Treasure cove for the book fanatic

Emeline Root

Many people struggle to find books that interest them, whether for school or for entertainment. Here are book suggestions from staff and students at West Ottawa.

Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith

Horror, thriller

  A mile underground lies the Furnace Penitentiary-a prison for young offenders, filled with terrifying, evil, inhumane creatures. Alex Sawyer, convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, must escape. The taste of freedom and justice is stronger than the dangers of the prison.

  Instructor Andrea Andreadis said, “This book was recommended to me by a student. He was a self-proclaimed non-reader until he stumbled upon this series. He went from being a proud non-reader to a proud reader; it was fun watching him get excited about the publication of the next book in the series.”

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Fantasy, science fiction

  A gifted young cyborg lives with her stepmother and sister. After meeting and falling in love with the prince, she must decide between her cyborg mechanics or her human emotions.

  Andreadis said, “This was another student recommendation. One of my readers read it in Mythology and recommended it to a non-reader. That non-reader came back on a Monday, said she couldn’t put it down over the weekend, and was ready for the next in the series.”

Slammed by Colleen Hoover


  Eighteen year old Layken Cohen must deal with her mother’s terminal cancer and her romantic relationship with her English teacher, Will Cooper.

  Andreadis said, “Colleen Hoover is a great young adult author; I had a difficult time narrowing down which title to choose. She should appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen.”

The Martian by Andy Weir

Science fiction, suspense

  Mark Watney, a NASA astronaut, is stranded on Mars and must figure out how to survive.

  Sr. Ben Horner said, “I wasn’t sure if I’d like the book at first but it turned out to be a great balance of drama and humor. I especially appreciated the accuracy of the science.”

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Young adult fiction

  During a horrific car accident, Mia’s parents and brother die, while she suffers injuries and is unconscious and hospitalized. She has an out of body experience and spends her time reflecting on herself. She must choose to live or to die.

  Sr. Jacklyn VandePoel said, “This book is easy to read, but it’s still captivating. It was quite emotional, which is why it was so good to me. I read this book years ago and it still is one of my favorites.”

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Science fiction

  In a dystopian society, people live in both stacked up motorhomes and a virtual reality world where they can live, go to school and sleep. A wealthy individual releases a reward of one million dollars for anyone who can find an Easter egg hidden within the virtual world. The story follows Wade Watts journey to find the egg and change the fate of his family’s fortune.

  Horner said, “I would suggest this book because it makes you think about where society is headed.”

Unwind by Neal Shusterman


  If, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, a child is unwanted, parents can choose to have their child “unwound”. This means teenagers may be disassembled and their organs will be used for transplants.

  Sr. Ashley Backus said, “It was at first very disturbing and I didn’t think I would be able to make it through the entire book, but after I got into it and kept reading; I was completely hooked.”

13 Reasons Why Jay Asher

Young adult fiction

  When Clay Jensen comes home from school, he finds a box full of cassette tapes on his porch. Each cassette is a recording of Hannah Baker’s explanations: the thirteen reasons why she committed suicide.

  VandePoel said, “When I first read this book, I didn’t really understand its meaning. Reflecting on it now, I realize how it introduces social issues that need to be talked about. It’s a sensitive topic, but I think this book is one that everyone should read.”

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Psychological thriller, adventure

  Narrated by a sailor named Marlow, the story tracks the tale being told about Marlow’s journey into the Congo to rescue the famed ship captain, Mr. Kurtz. As Marlow’s crew travels deeper into the Congo, the journey becomes a psychological battle, defending themselves from cannibals to native tribes. The abilities of humans are tested, as Marlow fears he will fail in finding Kurtz.

  Sr. Jack Kleinjans said, “Heart of Darkness is the type of book that can be read time and time again, and you still find new details that make the story even better. The book itself is a classic, but the characters in it not only define the time it was written, but the essence of humans as a species.”