1. The Catcher In The Rye
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D Salinger is a great novel for young adults, telling the story of sixteen year old Holden Caulfield, a bold, adventurous boy who decides to travel to London following his expulsion from his high school. The novel primarily focuses on his rebellion, the discovering of his identity, as well as the way he deals with the obstacles life throws at him. I just thought this was a very insightful and inspirational book, and Holden is a great character! He is someone I’m sure many teenagers would be able to relate to as it really emphasises on his sense of belonging and desire to find a place in the world.
2. To Kill A Mockingbird
Set in the 1930’s, To Kill a Mockingbird centers around the idea of prejudice, mainly laying its focus on racism against African Americans in Alabama. The story involves an ongoing case of a (clearly) innocent black man charged with the rape of a young white girl. What I found particularly interesting in this novel is the use of perspective; the story is told from the point of view of 9 year old Scout Finch, daughter of the lawyer fighting for Tom Robinson, the man charged with the rape. Harper Lee’s writing style is very beautiful and unique, and I think she does a really great job at reflecting the attitude of society during the 1930’s. It can be a bit of a slow and difficult read sometimes, but generally it’s a fantastic novel and I definitely would recommend it.
3. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Where do I even begin? This novel is just brilliant. Brilliant. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is set in 1970’s America, telling the story of Randle Patrick McMurphy, a “boisterous, brawling, fun-loving rebel” who rallies the supposedly ‘mentally ill’ patients in a psychiatric hospital, convincing them into rebelling against the oppressive system of the ward and the tyrannical ‘ruling’ of nurse Ratched.
This book is very insightful, and completely changed my perspective on a wide number of issues. Because it’s such a good book, I have written a full review for this novel which you can read here.
4. Any of the Sherlock Holmes books
The Sherlock Holmes book series is absolutely fantastic; it’s very rich in mystery and suspense and really, really gets you thinking. Holmes is also a very interesting character; as you may already know, he is a detective and uses the science of deduction to pretty much solve a bunch of really interesting cases. The books are all written by the perspective of Dr Watson, who assists Holmes in his cases.
Now, if you’re wondering what I mean by ‘the science of deduction’, I mean that Holmes is the sort of person who can tell what your occupation (for example) is with just one look at you. He basically notices the little things about people that ordinary people don’t normally notice, and this is obviously what makes him so great at solving his cases. I particularly like the Sherlock Holmes collection because a lot of them are short stories which can be finished in an hour or so. So if you only have an hour or two to spare, any one of the short stories would be great to read!
5. Oliver Twist
I’m pretty sure Oliver Twist is the first classic novel I read, and I’m quite fond of this book particularly because it’s so original. Oliver Twist tells the long and emotional story of a young orphan boy, Oliver Twist. When he decides to run away from the workhouse he is being forcefully kept at, the last thing he expects is to be taken in by a gang of thieves, and this is where his life takes a complete turn.
This is unlike any other story I’ve read, and it’s the kind that really does stay with you forever. I’ve read a few of Charles Dickens’ novels but this is by far my favourite.
It also made me cry.
You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. – Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird