Unique πŸ“š Books for Teens Not 🚫 Found on a Syllabus πŸ“‹ ...

Many high school teachers hand out reading lists at the beginning of summer or syllabi at the beginning of the semester that include books your class must read. But I bet most of these books won't appear on any of those lists! For various reasons, the following books have been banned at some point for their content. However, these novels are still essential parts of our culture and literary history that I recommend every teenager read.

1. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Why was it banned? Considered "anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, and just plain filthy"

"Slaughterhouse-Five" is one of Kurt Vonnegut's most famous and beloved novels. It's an antiwar novel that jumps around scenes from the life of the book's main character, Billy Pilgrim. This is a difficult book to summarize quickly, but that really just makes it all the more worth reading! In an nutshell, the novel deals with shell-shock, prisoners of war, and time travel (but not the way you might expect it).

Buy it here: amazon.com

2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Why was it banned? Sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and homosexuality

Many people think that Stephen Chobsky's novel, a book for and about teenagers, is inappropriate for the targeted age group. For that reason, in addition to its relative newness, this book probably won't appear on many reading lists and was even banned from some schools. However, this book about outcasts who ban together to help each other through everything from social awkwardness to homophobia to mental illness is an important read for high school students everywhere.

Buy it here: smile.amazon.com

3. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Why was it banned? Pedophilia and obscenity

Reading this book is a beautiful experience. Nabokov has a way with words like no other, but pretty words aren't the only reason you should read "Lolita". This book, despite being a point of controversy ever since it was written in 1955, has become an essential component of western culture in music, film, and literature. It should also be noted that Nabokov never intended for the book to lead to hypersexualization of young girls, and even considered burning the manuscript in disgust before it was published. Let's just say you should know your own maturity before reading this novel.

Buy it here: smile.amazon.com;

4. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Why was it banned? Considered false and anti-American

History is written by the victors... usually. Howard Zinn, however, set out to write a history written for the underdogs, exposing the plight of women and people of color throughout U.S. history, beginning with Columbus and tracing this country's untold story. Many of us are sheltered from the truth throughout a public school education, but this book shines an important light on the past.

Buy it here: smile.amazon.com

5. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Why was it banned? Considered a bad influence on youths

Today, Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" is considered one of the most important books by one of the most important writers in U.S. history. However, there was a time when it was banned, and still is at many schools. But if you are a fan of Hemingway, you should definitely read this book! Even if you aren't (admittedly, I'm more of a Fitzgerald girl myself) it's still a book everyone should read since it's so fundamental to our culture. Additionally, you'll love this book because it gives a glimpse into the post-World War I generation, which was filled with angst and disillusionment as well as intrigue, excitement, and flamboyance.

Buy it here: smile.amazon.com

6. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Why was it banned? Called anti-white and obscene, contains inappropriate language, violence, and abuse

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a must-read for anyone who considers themselves an advocate of feminism and the rights of people of color. It's rare in literature that black women are given such eloquent, intelligent voices, rather than hyper-sexualized, stereotyped as an "angry black woman", or both. This story is beautiful and important, but also takes an emotional toll on you.

Buy it here: smile.amazon.com

7. Rabbit Run, John Updike

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Why was it banned? Explicit sexual acts and promiscuity

John Updike, another renowned American author whose works are essential to our literary cannon, wrote this unorthodox story. There's really no other way to describe a story in which the protagonist abandons his family to shack up with an ex-prostitute while simultaneously pining after the local minister's wife. The actions of Harry "Rabbit" Armstrong are so extreme they are almost comical, but evidently not everyone agrees; "Rabbit Run" is one of the top 100 most commonly banned books.

Buy it here: smile.amazon.com

Of course, reader's discretion is advised for any of these books. But by high school, you should be mature enough to make your own decisions on what you read, rather than have your mind censored. Are there any books you love that you missed on your school syllabus? Would you recommend them and why?

Please rate this article
(click a star to vote)