26. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury (1957)
This story of a boy’s magical small-town summer in 1928 deals with events both mundane and mystical. Middle School/High School.
27. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (trans. by Susan Massotty) (1947, 1995)
This is the definitive edition of the beloved and deeply admired testament in which Anne Frank recounts the two years she spent hiding in an Amsterdam warehouse with her Jewish family during the Nazi occupation. Middle School/High School.
28. Discworld/Tiffany Aching (series) by Terry Pratchett (2003–2012)
Discworld is an extensive comic fantasy series of nearly forty novels, though the books do not need to be read in order. To date, there are four books featuring Tiffany Aching, a young apprentice witch in the Discworld universe. The subseries starts when Tiffany teams up with the Wee Free Men, a clan of six-inch-high blue men, to rescue her baby brother and ward off a sinister invasion from Fairyland. Middle School/High School.
1. The Wee Free Men
2. A Hat Full of Sky
4. I Shall Wear Midnight
29. Divergent by Veronica Roth (2011)
Smart, gutsy characters and a sweet romance add depth to this action-packed, addictively fast-paced read set in a not-too-distant future Chicago where people are divided into five factions. Now that she is sixteen, it is finally time for Beatrice Prior to choose her permanent faction. But her choice won’t be easy. When she takes her aptitude tests, Beatrice learns that she is a Divergent, someone who does not fit easily into any of the predetermined classifications and whose very existence threatens her society. In order to survive, she must keep her secret and excel in the tests administered by her new faction, from weaponry and hand-to-hand combat, to capture the flag and mind-bending virtual reality simulations. Middle School (mature)/High School.
30. Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897) Having discovered the double identity of the wealthy Transylvanian nobleman Count Dracula, a small group of people vow to rid the world of the evil vampire. Middle School (mature)/High School.
31. Dune by Frank Herbert (1965)
Set on the desert planet of Arrakis, Dune is the story of the boy Paul Atreides, who grows up to become a mysterious man known as Maud'dib. Blending elements of adventure and mysticism with environmentalism and politics, Dune traces Paul’s journey to avenge his noble family and create hope in a deteriorating universe. High School.
32. The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King (2009)
Seventeenth-century pirate Emer Morrisey was murdered and cursed to live the lives of 100 dogs. Centuries later, Saffron Adams is born with a complete memory of Emer’s life and all the dog lives in between. This novel is multilayered, with several storylines to keep the pages turning. There is Emer’s life in Cromwellian Ireland, her lost love, and her journey to become one of the most fearsome pirates of the Caribbean. Then there is Saffron’s difficult family situation, her hilarious struggle to repress her pirate instincts, and her driving desire to retrieve the treasure that Emer buried just before her death. Also thrown into the mix are the insights gained from centuries living a dog’s life and a disturbed middle-aged man who lives near the treasure site. Dust is the perfect combination of history, adventure, romance, and contemporary realism. High School.
33. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (1952)
An American saga set between the beginning of the 20th century and the end of World War I, this epic novel re-imagines the seminal stories of Genesis through the entwined lives of two families in the Salinas Valley. High School.
34. Emma by Jane Austen (1815)
This classic comedy of manners centers on Emma Woodhouse, a flawed and self-deluding matchmaker with the best of intentions but little understanding of the people around her. High School.
35. Enchanted Forest Chronicles (series) by Patricia C. Wrede (1985–1993)
The series begins with Princess Cimorene, who bravely aids dragons in their battle against the wizards trying to overtake their kingdom. Middle School/High School.
1. Dealing With Dragons
2. Searching for Dragons
3. Calling on Dragons
4. Talking to Dragons
36. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)
A child soldier and now a veteran of simulated war games, Ender believes he is engaged in a computer war game. In truth, he is commanding the last fleet against an alien race seeking the destruction of Earth. Middle School/High School.
37. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers (1988)
Seventeen-year-old Richie Perry is fresh out of a Harlem high school and doesn't have the money for college, so he enlists in the Army. Completely unprepared for the horrors he must face, Richie spends a devastating year on active duty in Vietnam. High School (mature).
38. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (2012)
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few extra years, Hazel’s cancer is still terminal. But when she meets the wildly clever and charismatic Augustus Waters at her Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel discovers a new zest for life. This is a wonderfully written book about love and loss and learning to live while coping with the reality of death, about wondering how you will be remembered after you're gone and what will become of those you love. The Fault in Our Stars is not an easy read. It is intellectually and emotionally challenging—but worth the effort. By turns brilliant, hilarious, and heartbreaking, this is a book that is not easily forgotten. High School (mature).
39. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (2003)
Eddie, a wounded war veteran killed in a tragic accident, believes he led an uninspired life. But when he awakens in the afterlife, he soon discovers that in heaven there are five people to help the deceased understand the significance and value of their life on earth. High School.
40. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (1966)
Charlie Gordon, a young man with limited mental capabilities, along with a laboratory mouse named Algernon become the joint objects of a scientific experiment to see if Charlie can become “normal.” Based on the 1959 short story of the same name. Middle School (mature)/High School.
41. Forever by Judy Blume (1975)
Katherine and Michael, along with various friends and acquaintances in suburban New Jersey, discover the possibilities and limitations of love, sex, and personal commitment. They also invent a few interesting names for body parts. High School.
42. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
This gothic horror classic is considered by many to be the first ever science fiction novel. It’s the story of the arrogant and ego-centric Victor Frankenstein, who becomes obsessed with generating a new life from stolen body parts. However, upon seeing his new creation, Frankenstein rejects his “monster,” leaving it to make its own way in the world with no direction. The results are disastrous for Frankenstein and those he holds dear. Mary Shelley was 19 when Frankenstein was first published. High School.
43. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg (1987)
Depressed middle-aged housewife Evelyn Couch finds the power and courage to change her life after befriending Ninny Threadgood, an elderly woman she meets at a nursing home. The novel blends Evelyn and Ninny’s present day (the 1980s) with stories from Ninny’s youth in the 1920s. At the heart of these past stories is Idgie, Ninny’s strong-minded, tomboy sister-in-law, who flouted societal expectations and opened a café with her friend Ruth. High School.
44. Funny How Things Change by Melissa Wyatt (2009)
This is a quiet, thoughtful novel set in the coal-mining country of West Virginia. The small town of Dwyer is dying, so when his girlfriend Lisa asks him to move with her to Pennsylvania when she leaves for college, Remy Walker agrees. After all, even his mother left to make a life somewhere else. Still, Remy is torn: he loves Lisa, but knows he will miss life in the mountains. This is a compelling and refreshing novel, with a relatable narrator and a strong sense of place. The characters and events feel authentic rather than contrived, and the writing is crisp and eloquent. High School.
45. Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray (2003–2007)
In 1895, on Gemma’s 16th birthday, she is assaulted with a terrifying vision of her mother’s death at the hands of a mysterious dark creature. Minutes later, Gemma finds her mother dead in the middle of the Bombay marketplace. Gemma’s visions continue after she is sent to Spence, an all-girls school outside London with a strong gothic atmosphere. There she discovers the existence of secret societies called the Order and the Rakshana—and learns that she holds the power to enter a magical place called the Realms. The series is fascinating as it explores three worlds—the mysteries of Spence, the Realms, and late 19th century London—yet somehow maintains a completely modern sensibility. Middle School (mature)/High School.
1. A Great and Terrible Beauty
2. Rebel Angels
3. The Sweet Far Thing
46. The Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (2000)
Have you ever wondered about the story behind a painting? In this radiant novel, Griet, a sixteen-year-old girl based on the unknown subject of one of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer's most famous paintings, comes to life. High School.
47. The Giver by Lois Lowry (1993)
This ageless favorite is a precursor to the current craze in dystopian fiction. It features a “perfect” world, where there is no such thing as fear or pain. There are no choices to agonize over; everything is decided for you. At the age of twelve, every person is assigned their role in the Community. When his turn comes, Jonas is chosen to receive special attention from the Giver, who holds in trust all the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. And then Jonas learns a truth from which there is no turning back. Middle School/High School.
48. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (2005)
In this heartbreaking and inspiring memoir, the child of an alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother discusses her family's nomadic upbringing. While their parents dodged authorities, the Walls children had to learn how to support themselves, even scrounging in school trashcans for food. High School.
49. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (1971)
Originally sold as the real diary of an actual teenager, this is the faux-memoir of a 15-year-old girl in the 1960s. Despite her stable, secure upbringing—she’s the daughter of a college professor—she tries LSD at a party and is subsequently drawn into a nightmarish world of addiction, hustlers, and dealers. High School.
This Pulitzer Prize–winning novel is a classic novel set during the Civil War and Reconstruction. It introduces its teenage heroine, the spoiled and headstrong Scarlet O’Hara, on the eve of the Civil War and follows her struggles into adulthood. This is a love story, but also an epic historical saga. Middle School (mature)/High School.
So tell us... What books do you feel are missing from the list so far? What personal favorites do you hope will turn up further down the list? We'd love to know what you think!