“True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.”
Let’s be real: school isn’t exactly everyone’s favourite place in the world. With the loads of homework, struggles of trying to fit in with your peers and the early wakeup hours, it can be stressful to keep on top of life matters. Luckily for us, final exams are coming to an end, meaning that a whole a new semester will only just be starting. From new classes to new classmates, it may be a bit rough trying to settle down to this new schedule.
With that said, here are three books that revolve around school itself. It may not seem fun reliving school horrors in a story as well as in reality, but believe me: These books touch on some of the main problems that teens face deep down on a daily basis. You may find comfort seeing how different characters deal with these issues that you may be living in right now.
1. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
What's a better way than starting your first day of high school as an automatic social outcast?
Pretty much any other way.
Shunned from everyone after shutting down a party towards the end of summer break, Melilnda spends most of her school days dodging foul names and hateful glares. Her friends have abandoned her, teachers seem to punish her for merely existing and her grades aren't doing so hot either. Of course, no one knows about what really happened at that party that night. The unspeakeable thing that she herself barely understands. As the year progresses, Melinda's unconsciousness starts searching for a shelter, which she knows deep down, is in her voice. All she needs to do is speak.
Written in a powerful style, Anderson gives a detailed insight of a person battling depression and PTSD. It's hard to fight a mental disorder on your own, especially in such an exclusive environment like school. This is a great book that shows the power of perseverance and how finding the happiness in the most unusual things can go a great distance.
2. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Stargirl isn’t like every other girl at Mica High. For starters, her name is Stargirl. She wears a different, peculiar outfit each day and seems to have her head way above in the clouds. Her unusually whimsical personality captivates the student body, but quickly throws her out when they realize what she truly is: different. Leo - a plain guy with mixed feelings for Stargirl - tries to convert her into an average Mica High girl, but his failed attempts seem to crush her every time. Stargirl invites readers to embrace themselves for who they really are and to not be afraid of taking risks every now and then.
3. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Everything starts off in your typical, cliché high school. Samantha Kingston has everything a girl would ever dream of. Her looks and popularity have allowed her to climb to the top of the social ladder, giving her the ultimate power of a high school student. Things are taken too far, however, when a fateful car crash suddenly ends Sam`s life. She wakes up the next day only to relive the day of her death and the loop begins. As Sam learns more about the impact of her actions on others and the people who she thought she'd known so well, she must figure out how to stop the never-ending loop that brings her back to the same day every time. But at what cost will it take?
Before I Fall debunks the classic popularity system that many high schools have, though most will not be as intense as the one in the book. Sam's experience teaches her how everyone has a life of their own and can be harmed by words and activities that you never thought twice about. This book opens up the idea of empathy and how it can be used to truly understand the people you see every day in the hallways of school.
School can definitely be a tough time for many of us, but don't worry. These four years will only be a short time of your life and will definitely be memorable for many reasons. I will leave these recommendations here for now. In the meantime, hope everyone did well with their exams!
Ottawa Public Library’s Teen Bloggers in Residence are fantastic teen volunteer writers from across the city. They blog about their favourite teen reads and authors, and get writing assignments to cover special teen events happening at the library. Their residency rotates throughout the year. Call-outs for upcoming terms are made through the Teen Blog in May/June, September/October and January/February.