As the summer nears, students look forward to some leisure time. Although many already have plans lined up, this summer will still look a lot different than previous years. Cancellations of vacations, camps and summer activities could leave students with newfound downtime, so reading can be a great way for teenagers to spend their time.
According to the American Psychological Association, less than 20% of American teenagers report reading a book, magazine or newspaper daily for pleasure. This number is a sharp contrast to the more than 80% of teenagers that say they use social media every day.
“I think it’s saddening that teenagers are not reading as much as they used to,” junior Fay Ghorayeb said. “This study really shows where teenagers today are prioritizing their time.”
During the school year, students are so overloaded with assignments and extracurriculars that even reading a chapter per day can become a challenge.
“I cannot even remember the last time I had free time to read a book for fun,” junior Emilee Huynh said.
Students around Naples High represent varying interests when it comes to book genres. Junior Victoria Lee loves biographies. She suggests Widow Clicquot by Tilar J. Mazzeo, a New York Times bestseller.
“It is a really good book,” Lee said. “It centers around the building of a champagne empire in France during the French Revolution.”
Young Adult (YA) novels are popular amongst teenagers. Junior Vivian Carmody recommends The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. This New York Times bestseller was released as a movie featuring Yara Shahidi as the lead protagonist, Natasha.
“The book addresses and highlights the issues surrounding immigration in the United States through a love story,” Carmody said. “It truly opened up my eyes.”
Ghorayeb suggested several books to add to a comprehensive summer reading list: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, The Emperor of Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee and A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking for fans of science.
“I have no interest in astronomy or anything regarding physics, but Hawking takes such complex material and simplifies it,” Ghorayeb said. “The book feels as though the reader is having a conversation with him.”
Ghorayeb also loved The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. The novel is set during the Greek Heroic Age, and it recently went viral.
“The book became more popular because of social media platforms, especially TikTok,” Ghorayeb said. “I would 100% recommend it to any teenager.”
Junior Lexi Anand recently read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and loved it. The book features Gladwell’s examination of the factors that contribute to high levels of success.
“It was amazing, especially if you are looking for more of a motivational book,” junior Lexi Anand said.
The Media Center is also a great place to go when looking for book suggestions. This month, many of the books on display center around female political figures: No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Great Thunberg, The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris and Becoming by Michelle Obama.
“I think students should definitely consider taking advantage of all the free time they will have this summer by reading a few books,” Ghorayeb said. “The book that you think is boring may end up surprising you.”