Sometimes the greatest novels that are released have the worst reception at first. The following stories were published and were not popular upon release and are now popular or even classics.


The Catcher in the Rye

JD Salinger

This classic novel is well-known around the world today and is taught in many high schools around the country today; however, when the book was published in 1951, it was not well-received. This controversial book’s plot revolves around the life of Holden Caulfield who experiences alienation and even questions his own life’s purpose. Originally written for adults, this book is now assigned to teenage readers in schools because of its themes of going through a crisis alone and feeling distrustful of others.


The Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck

Now considered to be one of America’s greatest pieces of literature, at the time of publication, this 1939 novel was not well received by all readers. Steinbeck managed to strike a nerve with his peers because he focused on the struggles of the lower class citizens. The controversy that surrounded the book was fierce and the book was burned throughout the country.


Brave New World

Aldous Huxley

When this book was published in 1931, its dystopian futuristic themes were not well-received by most readers. In this novel, Huxley described what it would be like to live in a world where there is no censorship, but society is flooded with irrelevant information in an attempt to distract the characters from what is actually happening within society. The plotline for this book was extremely controversial and the novel continues to be one of the top 10 most requested books to be banned in the United States.


Lord of the Flies

William Golding

The Lord of the Flies was released in 1954 and chronicles the events that happen after a handful of children are deserted on an island following a plane crash. The young boys attempt to build a civilization that is similar to the one in England where they came from, but it quickly turns violent and even sadistic. The book was rejected 20 times by publishers, and it was not received well upon publication. The story showed the dark side to human nature and is listed at number 68 out of 100 on the list of the most challenged books between 1990 and 1999.