Round these parts, most everyone went back to school yesterday. There are a lot of things about being a student that I don’t miss (homework, tests, school lunch), but when I start seeing kids all decked out in new shoes and snazzy backpacks, I have to confess that school years did have some advantages. One of the things I miss: built-in change. When you’re a student, every fall it’s new teachers, new classes, new possibilities. I miss that. And I miss blank notebooks and newly sharpened pencils. Whether you’re enthused about the bright shiny newness of the school year, or dreading the end of summer, here are ten books to get you through the first few weeks of a new school year.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson:Eighteen-year-old Kate finds herself losing control in her senior year as she faces difficult neighbors, the possibility that she may not be accepted by the college of her choice, and an unexpected death.
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli:In this modern classic about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang: Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture.
My Teacher is a Monster (No, I am not) by Peter Brown: Bobby thinks his teacher, Ms. Kirby, is horrible, but when he sees her outside of school and they spend a day in the park together, he discovers she might not be so bad after all.
The Teacher From the Black Lagoon by Mike Thaler: A boy imagines that his teacher is a mean, green teacher with a tail.
Sideways stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar: Humorous episodes from the classroom on the thirtieth floor of Wayside School, which was accidentally built sideways with one classroom on each story.
Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon: The misadventures of the wonder boys: a writer/professor bent on destroying his marriages and his career in a haze of smoke and passion, an editor about to lose his job, and the newest campus wonder–a promising wordsmith who seems to be heading in the same direction. A tale of bright promise gone horribly awry.
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King: When her best friend, whom she secretly loves, betrays her and then dies under mysterious circumstances, high school senior Vera Dietz struggles with secrets that could help clear his name.
The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman: The promise of a new romance is one of the hopes of the new school year for many teenagers. But Hautman’s characters don’t meet cute or follow the traditionally romantic path of books and movies. Jen is starting at her sixth school in four years when she meets Wes, who has just broken up with a girlfriend, and although they do not share an instant or intense connection, attraction turns to love and they wonder where it will lead.