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Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

Student news of Olympia High School

The Olympus

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The best and worst books read in English class, according to seniors

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Victoria Liu
A collage of OHS seniors’ favorite and least favorite books they read for English class.

From the moment they step into OHS to the day they graduate, the average student will end up reading around 20 books for English class. So, for anyone looking for a good summer read (or a chance to get ahead), here are seniors’ favorite and least favorite books out of Olympia’s English curriculum. 

 

Best

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Fast-paced, action-packed, and brimming with suspense! It’s no wonder The Hunger Games is one of the most beloved dystopian novels ever. Collins effortlessly creates a gripping tale that engages readers with timeless themes of authoritarianism and survival. According to Sophie Alig, The Hunger Games was “genuinely fun to read and talk about” and “the type of book [she] would read outside of class.”

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Witty, historically accurate, and heartbreakingly dramatic, this novel offers an eye-opening portrayal of the ultra-rich, ultra-desperate, and ultra-evil. “The characters and social dynamics were fascinating, and it being set in the Roaring 20s made the setting really engaging,” Hadley Manista reflected. 

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Gorgeous prose, undeniable homoeroticism, and plenty of melancholy. And, it’s less than 300 pages! Sam Christy found this novel enjoyable because it was “unlike any other book [she’s] read in school and featured a prominent queer icon as a character and author.”

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

This memoir about Walls’ troubled childhood is equally heartbreaking and inspiring. Its vivid storytelling, memorable characters, and evocative prose linger with readers long after they turn to the last page. Kyleena Rauser explained, “It gave you an up-close perspective of someone else’s life and blurred the lines between the regular ‘good vs evil.’ This book instilled empathy for others, and it was really well-written.” 

 

Worst

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

This book isn’t fun to read in class, nor is it fun to read alone. Its disturbing, violent plot also isn’t realistic. Sam Christy felt Lord of the Flies was “a good idea written poorly.” She continued, “If any other author were to have written it, I’m sure it would have been much more engaging and interesting.” 

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Though its plot sounds interesting at first, its delivery soon fails. The “requirement of it as summer reading and unnecessary amount of annotations” made this novel Sophie Alig’s least favorite. Sujith Kadagandla agreed, describing The Scarlet Letter as “incredibly boring” and “a drag to read over the summer.” He elaborated, “Only one or two characters are significantly developed, and their motivations are subpar. The setting is not very captivating, either.”

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Though no senior explicitly commented on this infamous novel, it had to appear on this list. Just mentioning Walden (or its author) will evoke groans throughout an entire classroom. For a guy so into simplicity, Thoreau sure overcomplicates a lot. And with all of his outdated jargon, Thoreau makes math textbooks look interesting.

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