By Seyi K., MPP Tutor

Reading is essential in the development of any person’s psychological, academic and emotional development.  I became an avid  reader in middle school and it quickly became one of my hobbies.  When teachers assigned books for class, I struggled to find any personal connection or understanding with their methods of storytelling.  I believe the key in anyone becoming an avid and passionate reader is finding the ideal content that will resonate with the reader.  I curated this list with a selection of books that are not only some of my favorite, but also are intentionally diverse in terms of writing style, genre, themes, and eras.  This list is for anyone who is looking to introduce themselves to reading or to simply expand their scope of books.  My Private Professor has a strong team of tutors that are willing to discuss these books, as well as suggest even more fantastic reads. The ability to critically understand and analyze novels and other forms of literature is crucial in the majority of work that will be assigned in college. 

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I mentioned that I was not much of a reader in my earlier days, well Percy Jackson certainly was the catalyst in changing that.  I was in a Greek mythology class at the time and I was really struggling, so my mom decided to hand me this book and told me it could help.  I was extremely reluctant to even take a look at it; I had had enough of Greek gods and goddesses for one year.  However, curiosity got the better of me, and I was pleasantly surprised when I gave it a chance.  

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief features some of the strongest mythological and fantastical stories of all time.  The author, Rick Riordan, spent many years researching and studying Greek mythology in order to create a fictional world in which myth becomes reality and there is a plethora of conflict.  It is extremely easy to become invested in the complexity of the characters, as well as the greater plot in the series.  I highly recommend this book to any fans of fantasy or any student looking to learn more about ancient Greek history and mythology, in a creative and thought-provoking manner.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

The importance of satire and political analysis is very evident in the current climate. Animal Farm is a book that challenges political and humanistic qualities while also following an absurd concept.  It is one of the most hilariously frightening books I have read. I recommend this book for those who wish to study human nature and corruption embodied by seemingly innocent figures in farm animals. While it can be utterly hilarious, I urge any readers to pay close attention to the truths that are told in this book, some of them are extremely relevant in the reality of the world today.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Considered to be Zora Neale Hurston’s best work by many, Their Eyes Were Watching God is amongst the most important novels in American history.  This story is a powerful commentary on love, racism, discrimination, gender roles, andliberation.  The vocabulary utilized in this text is exquisite and that further makes this book a great choice for anyone looking to expand and strengthen their language skills.This is a book that is highly recommended even more now, in a world where everything still needs to be questioned and updated.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, is a stunning book that places children in one of their most coveted positions: freedom.  When a group of boys find themselves stranded on a deserted island, they are forced to find compromise and debate each other  in order to survive. This story uses a brilliant concept, challenging children to govern themselves in a dire situation, to explore themes of morality, pragmatism, totalitarianism and rationality.  Although the book follows children’s descent into anarchy, I, like many other readers, wondered if adults would follow the same path as the spoiled boarding school children.  In Lord of the Flies, readers will find inspiration and also new perspectives on the nature of humanity.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Absolutely the most emotionally piercing option on this list, The Fault in our Stars by John Green, is a fantastic and tragic telling of the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster, a young girl with cancer.  Despite the seemingly ominous premise of the novel, The Fault in Our Stars is a story of true happiness and love.  It subverts the expected tropes of young adult novels and achieves a higher level of genuine storytelling.  I would also recommend the film adaptation of the book as it manages to capture all of its mental and physical realities in a visual structure.


Seyi Kaja-Gbadegesin is a tutor at My Private Professor, which provides individualized online & in-person tutoring to students in all subjects, including K-12 math, science, language arts, history, foreign language, AP exams, test prep, essays, & college counseling, by top tutors from top universities.