A student’s eleventh grade year of high school is an exciting, rigorous, and academically filled year. Teachers are striving to prepare their students for the world beyond high school which can be a very challenging task. Students are also getting more mature and much more serious about their goals and aspirations after high school. Therefore choosing terrific books for eleventh grade students to read is a must.
Expose them to a variety of stories and topics that will prepare, challenge, inspire, and encourage them as they enter one of the most exciting transitions of their lives. We have created a list of 23 of the best books for eleventh grade students that will assist you as you prepare your students for their future journeys.
1. Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)
This book by author Ray Bradbury is an amazing, classic novel. This story takes place in a somber, dystopian future. However, the message provided by this novel has grown even more relevant in today's world.
2. The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
Your 11th graders will be drawn into this haunting, classical story of a young, talented woman who is dealing with mental illness as well as the pressures of society. Students will be able to relate to and understand the battles of life faced by the main character Esther Greenwood.
3. The Call of the Wild (Jack London)
High school students will enjoy this survival story about Buck, a St. Bernard, who was stolen from his master in California and turned into a sled dog during the Klondike Gold Rush. This story is about Buck’s survival and how he adapts to his new, challenging life in the wilderness.
4. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Ken Kesey)
Students in your 11th grade literature classes will absolutely love this book. It is a best-selling novel and a largely successful film that is filled with humor and defiance as well as a war between two opponents in a mental hospital.
5. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
This book will definitely keep the attention of your 11th graders. This devastating, first-person story is told by the main character from beyond the grave. She tells about her murder that took place when she was fourteen, her heavenly home, her killer’s life, and her saddened family.
6. The Color Purple (Alice Walker)
Add this novel to your 11th grade reading list. It has received the National Book Award as well as the Pulitzer Prize. This beautiful story allows students to understand what life was like in Georgia as an African American woman during the early part of the 20th century.
7. Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
This iconic novel is a must-read for 11th grade students. Published in 1954, this story features schoolboys involved in a plane crash on a deserted island with no adults around to supervise them. Their freedom and adventure soon lead to terror.
8. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
One of the best-loved books for grade 11, this 20th-century masterpiece has sold over 40 million copies! This story revolves around prejudice in the South. A lawyer with a young daughter takes huge risks as he defends a black man accused of a horrific crime.
9. A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
10. Last of the Mohicans (James Fenimore Cooper)
This is another great novel for history teachers to use in their 11th grade history classes. Set in 1757, it includes British and French armies and struggles with the Native Americans over land possessions.
11. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
This contemporary, bestselling novel is loved by readers of all ages, and it is a great addition to your 11th grade literature classes. This devastating story takes place in Afghanistan and involves an unlikely friendship between a servant’s son and a wealthy young man. It is filled with sacrifice, love, and lies.
12. Not if I See You First (Eric Lindstrom)
This book is definitely a must-read for 11th grade book clubs or literature classes! It is a beautiful story about a blind girl learning to maneuver life and love during her high school years.
13. The Glass Menagerie (Tennessee Williams)
This play first premiered in 1944 in Chicago and has been performed numerous times around the world. It even won the New York Critics Circle Award. This story is about a family involved in an interesting triangle of love, lost love, and sorrow.
14. Seize the Day (Saul Bellow)
Dealing with failures in life, the main character in this book is a failed actor that is separated from his family. He has ultimately reached a day of reckoning. Through a sense of truth and understanding, he now has one last hope. Your 11th graders will want to read this!
15. The Plague (Albert Camus)
Published in 1947, this haunting 20th Century masterpiece tells a story of resilience, fear, bravery, and hope despite a ravaging plague epidemic overtaking the North African people. Your 11th graders will be intrigued now more than ever!
16. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
This story is a timeless masterpiece that people of all ages enjoy, but your 11th graders will totally love it! Elizabeth Bennet’s spirit and her perception and dislike of Fitzwilliam Darcy will have your students begging to read more.
17. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
Your 11th graders will be glued to the pages of this book as they read about 16-year-old Katniss Evergreen. This story is filled with intensity as Katniss participates in the Hunger Games in place of her sister. She must fight and kill to be the last one standing and alive in a horrific, publicized battle.
18. All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)
19. Flowers for Algernon (Daniel Keyes)
Could a surgery really increase someone’s intelligence? Charlie Gordon gets the opportunity to find out. Does this amazing opportunity end well for Charlie? Your 11th graders will be enthralled as they read to find out!
20. Into the Wild (Jon Krakauer)
A best-selling novel that will grab your students’ attention and keep it, this story reveals the story of a missing person. It is a story filled with heartbreak and mystery, and it will keep your 11th graders mesmerized until the end.
21. Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)
Add this novel to your daily lesson plans for 11th grade students! This contentious story takes place during the Great Depression, and it tells the story of friendship, tragedy, and consequences. Your students will not be able to stop reading this gripping and thrilling story.
22. On Writing (Stephen King)
For those 11th graders choosing to prepare for college, this book is a must-read! Stephen King explains his life and provides terrific lessons on writing. Your students will learn amazing writing lessons about characterization, plot, and much more from this famous, best-selling author.
23. Macbeth (William Shakespeare)
Capture the attention of your 11th grade students with this story about a hero who turns evil. It includes violence, traitors, witches, wizards, treason, witchcraft, and consequences! All things have a price in this compelling story written by one of the greatest authors of all time.