The Books You WANT to Read, Not Have to Read

A great way for VHS students to become involved academically, while still keeping things fun, is the VHS Book Club.

The club, created in 2021 by presidents Nolani Lloyd and Caitlyn Heimerle, and advised by English teacher Steven Munoz, votes on a new book to read and discuss each month. The club also hosts fundraisers, like bake sales, so any student can buy a book for the club if necessary. Many students may find it hard to read, especially while trying to balance school work, so the book club helps people find books that they are interested in to allow them a break and a diversion from required reading. Below is a list of book recommendations coupled with brief descriptions from some of the VHS Book Club members. 

Junior Keira Dolan recommends two of her favorite high school reads:

The Secret History by Donna Tartt:  The Secret History is the story of a group of aristocratic college students. Coupled with inspiration from their literary classics professor, who was known to be outlandish, they leave behind their moral limitations, and murder one of their very own classmates. Readers know of this tragedy at the beginning, and discover what led up to it through a detective narrative of one of the students.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: A modern classic, written in 1961, the Bell Jar is a story that follows the life of Esther Greenwood, a girl enrolled in college, with the hopes of becoming a poet. Greenwood faces the changes of her sense of self as she uprooted her life to move to New York City. In the city she began her single-month internship at Ladies’ Day Magazine where she suffers an inner conflict with the pressure of societal norms on her sense of womanhood.

Junior, Marissa Barnett, said that after seeing the movie version in the theater, she had to read:

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens: This novel follows the life of a girl, Kya, who grew up abused, and then abandoned and isolated in the marshland of North Carolina. However once she discovers the company of two local boys, her life is changed forever.

Marissa also recommends this book that has TikTokers hooked:

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Malibu Rising depicts the lives of four siblings, Nina, Hud, Jay, and Kit, after their mother turns to alcohol. Readers see the kids grow despite their abandonment, and having to fend for themselves.

A new member of VHS Book Club, freshman Synclaire Szamborski, recommends this novel:

If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin: Finn and Autumn were inseparable as children, but were torn apart in middle school because of social hierarchy. Fast forward to high school, and Autumn has been happily dating James for two years, but the thought of Finn always lingered in her mind. Just when this thought is about to come to fruition tragedy strikes.

Another new member, Jenna McGrath, wants everyone to read this romance:

All This Time by Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott: High schoolers, Kyle and Kimberly, seem to be the perfect couple, but after Kimberly ends things the night of graduation, their entire world changes. A tragic car crash after the break up, leaves Kyle in utter dismay, having to recover from his brain injury with no one in his life who understands his pain.

All of the books listed above are available at either the Verona Public Library, or the VHS Learning Commons for students to read.  All students are welcome at Book Club meetings and can get more information and updates by joining the Google Classroom using the code y2yuqdr, and following the Instagram account @vhs.bookclub.