Young Adult Book Reviews

Home School Reading Classic Book List

Riveting home school reading is unsurpassed with these young adult book reviews. Your homeschool teen will be sure to find favorites among this and our other classic book list.

Beowulf, (translated by Seamus Heaney)
Written by an unknown Anglo-Saxon poet around 700 AD, it depicts a world where the code of honor much resembles that of the Anglo-Saxon culture. When King Hrothgar’s kingdom is threatened by the terrible monster Grendel, a young warrior by the name of Beowulf comes to save the city and becomes a legend in the country of Denmark.

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
When university student Victor Frankenstein brings a human to life out of extra body parts, he becomes overcome by fear and remorse at his creation. He decides to destroy it but finds it has escaped. The tale becomes suspenseful as the monster begins to realize what he represents to the people he comes into contact with and Victor Frankenstein tries to come to terms with what he's done.

Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift
When Lemuel Gulliver becomes shipwrecked, he encounters many new people that give him insight into our own human behavior. The funny and poignant look into the world of human nature.

Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan
After reading “the book in his hand,” a man named Christian becomes weighed down by a great burden strapped to his back, which will cause him to descend to Tophet (Hell) if he does not escape his native City of Destruction. While pondering his fate, he meets a man named Evangelist, who tells him that to remove his burden, he must take a dangerous journey to a “shining light” seen in the distance.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
The author's most popular book tells of five young women in the early 19th century. Through a series of twists and turns, triumphs and tragedies, these ladies find their future happiness, and learn the value of an honest and upright character. The author's light satire and love of irony make the book hard to put down. Engaging and delightful.

The Tell Tale Heart, Edgar Allan Poe
A story of suspense and the supernatural where the narrator becomes obsessed with the glazed, vulture-like eye of another man. Eventually the narrator sees his chance and kills the man, hiding the body underneath the floorboards of the house. When the police come to investigate, the man’s guilt begins to eat away at him.

The Time Machine, H. G. Wells
A tale of a man who travels thousands of millennia into the future, only to discover that life on planet earth has evolved into something he did not expect due to the progress of technology. It is both thought provoking and insightful. Some of the ideas and historical inferences (particularly, population classes in late 19th century England) may not be understood by younger readers.

War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
The story of three families of Russian nobility who are connected in an incredibly intricate way through war and the Russian people. Tolstoy’s masterpiece includes romance, desolation, jealousy, hatred, joy, stupidity, and many others that leave the reader guessing. Exciting characters and entertaining dialogue, but length and writing style make it a book for more advanced readers.

What Men Live By, Leo Tolstoy
While on a journey a poor Russian shoemaker named Simon encounters a mysterious, tragic stranger. Over time, the stranger assists Simon and his wife, Matrena, in their shop, but there appears to be more to him than meets the eye. The story is filled with rich dialogue, good characters, and its short length and manageable text make it a good short story for a wider range of readers.

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
The legendary love story of the adopted gypsy, Heathcliff, and the daughter of the house, Catherine. Unlike the “happily ever after” tales, it is a story of obsessive love that turns into madness, cruelty, and violence. A stunning novel filled with unsettling passion that becomes an elaborately planned revenge and an obsession that will affect them all.

We trust our young adult book reviews helped you find a favorite!

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