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Must Read Books Recommended by Elizabeth

My top seven must reads for teens.

Everyone loves (or should) books. I have several I enjoy, and here are some I recommend for you.

I started my childhood with these books. My love for reading came from the Harry Potter series and its magical world. The reason I was pushed ahead in my English class was because of reading Harry Potter in elementary school. 

Cover of the first Harry Potter book in the series.

Some of my core memories of a child were in Kindergarten-2nd grade. My grandma would sit on my bed and read me Harry Potter. I remember she used to make all these grand hand gestures and facial expressions that would make me laugh and cry.

My all time favorite theatrical performance of hers was in the third book, Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban. I remember asking her what a Weeping Willow was and she threw her arms around like a helicopter, whacking me in the chest making me giggle so hard I couldn’t breathe.

In third grade, I started to read them by myself over and over again. In total, I have read the entire series about four times and it has elevated my reading and creativity substantially.

Harry Potter is a magnificent experience that all should enjoy. If you haven’t read this book series yet (not sure how that is possible) I greatly recommend it. 

The autobiography, Color of Water, really helped mature me as a young adult. It brings attention to real world problems in a meaningful and impactful way. 

It conveys the important message of that race and religion are superficial labels disguising our common humanity.

Cover of the Color of Water.

What Ruth wanted her children to understand, and what James wants the readers to understand, is that it does not matter the color of your skin or where you pray. What really matters is family and community, finding support and giving support in return.

I recently went back and reread these books, scanning over parts that I may have missed and boy did I miss a lot. As a kid you don’t realize many of the deeper meanings behind the words. Even now, about three years later, this book still teaches me a lot about race and religion.

Because of this book, I have started thinking about topics such as race in religion which hold much controversy in our modern day country. It has made me want to learn more and develop opinions of my own which are very crucial to have. 

Percy Jackson was an obsession of mine around my later years of elementary school and early years of middle school.

Cover of the second book in the Percy Jackson series.

I remember reading not just the Percy Jackson series (although those were the best in my opinion though) but all Rick Riordan books. From Trials of Apollo, The Heroes of Olympus, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, and so on.

These books helped further develop my creative mind and was really an escape place for me. Whenever I was feeling down or uncomfortable I would escape to the Percy Jackson books. These books were my safe space.

I fell in love with the characters and the adventures they would go on. I wanted to be just as heroic, funny, and caring as they are. They helped develop my emotions and really helped me come out of my shell. If they can be loud and noisy, I could, too. 

The Stand is probably the biggest book I have ever read, with a little over 1,400 pages depending on what copy of the book you get. And yet during the course of those 1,400 pages I never got bored. 

Stephen King’s writing is addictive, and it causes you to ache for more and never want to put the book down. Sometimes Stephen would go on rants about one thing or another which is very entertaining and intriguing to listen to. Throughout the weeks I read the book, I carried it with me everywhere, even in school from class to class.

Cover of The Stand.

It entertains the idea of how the world ends; and shows the evil in society. The plot centers on a deadly pandemic of weaponized influenza and its aftermath, in which the few surviving humans gather into factions that are each led by the good or the evil.

The novel really dives deep into the flaws of human beings and left me questioning my own identity and how I would act if the world fell beneath my feet.

This is definitely a book that will make you form attachments really connected with the characters in the novel and was riding on the edge of my seat towards the very end.

There are many deep and terrifying topics throughout the stand that left me feeling a wide variety of emotions. Prepare for an emotional rollercoaster when you read The Stand.

I loved this series as a kid. I read it multiple times over and, now that I look back on the story it tells, I am very concerned about my younger self. 

Cover of the first book in the series of The Series of Unfortunate Events.

A Series of Unfortunate Events is about the three Baudelaire children whose parents die and they are left to live with a distant relative, Count Olaf. Unfortunately for them, Count Olaf is a creepy, pervert, stalker, and most definitely a serial killer. 

Over the course of 12 books, the story goes through how the Baudelaire children deal with the criminal on their own with no help from adult figures.

If someone ever asks where I get my comically dark humor from, it was most definitely this book. 

The Diary of Anne Frank unquestionably makes you think a lot about the outside world beyond the walls of our first world country. 

Cover of the Diary of Anne Frank.

I cannot fathom having to deal with what Anne and her family and friends had to go through. I am truly the luckiest person alive. This book helped me gain perspective and learn of other’s difficult lives outside my own. It has helped me to appreciate greatly the things I have access to and the freedom that I have. 

And to think that they are greedy, spoiled people in this world who will throw a childish tantrum if they get the wrong color of Lamborghini or the wrong design of a Gucci bag is repulsive. If you are not thankful for the opportunities life has given you then you certainly need to read Anne’s diary.

The diary also gives me more insight into the life of a Jew during World War ll. In school, the world wars are immensely overlooked during the younger years. Many teachers do not want to bring up the tragedies at such a young age, but I think that it is crucial that we start talking about the tough topics now.

If teachers hide the ugly part of our history then children will be taught to shy away from their struggles. Overall, I think that this book is a must read for all those who have grown up with any amount of privilege.

Speaking of another Anne, this young girl’s novel is about a coming-of-age story. Anne is a spirited and unconventional orphan girl who finds a home. This girl was very wild and almost elegantly chaotic. She has helped immensely in bringing me out of my shell and finding confidence in myself.

Cover of Anne of Green Gables.

Most importantly, this book has helped explain all the little details of growing up. I do not feel so alone when I read about Anne because I relate to her experiences even when there is a notable difference in the time gaps.

I think many, especially young girls, will benefit off Anne of Green Gables because of its relatability and its exploration of all the vulnerabilities, expectations, and dreams of a teen growing up. 

Overall, these seven fantastic books/series will certainly change your life forever like they changed mine. I hope you find the same amount of joy as I did reading them.

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About the Contributor
Elizabeth Reid-Eriksen
Elizabeth Reid-Eriksen, Staff Reporter
My name is Elizabeth and I am a freshman at Sutton High School. I play JV for the girls soccer team, and have been playing soccer my entire life. I am also a very artistic person and love to draw and paint. Additionally, I love to read, listen to music, take long walks, ski, and play the piano. I am so excited for my first year of high school.

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