18 Realistic Fiction Titles to Recommend to Your High School Students

June 16, 2017

Teachers' lives are hectic, and though many of us love to read, we don't always have the time to do it, which can make it tough to make recommendations to students or to select titles for our classroom library. Here's 18 realistic fiction titles that I've recently read and would recommend to high school students.
Teachers' lives are hectic, and though many of us love to read, we don't always have the time to do it, which can make it tough to make recommendations to students or to select titles for our classroom library. Here's 18 realistic fiction titles that I've recently read and would recommend to high school students. Click the title of each to read my full review and ideas for using it in the classroom.

1. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Cadence is spending the summer on her family's island, trying to recover from a head injury and amnesia. She is looking forward to spending time with her cousins and friends, but as she spends more time on the island, she remembers more and more about the terrible injury that caused her memory loss.

2. Swamplandia by Karen Russell
The Bigtree family own an alligator park, but after Hiola Bigtree, the mother and star of the alligator show dies, things start to fall apart. Ava, the youngest Bigtree, is determined to save the park with a red skinned baby alligator and by replacing her mother in the show.

3. Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson
Ashley just a “normal kid” trying to make it to graduation while avoiding detention and her vice principal, but somehow gets roped into helping plan senior prom with her best friend Natalie after a teacher embezzles all of the prom funds. Ashley's witty, dry sense of humor puts an entertaining spin on teenage drama.

4. Paper Towns by John Green
Margo enlists her longtime neighbor and childhood friend, Quentin, to help her exact revenge on her cheating boyfriend and her disloyal best friend. But after a night of thrilling hijinks, Margo disappears, leaving behind clues for Quentin to find her. As time passes, Quentin begins to wonder if the clues will lead him anywhere and if Margo actually wants to be found.

5. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Colin has been just been dumped by his 19th Katherine when his best friend decides to take him on a road trip to help him forget his woes. Bromance and romance full of mathematical problems, historical references, word puzzles, and footnotes ensues.

6. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Samantha Kingston has the chance to relive the last day of her life over and over and try to make things right. Her retakes allow her to realize who and what is really important.

7. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen
This wonderful young adult novel touches on so many important issues for teenage girls: self-confidence, body image, relationships with parents, friends, and boyfriends, and making decisions about the future.

8. So Shelley by Ty Roth
The lives of the Romantics: John Keats, George Gordon Byron, and Mary and Percy Shelley are played out in present day in So Shelley by Ty Roth. Follow the adventures, romance, and teenage angst of three high school students based on the sometimes unbelievable, yet true lives of famous authors of the past.

9. I am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak
Ed begins receiving mysterious messages from an unknown sender directing him to help, and when necessary, hurt people in his town as a means to make things right. After helping strangers, Ed must take actions that will impact the lives of those closest to him and eventually his own.

10. On The Come Up by Hannah Weyer
This novel has a strong African American female teenager, AnnMarie, as the main character with excellent dialogue and blocking. This novel, based on a true story, touches on a variety of teen issues, such as mean girls, relationships, drug use, and sexual identity.

11. Panic by Lauren Oliver
School has just ended for the summer and the recent high school graduates are playing Panic, the legendary game of facing one's fears. Heather, Natalie, and Dodge all desperately want to win but only one of them can win as the game become more intense and more dangerous.

12. Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black
Blue's mother is deceased, her father was just a sperm donor, her sister Cass took off two year ago, her former best friend doesn't understand her and her old boyfriend is no longer of interest to her. When Blue hasn't heard from Cass in far too long, she makes a deal with the devil, trading her voice for the ability to track down her sister, a journey that will take her across the country and into contact with an array of characters, some good, some evil, and some somewhere in between.

13. The Secret to Letting Go by Katherine Fleet
This novel is the perfect read for teenage romance enthusiasts. From the moment Daniel and Clover meet until the novel's end, the whirlwind of emotions never dies down. Unfortunately their troubling pasts seem to constantly disrupt their hope for happiness together.

14. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Taylor must serve as fearless leader in her school's annual "war" against the local kids and the visiting Cadets, while trying to put together her puzzle of a past.

15. This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
This novel is the terrifying tale of an armed and angry young man who begins shooting in the packed auditorium of his high school. With no where to hide or run (the doors are locked from the outside), the students and staff trapped inside can only hope that help will come quickly.

16. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Greg thinks suffering the trials of being an outcast in high school is bad. Then his mom promises that he will befriend a classmate and former girlfriend who has been diagnosed with leukemia. Somehow Greg is able to infuse both situations with laughter for the other characters as well as the reader.

17. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Every day is the same as the one before for Madeline; she suffers from an illness that prevents her from any contact with the outside world. But then the boy who moves in next door catches her eye and everything changes.

18. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Anna is sent to a boarding school in Paris for her senior school of high school. At first, Anna struggles to adjust to life in another country (she doesn't even speak French!), but slowly builds friendships that ease her homesickness. Equally as good are the two follow up books in the series, Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After.

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