If you’re studying English at high school, there may be times when your teacher optimistically expects you to magically find a whole bunch of books (or other media) to write personal or critical responses to. You may even have to read them independently. And then demonstrate you had thoughts about them. We know, it seems inhumane.

Thankfully, the library is here to help! Our librarians have passionately argued their cases* and come up with this list of books — some classic and some new — that would be a fantastic starting point for any NCEA student looking for great texts to include in their Independent Reading assignments. They are arranged in approximate order of complexity, with texts more suited to Level 1 English at the top of the list, and texts more suited to Level 2 at the bottom.

*The impassioned debate would have continued for many more hours, were it not for the summary defenestration of one librarian for daring to suggest that The Hunger Games was ‘too mainstream’ to include on this list.

Last updated: August 2023