There are far more than 7 books from high school that you should re-read as an adult, but these 7 happen to be my favorites. I am a firm believer that reading books on a regular basis is essential for strengthening your mind. Books are a great way to stimulate your imagination, which is something we all need, no matter what age we are. When we are in high school, we are forced to read books that the teachers assign to us and, for me at least, that made reading the story within seem like work instead of a form of entertainment. As an adult I love re-reading books from high school and falling in love with the tales they tell which, as a teenager, I just didn’t fully appreciate.
1. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
This quintessential romantic tragedy is definitely one of the books from high school you should re-read as an adult. The story is filled with fate, chance, love and loss. Everyone knows the story, but until I re-read it I hadn’t remembered most of the intricate details or character development that takes place. When I read it in school I hadn’t yet been in love with anyone so I couldn’t truly relate to the feelings that are supposed to be stirred up when you read the play.
2. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
When I read Sophie’s Choice for the first time I was really only a child myself. While the story was sad and even made me cry, I couldn’t begin to imagine the heart wrenching pain a mother would have to face and the lifelong devastating guilt after making the type of decision Sophie was forced to make. Reading it now is almost painful, but it is still very much worth re-reading with the new perspective you have as an adult.
3. My Sister’s Keeper by Jody Picoult
This book is a recent addition to the list of books read by high school students, so depending on when you graduated, you may not have read this one at all. I read it my senior year of high school. I stayed up till 4am so I could finish it in one day because I absolutely couldn’t put it down without knowing the ending. The next day I told my mom she HAD to read it and she also stayed up all night to finish it. The book is incredible, disturbing and one of the most unique stories I have ever read. If you haven’t read it, you absolutely need to. If you’ve already read it, read it again (and don’t just see the movie because they changed the ending in the film).
4. She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb
This book is a coming of age story about an overweight girl who is abused, neglected and taken advantage of. It is an intense novel that covers a wide array of issues from sexual experimentation (with both genders), bullying, eating disorders, rape, abandonment and death of a parent as well as a suicide attempt and life afterwards. This is another book that was incredibly hard to put down. There were no boring parts because there was something new happening with every page turn. It’s definitely the sort of story you need to read again as an adult because when you’re 16 or 17 years old you haven’t experienced a lot of the things that take place in the book (hopefully you never experience ¾ of them). But the things the main character experiences in college and as a young adult are things you can better relate to after you have been through those life stages.
5. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women is the favorite novel of many girls, teens and women. Louisa May Alcott is a phenomenal story teller and Little Women is one of those classic books that everyone should read at least once. It tells the story of four sisters with very different personalities so you are likely to connect with at least one of them. It tells the story of growing up while aspiring to reach your dreams no matter what they are. It has its incredibly sad moments and intensely happy moments as well and I feel it is a novel that we women can relate to at any stage of life.
6. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This is a pretty important book to read. It deals with a lot of issues, especially racism and prejudice. Atticus Finch, the father of the main character is a wonderful example of the hero who does the right thing even though it is the hardest thing to do. Even though everyone else in his community is against him, he stands up for what he believes in. For me, this was one of the books that I only read because I had to, but my brother who is significantly younger than me had his copy lying around the house when he was reading it for school. I picked it up and after reading the first few pages was fully absorbed in the story.
7. The Giver by Lois Lowry
I saved this one for last because it is one of my favorite books. I have read The Giver at least 10 times. The story is very unique, putting you in a time and situation that is unfamiliar yet the characters remain relatable. It really makes you think of what could happen in the future and how societies can change drastically depending on who holds all the control. If you haven’t read this one, you need to. It’s fairly short, so it won’t take you too terribly long to finish.
Refreshing your mind with the stories from your teenage years is fun and interesting. It’s so fascinating to pick up on certain things now that you didn’t really understand even just a few years ago. Life really changes your perception of things, so books you recall disliking in school you may absolutely love now. What is your favorite book from high school that you think people should re-read?