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10 YA Books That Will Help Your Child Survive High School

"Harry Potter" Series by J.K. Rowling

The Harry Potter series follows the struggles and triumphs of three young wizards as they battle Voldemort (and occasionally each other). Harry, Hermione, and Ron confront issues that nearly all adolescents face, including bullying, loneliness, and unrequited love, so your child will find that he has more in common with them than he could have ever imagined.

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"Farenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury

If your kid doesn’t exactly see the value in books, maybe he will after reading this short novel. In Fahrenheit 451’s dystopian future, all books are banned, and people are severely punished if they're caught with books in their homes. This book reflects the idea that we, as humans, are afraid of what we do not understand, but if we let that fear get the better of us, our whole society will suffer.

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"To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that everyone should read, especially your high school student. You may have read this book yourself when you were younger, and you probably remember how this book allowed you to walk in the shoes of several of the characters and experience their lives how they saw them. It shines a whole new light on ideas, like racism, which are still very relevant today.

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"The Hunger Games" Series by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games take place in the future, but this book is especially great for today’s teenage girls to read because the protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is the epitome of a fearless heroine who puts her family and her values first, regardless of the consequences. Even though your kid hopefully won’t be fighting for her life during her lunch period, she’ll hopefully be inspired to be the hero of her own story.

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"The Giver" by Lois Lowry

The Giver is another futuristic book where members of society are no longer given a choice in any aspect of their lives. Their jobs, spouses, and more are decided for them because the government believes that if people have the freedom to choose, they will choose wrong. As your child will soon discover, yes, there is some risk when you make a choice, but if you don’t get to choose or feel anything, what’s the point in living at all?

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"Mosquitoland" by David Arnold

If your child is experiencing some instability or stress at home, such as a divorce or a death in the family, this is a wonderful book for them to read. The protagonist, Mim, is forced to move away from home after her family falls apart, and she must in turn grow up very quickly and deal with problems that most people don’t have to face until adulthood. Even if your child isn’t going through this, they can still learn to appreciate what they have.

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"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green

This touching book is narrated by a 16-year-old girl, Hazel, who has been diagnosed with cancer. Her parents force her to attend a support group, where she ends up meeting and falling in love with a fellow cancer patient, Augustus. This book tackles many huge issues, including sickness and death, and makes them just a little bit less scary for many young readers who haven’t experienced these things yet.

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"The Maze Runner" Series by James Dashner

The Maze Runner takes place in a dystopian future where a group of children are trapped within a maze, and they have no recollection of how they got there or who they are. They must learn to survive on their own and possibly escape, and seeing what they are capable of will surprise both you and your kid because even in the darkest of times, they do not lose hope in themselves or each other.

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"I Was Here" by Gayle Forman

I Was Here is the heart-wrenching story of a girl, Cody, whose best friend, Meg, commits suicide. While Cody is going through Meg’s things, she discovers that her best friend may not have been the person she always thought she was, and she struggles to come to terms with the loss of her friend. This book discusses ideas like mental illness and loss, but most importantly, it focuses on the value of family and how family doesn’t always have to be blood-related.

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"The Art of Being Normal" by Lisa Williamson

This book is fairly new and is highly relevant in today’s culture. David, the protagonist, has always been an outsider at school because he has a secret that almost nobody knows: he feels like a girl trapped in a boy’s body. Regardless of whether your child is transgender or cisgender, they’ll be able to better understand the struggles of someone who does feel like they should be a different gender after reading this book, and they’ll realize that there really is no “normal.”

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