School can be a pretty daunting place. Besides the academic challenges, there is the struggle to fit in. You need to navigate complicated social scenes, make friends and avoid enemies. And if all that wasn’t tough enough, you’re doing it on a brainful of hormones provided by puberty. Well, here are seven books that know just how you feel.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne
Since the last instalment of Harry Potter came out and ended the series with a grand finale, fans have been itching for a book that would measure up to Rowling’s standards. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the novelisation of Jack Thorne’s stage play, which picks up right where the original plot ended. It is the story of Albus Potter, the Slytherin son of The Boy Who Lived. While most people would expect Harry Potter’s son to be, well, Potter material, Albus challenges that belief by landing himself in Slytherin, where he befriends Draco Malfoy’s son right off the bat. The story brings in new and old characters, creating a new interpretation of the story and the people in it. Living up to his family’s legacy, Albus shows bravery when it’s least expected, and frees himself – and his father – of the weight of the names they carry.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
For teens who are terrified of starting school, Fangirl lets you know that you’re not the only one. Cath, is in her first year of university, and while her twin sister Wren is having a blast partying every night, Cath prefers shutting herself in her dorm room to write gay fan-fiction and surviving off energy bars. Despite having thousands of followers for her award-winning fan-fiction series, Cath faces emotional turmoil when her writing professor dismisses her work as plagiarism. She’s also completely clueless as for what to do about her feelings for her roommate’s best friend Levi. Nonetheless, Cath pushes forward and discovers that life isn’t just all about fan-fiction and energy bars.
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye is an all-time must-read for teenagers and adults alike. The story begins with Holden Caulfield failing four out of his five subjects. It deals with belonging and teenage angst, and explores the mind of the 16-year-old boy from his own perspective. It sheds light on the reality of teenagers’ inner emotional turmoil, and while it might not be the most pleasant book ever, it tells of struggles and connections that readers might find more relatable than expected.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Having won awards for promoting LGBT acceptance, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe speaks volumes about identity, family, and the bonds of friendship. When two social outcasts Aristotle, also known as Ari, and Dante meet at a swimming pool, it is the beginning of a deep and beautiful love. Ari, full of angst, and Dante, with his unique way of perceiving the world, take it upon themselves to discover the secrets of the universe. As they come-of-age and mature, the two Mexican-American teens explore the truths about life, and find a love in each other that tells them everything they need to know about the universe.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky
When it comes to adolescence, nothing beats Chbosky’s The Perks of Being A Wallflower . Written in the form of a series of letters, the book explores introspective teenage minds as 15-year-old Charlie struggles to live his life and escape life at the same time. The tragic but inspiring experience of wallflower Charlie starts from losing his beloved Aunt Helen and his only friend in school, Michael. From there, he begins a new life, and deals with problems with his new friends. But, he carries his traumatic memories with him, and as old memories surface, Charlie finds himself more and more lost. It will take all of his courage to come to terms with his past so he can move forward.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
School life might be tough, but there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Quoting Francois Rabelais’ last words “I go to seek a Great Perhaps”, Pudge embarks on a new boarding school life, with new friend Alaska, enjoying crazy school life like any normal teenager. But as the two attempt daredevil acts in school, they grow closer, and Pudge falls in love. Looking for Alaska talks about self-discovery and teenage rebellion, and gives insights on teenage relationships. Through tragedy and acceptance, Pudge matures as a man and finds forgiveness for both Alaska and himself.
Girl Online by Zoe Sugg
Despite being a debut novel, Girl Online has grown wildly popular with teenagers, especially with YouTube fans. Sugg, who is known as Zoella on YouTube, brings us the seemingly mundane life of Penny Porter. Much like the author, Penny’s life is flipped upside-down when she falls in love with musician Noah, and her blog goes viral. Girl Online talks a lot about day-to-day problems teenagers face in school and discusses themes of adolescence and change. While the book isn’t truly autobiographical, it delivers a heartwarming story of a typical teen blogger and how she lives with newfound fame. Sugg shows sensitivity towards teenage troubles and complexities, much like the ones she went through herself.