The Warchant

The Student News Site of Westwood High School

The Warchant

The Warchant

The Best Required Reading Books

Top 5 from someone who placed first (1st) in their elementary school’s Battle of the Books, aka, a nerd.
Tom Hermans

No one likes being forced to read books for class. Most of the time, the fact that it was required is the main reason I did not like the book. So here is my list of top 5 books I actually liked and a couple of honorable mentions. (Ranked by how much they scarred me, as well as my enjoyment.)

Number 5 – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Okay, hear me out, required reading became a lot more annoying the second high school was reached, but this book, is awesome. Yes, it’s traumatic, but if it wasn’t traumatic, it wouldn’t be required reading. None of us enjoyed reading this in Freshmen year, but if you sit back and look at it, it’s well written and very entertaining. Bradbury keeps you at the edge 0f your seat, heart pounding anxiety ridden blood through your body as you sit there and watch Montag play with fire, quite literally. This book is at number five (5) because I never actually had time to finish it, but I enjoyed it up until the very last second of my free time. 8.5/10, -.5 because I don’t like reading books popcorn style.


Number 4 – Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld

I read this book in fourth (4th) grade, this book is a lot lighter than most books you would read for classes. It’s a mystery lead comedy where you follow a group of boys (in togas) in ancient Rome. While following these boys you learn about different crimes committed, the possible suspects, ancient Rome, and how to read Roman Numerals! 10/10 read, definitely one that I would reread.




Number 3 – Danger in the Desert by Terri Fields

Okay, back to the traumatic ones. I read this book in fourth (4th) grade, as well. In this book two brothers are kidnapped when their mom goes to pay for gas inside the gas station, the kidnapper drives the vehicle and kids to the middle of the desert and leaves them stranded where they’re left to survive off warm, flat root beer, candies, and rain collected in their shoes. The author describes the root beer in a way I will never forget, it’s constantly in the back of my head. 9/10, extra points for the trauma.





Number 2 – We Are Not Free by Traci Chee

I read this book in Freshmen year, I think the main reason I liked this book is because we didn’t read it as a class, instead we had small groups with different books about the Japanese internment camps. This book is told from multiple perspectives of Japanese-American teens who are forced to move to the barracks of the Japanese internment camps during WWII. The story is told really well and is very interesting throughout. I really liked this book. 9.5/10 bonus points for not having to read it in class.



Number 1 – On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer

The most traumatic part of my fifth (5th) grade experience, and, as someone who was bullied a lot that year, that’s saying something. In this book, a young boy named Joel goes swimming in a lake with his friend, as a “safer” option compared to their previous idea. But when his friend doesn’t come back to the surface after a race, Joel is forced to leave by himself, and lie about what happened. Yeah, that’s right, the premise of the story is a 12 year old boy drowns and his friend is so terrified of being blamed because he did something he didn’t get permission to do so he doesn’t say anything until the police show up. The whole situation is horrific, but it did scare the audience into the idea of honesty, so that’s a positive, I guess. 10/10, extra points for the absolute dread it gave me.



Honorable Mentions –

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen – Another contribution to the torture that was fifth grade. After a plane crashes, a young boy is left in a forest to survive until someone or something finds him. If you weren’t scared of crashing in a small plane while the pilot has a heart attack, you are now.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman – It’s May 2020, two days before your 13th birthday and you’re desperately trying to put together an essay on a book so traumatizing that you don’t want to ever read again. You absolutely bomb the essay and it drops your grade by 10% after they said they wouldn’t drop any of your grades because of the pandemic-. Anyways, this book is about three teens who run away because their parents had them signed up to be unwound. What does it mean to be unwound? They take kids in to take them apart and give the parts to people who need them, so if you’re under 13, you better not be bad, or you’ll be sold for parts. This occurs after Civil War 2, a fight over abortion and discipline for youth, so you know, obviously the sane answer to both of these problems is letting kids live up to 13 and then killing them because their parents didn’t/don’t want them, which is a very epic moral tragedy compared to almost anything else they could have come up with to solve this problem.


I’ve never been a fan of reading in class, it’s just not fun to have your classmates stutter on lines in front of an entire class, it’s embarrassing for everyone. Anyway, those are my favorites that I’ve had to read for class, and may or may not have traumatized me for life, especially that last one.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Warchant

Your donation will support the student journalists of Westwood High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Warchant

Comments (0)

All The Warchant Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *