High School Summer Reading
- One Book; One District (Grades 9-12)
- Required Summer Reading for English Courses
- Summer Reading Recommendations from the High School Librarians
One Book; One District (Grades 9-12)
The last two years of COVID had created planning challenges for longer-term initiatives such as One Book; One District. As of April 11, 2022, no title has been formally selected for a one book experience for the 2022-2023 academic year. Please check back on the website for additional information if/as if becomes available.
Required Summer Reading for English Courses
Some choice texts contain controversial, provocative, sexual, or violent elements. You may or may not be willing to expose yourself to these materials, and your parents/guardians need to be part of your book decision when choice is involved. For this reason, parental/guardian approval is required before you start reading any choice titles.
College Prep and Honors choose 1 from the list:
- A Pho Love Story by Loan Le
- The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
- All Stars Denied by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
- Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
The goal of summer reading is to address American values in a variety of texts. But if you have a better idea (a book that better speaks to you), reach out to your school’s respective department chair or a 10th grade English teacher. College Preparatory choose one from Column A. Honors choose two books from the list; at least one must be from Column B
|Column A||Column B|
Reading & Writing Non Fiction
- The Color of Water by James McBride (Honors and College Preparatory)
- An Autobiography of Choice (Honors)
Sport in Literature and Non-Fiction: Honors and College Prep
- The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant
Modern and Contemporary Literature
- The Bean Trees by Barabara Kingsolver (Honors and College Preparatory)
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time by Mark Haddon OR Fledgling by Octavia Butler (Honors)
Voices in African American Literature
- Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi
Film and Literature
- Student-selected film AND book on which the film was based
Heroes and Monsters
- Grendel by John Gardner
- Caste by Isabel Wilkerson AND Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson AND a student-selected nonfiction book related to education or politics.
- The Dead by James Joyce AND Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, AND Atonement by Ian McEwan
IB Literature Part 1
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
IB Literature Part 2
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare AND The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
IB English B HL 1 and 2
- The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Summer Reading Recommendations from the High School Librarians
Abike-Iyimide, Faridah. Ace of Spades.
Gr 9 Up –When the secrets of two prep school seniors are exposed to the school community via anonymous text messages, they must work together to figure out who is targeting them and why, before things turn deadly. This debut thriller addresses systemic racism, structural white supremacy, microaggressions, class distinctions, and LGBTQIA+ identities.
Bhuiyan, Tashie. Counting Down with You.
Gr 8 Up –Karina, a Bangladeshi American academic superstar, and Ace, a rich white bad boy, engage in a fake relationship that turns out to be very real in this opposites-attract rom-com. The tender love story features candid discussions of mental health, parental expectations, and double standards.
Boulley, Angeline. Firekeeper’s Daughter.
Gr 9 Up –When Daunis Fontaine finds herself at the center of a far-flung criminal investigation, she has to confront her own family’s past and embrace being a strong Anishinaabe kwe (Ojibwe woman) to discover the truth. Daunis is an Indigenous Nancy Drew in this perfectly plotted mystery with a focus on life in Sault Ste. Marie, MI, and on the Ojibwe reservation.
Clayton, Dhonielle & others. Blackout.
Gr 9 Up –Powerhouse authors Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon intertwine tales of romance over the course of a New York City blackout. Love is represented in many forms—sizzling and sweet—and these resonant entries featuring different Black characters will have readers longing for summer nights and first love.
Colbert, Brandy. Black Birds in the Sky.
Gr 7 Up -Did you know that June 1, 2021, marked the 100-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre? If you’ve never heard the story of the Greenwood District, now is the time! Greenwood, a.k.a. “America’s Black Wall Street,” was a thriving community until three violent days in 1921 led to its total destruction and the deaths of dozens of its residents. Author Brandy Colbert sets the stage with the ways Black Oklahomans found to “not only survive but also thrive” as Reconstruction led into the era of Jim Crow laws, the KKK, and lynchings. She interweaves these chapters with a day-by-day account of May 30 to June 1, 1921, so as you read you will understand what planted the seeds for the Greenwood massacre. The alleged assault of a white woman by a young Black man on May 30 was the tipping point but escalating racial violence and jealousy of Greenwood’s economic success were all factors, too. One hundred years is long enough … learn about Tulsa and the events of 1921 today!
Forna, Namina. The Gilded Ones.
Gr 7 Up –Deka bleeds not red but gold, the color of impurity, during her village’s Ritual of Purity. Because of this anomaly, she is offered an opportunity to join an army of alaki, near-immortals with rare gifts, fighting for the emperor. This debut YA fantasy presents issues of social justice and is full of action and surprises.
Garber, Staphanie. Once Upon a Broken Heart.
Gr 9 Up -How far will Evangeline Fox go to secure a happily ever after life for herself? When the love of her life decides to marry her stepsister, she makes a deal with Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, in order to stop the wedding. However, making a deal with one of the Fates is never what it seems to be. If you’re interested in a magical, modern, fast-paced fairytale with curses, spell books, intrigue, and romance, you will definitely want to read this enchanting story.
Gray, Ayana. Beasts of Prey.
Gr 9 Up –Two Black teens must work together as they enter the magical Greater Jungle in search of the Shetani, a vicious monster that has terrorized their village for nearly a century. This debut YA fantasy has memorable characters, an expansive world, and tons of adventure.
He, Joan. The Ones We’re Meant to Find.
Gr 9 Up –In a future world ravaged by climate change, sisters Cee and Kasey will do anything to get back to each other in the wake of Cee’s disappearance. Sisterly love is leveraged against the greater good in this gripping and eerily plausible sci-fi thriller.
Jackson, Tiffany D. White Smoke.
Gr 8 Up –Marigold’s blended family has just relocated from sunny California to the run-down midwestern town of Cedarville. Their historic house, still under renovation, is part of her mother’s Grow Where You’re Planted residency. As the artist-in-residence, the family will live in the home for free, which is important after Mari’s recent – and expensive – stay at Strawberry Pines Rehabilitation Center. It’s clear from page one that Mari is facing some pretty serious mental health challenges: setting medication reminders on her phone, repeating calming mantras, and obsessing about bedbugs. Meanwhile, Mari witnesses unexplained disturbances in the house, including strange noises, smells, and disappearing objects. Something is definitely wrong in her desolate neighborhood, but what is real and what is all in her head? Look out for the plot twist!
Jean, Emiko. Tokyo Ever After.
Gr 8 Up –When Izumi finds out that her father is the Crown Prince of Japan, she is thrust into the world of the Imperial Court, a family that is not the most inviting, and a royal guard that may steal her heart. Part Princess Diaries, part Crazy Rich Asians, Izumi’s story is decadent coming-of-age romantic fiction.
Lee, Victoria. A Lesson in Vengeance.
Gr 9 Up –Upon returning to her exclusive boarding school, Felicity has to confront her own dark past and the Dalloway School’s infamous history with witchcraft. When her offer to help the mysterious and charismatic Ellis Haley research her novel turns deadly, Felicity will have to decide if she should reject or embrace her own darkness. An atmospheric blend of suspense and gothic horror centering queer characters makes this novel a notable addition to the dark academia canon.
Levithan, David & Jennifer Niven. Take Me with You When You Go.
Gr 8 Up –Ezra wakes one morning to find that his sister, Bea, is gone. No longer able to handle the abuse of their stepfather and the neglect of their mother, Bea leaves home to find their father. Meanwhile, Ezra remains in their abusive household and tries to survive with the support of his boyfriend and his sister’s ex-boyfriend. Told through emails between the two, this tale of siblings dealing with abuse and an unsure future will not disappoint fans of realistic fiction.
Lim, Elizabeth. Six Crimson Cranes.
Gr 7 Up -Princess Shiori, the emperor’s only daughter, would rather jump in a lake than meet her betrothed from a snowy, distant realm. Literally. When Shiori discovers that her mysterious stepmother is hiding forbidden magical powers, as Shiori is herself, she sets in motion a series of events taking her and her six brothers through curses, quests, mistaken identities, outrageous escapes, and heartache. Along the way, Shiori – in disguise – must rely on her wits, a paper bird, a dragon, and the last young man she thought she’d ever start to fall for.
Lo, Malinda. Last Night at the Telegraph Club.
Gr 9 Up –As Lily, a Chinese American teen living in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 1950s, starts to think more seriously about her professional future, a friendship with white classmate Kathleen grows into romance. This novel about first love, sexuality, intersectionality, and self-actualization is meticulously researched and deeply felt.
McBride, Amber. Me (Moth).
Gr 8 Up –Moth, sole survivor of a car accident that killed her family, and Sani, a Navajo boy with an abusive stepfather, take a road trip to the Navajo reservation where Sani’s dad lives. As they drive, Sani tells Moth the origin story of the Navajo, and Moth opens up about her grandfather, who taught her hoodoo. This emotional, educational debut novel in verse builds to a beautiful ending.
McLemore, Anna-Marie. The Mirror Season.
Gr 8 Up –Ciela, a pansexual Mexican American girl, and Lock, a white boy who is new to the community, were raped at the same party. Ciela pursues a friendship with Lock to help them work through their trauma. This lyrical book, full of magical realism and layered characters, is an honest and frank look at consent, power, and the aftermath of assault.
Mafi, Tahereh. An Emotion of Great Delight.
Gr 9 Up –In Persian, Shadi means “full of joy,” but Shadi’s life is filled with personal sorrows because of her father’s failing health, her brother’s recent death, and the ongoing harassment the Muslim community is facing in 2003. Trapped in a morass of grief and isolation, Shadi will have to reclaim her right to happiness and peace if she wants to move forward and pursue a tentative romance. Mafi’s lyrical prose fills this spare story with pathos and optimism.
Mangle, Bethany. Prepped.
Gr 9 Up –All Becca wants to do is find a way out of her survivalist community and live a typical life postgraduation. When her father is in a tragic accident and her community becomes even more extreme, it will take everything Becca has to save herself and her little sister. A compelling glimpse into a fringe lifestyle that will have readers anxiously veering between dread and hope.
Méndez, Yamile Saied. Furia.
Gr 9 Up -On the soccer field, Camila is La Furia, an unstoppable force with a bright future sure to take her away from her small Argentinian city to college in the United States and, maybe one day, a career with the pros. Away from the field, she hides her skill and activity to maintain the precarious harmony of family life with her overbearing father and overly accommodating mother. Meanwhile, her brother is a rising star who seems to encounter no obstacles. When Diego, her childhood sweetheart turned world-famous footballer, comes home, Camila must decide where her priorities lie. Will she choose her love and passion for her home, for Diego, or for her own dreams?
O’Donoghue, Caroline. All Our Hidden Gifts.
Gr 9 Up –Maeve hopes that her uncanny knack for interpreting an old deck of tarot cards will be her ticket to popularity at school. Then her former best friend Lily draws a mysterious card before she goes missing. Maeve must delve into the origins of the cards and her own culpability in the disappearance and, with help from Lily’s genderqueer sibling and new friends, try to get Lily back. Original fantasy elements brilliantly combine with mysticism and folklore for an inventive series starter.
Reck, Jared. Donuts and Other Proclamations of Love.
Gr 9 Up -Oscar can’t wait for his senior year to be over so he can start working full-time with his grandfather on their food truck. With the exception of public speaking and Foods classes, he hates school. When super student Mary Louise, aka Lou, wants him to help her make baked goods out of thousands of student-rejected apples from the cafeteria, he’s not happy. He likes his simple life playing Mario Kart with his Swedish grandfather, Farfar, and helping him run their food truck on the weekends. When Farfar asks Lou to help them out one Saturday, Oscar’s irritation with her ratchets up. When their project to reduce food waste ends up getting the attention of the school board and the community, Oscar learns he has more in common with Lou than he thought. This romantic comedy is funny and heartwarming as Oscar and Lou deal with difficult life-changing events together.
Selznick, Brian. Kaleidoscope.
Gr 6 Up –Every spin of the kaleidoscope fragments one story while bringing another into focus with vignette-like explorations of connection and loss. This illustrated collection combines abstract art and short stories as a variety of characters meditate on grief and love.
Sharpe, Tess. The Girls I’ve Been.
Gr 9 Up –Held hostage with her ex-boyfriend and current girlfriend during a bank robbery, Nora must use skills learned from years spent with her con artist mother to plan an escape. The book alternates between the current robbery and past scams her mother orchestrated, with the two suspenseful plotlines building to a thrilling conclusion.
Thomas, Angie. Concrete Rose.
Gr 9 Up -Thomas Garden Heights isn’t the easiest neighborhood to grow up in. A young Maverick Carter is navigating his way through his place in the King Lords, where he is labeled a “lil homie.” He has some big decisions to make after a tragic death and he realizes he has more responsibilities than he realized. Follow Maverick on his new journey through the city he loves and watch as he attempts to evolve into someone he can respect. Will he stay out of trouble with the King Lords, or will he step up to take care of his new responsibilities?
Vasquez Gilliland, Raquel. How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe.
Gr 9 Up –Moon, a Mexican American photographer, has always played second fiddle to her social media influencer twin. But accompanying her sibling on a cross-country bus trip results in a journey of self-discovery. This poignant coming-of-age story deftly weaves first love, religion, emotional abuse, purity culture, and familial jealousy into a rich narrative.
Velasquez, Elisabet. When We Make It.
Gr 8 Up –Sarai, a Puerto Rican teen growing up in Bushwick, Brooklyn, struggles with poverty, her Mami’s mental illness, the gentrification of her neighborhood, and more. Through the poems in this debut novel in verse, Sarai finds her voice as she asks questions and learns to celebrate herself.
Vickers, E. B. Fadeaway.
Gr 7 Up -Everyone has secrets … What were Jake’s? That’s the question at the heart of this addictive puzzle of a story! At the state championship basketball game, all eyes were on Jake, the star player who scored the winning points with his signature fadeaway. But the next morning, no one knows where he is. It’s as if he’s vanished into thin air. Author E.B. Vickers tells this story from the perspectives of Jake’s best friend Kolt, his ex-girlfriend Daphne, and his younger brother Luke, who all have questions about where Jake could be. Was he abducted, is he off somewhere taking a breather from the pressures of his life, or is it something much more complicated? Luke writes poems to try and understand his brother’s disappearance, while Daphne takes the investigation into her own hands. Transcripts of the characters’ statements to the police also deepen the mystery. Rumors, secrets, and little white lies are revealed in the build-up to finding out what really happened to Jake.
Watson, Renée. Love Is a Revolution.
Gr 7 Up –Nala hopes to have her first brush with summer romance and finds a possible partner in civics-minded Tye Brown. To impress him, the Black girl tells a few lies about her own activism. Watson’s novel features a young woman comfortable in her own skin but who still struggles with self-love. The honest prose is laced with humor, poetic language, and heart.
Williams-Garcia, Rita. A Sitting in St. James.
Gr 9 Up –In this stunning portrayal of a white French family who will do anything to maintain their iron grip around the necks of the enslaved Black people on their antebellum Louisiana plantation, Williams-Garcia has crafted an intense saga. Masterly characterization, nuanced machinations, and incisive language are on full display in this novel that also sheds light on current conversations about race and power.
Yoo, Paula. From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry.
Gr 9 Up -If a person beats someone to death with a baseball bat, should they go to prison? In Detroit, in 1982, just a week before he was to be married, Vincent Chin was beaten to death by a man he had argued with in a bar. The man and his stepson were each given a $3,000 fine and probation. Why? Was it a hate crime? It’s a complicated story, one that will keep you turning pages as you learn the details of the time period and the area in which the murder took place. Vincent Chin’s death rallied the Asian American community like never before. Forty years later, it is eye-opening to read about the details of Vincent’s case and to compare them to violence against Asian Americans today. Anyone who is fascinated by criminal justice and true crime TV will devour this all-too-true crime story.
Yoon, David. Super Fake Love Song.
Gr 9 Up -What would you do to impress someone you like who seems way cooler than you? Sunny Dae lets super-cool Cirrus believe he is the leader of a rock band and his lie spins out of control. Sunny starts dressing like a rock star and talks his two best friends into being part of the fake band that actually begins to practice. Suddenly, Sunny starts to feel “cool.” Can he keep the lie going without Cirrus finding out the truth and without hurting his friends? Who does Sunny really want to be? This funny, witty story explores what it takes to be true to yourself.
Yoon, Nicola. Instructions for Dancing.
Gr 7 Up –Evie, a romantic turned skeptic, develops the ability to see the beginning, middle, and end of people’s love stories when she sees them kiss. Meanwhile, she is falling in love with X, her partner in a ballroom dancing competition. This romance that centers on a Black love story is sure to pull on readers’ heartstrings.
Zentner, Jeff. In the Wild Light.
Gr 9 Up -Cash and Delaney have always been best friends. He is looking forward to spending the summer mowing lawns while she works at the local Dairy Queen. Things are usually quiet around their small Appalachian town, but they certainly aren’t easy. Cash lost his mother to her addiction and he currently lives with his Papaw, who has emphysema. When Delaney gets a scholarship to an elite prep school in another state, she somehow secures a full ride for Cash, as well. He now has to make a choice: stick by his best friend, leave his sick Papaw and go to a new school where he will always be out of place, or give up this opportunity and stay where he’s most comfortable.