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  • Writer's pictureKaya Long

15 “Best Books” People Have Ever Read

Updated: Dec 4, 2021

As the cold months approach, book recommendations are a must have and if you ask them, nearly everyone has a favorite. From dystopia to fantasy, there is something for everyone and the readers who recommended these books have no shortage of things to say!

Photo by Kaya Long


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - Recommended by Gibson McIntosh

“It is one of those books that gets better every time you read it because it has a lot of underlying meaning to it,” says Gibson. “There are a lot of really good quotes from it that make it really easy to remember.” She says that “Throughout the whole [book] this girl is finding who she really is vs. who she has been told to be.” She would rate it a solid 9.5/10.

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica - Recommended by Isabella Russo

Izzy does not recommend reading this book “if you throw up easily” or “if you are not into limbs or severed bodies because that happens a lot.” With that said, “it is a really interesting book and I think that it is very allegorical,” says Izzy. She describes how there are people in the book, and then there are the people that are bred to be slaughtered. While they are alive they are simply called “head,” not people. She thinks that ties into dehumanization and not having respect for other people. Overall she would rate it a 9.5/10 because “it disturbed me to my core” and “the ending was heartbreaking.”


The Midnight Library by Matt Haig - Recommended by Kaya Long

The best book I have ever read was The Midnight Library by Matt Haig because it suggests that while we often regret certain life decisions, in actuality we don’t have as much control as we think we do and you can never be certain of the outcomes of your decisions. For me, this message was a great source of comfort and the story was compelling, unique, and evocative. This book prompts the question of what it means to lead a satisfying life that makes you feel truly content. I kept turning the page eager to see what kind of life the protagonist could have had, as it was often far from the life she imagined it would be. Overall I would rate this book a 9/10 because it was slightly slow in the very beginning, although it escalated pretty quickly.

The Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard - Mackenzie Weisgerber

Mackenzie recommends this series because “It is very fast paced and it has good character development.” She also acknowledges that it has exceptionally good diction and grammar. To spice things up, “In the last few books they change perspectives.” Through this shift in perspective, “you can see the thought process of different characters and how they were actually different from how you first perceived them.” She would rate it a 9/10.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - Recommended by Isabella Russo

“It shows how as we get older, how sometimes we lose our imagination and our love for life” says Izzy. She would summarize it as “a story between this guy and this little boy from this lost planet where he falls in love with the rose and he has his planet that he takes care of everyday.” The book conveys that message “that as we grow up we lose these things that are really important like our creativity and our compassion towards others and how that’s important to keep alive” says Izzy. She would rate it a 7.5/10 because she thinks that “it needs more spice” (especially compared to Tender is the Flesh).

Science Fiction

Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut - Recommended by Elwin Futrell Shotts

“I just thought that it was really interesting because it used satire to combat war,” says Elwin. “It’s a good book, you should read it.” He would rate it a 7/10 because “it was a little complicated because it kind of jumped all over the place and there wasn’t really a set timeline, but the way that they combatted the issues in the book was really cool.”

The Martian by Andy Weir - Recommended by Danny Brophy

Danny likes this book “because the first line in the entire book contains the f-word and personally, I had never heard a book just use that blatantly and straight out from the beginning.” Moreover, “the science fiction and the entire plot of the story is just so compelling and backed up by actual science,” that it makes everything really come to life. He was very impressed by the movie adaptation of The Martian and he would rate the book a 12/10.

Philosophical Fiction

Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy - Recommended by Mr. Po

Attempt #1 - “It’s called books are for nerds by Walter My-fist.”

Attempt #2 - “My favorite book ever is a book called Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy because it suggests that no matter how broken or jaded or cynical we are there’s always the potential to become a better version of ourselves, even though sometimes that is very hard to see” says Mr. Po. He says that Tolstoy “talks about how you can cleanse your soul and start anew”and he thinks that “all of us need to cleanse our souls once in a while.” He would rate it a 12.1/10 (to beat Danny).

Young Adult Fiction

More Than This by Patrick Ness - Recommended by Violet Freeney

This book was very important to Violet because “I read [it] when I was younger and it was very much a little mental health boost for me.” She would rate it a 8.5/10 “from a young adult standpoint.”

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney - Recommended by Emily Atkins

Emily recommends this series because she loves the pictures and the books. She recalls the scholastic book fairs back in elementary school and says that “I’d just get a book and read it and it was just the happiest time.” Overall she says that the series is very nostalgic with a lot of good memories associated with it. “It’s dear to my heart.” She would rate it a 1000/10 (the highest rating yet)!

Restart by Gordan Korman - Recommended by Siena Long

“It was about a boy who fell off a roof and he basically lost all of his memories of himself -he doesn’t even know who he is,” says Siena. “It is kind of about self identity and trying to find who you are again and having your loved ones help you on the way.” She would rate it a solid 8/10.


The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov - Recommended by Ms. Rickards

Ms. Rickards recommends this book because “It’s awesome” and “It’s written by a Russian and it’s fantasy and reality and history and literature all wrapped up in an enigma.” She also describes it as “phantasmagorical and intellectual all at the same time” and she says that “It makes you question reality and your place in the world.” She agrees that in that same kind of way, it is like a classic Mr. Naj class. She would rate it a 9/10.

Magical Realism

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende - Recommended by a Parker Parent

This is her favorite book because “it is set in a different country and culture and I like reading about other places.” She thinks that it “ties together the mystical spiritual world with the real world“ and the story is masterfully told. “I think that it is the first book I read as an adult not required by school and I realized ‘Oh I actually love to read’ because when you are reading books for school you are not sure if you like to read or not. Then when you are done with school and you get to read a book for pleasure you realize ‘this book is magic.”

Overall she would rate it a 10/10.

Gothic Fiction

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë - Recommended by Ms. Smith

Ms. Smith loves this book “because it’s sort of this Victorian gothic novel kind of thing” and since it was written in the 1800s, “you can read it as an artifact of that time and you can look at what it says about women and family and marriage.” She says that “It’s very interesting as a piece of history but it’s also a very good story.” Not to mention, “it’s got this fantastic plot twist at the end that blows your mind” (those are the best). All in all, Brontë “is such a good writer and she writes so well about a woman who is alone and trying to figure out her place in the world. It’s not for everybody, but it’s just one of my favorite books to read and honestly it made me laugh. It shouldn’t, but it did.” She would rate it a 10/10.

Poetry/True Crime

Jane: A Murder by Maggie Nelson - Recommended by Noe Mitchell

Noe describes it as “a true crime book, but it still counts as fiction because she uses this fictitious element of her own poetry and retelling of the murder of her aunt in the 70s or the 80s.” She says that “it completely subverts the type of true crime genre that you would expect” and “It was completely chilling.” The book changes the reader’s perspective on how a family is affected by the murder of a loved one, and “how media interprets that.” This topic was very interesting to Noe for a few months after she read it. “It was amazing,” she says.

Jane: A Murder by Maggie Nelson - Recommended by Violet Freeney

Violet read it twice this past summer and likewise, she thinks that “It’s fantastic.” She says that “Literature wise I would suggest Jane: A Murder, but in my heart More Than This is my favorite book.” All in all she would rate Jane: A Murder a 10/10.

If any of these book recommendations sparked your interest, do not hesitate to check them out at your local library or even possibly purchase them to support local bookstores. If you would like to learn more about a book, any one of these readers would most likely be happy to tell you more about it. Happy reading!

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