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Back to School: 10 Great Books Set in High School

By September 7, 2016August 7th, 2017Children's Literature, Discussion and Recommendations

September is here already and that means the start of a new school year for much of the world, and for many, going up to big school is a big life event. High school is a funny old time and can be either the best or the worst experience of your life.

Whether you’re a seasoned high school senior, or you’re just going up to ‘big school’ and feeling rather small, we have some great books, all set in high school for you to get you in the mood for the new school year.

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

A list made by a girl who commited suicide, a heartrending tale of confusion and heartbreak. High school isn’t always easy, and Thirteen Reasons Why may be one of the best bildungsromans of its day.

Thirteen Reasons Why US
Thirteen Reasons Why  UK

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Hush Hush – Becca Fitzpatrick

We’re putting Hush Hush at number 2, and that’s a bonus because it’s part of a series. New York Times bestselling, you adult fantasy and set in a high school in Coldwater, Maine. What’s not to love?

Hush Hush US
Hush Hush UK

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

A fantastic book, and an excellent movie too, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the novel for everyone who doesn’t really feel like they fit in, and how belonging isn’t always being part of the in crowd.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower US
The Perks of Being a Wallflower UK

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Perfect Chemistry – Simone Elkeles

It’s senior year, and we’re about to learn how a chance encounter with the wrong person in high school can set your life spinning out of control as good girl Brittany meets bad boy Alex.

Perfect Chemistry US
Perfect Chemistry UK

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Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver’s debut novel is stunning, and a New York Times bestseller, raising thought provoking questions about love, death and how one person’s life can affect so many others.

Before I Fall US
Before I Fall UK

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Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead

Ok, so it’s vampire school but school is school and Rose and Lissa’s adventures will have you gagging for more! Don’t worry there’s plenty of it, this is the first in a series!

Vampire Academy US
Vampire Academy UK

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Speak –Laurie Halse Anderson

It can be hard to fit in at high school, and for some an isolating experience. Speak takes that to a whole new level with an utterly brilliant heroine, and a powerful narrative.

Speak US
Speak UK

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Dancing With a Dead Horse – Danielle DeVor

This fantastic suspense novel follows the life of Jason Miller, who just wants to graduate from high school and become a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. This is all threatened when the murders start.

Dancing With a Dead Horse US
Dancing With a Dead Horse UK

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Looking for Alaska – John Green

Looking for Alaska isn’t the most well known of Green’s novels, but I actually much prefer it to The Fault in Our Stars. We don’t all fit in at high school, we’re not all happy, and some of us mistake hedonism for happiness.

Looking for Alaska US
Looking for Alaska UK

Looking for Alaska Review

Harry Potter Series – J. K Rowling

I’ve pushed this down the list simply because it gets mentioned so much on the site, but let’s be honest, it’s the best bildungsroman out there, set at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a school like no other yet somehow so very relatable.

Harry Potter US
Harry Potter UK

HP & The Philosopher’s Stone review

So that’s our top ten, with a range of suggestions. Good luck to all those going back to school this week, and feel free to add your own ‘high school books’ suggestions in the comments.

If you liked this list, you may enjoy our top ten Campus Novels too.

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