74. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2002)
When his family’s ship sinks in the middle of the Pacific, sixteen-year-old Pi is trapped on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, an injured zebra, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Using his unusual outlook on life and encyclopedic knowledge of the animal world, Pi must find a way to outwit the hungry Bengal tiger and survive. High School (mature).
75. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2008)
This is a seriously scary book—in a very real way. It takes place in a not-too-distant future where school security systems use gait recognition software to keep intruders out—and students in—and where every keystroke on a school laptop is monitored. Then there is a suspected terrorist attack in San Francisco and things get really crazy. Seventeen-year-old Marcus thinks the Department of Homeland Security is out of control, so he uses his tech savvy to start an underground rebellion against the current government. This book is socially and politically charged, featuring super-smart teen characters who are willing to take risks for what they believe in. High School (mature).
76. Looking for Alaska by John Green (2005)
Inspired by the dying words of the poet Francois Rabelais, sixteen-year-old Miles chucks his boring existence in Florida to seek his “Great Perhaps” at an Alabama boarding school. There, he is quickly absorbed into a band of brainy pranksters led by his roommate and a maddening, beautiful girl named Alaska. Miles quickly develops as intense crush on Alaska and pranks and other rebellious behavior abound, but the reader is always aware that a Great Catastrophe looms ahead, as the first chapter is ominously labeled “one hundred thirty-six days before.” Sure enough, tragedy strikes, and midway through the book, we reach the “after” section. What could have devolved into sentimentality and melodrama becomes a rich novel full of bittersweet humor, complex characters and deep meaning. High School (mature).
77. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954)
A group of English schoolboys marooned on an island they believe to be haunted by a terrifying monster is divided in a power struggle between two groups in this classic tale of survival, morality, and society. Middle School/High School.
78. Lord of the Rings Trilogy (series) by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954–1955)
With the fate of the world in his hands, Frodo Baggins and his companions must journey to Mordor to destroy the One Ring of Power before the evil Sauron conquers all of Middle Earth. This is an epic good vs. evil story set in a richly developed world. The trilogy takes place approximately sixty years after the events in The Hobbit. Available as a one-volume set or individual volumes. Middle School/High School.
Individual titles include:
1. The Fellowship of the Ring
2. The Two Towers
3. The Return of the King
79. “The Lottery” (short story; included in the collection The Lottery) by Shirley Jackson (1948)
The title story of this collection has been described as a “chilling tale of conformity gone mad.” First published in the New Yorker in 1948, it was hugely controversial but has become one of the most beloved classics of American literature. Middle School (mature)/High School.
80. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2002)
Fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon was raped and murdered. Now in an “interim” heaven till she lets go of earthly concerns, she grapples with her own death and observes the different reactions of friends and family members over the years. While the subject matter is grimly haunting, The Lovely Bones still manages to convey both humor and hope. High School (mature).
81. Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff (1993)
No one in LaVaughn’s neighborhood goes to college, but fourteen-year-old LaVaughn is determined to escape the poverty and hopelessness she sees every day. To earn money for her college fund, LaVaughn agrees to babysit for Jolly, an overwhelmed 17-year-old mother of two. Quickly, LaVaughn becomes enmeshed in the lives of Jolly and her children, perhaps to the detriment of her own goals. This novel in verse is a quick, engaging read and an authentic look at the crushing poverty that defines the characters’ lives. Middle School/High School.
82. Maximum Ride (series) by James Patterson (2005–2012)
The “birdkids” were bred in a laboratory as part of a genetic experiment to be part human, part bird. When one of their group is abducted, they embark on a rescue mission that will change their lives as they struggle to understand their own origins and purpose. Middle School/High School.
1. The Angel Experiment
2. School’s Out—Forever
3. Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports
4. The Final Warning
83. Monster by Walter Dean Myers (1999)
Steve Harmon is on trial for the murder of a Harlem drugstore owner. He is in jail, maybe for decades. And he is only sixteen years old. As his trial goes on, Steve records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken. This is an excellent book for reluctant readers, and it keeps readers wondering: just how involved was Steve in robbery and killing of the drugstore owner? Does he have any responsibility for the crime, or is he as innocent as he claims? Middle School (mature)/High School.
84. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (2011)
Emotionally gripping and intense from start to finish, A Monster Calls is the story of a 13-year-old coping with fear and loneliness as his mother battles cancer. Conor is plagued by a recurring nightmare, but when a real monster appears in his room one night, he isn’t afraid—until the monster demands to know the secrets of Conor’s dream. This is a powerful, timeless book full of sharp humor, insight, and a dark eeriness that is echoed perfectly in nightmarish pen and ink drawings. Middle School/High School.
85. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey (2009)
Dark, suspenseful, and unabashedly gory, this morbidly delicious Victorian tale is not for the faint of heart (or stomach). Twelve-year-old orphan Will Henry has nothing in the world but a too-small cap given to him by his father and Dr. Pellinore Walthrop, an eccentric “doctor” who studies and dissects real-life monsters. Will is his apprentice, and when a pod of hulking, headless, people-devouring Anthropophagi is discovered in a nearby cemetery, it is up to Will and the doctor to keep their sleepy New England town safe. But this stunning gothic adventure is more than pulp horror. It is filled with fully-fleshed, fascinating characters, from Will and the single-minded doctor, to a mysterious monster hunter who may be as dangerous as the creatures he hunts. Yancey’s writing is vividly descriptive and totally absorbing, and the story recalls the best of the classic horror writers—Stevenson, Poe, Shelley, Lovecraft—yet emerges as a unique addition to the horror collection. High School.
86. The Mortal Instruments (series) by Cassandra Clare (2007–Ongoing)
Paranormal romance fans who want a bit more action in their story often enjoy The Mortal Instruments series. Book one begins when Clary is suddenly exposed to a world of demon hunters and dangerous supernatural beings she never dreamed were real. For years, her mother has shielded her from the hidden world of Shadowhunters, but now Clary must learn quickly as her mother has disappeared and Clary is being targeted by demons. This is a fast-paced urban fantasy series complete with tragic secrets, forbidden love, gut-wrenching betrayals, and witty verbal sparring, set primarily in an alternate present-day Manhattan. High School.
1. City of Bones
2. City of Ashes
3. City of Glass
4. City of Fallen Angels
5. City of Lost Souls
6. City of Heavenly Fire (Sept. 2014)
87. My Heartbeat by Garret Freymann-Weyr (2002)
Fourteen-year-old Ellen is just starting high school at an elite prep school and is happy to be considered average. Her older brother Link—an acknowledged math genius—and his super cute friend James, both incoming seniors with bright futures, are her best friends. Her only real friends, actually. Together, the threesome have a unique and easy friendship—or so Ellen believes—until she begins to question the true relationship between the two boys. Are Link and James a couple? Are they in love? With Ellen’s questions, the relationship between the once inseparable threesome changes forever and in ways Ellen could never predict. This is a spare (barely 150 pages) and touching novel about growing up and the complexity of relationships of all types. High School.
88. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (2004)
Anna’s older sister Kate has leukemia. Conceived as a bone marrow match to (hopefully) cure her sister, Anna has endured countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots all her life—even though she isn’t sick. But when Kate needs a kidney transplant, Anna decides to sue her parents for medical emancipation so that she can make her own choices. It’s a decision that tears her family apart and one which could have fatal consequences for the sister she loves. High School (mature).
89. Nation by Terry Pratchett (2008)
After a devastating tsunami strikes, Mau is the only survivor of his people. But soon, other survivors from the storm make their way to his tropical island, including an aristocratic English girl with a wide knowledge of 19th century science. Serving as the de facto leader, Mau forms a community from the survivors and learns about himself, the role of the gods, people from other cultures, books, science, religion, and how to win a battle against an overwhelming number of cannibals. But this is no heavy-handed tome; with his trademark wit and humor, Terry Pratchett provides insights into our culture and foibles while managing to spin a highly entertaining tale. Middle School/High School.
90. Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (2006)
High school student Nick O'Leary, high school rock band member and music enthusiast, meets college-bound Norah Silverberg and asks her to be his girlfriend for five minutes—just so he can elude his ex-girlfriend. What follows is a wild, fast-paced, rollercoaster of a night as the two opposites get to know one another and come to terms with past heartbreak. High School (mature).
91. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (2011)
The Cirque des Rêves arrives in the night without warning and captivates its audience from dusk till dawn. What the audience—and most of the performers—do not know is that the circus is merely the arena for a deadly magical battle. This gorgeously imaginative, genre-blending novel is all about atmosphere and tone, creating a feeling of suspended enchantment for the reader. High School.
92. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (2006)
This award-winning young adult novel combines a true historical murder mystery with a vivid coming of age story. In 1906, 16-year-old Mattie is determined to become a writer but her father has forbidden her to accept the college scholarship she has been offered. Then, while working a summer job at a nearby hotel, Mattie is entrusted with a packet of secret letters just before the letters’ owner dies under suspicious circumstances. High School (mature).
93. O Pioneers! by Willa Cather (1913)
In this classic American tale set during the turn of the 19th century, a strong and determined woman named Alexandra Bergson struggles to make a success of the family’s Nebraska farm after her father’s death. Over several decades, she and her younger brother find love and face the tribulations of life and the harsh land they are determined to call home. Despite the epic nature of this story and the years spanned, O Pioneers! is a surprisingly quick read. High School.
94. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937)
Set during the Great Depression, Of Mice and Men is the moving and ultimately tragic tale of the friendship between George, a quick-witted itinerant farm worker, and George, his physically strong but developmentally disabled companion. Frequently controversial, this slim novel is simply told and completely absorbing. Middle School (mature)/High School.
95. Old Kingdom Trilogy (series) by Garth Nix (1995–2003)
The country of Ancelstierre has cars and electricity, but on the other side of the northern border—in the Old Kingdom—magic is real and the dead don’t always stay dead. Not all the soldiers who guard the Perimeter know why they must carry swords as well as rifles, until electricity fails and the Dead begin to walk. Then it becomes clear that things are different on the other side of the crenelated stone Wall at the border—and that things in the Old Kingdom are only getting worse. Middle School/High School.
Titles include:96. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (1967)Ponyboy is fourteen, tough, and confused. Since his parents' death, his loyalties have been to his brothers and his Greaser gang, rough boys from the wrong side of the tracks fighting to make a place for themselves in the world. But when his best friend Johnny kills a member of a gang from the wealthier part of town, a nightmare of violence begins and Ponyboy's life is turned upside down. S.E. Hinton was just 16 years old when she wrote this timeless novel about teens getting caught up in class struggles and gang violence. Middle School/High School.
97. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
Fifteen-year-old high school freshman Charlie is anxious about starting high school, especially after his only friend committed suicide last year. So he chooses an unnamed stranger as his confidante. Over the course of a year, he sends anonymous letters describing his triumphs and tribulations as he befriends two seniors who welcome him into their eccentric group of friends and show him how engage with the world. Excellent characterizations and a truly authentic voice highlight this well-crafted story full of hilarity, heartbreak, and inspiration. High School (mature).
98. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (2000)
This stunning graphic-format memoir tells the story of Satrapi's life in Tehran from the age of six to fourteen, through the turbulent period that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The art work is simple yet irresistibly charming, and the story is equally charming: insightful, powerful, and surprisingly relatable. Middle School/High School.
99. The Pigman by Paul Zindel (1968)
High school sophomores John and Lorraine are best friends. They're nothing alike—at least not on the surface—and yet, with their troubled home lives, they understand one another perfectly. One afternoon while making prank phone calls with a couple of troublemakers from school, Lorraine calls Mr. Pignati and the teens pose as representatives of a charity. But when they go to collect a "charity" donation from the lonely, elderly man, he insists they linger to chat. The three quickly forge a special if somewhat bizarre relationship, until a betrayal brings terrible consequences. This slim novel, told alternately from John and Lorraine's perspectives, was once considered extremely controversial. Middle School/High School.
100. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
Witty and independent Elizabeth Bennett is determined to dislike the aristocratically aloof Mr. Darcy, whose pride and apparent coldness infuriates her. Darcy is equally disapproving of the somewhat unconventional Bennett family. And yet, as Darcy and Elizabeth are continually thrown into contact, unfavorable first impressions give way to genuine feelings. This is a charming comedy of manners, full of family foibles and clever repartee.
A former farm boy in disguise must rescue his true love from a handsome (but evil) prince in this timeless twist on the traditional fairy tale. Along the way, he acquires the help of two unlikely allies, a drunken swordsman and a gentle giant. Brilliantly combining adventure, fantasy, romance, and humor, The Princess Bride is a swashbuckling fable for all ages. Middle School/High School.
So... just one more installment to go. How are we doing so far?