Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Children, Violence, Society, Leadership
A bunch of English schoolboys wind up marooned on an island and have to learn to fend for themselves, which starts by meaning a signal fire and ends in slaughter. They manage to maintain order for a short time before turning violent and feral. Much like the boys on the island, your two reviewers disagree on this book: one didn’t really care for any of the characters and thought their behavior was frustrating and overly gruesome. The other found it to be exactly the sort of thing she imagines would happen in this small world scenario — the troublemakers gang up on the reasonable thinkers and the whole thing goes to hell in a handbasket, which sounds an awful lot like history. This classroom staple tends to be a divisive one, but in the end Golding does an incredible job of crafting an island, building distinct characters, creating a parable, and then rubbing those characters together until he made fire.