Top 5 Novels That I Read In High School

Top 5 Novels That I Read In High School

The best books of the uncountable read throughout high school.

Throughout high school, students are forced to read novels that they hate. Each book always seems worse when you are forced to read a certain number of pages a night and then discuss it the next day in class. Let’s face it, most of us have relied on Sparknotes for some of these books. Even among these books, I have always managed to find a book that I fall in love with. These are the books that drive us to actually read and not rely on online sources. You love writing those essays on them because you feel so passionate about that novel. Here are my top five!

1. "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker

This book is written in the form of an epistolary novel, meaning it is a book of letters and that chapters are generally fairly short. It is a quick read, but it has a heavy storyline. This novel exposes social problems regarding race and gender during the life of the main character, Celie, during the first half of the twentieth century. It is amazing how some of the issues are still prevalent today. This novel allows the reader to feel a rollercoaster of emotions as Celie grows up and develops.

The book revolves around the conflicts associated with hierarchy. The reader is exposed to the hierarchies both between and within races. The author successfully reveals that the problems were not just between the African American people and the white people, but rather between men and women. Even if black men were viewed low on the racial hierarchy, black women were a step below them. I both loved and hated being able to connect it to current events. Between the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for equal pay between genders, Walker’s messages remain prevalent. This Tony Award-winning revival of the story is currently on Broadway!

2. "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult chooses to write most of her novels through the perspectives of more than one main character. This writing style is particularly fascinating, especially in the case of this plot. Picoult creates a story line surrounding a school shooting in New Hampshire. The reader is exposed to the story through the eyes of the shooter, the shooter's former best friend, the former friend’s mother (a Supreme Court Judge), a police officer and the shooter’s mother. These perspectives allow insight into why the shooter did what he did.

Picoult displays what his peers saw, how parents reacted, what the police saw at the scene, how the shooter’s family felt afterward, and what was going through the shooter’s head, allowing readers to view the shooter as human.

I originally chose to read this book because I was a freshman when the Sandy Hook shooting occurred. It was my first real exposure to the possibility of that happening and it occurred at a school only three hours away from where I grew up.

3. "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer

The main character of this book is Oskar, an elementary school student who lost his father in the 9/11 attacks. Oskar has underdeveloped social skills and falls somewhere on the autism spectrum. Oskar finds a key in his father’s closet and it becomes his mission to find out where it fits. The envelope it is found in says “Black” on it, and this leads Oskar to go visit everyone in the five boroughs of New York with that last name.

Foer utilizes a show-not-tell philosophy in this book. He includes numerous images throughout the novel and includes letters from Oskar’s grandfather. These images are used to strengthen themes and symbols throughout the novel. It also ends with a flipbook of someone jumping from one of the Twin Towers. This is significant because Oskar creates that flip book but plays it backward because he believes it is an image of his father and by playing it backward, his father did not fall from the towers.

I loved this book because Oskar was a multidimensional eight-year-old who knows more than people twice his age. I barely remember this day in history, because when 9/11 happened, I was only three; however, my oldest sister was Oskar's age. Seeing Oskar’s pain and inability to cope with the loss of his father gave me a new perspective on that horrid day in history.

4. "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak

This story, which takes place during the Holocaust, is narrated through the point of view of death. Zusak writes of a struggling family that has taken in a Jewish man and allowed him to live in their basement. The reader is exposed to Jewish shops being destroyed and the book burnings that take place during that period.

Zusak personifies death as if it's its own character. The death toll increased so much during World War II, and death became so commonplace, that Death itself was almost bored. Death did not want to grace people with his presence, but it was his job.This novel created a whole new take on the Holocaust and emphasizes the pain of that period.

5. "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving

This novel surrounds the friendship of John Wheelwright and Owen Meany. It is narrated through a framed narrative by a present day John living in Canada, and a younger version of John living in New Hampshire. Irving utilizes the concepts of the Christ Figure and biblical allusions to strengthen Owen's character. John Wheelwright claims that Owen is the reason that he grew to believe in God.

This book takes place when both John and Owen are young elementary school boys, and then proceeds to go through high school. The author then includes diary entries from a 45-year-old John. The main event included was the Vietnam War. This plays an important part in the novel, as Owen has a preoccupation with death and his goal is to serve in Vietnam, active duty.

I loved this novel because of the different layers of complexity within the characters. There were times that Owen was funny, and then it would switch in an instant to serious. It was long book, but I could not stop reading.

Cover Image Credit: Tip Top Lifestyle

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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10 Places From Movies And TV You Can Visit In Real Life

It's like stepping into Hollywood!


I am constantly so enamored by the world of Hollywood and by going to visit places I have seen on screen. It's always such an unreal feeling to see where my favorite pieces of entertainment were shot. Here are 10 places from some of our favorite movies to see and visit in the real world!

The High School from "10 Things I Hate About You"

If you have ever wanted to dance on the same stairs as Heath Ledger or just stand in the same courtyard as Julia Stiles then you're in luck! Along the water in Tacoma, Washington, Stadium High School is located which was used both inside and out as the high school from one of the greatest teen movies of all time. This school is massive and so beautiful it's almost Hogwarts level stunning.

Pacific Coast Academy from  "Zoey 101"

Growing up I always dreamed about going to Pacific Coast Academy and being best friends with Jamie Lynn Spears and one of those things can (kinda) become a reality! Located in Malibu is a beautiful campus called Pepperdine University and it is the school they used to shoot scenes of Zoey and the gang at PCA. It is a christian based college and is prestigious in it's own right so if unlike me you are smart enough you can live out my dreams.

Central City Police Department from "The Flash"

Have you ever wanted to show up to Detective Joe West's place of work? Well head to the Vancouver City Hall in Vancouver, Canada and you will recognize your surroundings as the Central City Police Department! If you are lucky enough to show up on a filming day, you might even seen the man himself — Barry Allen.

Forks High School from The Twilight Saga

Personally, I am more invested in Bella and Jacob but for all my Team Edward ladies (and gentleman) you can visit the real-life school where Bella and Edward first met and their love blossomed into whatever obsessive weird thing it was. They also used the parking lot at this school to film the infamous scene where Edward saves Bella from getting crushed by a car. The school is called Kalama High School and is located in Kalama, Washington

Max And Dani's House from "Hocus Pocus"

Anyone with taste loves the movie Hocus Pocus — that's just facts! And I have some good news for fans of the can visit the infamous Denison house! Located in none other than Salem, Massachusetts you will find this beautiful home where my favorite siblings once lived.

Silent Hill from "Silent Hill"

I will say before talking about this place that visiting it is EXTREMELY dangerous as just like in the movie the town as been burning from below for years and years. This small town is called Centralia and is located Pennsylvania and has a roaring population of about four people.

Hobbiton from "Lord Of The Rings"

I am personally not a fan of Lord of the Rings but I know a lot of people are so I wanted to include this super cool place on the list. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand you can visit Hobbinton from the movies and spend a day living like your favorite characters.

Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter Series

Now this place will unfortunately be packed with muggles of course but you can find it at King's Cross Station in London! If you are anything like me and are obsessed with these magical movies this is a dream destination just don't run too hard at the wall if you're a muggle it will probably end in a concussion.

East High from the High School Musical Saga

Located in Salt Lake City Utah is the real life East High that was used in the filming of all three High School Musical movies. It is my absolute dream to attend this high school and walk the halls of the greatest high school of all time. They used both the outside and inside and the school so every inch of the school will remind you of these great teen movies.

Gus and Hazel's Bench from "The Fault in Our Stars" 

If you ever wanted to visit the site of this kiss between star crossed lovers you're in luck! Located along a canal in Amsterdam is a bench that is clearly marked by all the fault in our stars graffiti. Recreate this cute picture with your significant other and use a quote from the movie — then you'll just win in life.

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