quickly!).

If you want more info. on the bookstore, I'll be telling more in the near future. Right now, just being developed. Also, you can read info. at Books4Teachers.


Without a doubt, my seniors are loving The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. It's been adopted by our district & I am beyond-words-glad it was!
Brent Runyon's Burn Journals is great for guys as well as a grabber for the students that go for books like A Child Called It. Burn Journals is a non-fiction book about a middle school student that tries to commit suicide by setting himself on fire in his bathtub. It was a very difficult read for me personally, but the students eat the book up.

Another great one is James Patterson's Maximum Ride (note: there are now four books in this series, but they are great hooks). If you have students that hate to read, this series is wonderful; the chapters are really short - averaging about a page in length most of the time - and the book is almost all action scene after action scene. Down side is it is scifi/fantasy and some of the names can be confusing for students that are not use to scifi/fantasy books.



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