These are, in my opinion, some of the best books ever written, and I'm sure you'll enjoy one or all of them. Also, this list contains books from a variety of genres, so believe me when I say that there is a book for everyone on this list.
1) When We Make It
Falling into the genres of YA and poetry, When We Make It is an inspiring novel-in-verse about Sarai, a young, first-generation, Puerto Rican girl. The novel redefines what it means to make it as a young woman of color in this society. The poems explore how Sarai sees both her world and her journey as she begins to learn more about herself. The poems in When We Make It also explore mental health, love, worth, and so much more. This serves as the debut novel of author Elisabet Velasquez, and it is truly an incredible read. You simply must read it, as it provides a glimpse of the reality of growing up as a woman of color through its poetic documentation of Sarai's life. When We Make It is an uplifting masterpiece with poems that explore every aspect of growing up, and the novel empowers young girls with the message that they can make it, no matter what.
2) The Hobbit
The Hobbit is a fantasy and adventure novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien. It's probably one of the most well-known books on this list, and an absolute must-read before you turn 18. In the novel, we join Mr.Bilbo Baggins, the best hobbit in the world, on his journey out of his hobbit-hole to go face the dragon, Smaug the Magnificent, with his friends and a very nice wizard named Gandalf. The Hobbit will remind you of wonder, magic, and childhood, and it's a really sweet, entertaining story that pulls you in and makes you feel like you, too, are on the journey to find Smaug the Magnificent.
3) Ender's Game
Ender's Game is another really well-known sci-fi novel and one that I absolutely love. The novel tells the story of Ender, a young boy, who may be the only hope the government has of winning the war against the Buggers. The novel, written by Orson Scott Card, takes the audience on a thrilling and terrifying adventure with Ender as he enters the "game" at the age of 6. Compelling, entertaining, and downright cool, Ender's Game is a must-read for any fan of science fiction.
4)The Illustrated Man
The Illustrated Man, written by Ray Bradbury, is a little different from the other novels on this list in that it's a collection of short stories. My personal favorites in this collection are The Veldt, The Fox and the Forest, and Marionettes Inc. The collection explores the dangers of technology, and what Earth could look like in the future, even exploring what it could be like if we were to colonize Mars. The stories range in degrees of weirdness, fascination, fun, and just plain awesome. Because each story lives in the genre of science fiction and it is always interesting to see how they play out, it is another must-read for all sci-fi fans.
5) Rani Patel: In Full Effect
Rani Patel: In Full Effect is a young-adult (YA) novel written by Sonia Patel about an Indian girl living in Hawaii who uses hip-hop as an outlet to express herself. As she fights against cultural and societal norms, she uses her raps to help herself understand how she feels, which eventually leads her to the hip-hop crew 4eva-flowin. A powerful novel written by Sonia Patel that criticizes the patriarchy in-depth, this is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a good YA novel about a girl learning to express herself.
TW: Novel does contain mentions of rape and abuse
6) Animal Farm
Animal Farm by George Orwell, a book well-known as an allegory about the Russian Revolution, is also a must-read for anyone before they turn 18. The fairy-tale adjacent story of animals who band together to take over their farm explores the seemingly ideal future the animals had planned for themselves slowly changes as... well, I'll let you get to that part yourself. You should read this book because of the characters that come to life, jump off the page, and pull you into the story right alongside them as they revolt against their farmer and adjust to life running their own farm.
The original Dracula written by Bram Stoker is a MUST-READ for any and all fans of horror. The terror it creates is palpable as you read about Jonathan and his visit to Dracula's castle, as well as about some of Dracula's other victims. However, it is considered a classic in the horror genre for a reason: it takes a classic myth and creates a tale of life, death, disbelief, and a fight against the seemingly impossible. You will be taken along with a rag-tag group of heroes who face probably the most well-known antagonist in all of horror literature.
8) The Poet X
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo is an inspiring novel-in-verse about young Xiomara, who uses poetry to cope with family, school, and everything in between. The novel takes the reader on Xiomara's journey as she learns and copes with the trials of growing up. You should read this book if you love a story about someone discovering themselves and finding solace in something beautiful, like poetry.
9) The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
An interesting story that toes the lines of both horror and sci-fi, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson explores the duality of human nature and what happens when that duality begins to take on a mind, or in some cases, a body, of its own. It is an intriguing story told from the perspective of Gabriel Utterson, who is confused by the strange turn of events pertaining to his old friend Dr. Jekyll and the terrifying Mr. Hyde. As Utterson investigates the connection between the two men, he stumbles onto something he could never have predicted in his wildest dreams. Timeless in its strangeness and the parent of the common phrase "Jekyll and Hyde," The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a great novel for anyone who enjoys horror and/or science fiction.
10) With The Fire on High
I read this in ONE day. That's how good this book was. With The Fire on High, written by Elizabeth Acevedo, tells the story of Emoni, a 17-year-old chef who has the world on her shoulders. Throughout the novel, we see how Emoni hones her skills and how she defies every stereotype the world seems to have placed on her. This book filled me with joy, happiness, and sunlight. Also, what MUST be recognized is the portrayal of relationships in this book. Instead of trying to make them full of drama, Acevedo crafts relationships between the characters that emphasize the need for open communication over the silly games we see on TV. Let me be clear, this is probably one of my favorite novels in existence, and it is a must-read for anyone who has had someone tell them they can't achieve something.
All of these books are incredible. If I were on a desert island, I would definitely take these with me. Any of the books on the list can be re-read over and over again, and I would definitely recommend adding them to your personal library. I hope you enjoy whichever book you choose, whether it be one off of this list or all 10. Happy reading!!