Must Read Books of 2023

When searching for a book to read, most people stick to what they’re familiar with or get their recommendations from books highly rated by the general public. Listed below are the opinions of a few people from the Apopka High School community.


Madison Weyland (11th) – I really like the book “It Ends with Us”. It was just a really good book in general. I loved all the twists and turns. The ending is a huge plot twist.

Mrs. Amburgey (English Teacher) – The Ashfall series by Mike Mullin is my favorite young adult series. The book is based on the climatic winter caused by Yellowstone erupting. It is well researched and compelling as a plausible scenario.

Mrs. Willard (Media Specialist) – Recommendation is a finicky thing because everybody’s kind of on their own journey when it comes to reading. I usually ask what the students like and take it from there. What I read, most people don’t. I don’t really have any straight up recommendations until they tell me what they’re looking for, then I can kind of guide them in that area.

Other book recommendations from AHS students and teachers:

Remarkably Bright Futures by Shelby Van Pelt

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Anthem by Ayn Rand

The Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu

Scythe by Neall Shusterman


Madison – Definitely Colleen Hoover, she’s a fantastic author and I just really love how all her books end.

Mrs. Amburgey – Edgar A. Poe, The Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, Carl Sagan, Stephen King, Agatha Christie, are all greats. They pioneered and/or redefined their genres.

Mrs. Willard – I love Malcolm Gladwell and Carol Dweck, they write psychology and sociology books. If somebody likes human behavior, those would be my recommendations. My current author that I like fiction-wise, is Jennifer Lynn Barnes. She wrote a series called “The Inheritance Games”. It’s a trilogy. The book is filled with a lot of puzzles trying to figure out why this billionaire left his entire fortune to somebody he’s never met. Right now, Jennifer Lynn Barnes is one of my top fiction authors that I recommend. I love anything that makes me think and has a solution. Part of the whole reading is looking for solutions even though, in people, they’re a little harder to find.


Madison – I really like romance and mystery. I like how they’ll start out with the first person, who you begin to love. Then you develop a hatred towards them and you’re like “Ouu…I don’t like them.”

Mrs. Amburgey – I read everything from a poster on a wall, a brochure in a waiting room, articles, journal studies, poetry, and novels of every genre. Everything has value because it helps you build connections and context. It helps you understand yourself, others, the world, history, science, etc. My personal library is usually young adult dystopian novels, fantasy fiction, and my collection of classic literature.

Mrs. Willard – I like mostly nonfiction, psychology, and sociology based books. I want to know everything about why we do what we do, how that impacts people and the decisions we make, and what are the outcomes. Most of what I read is classified as self-help. Yes, I want to be a better person but I’m also curious about humans in general and why we do what we do. I feel like if we can get to the route of why certain behaviors exist, especially the ones that are not very productive, maybe we could help to turn those around and make the world a better place. As hokey as that sounds but that’s my journey.

Worst Reads

Madison – I don’t remember the name of it but there have been books out there that I’ve absolutely hated and I could not finish. Sometimes they just drag on. I don’t like when books just continue.

Amburgey – I absolutely detest Ayn Rand and Ford Madox Ford. I find both authors to be pretentious, vapid, and redundant. Their point is often both obvious and long winded, which is a pointless and tedious journey for the reader.

Willard – The joke with my battle of the books kids and any of the kids that are frequent readers in the media center, is they know that I don’t do sad. I refuse to read any book that is sad or has any kind of sad ending. Especially diseases, cancer, things like that. There are some books that I’ve read where I can appreciate their literary value. I will never recommend a book that has any sad ending. No matter how complete the story arc may have been.

Especially during this time period where access to books may be limited, The Blue and White hopes that you’ll check out some of these books and keep on reading.