Bookworm Catalog

It is hard enough to diligently read the countless classic novels assigned during the course of high school, and it is even more difficult to find extra time in your busy schedule for any leisure reading. However, if you find that you have some time to kill, here are two remarkable novels that you should not miss before you graduate from high school.

            “The Glass Castle” and “The Fault in Our Stars” are novels that not only received much acclaim from critics, but also relate experiences applicable to the younger generation growing up in today’s society. Both books feature main characters who struggle to find their true identity and overcome major obstacles in each of their lives. “The Glass Castle,” a memoir written by Jeannette Walls, gives an account of a child growing up in poverty under her alcoholic father and artistic mother, who enjoyed the nomadic life and taught their children the ideals of nonconformity in society. Although extremely intelligent and even charismatic, the father often neglected his family, leaving the child, Jeannette, and her siblings to toughen up and fend for themselves.

In “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green, 16-year-old Hazel also faces major obstacles in life, but, unlike Jeannette, she suffers from cancer. Diagnosed with the fourth stage of Thyroid cancer at age 13, Hazel copes with her cancer with the aid of an experimental drug.

However, Hazel’s hopeless attitude takes a turn when she meets and falls in love with 17-year-old Augustus Waters, a cancer patient at one of her support group meetings. Hazel then forms a unique relationship with Augustus, altering her approach toward life as well as allowing her to achieve goals that her cancer before seemed to limit.

Similarly, there is also a decisive change in Jeannette’s life, when in high school she realizes that a good education will liberate her from the sad life she lives in poverty. Bitter toward her parents for providing inadequate care for her and her siblings, Jeannette resolves to move from her meager West Virginia home to New York in search for a new life.

In both novels, the young narrators each share their triumph over extreme barriers. Through her growing relationship with Augustus, Hazel learns to appreciate every moment of her life and strives to surpass the boundaries set by her cancer. Jeannette, building a strong will and character in the midst of her adversity, decides to change her future with her own determination and effort.

Not only are they beautifully written, but “The Glass Castle” and “The Fault in Our Stars” share the valuable message that anyone, despite their young age, can determine the outcome of their lives.