100 books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower

By Stephen Chbosky,

Here are 100 books that The Perks of Being a Wallflower fans have personally recommended if you like The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Into the Wild

M. R. Reed Author Of Enthrall

From my list on doing what is right when others are against you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m drawn to the idea of doing what you think is right when others are against you because I’ve always felt the desire to row against the current and just do my own thing. I tend to avoid following the crowd because oftentimes I simply don’t agree with them. Am I being purposely difficult? Maybe. But I fear a society that goes with the flow simply because it’s easier and it doesn’t require them to think for themselves. It’s okay to listen to other people, but before you make any major decisions, ask yourself a question: Is this right for me?

M. R.'s book list on doing what is right when others are against you

M. R. Reed Why did M. R. love this book?

Here’s my confession: I hated Chris McCandless by the time I finished this book. I hated his cockiness and lack of respect for the power of the wilderness.

But you know what I give him credit for? His ability to leave his life of privilege and the courage to go out into the world and forge his own destiny. He did what he thought was best for him despite the pushback he received from his friends and family.

I think I hated him so much because I wanted him to succeed, and he doomed himself through his own hubris. 

By Jon Krakauer,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked Into the Wild as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Krakauer’s page-turning bestseller explores a famed missing person mystery while unraveling the larger riddles it holds: the profound pull of the American wilderness on our imagination; the allure of high-risk activities to young men of a certain cast of mind; the complex, charged bond between fathers and sons.

"Terrifying... Eloquent... A heart-rending drama of human yearning." —New York Times

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all…

Book cover of Fahrenheit 451

Dan Savery Raz Author Of The Qwerty Man

From my list on dystopian books that could actually happen.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a bit of a daydreamer and drawn to books that look through a window into the "other world." These novels, often dubbed dystopian, are reflections or exaggerations of our own world, and this always appealed to me. Like the question, "What if?”. The premise of “What if we lived in a world where you had to pay for words?” inspired my first novel, The Qwerty Man. Although I love fiction, I’m more of a nonfiction reader these days and interested in Buddhism (as an education, not religion), geography, and history. I’ve also written travel guidebooks for Lonely Planet and a children’s travel poetry book called Rhyme Travels.

Dan's book list on dystopian books that could actually happen

Dan Savery Raz Why did Dan love this book?

I read this book relatively recently, not at school or when I was in my twenties, but when I was in my late thirties. I had heard of the novel, and the concept of burning books was all-too familiar as I studied a module on Holocaust literature at university. However, the premise of Ray Bradbury’s novel, written in 1953, was so simple yet so powerful.

It echoes with our own reality today, as although books are not being burned, we are seeing the art of writing itself being "burned" or minimized by tools such as AI or social media. The virtual burning of honest reportage or poetry for opinionated views and algorithms is one symptom of today’s fast-paced society. 

There were some great quotes in Fahrenheit 451, too; the one that really stuck out was, “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies… A child or a book or a…

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Fahrenheit 451 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The hauntingly prophetic classic novel set in a not-too-distant future where books are burned by a special task force of firemen.

Over 1 million copies sold in the UK.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic…

Book cover of The Virgin Suicides

Nash Jenkins Author Of Foster Dade Explores the Cosmos

From my list on teenage sentimentality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I do not remember a time when I wasn’t captivated by stories about adolescence. This was the case when I myself was a teenager—when I sought in these overwrought sagas the sort of sentimental melodrama that eluded the banality of my own life—but curiously it’s no less true at thirty, for reasons that are fundamentally the same but somehow more urgent. Becoming an adult is an exercise in hardening; to grow up is to forget what it’s like to be beholden to one’s own autobiographical romance. The following titles offer a respite from the cynicism that is adulthood; as a writer and a human, I'm forever in their debt.

Nash's book list on teenage sentimentality

Nash Jenkins Why did Nash love this book?

I’d normally abstain from the pompous sin of quoting one’s own fiction, but I’m doing it here only to contextualize this recommendation.

“Adolescence is an exercise in coveting what exists just beyond our grasp,” my book’s narrator tells us in his preamble to his telling of Foster’s story. “It is this inaccessibility that sustains its magic.” To be fifteen is to be a voyeur looking wistfully in on the poignancy of others’ lives: this is the idea I tried to operationalize through the narrator’s project, with full knowledge that I’d never do it as lyrically as The Virgin Suicides. 

Nominally, the main characters of Eugenides’ debut are the five titular Lisbon sisters, who successively take their own lives, but we encounter them chiefly as figments of a collective imagination: in the captivated minds of a faceless group of teenage boys who witness the tragedies from afar.

As a sort of…

By Jeffrey Eugenides,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Virgin Suicides as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Introducing the Collins Modern Classics, a series featuring some of the most significant books of recent times, books that shed light on the human experience - classics which will endure for generations to come.

That girl didn't want to die. She just wanted out of that house. She wanted out of that decorating scheme.

The five Lisbon sisters - beautiful, eccentric and, now, gone - had always been a point of obsession for the entire neighbourhood.

Although the boys that once loved them from afar have grown up, they remain determined to understand a tragedy that has defied explanation. The…

Book cover of Heart of Darkness

Benjamin Hoffmann Author Of Sentinel Island

From my list on forbidden territories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of French Literature and Creative Writing at The Ohio State University. A Franco-American writer, I am the author of books and essays published in both France and the United States, including Posthumous America, The Paradoxes of Posterity, American Pandemonium, and Sentinel Island. My work encompasses various genres (novel, short story, essay, and critical study) to explore recurring themes: exile and the representation of otherness; disinformation and the social impact of new technologies; nostalgia and the experience of mourning; the legacy of the Enlightenment and the Age of Great Discoveries; and America’s history and its troubled present.

Benjamin's book list on forbidden territories

Benjamin Hoffmann Why did Benjamin love this book?

Joseph Conrad's book stands as a seminal work exploring the depths of forbidden territories, both physical and psychological.

Set in the mysterious and impenetrable heart of the Congo, Conrad delves into the darkness of the human soul amidst the backdrop of colonialism. Through vivid imagery and haunting prose, he navigates the moral ambiguity of imperialism and the forbidden realms of the unknown. 

By Joseph Conrad,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked Heart of Darkness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although Polish by birth, Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) is regarded as one of the greatest writers in English, and Heart of Darkness, first published in 1902, is considered by many his "most famous, finest, and most enigmatic story." — Encyclopaedia Britannica. The tale concerns the journey of the narrator (Marlow) up the Congo River on behalf of a Belgian trading company. Far upriver, he encounters the mysterious Kurtz, an ivory trader who exercises an almost godlike sway over the inhabitants of the region. Both repelled and fascinated by the man, Marlow is brought face to face with the corruption and despair…

Book cover of The Book Thief

Michele DeMarco Author Of Holding Onto Air: The Art and Science of Building a Resilient Spirit

From my list on transforming your mental and spiritual health.

Why am I passionate about this?

Officially, I’m an award-winning author and specialist in the fields of psychology, trauma, and spirituality. I’m also a professionally trained therapist, clinical ethicist, and researcher. Ultimately, I’m an ardent believer that the same life that brings us joy also (sometimes) brings us pain. More importantly, that every aspect of life has a role to play in making us who we are today and who we’ll be tomorrow. We don’t always have control over the events in life, but the script we live by is ours to write—and write it we must, as only we can. I’m also a three-time heart attack survivor.

Michele's book list on transforming your mental and spiritual health

Michele DeMarco Why did Michele love this book?

Markus Zusak’s book is definitely not for the faint of heart or those easily bored: its narrator is Death, and the book is over 500 pages long. Not really the kind of book you’d think of for those aged 12 and up (as it’s listed). But it is one that really ought to be universally read.

The book follows two young children battling for survival in Nazi Germany. Entropy hangs in the air like Death’s shadow. Life’s harsh realities—like evil, heartache, pain, and mortality—are ever-present. In Max's (the young boy) dreams, he is boxing with Hitler and lands a punch, knocking the Fuhrer down, but soon he’s overtaken by the crowd.

This is one of the reasons I appreciate this book: winners sometimes lose; bad things happen to good people. And yet, the response to this existential injustice isn’t to become a mere survivor, victim, or martyr. It’s to…

By Markus Zusak,

Why should I read it?

29 authors picked The Book Thief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

'Life affirming, triumphant and tragic . . . masterfully told. . . but also a wonderful page-turner' Guardian
'Brilliant and hugely ambitious' New York Times
'Extraordinary' Telegraph


1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.
Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.


Book cover of Eleanor & Park

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a YA contemporary author that enjoys falling back into the realm of the teenager with all its newness, awkwardness, and angst. I grew up with the Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, the genre that encapsulated and empowered the young adult voice. The coming-of-age story is so important because it molds the future of that character which in turn can mold the reader as well. What happens to a young person in their developing years will set the tone for their entire life. As a writer and a mother, I want to share stories that not only entertain but help young adults navigate difficult situations.

Gabi's book list on books that capture the tender moments while growing up under difficult circumstances

Gabi Justice Why did Gabi love this book?

First off, it’s set in the 80s. This is my generation. No smartphones. No social media. Just pure teenage angst.

Mostly, I love the back-and-forth conversation and inner thoughts of Eleanor and Park. Rowell nails the authenticity of teens. Their strange humor and insecurities. I want to throw my arms around them and shelter them from the cruel bullies haunting them.

Rowell sucks you into their lives, and it feels so real and raw that you remember the wonder and horror of your own teenage years. The dialogue is rich in its realness, and the tender little moments between Eleanor and Park are precious.

By Rainbow Rowell,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Eleanor & Park as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

'Reminded me not just what it's like to be young and in love, but what it's like to be young and in love with a book' John Green, author of The Fault in our Stars

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she's never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and - in Eleanor's eyes - impossibly cool, Park's worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to…

Book cover of Wonder

Ruth Leigh Author Of The Diary of Isabella M Smugge

From my list on books you read and re-read even though you know every word by heart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I learned to read at four and have been telling stories ever since. Books were my escape from unhappiness into a new and endless world. Left to myself, I’d read ten or so weekly, and my mind was packed with characters, dialogue, jokes, prose, and poetry like an over-brimming literary reservoir. Words are my thing, and I am an avid collector of them. I was reading David Copperfield at eight and specialised in 18th and 19th-century literature at university. I’ve written five books and am working on the sixth. I love writing humour but have also authored Jane Austen Fan Fiction and poetry. Without books, my world is nothing.

Ruth's book list on books you read and re-read even though you know every word by heart

Ruth Leigh Why did Ruth love this book?

I simply love this book and read it at least once a year. It’s in the YA genre, and I am more like an MAA (middle-aged adult) but the main character, Auggie Pullman, and his friends and family are so enticing that I’m drawn in every time.

Auggie has an incredibly rare facial deformity and when we first meet him, he’s off to school for the first time. The book is written with a light touch and from many different voices, something the author pulls off with aplomb. It’s notoriously difficult to get away with multiple narrators, but this really works.

I root for Auggie every time, and the sheer humanity of the book, along with great humour and characterisation means that I come back to it again and again.

By R.J. Palacio,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Wonder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

'Has the power to move hearts and change minds' Guardian

'Tremendously uplifting and a novel of all-too-rare power' Sunday Express

'An amazing book . . . I absolutely loved it. I cried my eyes out' Tom Fletcher

Read the award-winning, multi-million copy bestselling phenomenon that is WONDER in this new tenth anniversary edition.

'My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.'

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things - eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside. But ordinary kids don't make other…

Book cover of The Art of Racing in the Rain

Lauri Robinson Author Of An Unlikely Match for the Governess

From my list on that create great discussions for book club.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I read by flashlight under the covers and loved family vacations because long car rides meant hours of reading time (they still do!). I love belonging to book clubs because of the variety. Stories I might not have chosen, but end up loving. For years I devoured romance novels, especially historical and westerns. When my husband said, “You should write a book, you’ve read so many.” I decided to try and now have over 70 published romance novels, 50+ with Harlequin, Mills & Boon, and one young adult book that I co-wrote with two of my granddaughters. I hope my recommendations provides your book club with lively discussions!     

Lauri's book list on that create great discussions for book club

Lauri Robinson Why did Lauri love this book?

This book can be discussed with the young, the old, and everyone in-between. Anyone who’s had a relationship with an animal, be it dog, cat, horse, etc., any special pet, believes they know what the animal is thinking.

This book is in a dog’s point of view. Enzo, an amazing canine, and faithful supporter of Denny, gives the reader full insight to a day in a dog’s life. Actually, many days. From puppy to old dog, Enzo is loveable, laughable, and wise. 

This book provides range of topics explore, including how easily it is to believe that a dog told this story. Months later, my book club still talks about this book.

As soon as I finished this book, I wanted to start reading it again!

By Garth Stein,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The Art of Racing in the Rain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Soon to be a major motion picture, this heart-warming and inspirational tale follows Enzo, a loyal family dog, tells the story of his human family, how they nearly fell apart, and what he did to bring them back together.

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: he thinks and feels in nearly human ways. He has educated himself by watching extensive television, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo realizes that racing is a metaphor: that by applying the techniques a driver would apply on…

Book cover of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

C.M. Surowiec Jr. Author Of DragonSin

From my list on that help you decide if dragons are good or evil.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination with dragons began at a young age and has intensified over the years. I think I’ve watched every movie with a dragon in it and read many of the books. I've tried to incorporate as much as I can, plus my own little twists, into each species of dragon in my world. The most excited I've been about dragons was while watching a special documentary on Discovery Channel. They explained how dragons could fly, the mechanics behind them breathing fire, and what their diet consisted of. It was a great speculative show but had enough science to make you wonder! I hope you enjoy the books on my list!

C.M.'s book list on that help you decide if dragons are good or evil

C.M. Surowiec Jr. Why did C.M. love this book?

The dragons are only a small part of this very popular book, but it is very memorable. The challenge that Harry (and others) must complete is very creative. The dragons in this story are closer to beasts than sentient creatures, and it forces the character and reader to realize that the dragons must be defeated with intelligence, not brute force. Although this is quite different from many stories, including mine, I can appreciate the difference and the value it brings to the trial Harry is trying to complete.

By J.K. Rowling,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

When the Quidditch World Cup is disrupted by Voldemort's rampaging supporters alongside the resurrection of the terrifying Dark Mark, it is obvious to Harry Potter that, far from weakening, Voldemort is getting stronger. Back at Hogwarts for his fourth year, Harry is astonished to be chosen by the Goblet of Fire to represent the school in the Triwizard Tournament. The competition is dangerous, the tasks terrifying, and true courage is no guarantee of survival - especially when the darkest forces are on the rise.

These adult editions with glorious jacket art by Andrew Davidson are now available in hardback for…

Book cover of The Giver

Summer Rachel Short Author Of The Mutant Mushroom Takeover

From my list on sci-fi books for kids who think they don’t like Sci-Fi.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up with a scientist dad who often discussed bits of research or new discoveries around the dinner table. I didn’t follow in his footsteps and get a Ph.D., but I did develop a fascination with scientific happenings, particularly of the weird or unexplained variety. In college, I worked as the science reporter for my university’s newspaper, where I wrote on topics like nanotech tweezers, poultry farm pollution, and the nighttime habits of spiders and snakes. I’m also the author of two science fiction books for young readers.

Summer's book list on sci-fi books for kids who think they don’t like Sci-Fi

Summer Rachel Short Why did Summer love this book?

I love a good dystopian novel, and this hit all the right notes for me. At first, everything seems perfect in Jonas’s tightly-ordered world—only everyone is hiding something. Jonas is different, but he doesn’t know how.

I loved how thought-provoking The Giver was. It got me asking questions about what it means to be a part of a community, a friend, and a member of a family. What risks are we willing to take for the ultimate good, and what crosses the line?

I found Jonas’s story fascinating and felt genuinely concerned for him throughout the book.

By Lois Lowry,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked The Giver as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

THE GIVER is soon to be a major motion picture starring Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift.

Now available for the first time in the UK, THE GIVER QUARTET is the complete four-novel collection.

THE GIVER: It is the future. There is no war, no hunger, no pain. No one in the community wants for anything. Everything needed is provided. And at twelve years old, each member of the community has their profession carefully chosen for them by the Committee of Elders.

Jonas has never thought there was anything wrong with his world. But from the moment he is…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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