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.
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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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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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10 TV Shows You Need To Watch On Hulu

Hulu is slept on

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I have recently moved to watch shows and movies on Hulu and Netflix. Hulu has a lot of great shows and movies to offer that aren't on Netflix. While Netflix is still great, Hulu is definitely starting to grow on me. Here are some shows that I have watched or have started watching on Hulu that I think are pretty great!

1. 11.22.63

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If you love James Franco and Stephen King, you'll love this show. The first episode is a bit long, but all the other episodes are only 45 minutes. The plot line is pretty interesting. I also like that it doesn't tell you everything, it shows it to you and you piece things together.

2. The Act

The fact that this show is based on a true story is just insane. The acting is really great, especially if you watch actual videos of Gypsy, Joey King does a great job.

3. Castle Rock

Another Stephen King masterpiece. This show is riveting and really makes you think about what the truth is in the context of the story, and brings in some ethical questions.

4. Future Man

I've only recently started this but it's pretty interesting and funny.

5. The O.C.

The O.C. (TV Series 2003–2007) - IMDb

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This show was great. Sometimes it was a bit annoying, but it is a classic show from the early 2000s. You really become invested in all the characters and your opinion may change on some characters because they grow and develop throughout the show.

6. The Handmaid's Tale

If you've read the book, you should definitely watch the show.

7. Obsession: Dark Desires

https://www.hulu.com/

I just love true crime stories and this really dives deep into crime stories and the darkest parts of humanity.

8. Intervention

This show can be really sad or frustrating, but I think it's good for people to see the reality of addiction.

9. Smallville

Smallville (2001-2011)

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I also started this one very recently and I've always wanted to watch it. It can be cheesy but it's pretty entertaining.

10. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

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This is a great show if you want to laugh. I love all of the characters and everything they bring to the table.

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