Books that Teens Love
Reads recommended by local high schoolers
As summer ends and kids are headed back to school, I checked in with some Buzz-area high schoolers to find out what they’ve recently read and recommend. Each student selected a book that they enjoyed and then explained why the story resonated with them. Some of the choices are Young Adult books, and others are classified as adult reads.
Lindsey Karkowsky, a senior at The Kinkaid School, selected The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (adult fiction). According to Lindsey, the book is filled with interesting details of the life of legendary Hollywood actress Evelyn Hugo that goes deep down and digs into her story about all the men she married. It is definitely a page turner that’s extremely difficult to put down due to the juicy information from Hugo’s life that is well described by author Taylor Jenkins Reid. Lindsey loved that the ending is a roller coaster of emotions that gives the feeling of an open wound inside you, which aches due to the tear-jerking finale.
Meadow Lam, a sophomore at Bellaire High School, picked Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan (adult fiction). Mad Honey is a book with many different parts to it including murder mystery, a court case, dealing with grief, family relationships, romance, and identity. Meadow felt the authors really flowed the story together with the two different perspectives, one in the present and moving forward, the other in the past and moving backward. This way of writing brings in the slow reveal of the truth through small chunks and was perfectly paced. Reading Mad Honey was an emotional roller coaster and at times Meadow didn’t even know what or who to believe. She highly recommends this one.
Kathleen Molineu, a senior at Bellaire High School, chose The House Witch by Delemhach (adult romantic fantasy). The publisher describes this one as “[a] heartwarming and humorous blend of fantasy, romance, and mystery featuring a witch with domestic powers and the royal household he serves . . . dinner.” Kathleen liked it because it has great humor throughout the book that continues into the two subsequent sequels. The House Witch has a good amount of well-written strong female characters and often attacks toxic masculinity. There is good world-building for the entire fantasy world that makes it easy to understand the history and mechanics without taking you out of the story.
Callie Nichols, a freshman at Loyola University Chicago, selected The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee (YA dystopian), a local author who lives in Houston. The publisher summarizes this one accordingly: “A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something…and everyone has something to lose.” Callie liked this book because it was about a future society and how these different people from different backgrounds interacted. All the characters had some connection to others, and it was very interesting. Callie enjoyed that the chapters were also labeled by the characters’ name so you would get to see the point of view of that particular character.
Katherine Ochs, a senior at Memorial High School, selected All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue (YA fantasy), the first in a three-book series. The publisher’s blurb says: “After Maeve finds a pack of tarot cards while cleaning out a closet during her in-school suspension, she quickly becomes the most sought-after diviner at St. Bernadette’s Catholic school. But when Maeve’s ex-best friend, Lily, draws an unsettling card called The Housekeeper that Maeve has never seen before, the session devolves into a heated argument that ends with Maeve wishing aloud that Lily would disappear. When Lily isn’t at school the next Monday, Maeve learns her ex-friend has vanished without a trace.” Katherine loved the elements of magic and witchcraft in the book. The whole story was surprising to her, and she just had to keep reading to the end. The characters were also unique within this magical mystery. The individuals had very different lives and perspectives, which made the story even more enjoyable.
Tyler Pollock, a senior at St. John’s School, selected the 1997 classic Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer (adult nonfiction). The uncertainty of the perilous quest that Jon Krakauer and his team undertakes to summit Mount Everest kept Tyler turning the page as he sought to learn the full details of what happened. However, what kept him captivated was whether Krakauer’s account of the events was truly accurate. Due to the high-altitude sickness and disorientation on the mountain, his story could be missing essential details if he was not in the right state of mind. Other accounts in the book give opposing accounts on the events that occurred. Thus, by the end of the book, Tyler was left to partially create his own idea of what happened, which was engaging and interesting.
Editor’s note: Southside Place resident Cindy Burnett also writes our weekly Page Turners column. She hosts the Thoughts from a Page Podcast, is co-creator of the Houston literary event series Conversations from the Page, runs the Instagram account @thoughtsfromapage, and regularly speaks to groups about books.
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