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Updated by Jen Blair on Apr 17, 2020
Headline for The Book Was First - High School - Spring 2020
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The Book Was First - High School - Spring 2020

The following is a list of books that have been made into movies and yes, the book is almost always better. Read the book. Watch the movie. Decide for yourself! (Movie trailers included. And yes, it's okay to watch them several times. I did.)

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1) by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave - Rick Yancey

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother--or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven

Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, both teetering on the edge, it's the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the "natural wonders" of the state of Indiana, and two teens' desperate desire to heal and save one another.

Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction by David Sheff

Beautiful Boy (Beautiful Boy and Tweak) - David and Nic Sheff

What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong?

Journalist David Sheff tells the story of his son Nic's happy early childhood, the transformation wrought by Nic's addiction to methamphetamine, and his own obsession with Nic's well-being.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12--"Cupid Day"--should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is...until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

Dumplin' (Dumplin' #1) by Julie Murphy

Dumplin’ - Julie Murphy

Willowdean wants to prove to everyone in her small Texas town that she is more than just a fat girl, so, while grappling with her feelings for a co-worker who is clearly attracted to her, Will and some other misfits prepare to compete in the beauty pageant her mother runs.

Emma by Jane Austen

Emma - Jane Austen

Emma Woodhouse is one of Austen's most captivating and vivid characters. Beautiful, spoilt, vain and irrepressibly witty, Emma organizes the lives of the inhabitants of her sleepy little village and plays matchmaker with devastating effect.

Every Day (Every Day, #1) by David Levithan

Every Day - David Levithan

Every morning, A wakes in a different person's body, in a different person's life, learning over the years to never get too attached, until he wakes up in the body of Justin and falls in love with Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything Everything - Nicola Yoon

What if you couldn't touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face . . . or kiss the boy next door? In Everything, Everything, Maddy is a girl who's literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly is the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she's ever taken.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Fantastic Beasts: The Original Screenplay, #1)

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - J.K. Rowling

While attending the Magical Congress of the United States of America in 1926, Newt Scamander is pursued by the wizarding authorities when dangerous beasts and their habitats escape from his magical briefcase.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas

Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does--or does not--say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures - Margot Lee Shetterly

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as -human computers- used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. This book brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African-American women who lived through the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the movement for gender equality, and whose work forever changed the face of NASA and the country.

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1) by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials) - Philip Pullman

Accompanied by her daemon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North.

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen accidentally becomes a contender in the annual Hunger Games, a grave competition hosted by the Capitol where young boys and girls are pitted against one another in a televised fight to the death.

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1) by Gayle Forman

If I Stay - Gayle Forman

While in a coma following an automobile accident that killed her parents and younger brother, seventeen-year-old Mia, a gifted cellist, weights whether to live with her grief or join her family in death.

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

It’s Kind of a Funny Story - Ned Vizzini

New York City teenager Craig Gilner succumbs to academic and social pressures at an elite high school and enters a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide.

Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson

Just Mercy - Bryan Stephenson

The founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.

Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances by John Green

Let It Snow - John Green, Maureen Johnson, & Lauren Myracle

An ill-timed storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow and causes quite a bit of chaos. One brave soul ventures out into the storm from her stranded train, setting off a chain of events that will change quite a few lives. Over the next three days one girl takes a risky shortcut with an adorable stranger, three friends set out to win a race to the Waffle House (and the hash brown spoils), and the fate of a teacup pig falls into the hands of a lovesick barista.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Love Simon (Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda) - Becky Albertalli

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: If he doesn't play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone's business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he's been emailing with, will be jeopardized.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, #1)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs

Jacob, having traveled to a remote island after a family tragedy, discovers an abandoned orphanage, and, after some investigating, he learns the children who lived there may have been dangerous and quarantined and may also still be alive.

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Monster: All Rise - Walter Dean Myers

He's young. He's black. And sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon is on trial for murder.

As a way of coping with the horrific events that entangle him, Steve, an amateur filmmaker, decides to transcribe his trial into a movie script. But despite his efforts, reality is blurred until he can no longer tell who he is or what is the truth.

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

A novel told in chapters alternating between Nick and Norah, following the pair over the course of twenty-four hours that begin when Nick, seeing his ex-girlfriend walk into the club where he is performing with a new guy, asks Norah, a stranger, to pose as his girlfriend for about five minutes, only to find their feelings engaged after they share a kiss.

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Now Is Good (Before I Die) - Jenny Downham

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and drugs with excruciating side effects, Tessa compiles a list. It's her To Do Before I Die list. Tessa's feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa's time runs out.

Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1) by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

In the year 2044, Wade Watts, like the rest of humanity, chooses to escape reality and spends his waking hours in the limitless, utopian virtual world of the OASIS, but when Wade stumbles upon the first of the fiendish puzzles set up by OASIS creator James Halliday he finds he must compete with thousands of others--including those willing to commit murder--in order to claim a prize of massive fortune.