Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Back To School

It isn't back to school here for another three more weeks or so but I thought I'd still take part in this week's Top Ten Tuesday which aims at looking at our favourite back to school books. I've chosen books that I love that are set in high schools.  In particular I love books like Some Girls Are which are all dark and intense and hard to read because that seems more indicative of my own high school experiences. But I've diversified the list to also include some lighter, happier reads too because I'm sure some of you had those experiences too? I sure hope so.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers is one the hardest most emotional stories that I can ever remember reading. I remember reading it and almost wailing out sobs as I read what this girl was going through, the lengths of bullying and torment she was facing, the guilt she was feeling for her part in betraying the only person willing to stick by her now.  It was some truly horrific stuff. And while I realise that this isn't everyone's high school story, it is for some. And I remember thinking it was incredible when I read it. Really hard-hitting and honest in its brutality.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

It's been awhile since I read Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver but I did recently watch the film adaptation so I'm more familiar with the story line now than I was a week ago.  And I think what I liked about this book (better than other stories with a similar story line) is how our actions affect those around us. Especially in high school when it maybe feels easier to go along with things you know are wrong to fit in with a different crowd.
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley is one of my favourite books. I really need to re-read it one of these days. What I really love about this book is kind of three-fold. 1) I love the exploration of image and identity. We see this with the main character's large facial birthmark, her mother being overweight and hiding in her fat and also Jacob's being Goth and also Chinese and the way in which he uses both to alter his image to other people. 2) the maps. I love maps utterly. 3) Terra's collages and general interest in art.  It inspired me no end when I read this book the first time.

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

I think the film adaptation of The DUFF has my mind a little bit confused as to the premise of the story but I remember really loving this book.  About a girl whose family life is falling apart so jumps into bed anyway with a boy who called her the 'designated ugly fat friend'  I remember it being all about using sex as a distraction and working towards being okay with how she looks and her place within her friendship group.  I thought it was a great look at high school life and all of its uncertainties.

Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

I could have just as easily included Jellicoe Road onto this list as well and I'm sure nobody would have been surprised. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Melina Marchetta. But I included Saving Francesca because it probably means more to met.  I remember it being the first book I had read where the main character has to deal with a parent's mental illness and the profound effect that depression has on everyone else in the family.  It was an important book for me, this one.  It's also about a boy's school that it trying to be co-ed and how Francesca manages to find this amazing set of friends anyway.  I have heart-eyes for this book something fierce.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I remember being really blown away by this book when I first read it.  I didn't love the ending, but I did love the slow-build friendship to something more between Violet and Theodore.  What I particularly like is that people might be going through hard stuff all around you and you might not know it.  And you also might people and not realise the importance they'll have on your life.
Girlhood by Cat Clarke

Girlhood by Cat Clarke is the most recent book that is on this list.  I guess I haven't been reading that many books set in high school lately that have had an impact. But Girlhood definitely did. I love that it's a boarding school story, that it's set in Scotland. That the campus is old and rambling and has plenty of history and hidden places that lend itself to creepy traditions like locking new girls in a dark hole overnight with only a handful of matches.  This book is about friendship and grief and I adored it.
The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

What I love so much about this book is that it's about normal teenagers living their lives while some other drama is happening around them and potentially the world is ending.  And it's still just them navigating school and friendships and love and working out who they are.  I loved that about this book and I love the way Patrick Ness writes.
Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albetalli

And I had to include something just utterly happy-making. And that's what this book is for me.  Yes, there is the whole blackmailing you thing but I try not to think about that. Instead I think of how incredibly sweet Simon and Blue's relationship is in this book.  It's two boys who fall in love with each other online while probably running into each other every day at school and not even really knowing it.  They are entirely cute and I couldn't love this book any more than I do.
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

And finally we have Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan.  The high school in this book is straight out of a fantasy world where differences are celebrated and it's the crazy-wonderful universe in which the prom queen is trans, the cheerleaders ride motorcycles and the entire cast of this delightful story are all weird and fantastic and I dare anyone to read this book and not fall in love.

What are your favourite stories set in high school?


  1. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is such a cute book. I`m also a big fan of Patrick Ness, I think he has a beautiful style of writing.

    Carmen / Carmen`s Reading Corner

  2. Great list. I'm curious about Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda. I've heard great things about it. Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. You're very welcome and Simon vs is seriously one of the most adorable books I've ever read.

  3. I actually haven't read any of these. I don't usually read much of books set in high school as I mostly read fantasy rather than contemporary!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/top-ten-tuesday-121/


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