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A Novel Goodbye

The Favorite Books of Oakdale’s Class of 2024
Cyra Ottinger McKain
Bookstores, libraries, and online sites are all great ways to check out the books mentioned below.

As the Class of 2024 prepares for graduation and life after high school, let’s look back at some of the best books they read during their high school years in English classes and beyond. Below are books submitted by seniors, sorted into categories based on genre and and other qualifiers. Each of the books’ respective Goodreads—the website where readers can rate and review books—ratings are also included for reference.

Senior’s Favorite Books
Best Fantasy

A great fantasy book develops a world following a plot that draws you in. Some classic fantasy books, such as Harry Potter, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Lord of the Rings, use these elements, and, as well as having popular movie adaptations, they are also series.

On Golden Son, the second book in a fantasy series, senior Madi Tribbitt shared, “‘Golden Son’ by Pierce Brown is a fast-paced, action-packed book with thrilling politics and space opera elements. As the second book in the Red Rising series it deepens all character motivations, answers many questions, expands the world, and keeps me turning pages until the very end. [A] tale where the stakes are life-or death, vengeance and an unforgettable hero are at its heart.” 

(Golden Son by Pierce Brown: 4.5/5 on GoodReads)

Best Assigned-For-Class

Books such as Of Mice and Men, The Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird are often assigned for their historical or moral value. As they are analyzed for character development and plot structure, novels that are required reading need to have real-world lessons that remain relatable for high school students. 

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes won Best Assigned for Class as it has a focus on issues that affect students, and emphasizes the importance of empathy and understanding. Senior Joely Georgiana wrote, “‘Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes’ is a typical banned book in schools which follows two outcast high school students who are frequently bullied for their weight and scars. The book follows real subjects and real situations that may seem uncommon to many, but shines a light on those who may relate. It’s important that we humanize the people who are typically negatively stereotyped.”

(Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher: 4.3/5 on GoodReads)

Best Memoir

The best memoirs focus on uncommon or difficult situations. Issues like poverty, discrimination, physical or mental illness, and familial relationships are often the topic of these books. The Glass Castle is a memoir that covers Jeannette Wall’s tumultuous childhood and relationship with her parents; its important topic winning it the “Best Memoir” title. 

Senior Sophia Engel read the book in an English class and it quickly grabbed her attention. “It was written with a different and unique style of writing that I really enjoyed, and don’t usually see in most assigned books. I thought it gave an accurate and important view into the life of someone facing homelessness, especially children and teens.” Engel discussed. The Glass Castle is a memoir that covers Jeannette Wall’s tumultuous childhood and relationship with her parents; it's an important topic, winning it the “Best Nonfiction” title. 

(The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: 4.3/5 on GoodReads)

Best Classic

Classic novels such as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, and other similar stories all have elements of romance as well as providing a look into different times in history. The next book fits well into this category.

Senior Kaelin Bailey spoke on The Great Gatsby, which features the heavily romanticized, infamous Daisy and Gatsby: “I honestly think that it has a very good plot which gets a lot of students interested even if reading isn’t your favorite thing. It had a huge impact on me because while yes, it fit the curriculum by showing the American dream, it also had a romance to it which hooked teenagers.”

 (The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald: 3.9/5 on GoodReads)

Top Books at the Media Center

From the Media Center, librarian Renate Owen shared a list of books that had been checked out the most times by 2024’s seniors. Most of these books are Young Adult, and have film adaptations as well as similarities in genre. 

Top 5 Most Checked Out Fiction Library Checkouts, provided by Renate Owen: 

1: Dune, by Frank Herbert

This book was adapted into a film in 2021 starring Zendaya and Timothee Chalamet, and follows travel and adventure across the universe. 

2: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling

The third book in the Harry Potter series, Prisoner of Azkaban is beloved by many and also has a film adaptation. 

3: The Inheritance Games, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

First in its series, The Inheritance Games follows young adult Avery Grambs fighting for the right to money she was left by a man she has never met. 

4: A Court of Mist and Fury, by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury is the second novel in Sarah J. Maas’ popular romantic fantasy series. 

5: A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle

L’Engle’s best-selling children’s book series is beloved by children and adults alike, and is another book on this list with a film adaptation. 

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About the Contributor
Cyra Ottinger McKain
Cyra Ottinger-McKain is a senior at Oakdale. She enjoys English and participating in school plays and musicals. She plans to attend a university as a Editing and Publishing major.
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