School days: Sweethearts and secrets

Were your high school days like this? Delve into this month's Recommended Reads list, featuring different stories of romance and suspense!

September in the United States has long been associated with return to school – for children, often dreaded. Adults look back on their school days with nostalgia, and sometimes regret. In these stories collected here, you’ll find a combination of stories related to school days. The young adult titles involve teenagers navigating school along with the struggles of romance, mystery, and day to day life. In the adult titles, characters will find themselves revisiting their old schools or people they knew from those days either to solve a mystery, or to reconnect and have a second chance with old sweethearts. No matter your own experience with school, these gripping stories will be sure to bring back some memories of your own.

Digital book (DB), braille (BR), large print (LT), and audio described videos (DVD) copies of these titles are available from the Perkins Library or the Worcester Talking Book Library. Please contact the library to order any of these books.

Prepared by Sarah Durkin

Reader Advisor

Perkins Library


The Best of Me

by Nicholas Sparks

DB 73766, BR 18752, LT 12697, Available as BARD Download

Oriental, North Carolina. As high school seniors from different sides of the tracks, Dawson and Amanda had a doomed romance. Twenty-five years later they return home when Tuck, an old man important to both of them, dies—and leaves behind a letter describing his own life’s magical love. Bestseller. 2011.

Download The Best of Me, DB 73766

Download Braille, The Best of Me, BR 18752

Bookshop by the Sea

by Denise Hunter

DB 104897, LT 29912, Available as BARD Download

Sophie spent years supporting her siblings before finally reaching for her dream of opening a bookshop in the coastal North Carolina town of Piper’s Cove. An approaching hurricane forces her to share a house with Aiden, the high school sweetheart she never forgot. 2021.

Download Bookshop by the Sea, DB 104897

Driftwood Point

by Mariah Stewart

DB 90134, DB available as BARD Download

Artist Lisbeth Parker returns to Cannonball Island when her work is displayed at a local gallery. While home, she takes on a project to preserve local history. She finds herself opposed by Alec Jansen, an environmentalist who had a crush on her during their school years. Some descriptions of sex. 2016.

Download Driftwood Point, DB 90134

Her Royal Highness

by Rachel Hawkins

DB 95166, Available as BARD Download

Millie, an American teen, goes to an exclusive Scottish boarding school and becomes the roommate, best friend, and girlfriend of a princess. For senior high and older readers. 2019.

Download Her Royal Highness, DB 95166

Just Like You

by Nick Hornby

DB 100899, LT 28847, Available as BARD Download

Lucy is a nearly-divorced, forty-one-year-old schoolteacher with two school-aged sons. When she meets Joseph, she isn’t exactly looking for love—she’s more in the market for a babysitter. Joseph is twenty-two, living at home with his mother, and working several jobs. The pair connect, despite their different backgrounds. 2020.

Download Just Like You, DB 100899

My Oxford Year

by Julia Whelan

DB 97870, LT 23868, Available as BARD Download

American Ella Durran is thrilled when a scholarship allows her to study abroad at Oxford University. She has a messy run-in with a jerk only to discover he is her literature professor. The two strike up a friendship with the possibility of more, leaving Ella with a difficult decision. 2018.

Download My Oxford Year, DB 97870

Normal People

by Sally Rooney

DB 94878, BR 22649, LT 26331, Available as BARD Download

At school, popular football star Connell and lonely, quiet Marianne pretend not to know each other, although Connell’s mother works for Marianne’s family. A year later, both are studying at Trinity College in Dublin. They’ve both changed, but are still drawn to each other. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. 2019.

Download Normal People, DB 94878

Download Braille, Normal People, BR 22649

One Plus One

by Jojo Moyes

DB 79917, LT 18068, Available as BARD Download

Single mother Jess Thomas is struggling to raise her ten-year-old math-genius daughter, Tanzie, and teenaged stepson, Nicky. To give Tanzie a chance at a prestigious school, they fly to England and take a road trip to Scotland with technology wizard Ed Nicholls. Nothing goes as planned. Strong language and descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2014.

Download One Plus One, DB 79917

The Silence Between Us

by Alison Gervais

DB 97850, BR 22944, Available as BARD Download

After moving to Colorado, seventeen-year-old Maya, who is deaf, is forced to attend a hearing school. As she navigates her new life, Maya proves that her lack of hearing will not stop her from pursuing her dreams. For senior high and older readers. 2019.

Download The Silence Between Us, DB 97850

Download Braille, The Silence Between Us, BR 22944

What You Wish For

by Katherine Center

DB 99569, LT 28596, Available as BARD Download

Samantha Casey loves being an elementary school librarian in Galveston, Texas until her school gets a new principal: Duncan Carpenter, Samantha’s former crush. Unfortunately, Duncan is not the fun-loving goof she once knew and is soon turning the school into a veritable prison with his safety concerns. 2020.

Download What You Wish For, DB 99569


Before She Disappeared

by Lisa Gardner

DB 102104, LT 29366, Available as BARD Download

Middle-aged recovering alcoholic Frankie Elkin searches for missing people the world has stopped looking for. A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood where Haitian teenager Angelique Badeau vanished from her high school months earlier. Strong language, some violence, and some descriptions of sex. Bestseller. 2021.

Download Before She Disappeared, DB 102104

Deep Freeze

by John Sandford

DB 89136, BR 22080, LT 22955, Available as BARD Download

Virgil knows the town of Trippton, Minnesota, a little too well. A few years back, he investigated the corrupt—and homicidal—local school board. Now a dead woman’s been found frozen in a block of ice, and it might be connected to an upcoming twenty-year high school reunion. 2017.

Download Deep Freeze, DB 89136

Download Braille, Deep Freeze, BR 22080

Don’t Let Go

by Harlan Coben

DB 89453, BR 22094, LT 22847, Available as BARD Download

Fifteen years ago, high school senior Nap Dumas’s twin brother, Leo, and Leo’s girlfriend were mysteriously killed by a train, and Nap’s girlfriend, Maura, vanished. Now a detective, Nap learns that Maura’s fingerprints were just found at another fellow graduate’s murder scene. Violence, some strong language, and some descriptions of sex. 2017.

Download Don’t Let Go, DB 89453

Download Braille, Don’t Let Go, BR 22094

The Holdout

by Graham Moore

DB 98668, LT 28688, Available as BARD Download

When a fifteen-year-old heiress vanishes on her way home from school, her twenty-five-year-old black teacher is arrested. Young juror Maya Seale persuades the others not to convict. Ten years later, when a docuseries reassembles the jury, one of them is found dead in Maya’s hotel room. 2020.

Download The Holdout, DB 98668

The Stranger Diaries

by Elly Griffiths

DB 98600, Available as BARD Download

High school English teacher Clare Cassidy specializes in the Gothic writer R. M. Holland. When one of Clare’s colleagues and closest friends is found dead, with a line from Holland’s most famous story, “The Stranger,” left by her body, Clare is horrified to see her life collide with the storylines of her favorite literature. 2019.

Download The Stranger Diaries, DB 98600

Sunrise Highway

by Peter Blauner

DB 92294, Available as BARD Download

When a Long Island schoolgirl is gruesomely murdered, troubled teenager JT goes from suspect to star witness, putting away a high school football star. Forty years later, when JT is chief of police, there’s a trail of a dozen dead women along the Sunrise Highway. A relentless NYPD detective investigates. 2018.

Download Sunrise Highway, DB 92294

This Is My America

by Kim Johnson

DB 100194, LT 30582, Available as BARD Download

While writing letters to Innocence X, a justice-seeking project, asking them to help her father, an innocent black man on death row, Tracy takes on another case when her brother is accused of killing a white girl. Violence, strong language, and some descriptions of sex. For senior high and older readers. 2020.

Download This Is My America, DB 100194

A Time for Murder

by Jessica Fletcher

DB 100726, LT 28064, Available as BARD Download

Flashback to young teacher Jessica having her first murder investigation when the principal dies. Present-day Jessica returns to the high school for a colleague’s retirement, only to have him die in a way that links him to the first case. 2019.

Download A Time for Murder, DB 100726

Trust Exercise

by Susan Choi

DB 94561, BR 22996, LT 26613, Available as BARD Download

In the 1980s, David and Sarah are both students at a competitive performing arts high school. Their passionate relationship is noticed by the school’s charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley. Years later, Sarah publishes a novel about that time in her life, calling into question what really happened. 2019.

Download Trust Exercise, DB 94561

Download Braille, Trust Exercise, BR 22996

Twelve Angry Librarians

by Miranda James

DB 92428, LT 23461, Available as BARD Download

After his library-school nemesis drops dead, Charlie—who had a heated argument with him the day before—becomes the main suspect. Charlie, with Diesel’s feline help, must check out every clue to find the real killer or the next book he reads will come from a prison library. 2017.

Download Twelve Angry Librarians, DB 92428

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