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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Thanks for the ideas.

Feel free to share nonfiction as well.

We have quite a few students in AP and Pre-AP courses, so cutting edge titles for those students would be of interest as well.
As a foreigner, there are some acronyms which aren't clear to me. What's AP? (then I can figure out what pre-AP is!)
AP=Advanced Placement. AP classes have national tests that can be taken and in my district an AP class gets a 5 point "A" rather than a 4 point "A"---so the AP and Honors classes gives you a higher grade point average. Is that clear or are you more confused?
Thanks Nancy
Clear enough! (I'm always more confused!)
You and me both, I took my 85 year mother to the emergency room yesterday--she was "disoriented and confused". They ask her questions I couldn't answer!!

I'm thinking of using The Book Thief this year in my grade eight class. It is a challenging read and I would not hesitate to recommend it to high school students.The novel documents the life of a young girl in Nazi Germany whose parents are imprisoned by the Nazi regime at the beginning of World War II and who, as a result, must live with a foster family.

The novel addresses the war and the Holocaust and their impact on a small town in Germany as well as the girl herself. The writing is very engaging and the novel would make a great addition to a Holocaust unit or a unit on The Diary of Anne Frank (I'm thinking of reading both with my eights this year).
I agree, The Book Thief was brilliant. It was too intense for my 6th graders, but would be great for older kids. I've started another one that has an intriguing plot call Taken. It's a science fiction thriller set in 2035. Kidnappings of kids for ransom is a "major growth industry" and the divide between rich and poor is explored. It's too "mature" for my kids but middle schools and high schoolers might like it.
Thanks for that recommendation, Nancy. I'll take a look at Taken next weekend. Sounds like it could be a great novel study for my 7s.
The Book Thief is a FANTASTIC book but yes, a little challenging for junior high. I'd HIGHLY recommend getting the book on CD for your class to listen along as opposed to reading it alone. The actor who does the reading is BRILLIANT.
I just finished "What is the What". It's an autobiography of a Sudanese Lost Boy, but written by Dave Eggers (a great novelist) so it's a great read. It's personal, touches on current global issues, brings up issues you don't hear much about (conflicts and misunderstandings between African immigrants and American blacks), and intense.
I'd echo this recommendation for What is the What. It's a great read--and makes you feel the situation first hand. My daughter had one of the Lost Boys (not the author) visit her school to talk about what he lived through--if the kids had also been assigned the book it would have been even better. I read the book after hearing how moved my daughter was by the speaker. What is the What contains very harsh, brutal, painful realities, so it may not be for everyone; you'll have to judge what the students are ready for.
Probably a controversial choice, but "We3" by Grant Morrison would be my recommendation. Yes, it's a comic graphic novel, however it presses all the right buttons with teachers and pupils alike.

The kids get the thrill of doing something heretofore forbidden in the classroom and are totally engaged by the manga-style action as well as the emotional core of the story (always interesting to note how many boys are welling up by the end of it...).

For you, you have the benefit of grabbing their attention with the text and then using it as a springboard for explorations of core concepts (narrative, character, theme and, in particular, language, which is used in a very experimental way in "We3"). It also has huge cross-curricular potential, looking at animal rights, concepts of freedom and repsonsibility within citizenship; then there are the obvious links with art and design in the novel's graphic nature.

This, and a healthy stock of comics, manga and graphic novels in the library, could be just the thing you need to revitalise literacy.



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