Reading Your Way Through High School, a book gallery by grade
At my day job, I recently began making some RA tools for the youth services staff that highlighted novels for youth that featured a main character in each grade, K-12. I knew when I got to YA that it would be both harder and easier. Easier, because I’ve read a lot of YA and already had some books I wanted to recommend. Harder, because I knew that finding books that specified that a character was in the 9th or 10th grade would be harder. YA tends to skew towards the upper end of High School, featuring characters in their junior or senior year, and they are typically 17 years old. Middle grade tends to feature a character in middle school or typically in the 8th grade. So here are some of the titles that I have found that specificy the grade of the main character in high school. Please note, though I struggled to find books with 9th or 10th grade main characters, I could go on and on for 11th and 12th grade main characters. This is by no means a complete list. In fact, if you have recommendations please leave them in the comments.
Freshman Year of High School
Book Covers Pictured: The Worst Night Every by Dave Barry, Freshman Tales of 9th Grade Obsessions, Revelations and Other Nonsense, Time Travel for Love and Profit by Sarah Lariviere, Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar, Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Perfectly Parvin by Olivia Abtahi, Evolution Me and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande and Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford
Sophomore Year of High School
Book Covers Pictures: We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra, Just Breathe by Cammie McGovern, Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram, This is the Part Where You Laugh by Peter Brown Hoffmeister, It’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter, Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali, Fat Angie by E. E. Charlton-Trujillo, The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes, Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro, I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader by Kieran Scott, Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen, Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti, Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah STohmeyere and Bombshell by Rowan Maness
Junior Year of High School
Book Covers Picture: Every Single Lie by Rachel Vincent, Imagine Us Happy by Jennifer Yu, Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson, The Meet Cute Project by Rhiannon Richardson, A Song Below Water by Methany C. Morrow, Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles, Odd One Out by Nic Stone, Tell Me AGain How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan and Overturned by Lamar Giles
Senior Year of High School
Book Covers Pictures: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney, Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon, Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson, The Code for Love and Heartbreak by Jillian Cantor, Admission by Julie Buxbaum, We Regret to Inform You by Ariel Kaplan, Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe, Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid, Gabi a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero, Concrete Rose by Angie thomas, Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian, Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, Even When You Lie to Me by Jessica Alcott, Golden by Jessi Kirby, Deadline by Chris Crutcher, 500 Words or Less by Juleah Del Rosario, Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen, Swagger by Carl Deuker, 10 Truths and a Dare by Ashley Elston, I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, They’ll Never Catch Us by Jessica Goodman
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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