The start of each school year brings a new round of required reading for students. Not every book speaks to everyone, but at one point over the course of your schooling, the stars align and you're assigned great books that were required reading. We all had weeks in middle school or high school when we primarily relied on Cliff’s Notes to prep us for our reading quizzes, but every once in a while you would actually have time to read the assigned books and maybe you found yourself completely engrossed.
For instance, you may have grumbled about cracking open your copy of The Great Gatsby, but after those first few chapters, you found yourself captivated by the destructive decadence of the era and the mystery surrounding Jay Gatsby and his past.
You knew To Kill a Mockingbird was an important book, but until you read it, you never realized how culturally relevant it was - not until you read words like, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
While The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird might not be a the top of your list of required reading books you enjoyed, one of the many books listed below might.
You can also find movies based on these book on this list of the best 8th-grade book adaptations.
- The Outsiders is a coming-of-age novel by S. E. Hinton, first published in 1967 by Viking Press. Hinton was 15 when she started writing the novel, but did most of the work when she was 16 and a... more
- To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was immediately successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and... more
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a high fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis, published by Geoffrey Bles in 1950. It was the first published of seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia... more
- The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a fantasy novel and children's book by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for the... more
- Nineteen Eighty-Four, sometimes published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English author George Orwell published in 1949. The novel is set in Airstrip One, a province of the superstate Oceania in a... more
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American... more
- Animal Farm is an allegorical and dystopian novella by George Orwell, first published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution... more
- Of Mice and Men is a novella written by Nobel Prize–winning author John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, it tells the story of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who... more
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. The story is set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by Hannibal,... more
- The Giver is a 1993 American social science fiction children's novel by Lois Lowry. It is set in a society which is at first presented as a utopian society but then has the reader question whether... more
- Where the Red Fern Grows is a 1961 children's novel by Wilson Rawls about a boy who buys and trains two Redbone Coonhound hunting dogs.... more
- Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott, which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books rapidly over several months at the request of her... more
- Macbeth is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare, and is considered one of his darkest and most powerful works. Set in Scotland, the play dramatizes the corrosive psychological and political... more
- Holes is a 1997 young adult novel written by Louis Sachar and first published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It won the 1998 U.S. National Book Award for Young People's Literature and the 1999 Newbery... more
- The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, often shortened to Hamlet, is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare at an uncertain date between 1599 and 1602. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the play... more
- The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel written by American author F. Scott Fitzgerald that follows a cast of characters living in the fictional town of West Egg on prosperous Long Island in the summer of... more
- Jane Eyre is a novel by English writer Charlotte Brontë. It was published on 16 October 1847 by Smith, Elder & Co. of London, England, under the pen name "Currer Bell." The first American edition was... more
- Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley about the young student of science Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque but sentient creature in an... more
- The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western... more
- The Diary of a Young Girl is a book of the writings from the Dutch language diary kept by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the... more
- A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus,... more
- A Wrinkle in Time is a science fantasy novel by American writer Madeleine L'Engle, first published in 1962. The story revolves around a young girl whose father, a government scientist, has gone... more
- Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality,... more
- Lord of the Flies is a 1954 dystopian novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with... more
- The Indian in the Cupboard is a low fantasy children's novel by the British writer Lynne Reid Banks, published in 1980 with illustrations by Brock Cole and Robin Jacques. It was adapted as a 1995... more