By Makenna Adams
AP English Language and Composition is a wonderful class; Chris Haskett, a wonderful teacher. However, not every book that I read as an AP Lang student junior year was equally as wonderful. Overall, I immensely enjoyed reading, discussing, and analyzing the AP lang books, though I found some far more captivating than others.
Please know that I mean no offense in my rankings, these are simply my humble opinions about each book. I also have kept my descriptions intentionally vague to avoid spoilers. Happy reading!
- The Great Gatsby
Hey, F. Scott Fitzgerald—way to go, old sport. I love this book. In fact, The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books I’ve read in high school (second only to To Kill A Mockingbird). Every character is peculiar, and beautifully flawed. For me, characters make or break a novel, and Ftizgerald must have had my tendency to leave scathing review in mind when he crafted Gatsby, Nick, and Daisy. Filled with drama, The Great Gatsby explores mankind’s extensive ability to dream. If you are in AP Lang right now, look forward to this book. Undoubtedly, this story deserves a 10/10.
- The Crucible
My class read this play around Halloween, ~witch~ was very fitting for the story. Suspenseful, The Crucible examines the terrifying power of guilt and hysteria. After getting shocked by the many twists and turns of the play, I found myself emotionally moved at the story’s resolution. 9/10
- The Catcher in the Rye
While we did not read this book around Halloween, nor were any witches involved, I was terrified of this book. I do not trust Holden Caulfield. Holden’s cynical narration takes readers from his waspy prep school in Pennsylvania to flaunts in NYC over the course of only three days. While reading this book, I felt somber and on edge. Yet the novel’s meaningful conclusion made me appreciate the story. Overall, I’d afford The Catcher in the Rye 8/10.
- Their Eyes Were Watching God
Heart-wrenching, Their Eyes Were Watching God follows Janie Crawford throughout her life and three marriages. From childhood, Janie experienced cruel treatment from men until she ecounters Tea Cake, who treats her with respect and allows Janie to find herself. Although the story featured a tragic ending, I was satisfied with its conclusion. I also loved Janie’s character; she is strong, independent, and fierce. Watching Janie find herself despite adversity, I enjoyed reading this book. 7/10.
- The Scarlet Letter
In his novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne criticizes Puritan society and examines the hypocritical double life that its members live. While I found myself engaged by the premise of the story, I disliked the characters. As previously explained, a story’s characters make or break the book in my opinion. I appreciated the clever symbolism and supernatural elements of the story, which makes it deserving of a 5/10.
- The Right Stuff
Here’s the flyby: The Right Stuff does not rock(et). I really wanted to like this book. I adore space-related stories—my favorite movie of all time is E.T. and I loved reading Ender’s Game in AP Lit—but this book just did not do it for me. My chief issue with Tom Wolfe’s opus was it was super long. If it was a good story, the length wouldn’t be a problem. But this is not a good story. I barely made it to the end. Perhaps I do not have the right stuff that reading this book requires, but this was without a doubt my least favorite AP Lang book. 0/10.