10 Books for First Chapter Friday

Books for First Chapter Friday? These ten books worked well because their first chapters are awesome.

Teachers ask me about how I manage First Chapter Friday, and I’ve written extensively about my process and collaborating with my librarian.

Today, I’m presenting the best books that hooked my students. The first chapters of these books? They had a catch, they had enthrall, they had something that made students want to read them. Plus, these books make overall great high school chapter books.

Also, the links to Amazon are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my link, I earn a percentage at no additional cost to you. I use my Amazon referrals to buy more books for my classroom library, so I appreciate those clicks.

Good books for First Chapter Friday are not hard to find! Typically, students enjoy the reading aloud of new books. If you don’t have access to what you would consider good books for First Chapter Friday, you can check out these authors reading the first chapter of their books. (All of the videos are free.)


I do my best to shop at local and small bookstores. Bookshop supports local bookstores and gives a percentage of all sales to them and affiliates. You can check out my 2019 First Chapter Friday list if you want to shop small, too! All of my lists are on my affiliate page; all money earned returns to my classroom library. As always, you can read my full disclosures.

Now, on to the top ten First Chapter Friday books, the books my students asked to borrow.

First chapter Friday high school book list: ten books for First Chapter Friday. These high school chapter books will hook your students from the start of reading aloud. Chapter books for high schoolers can engage high school language arts classes. Try this First chapter Friday high school book list to increase literacy with high school English classes.

First Chapter Friday Books

This Side of Home. This story begins with twin sisters. That premise typically intrigues students, but these twins are discussing college. High school students enjoy hearing about college plans. Not only is there conflict between the sisters, but there is also internal conflict. The writing style interests students.

The Glass Castle. The author is on fire. Her parents don’t particularly care. The story escalates more.

I will warn you that this book has a heavy and somber story. Students stared at me the entire first chapter, and my librarian ordered more copies of it.

Overall, this book might be the most popular of all high school chapter books in my classroom.

The Westing Game. People gather for the reading of a will. (The concept immediately intrigues students.) The deceased has designed a game, however, and the characters must play a game. This book is a mystery. I have seen this book do well in middle school, too.

Deadly Design. Twins, born two years apart through science. The boys are completely different: the younger hides out with video games and the eldest is a popular track star.

The older twin dies, and the younger twin realizes that all babies made in this particular lab die at or near their eighteenth birthday. Which means. . . he has two years to find a mad scientist before his heart stops.

Long Way Down. Jason Reynolds’ popular book is beloved for a reason: the first twenty pages or so will grip students. This book is not written in typical chapters, so read the first dozen pages.

Catch a Falling Star. This book is simply charming and a complete escape. Carter loves her life working at her parent’s diner. When a movie company begins filming in her tiny town, she is hired as the movie star’s “girlfriend.” (I promise, the book is completely PG.) I read the entire book, as did many students, and I can tell you that yes, it is a love story that you’ll predict. Still, it’s an adorable book.

Teenie. The dialogue in this book sings to teenagers. The author completely captures how teenagers talk with none of that patronizing speak that some writers can’t avoid. Teenie is a bright student who did not get into the study abroad program she desired. Naturally, conflicts follow.

When. Maddie sees the “death date” on every person’s forehead, and she is bizarrely accurate. (She even saw her dad’s date when she was a toddler.) This supernatural talent, of course, creates problems.

That Summer. Students love Sarah Dessen, and this book has an interesting twist. Haven’s sister is engaged, and Haven is stuck in the past, wondering how life could be different. The book starts with a wedding and ends with one too.

Revived. The main character dies in the first chapter. (The first chapter is short, so I read more than one.) Surprise! Daisy is revived because she is part of a government program that can revive the deceased. She struggles with the secret and the program’s restrictions.

Those are quick snippets of book for First Chapter Friday. You can click on each book to read a more complete synopsis. Plus, these make great chapter books for high schoolers outside of First Chapter Friday.

First chapter Friday high school book list: ten books for First Chapter Friday. These high school chapter books will hook your students from the start of reading aloud. Chapter books for high schoolers can engage high school language arts classes. Try this First chapter Friday high school book list to increase literacy with high school English classes.

Overall. . .

The book that was checked out the most? It would be a close race between The Glass Castle and Deadly Design.

Deadly Design probably won, and I think it is because I handled the introduction to the book well. I read the first chapter and then read the book jacket where it is revealed a character dies. (He dies at the start of the book.) Students were shocked and eager to see if the other twin would live.

However, all of these books are great additions of chapter books for high schoolers in my classroom library. You could use these books in a variety of ways.

Are you excited to start First Chapter Friday in your classroom? Download my starter kit for First Chapter Friday:

First chapter Friday high school book list

I’m gearing up for another year and searching for new books for First Chapter Friday as well as general high school chapter books. These were my most borrowed books after reading the first chapter from the 2018-2019 school year. I’ll be back in a year with new books! Here is the 2019-2020 list of good books for First Chapter Friday!

In the meantime, I would love for you to share what chapter books for high schoolers work for you. You can comment below or tag me on Instagram (@elaclassroom). You can also use the hashtag #FirstChapterFriday. You’ll find tons of high school chapter books!

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  • Lauren

    Just wondering what age you teach so I can assess likely suitability of these books before I track down copies 🙂 I am in NZ so our school years donn’t quite align. I teach yr 9 which, I think is your 8th grade (roughly 14yrs old).

    • Lauralee (author)

      Hi! Thanks for coming to my blog. I used these books with ninth grade. I think they would work with eighth and probably tenth. Glass Castle is probably not for middle school. I hope this helps! Lauralee

  • Becky

    I love anything by Margaret Peterson Haddix. She writes about deep, discussion worthy topics (Leaving Fishers – getting into a cult, Among the Hidden- where having more than 2 children is illegal, Running Out of Time- ethics of experimenting on people, etc), usually at an easier reading level.

    • Lauralee (author)

      Hey Becky! I have not heard of that author. I’m looking her up right now. I love reading new books for my library and FCF. Thanks for stopping by, Lauralee

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