Pages of Preference: Gibbons Students’ Favorite Assigned Books

Pages of Preference: Gibbons Students Favorite Assigned Books

No matter how diverse a student’s class schedule may be at Cardinal Gibbons, every student is required to take an English class each year. Whether this is a College Prep, Honors, or AP level class, reading is always in the curriculum. 

English teachers are allowed to choose the books they wish to teach to their students as long as they alignwith the class’ subject matter. We conducted a survey asking 75 students from various grades to name their favorite book they have read in a Gibbons English class, then consulted with graduating seniors about what they learned from and enjoyed about these books. Here are the results:



1. Lord of the Flies

The survey’s number one answer was Lord of the Flies, which was written by British author William Golding in 1954 and is often read in English 9.

Lord of the Flies is an interesting examination into the human psyche and how our situations can determine our morals,” said Christian Smith (Class of 2024). 

This novel is a compelling story about a group of young boys who are stranded on an island after a plane crash and attempt to govern themselves. The plot darkens when the boys’ fight for survival turns to a fight for power. 

Smith continues, “The degradation of the kids’ morals along with the mob mentality show how vulnerable our modern society is. Overall, this book lends a lively commentary on the state of human nature and group thinking.”

2. Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet was the next highest voted piece of literature. This tragic romantic play, which is normally studied in English 9, was written by William Shakespeare in 1597. 

“I like that you can already know the ending of a story but still enjoy it just as much. It teaches you to appreciate the use of language and characterization in a story,” said Reagan Tomczak (Class of 2024).

This story follows two lovers who attempt to hide their relationship from their feuding families and are torn apart in the process. Romeo and Juliet is the second-most performed Shakespearean play and is regarded as one of the saddest plays ever written.

3. The Things They Carried & The Great Gatsby

In third came The Things They Carried, a collection of short stories based on author Tim O’Brien’s experiences in the Vietnam War that is often studied by Gibbons seniors in AP Literature and Composition. The novel is an impactful narrative about the power of storytelling and understanding the truth that comes with a person’s every emotion and experience. 

“This book made me think not only about the experiences that Vietnam veterans went through in the war but also about societal expectations and how they affect each and every one of us,” said John Scott (Class of 2024).

The Great Gatsby tied with The Things They Carried for third place. This story follows narrator, Nick Carraway, after moving in next to millionaire Jay Gatsby. It’s often taught in English 10.

The Great Gatsby was such an influential book because it showed me how to find hidden meanings in text, and is also such an entertaining and complicated love story,” said Kate Hansen (Class of 2024). “The imagery in the novel is so specific and every detail makes it just that more enjoyable.”

The narrator is whisked away into a world of luxury and deceit as he writes about his neighbor’s tragic love story. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the influence of wealth and status on relationships.

5. Into the Wild, The Awakening, & To Kill a Mockingbird

Next up was Into the Wild, a nonfiction story about a young adventurer named Chris McCandless who left his home and took a fake name to pursue a nomadic lifestyle in Alaska.

Nya Folk (Class of 2024) said, “Into the Wild was a great story about finding the middle ground in a belief, because completely conforming to society might not be right, but everything about society isn’t bad, and finding a happy medium is important to happiness.” 

The novel follows McCandless’ adventures throughout different notches of America, the motivation behind his travels, and the causes that led to his death.

Also in fourth place was The Awakening, written by Kate Chopin in 1899. This novel is about a young

housewife named Edna Pontellier who begins to realize her own self-worth and identity while bogged down by her husband’s societal standards.

Jordan Brock (Class of 2024) said, “The Awakening empowered me to break out of my shell and really take on the world in a different light. The book’s plot is entertaining and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I credit this book for ‘awakening’ my personality and how I view life.”

The novel was extremely progressive for its time due to the way it inspired women to break away from the ideals of a stereotypical housewife. 

To Kill a Mockingbird, which was written in 1960 by Harper Lee, placed fourth as well. It won a Pulitzer Prize and made a prominent impact on the Civil Rights Movement from a literature standpoint. 

To Kill a Mockingbird is a very American and very southern book that touches on the topics of race and gender in the Great Depression south,” said Jeremy Knick (Class of 2024). 

This novel follows Atticus Finch and his two children as he defends an African American man who has been wrongfully accused of raping a white woman. 

“It is told from the perspective of a white girl about to start first grade being naive of what’s happening in the world around her, and shows us how a child doesn’t know racism.”

Into the Wild is taught in English 10, To Kill a Mockingbird in English 9, and The Awakening in English 12.


Earning the most votes at 32 percent was an assortment of titles that went beyond these seven books such as The Crucible, 1984, and Their Eyes Were Watching God.

See a title that you haven’t read? Add it to your own reading list.

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About the Contributor
Noe Dwight
Noe Dwight, Managing Editor
Hi, my name is Noe Dwight! I am a Senior writing and reporting for the Gibbons Globe. Here at CGHS, I am most involved in Drama Leadership Team, Gibbons Leadership Institute, and Peer-to-Peer Mentorship. Most days, you can find me singing and dancing in the theater or writing and reading in the library!