As part of Prep’s sesquicentennial celebration, we’ll be polling Prep alumni throughout the school year to compile your favorites in various areas of school life. Read on for the results of our Favorite Novels poll, plus the question for our next poll!

Question 2 results

This time around, we asked you to think back to the novels you read for class at Prep and pick your favorite. We received votes for more than 50 different novels—not counting a handful of votes that went to two epic poems, a play, a collection of short stories, and even a Jesuit, setting off a round of hand-wringing among Prep’s English department—but a clear consensus favorite emerged.

Garnering votes from alumni spanning the classes of 1968 to 2018, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger took top honors. Overall, votes came from as far back as the Class of 1955 (a vote for A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens) and reached all the way to current students, who went with Catch 22 by Joseph Heller and The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King. 

One 2003 alum supplemented his vote for John Dos Passos’ 1919 with a confession (shared with permission!):

This gets an asterisk because I was supposed to read it during the summer before senior year but I didn’t finish it. And much to the irritation of our teacher, Marie Curry, I don’t think anyone in my AP US History class did, either. But I did finally read it (all of it) after I graduated and I genuinely enjoyed it, even if it was tinged with some regret about not finishing my summer reading the year before.

Your top ten, in order:

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
  • (tie) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, The Green Mile by Stephen King, The Natural by Bernard Malamud

Question 3 poll

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