35 of Your Favorite Books about Over-Achievers

This giveaway is sponsored by Gloria Chao’s American Panda, out from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth—that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.


Over-achievers make for compelling reading, whether you love to hate them (“Sheesh, do you have to prove you’re better than everybody?”) or you sympathize with them (“That’s a whole lot of external pressure crushing you, there.”). We asked for your favorite book about an over-achiever, and here are some of your picks:

The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys) by Amy Spalding

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Good Girls by Laura Ruby

Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Wait for Me by An Na

My Soon-to-be-Sex Life by Judith Tewes

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Winger by Andrew Smith

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Yolonda’s Genius by Carol Fenner

The Unseen World by Liz Moore

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

The Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Populazzi by Elise Allen

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

Something in Between by Melissa De La Cruz

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Hermione Granger series by J. K. Rowling

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Election by Tom Perrotta

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Prep by Curtis Sittenfield

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

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