Reading the classics doesn’t always mean whipping out ye olde English and suddenly speaking Shakespeare. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, right? But many reading lists have often missed out on really cool books that all teens must read, books that are classics in themselves. So, to get you started on a reading list, I’ve picked out the first three of my favorite teen reads.
1. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Genre: science fiction fantasy
Okay, I’m actually cheating here, because A Wrinkle in Time is the first in a series of five books that make up The Time Quintet.
Thirteen-year-old Meg Murry considers herself an outcast. When her father, a government physicist, disappears while working on a mysterious project involving a tesseract, it falls upon Meg, her strange younger brother Charles Wallace, and their cute and popular neighbor Calvin O’Keefe, to find him.
What I got from this book: The adventure is as much an internal one as it is an interplanetary, fantastic one for Meg, because on top of saving her father and saving the world, she struggles with accepting herself for who she really is and opening her heart to love. Of all of the above, the last one’s the hardest, yes?
2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Genre: coming of age story, social drama
A six-year-old little girl named Scout slowly learns about the unfair treatment of African-Americans in the 1930s as her lawyer father, Atticus Finch, defends a black man who is accused of committing a crime.
You’d think this book was a heavy read, but no. Quite the opposite, actually. Author Harper Lee handled the subject with so much warmth and humor, the novel goes straight to your heart and stays there, leaving you with a lasting hope for humanity.
What I got from this book: Did I mention that Atticus Finch is the best lawyer ever? He stands for moral courage, for a strong sense of empathy, for quiet dignity. When I grow up, I want to marry Atticus Finch. Or, better yet, I want to be him!
3. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Two lonely children, Jesse and Leslie, create their own forest kingdom and call it Terabithia. Jesse’s an angry, slightly withdrawn boy who learns to open up when he befriends the playful tomboy Leslie. Jesse is an artist at heart, but the realities of a hard life and parents that don’t understand him often leave no room for his imagination to grow. It is Leslie who builds a bridge for him to a creative existence.
What I got from this book: Some friendships leave beautiful ripple effects on your life. Yes, that, and it really, really sucks when you have to say goodbye to a friend.
Till the next reading list. Enjoy!