Skip to main content

Suggested Summer Reading 2017: Home

The faculty and staff at Weston High School hope you read over the summer. It's an excellent way to broaden your horizons, develop your vocabulary and take a break from screens and phones and all the rest of our daily cares.

If you like to read audiobooks, I suggest you try Axis 360 and Sync Audiobooks. Axis 360 has a large collection of audio (and ebooks) available 24/7. Sync Audiobooks offers 2 free YA audiobooks every week during the summer that you can download and keep. You'll find information on how to use these in the tabs above.

Read one, read ten, it’s up to you. Enjoy and have a great summer.

Alida Hanson, Librarian, Weston High School
May 25, 2017

Suggested Reading: Fiction

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
Fiction
Grades 9-12
“I cannot think of a more timely story--as this account of an arrest gone terribly wrong resonates perfectly with the Black Lives Matter movement. While our sympathies are always with Rashad, the teen brutally beaten when his innocent actions are mistaken for theft and assault; the authors weave in a context that lets the reader think about how these events happen and the complicated impact they have on all members of the community. The story is told in alternating chapters by Rashad and Quinn, a white witness to the arrest, who just happens to know and admire the arresting officer.” (Judy Paradis, GoodReads)

 

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina
Historical Fiction
Grades 9-12
“It starts slow and builds quickly into a compelling page turner. Nora lives in Queens with her mother and brother in the disastrous summer of 1977--Son of Sam, the blackout, graduating from HS with no plan, a little brother with scary problems beyond the abilities of Nora and her mother to acknowledge out loud, much less "handle." Themes of feminism and the fallout from physical abuse made me think about this book long after it was over.” (Alida Hanson, Goodreads)

 

The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
Historical Fiction
Grades 9-12
“A deeply moving story set in Amsterdam in 1943 during WWII. Many intricacies, questions and mysterious twists present themselves to the reader to solve along with the teenaged narrator, Hanneke. Betrayals and decisions made in haste, in fear, in wanting to do what’s noble, all in the face of an occupation and a war. As I read this book, I could not help but feel that Monica Hesse put her entire heart and soul into this story. Beautiful prose!” (Diane, Goodreads)

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Fiction
Grades 9-12
“Starr Carter straddles two worlds, living in all Black Garden Heights and attending a mostly white private school. When she goes to a neighborhood party and leaves with an old friend, they are pulled over by the police and he is shot and killed. She has to figure out what role she'll play in the ensuing legal and media spotlight while dealing with her trauma.

Even though the book deals with serious themes, a complex plot with many likeable characters, good natured humor and family love make it bearable. A wonderful companion to ALL-AMERICAN BOYS. “(Alida Hanson, Goodreads)

 

Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung
Fiction
Grades 9-12
"Lucy wins the first scholarship for Laurinda school, and commutes every day from her working class suburb of Melbourne (Australia). The daughter of a seamstress and a supermarket clerk whose childhoods were transformed by the Vietnam War, she is fascinated by and attracted to the wealth, self confidence and polish of her new peers. She is also repelled by the violence, anger, and bullying underneath this beautiful veneer. Her politics teacher explains that politics is the study of people and power, and that is what Lucy does.  (Mrs. Hanson, Goodreads)

 

The Mortality Doctrine Series: The Eye of Minds; The Rule of Thoughts; The Game of Lives by James Dashner
Science Fiction/Fantasy
Grades 9-12
“Have you ever thought of the internet being a physical world, that you can touch and interact with? The three books that make up The Mortality Doctrine series is based in the Virtnet, the internet and virtual reality combined.  The ending of the book was an insane plot twist that I did not see coming. I really liked the way it was pieced together, enough to keep me thinking about what will happen in the next book. It made me stay up just thinking about it, and all the possibilities. My favorite part honestly had to be the ending, because of the major plot twist that completely made the reader rethink the entire book.

I recommend this to anyone interested in the future of the internet, and enjoys the Maze Runner and Ready Player One.”  (Jory C., Goodreads)

 

The Reckoners Series: Steelheart; Firefight; Calamity by Brandon Sanderson
Science Fiction/Fantasy
Grades 9-12
“The story takes place here on approximately present-day Earth, about ten years after an unexplained burst in the sky (subsequently referred to as 'Calamity') caused the appearance of 'Epics'. Epics are humans that have abilities, amazing superhero-like powers, and tend to use them for personal gain and power. They are so powerful that nobody fights them. Nobody except the 'Reckoners'. Epics are essentially bullies (bullies with incredible destructive power) but each one has a weakness, and thus can be fought by ordinary folks like us.

Sanderson is known for his unique, complex magic systems that he constructs for his novels. So, of course, the system that he has built for superheroes is equally complex and interdependent.“ (Benjamin Thomas, Goodreads)

 

Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King
Fiction
Grades 9-12
“Prime AS King! Our main character is suffering a mental break caused by lifelong trauma--the sneaky kind that you don't think happens to you, you don't admit it and it breaks you. King judiciously works in her trademark magical realism--not enough to take over the whole book and make it hard to understand (like I Crawl Through It) but just the right amount that expands and lifts the story and make it unforgettable and deeply affecting.” (Alida Hanson, Goodreads)

 

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
Fiction
Grades 9-12
“Natasha's about to be deported to Jamaica, and Daniel is on his way to his Yale interview. They fall in love and we meet their families and lots of supporting players in a sophisticated love story that explores fate, chance, poetry and science. Almost all the action takes place in one day, and short chapters show us the lives of the main characters as well as supporting players like drivers of cars who pass them and security guards. By the author of Everything, Everything.”  (Alida Hanson, Goodreads)

 

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Fiction
Grades 11-12
“Swing Time uses dance, friendship, old musicals, family, celebrity and the African diaspora to tell the story of the present, past and future of our narrator, who grew up in South London, best friends with Tracey. They both have one black parent and one white parent and grew up in the projects but their details diverge from there. While our narrator goes on to college, Tracey attends a professional school to be a West End (like Broadway) dancer. Our narrator ends up being the fourth assistant to a Madonna-like pop star who builds a girls' school in an unnamed African country, where the bulk of the novel unfolds.”  (Alida Hanson, Goodreads)

 

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
Historical Fiction
Grades 11-12
“This book, while fiction, is an education about Vietnam and the US. It's set right after the Vietnam war. Our narrator is a biracial man, son of a French priest and a Vietnamese girl. He is intelligent, well educated, and a spy for the communists working for a South Vietnamese general. It reminded me of Graham Greene in its satirical treatment of serious questions of good and evil. The author directly mentions Greene in the text. This is no homage: it's told from the Vietnamese viewpoint.  It's heavy and beautiful. And funny.” (Alida Hanson, Goodreads)

 
 
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Ages 5-105
Fiction
(Movie coming out this summer)
“Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives because we all overcometh the world.” -Auggie Pullman

“August Pullman or “Auggie” was born with facial abnormality. He endures name calling, people’s constant fear, rejection and alienation and trouble in hearing, eating and even talking and the dozens of surgeries. The plot of the story revolves around Auggie’s first year in public school: fifth grade. Sounds simple? For a boy like Auggie, nothing in life will ever be simple.  This story is one that will completely captivate your heart and challenge your perceptions. By far, one of the most meaningful stories I have read my entire life.”  (A.J. the Ravenous Reader, Goodreads)

 

 

 
 

Suggested Reading: Nonfiction

The Art of the Deal by Donald Trump
Autobiography/Memoir
Grades 9-12
“Trump provides insight into his deals, from what he considers a good one to the intricate steps of the dance that is making a complex deal. Moreover, Trump provides insight into his own thoughts and attitudes, his feelings on the world he lives in, and his place in it. It's easy to see Trump as a greedy rich man, but I think this book shows him as more human and less of a caricature. At heart, Trump is a good guy, and a smart one. The reasons for his success are clear in his book- between his persistence, his instincts, and his prowess in the real estate world, Trump is positioned well to succeed on a large scale.” (Emily, Goodreads)

 

Ashley’s War by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon 
Nonfiction
Grades 9-12
“This is one of those "if you don't read anything else this year, read this" books. Lemmon does a superb job of writing about the first women in the Cultural Support Team (CSTs) who qualified for and then carried out the goal of getting critical intel with Rangers on their missions in Afghanistan. Because they were able to speak with women and children when male soldiers could not, they contributed to the success of the missions and saved lives. Anyone who has ever trained for a goal after being told she/he couldn't do it will understand the intelligence, intensity, and sheer physical strength of these first CST women along with their early frustrations.” (L.A. Starks, Goodreads)

 

Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario
Nonfiction
Grades 9-12
Also available in a young reader’s version
“Everyone in the US should read this book in order to understand the dangerous journey that Central American immigrants make in order to work in the US. This is not a book that tries to persuade you to feel one way or another about immigration. It is simply about one boy´s journey through Mexico on top of trains and the perils that surround him. He has many flaws, but a deep desire to reunite with his mother (who immigrated to the US when he was 6) and to send money back home to his family in Honduras. This book reminds us that as much as we speak about immigration in terms of economic costs/benefits, it is ultimately a human issue. “(Amber, Goodreads)

 

Furry Logic by Main Durrani and Liz Kalaugher 
Nonfiction
Grades 9-12
“A book like no other. It is a science book and a book about animals but the way the authors put it together makes it different. They are very humorous in their approach. The authors also make the physics that animals use in everyday understandable for the everyday Joes and Janes out here. We to know just enough to understand, but we don't want to be talked down to either, a tough line to walk for an author. These authors do it well. If you just want hard science, this is not for you. If you just want an animal book, this is not for you. If you want a book the guides the two to a perfect blend then stirs in a mix of humor and love then this is certainly for you.” (Monzalee Whittman, Goodreads)

 

Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach
Nonfiction
Grades 9-12
“Having served in the Marines (the entire time in an infantry battalion no less), reading about military gear and health research had me chuckling, having spent many nights in the rain, or the snow, or a desert, or a jungle, dealing with crap gear, tasteless food, and health risks. Although much of the book is lighthearted, such as when talking about pooping in the field, the subjects are really life and death serious, which is probably why military members joke about these sorts of topics. How else can anyone deal with it other than laughing about it?

I do not think non-military can ever fully appreciate the risks involved in merely serving in the military, let alone combat. Hollywood does no justice either with blockbuster movies never showing the military combat soldier having to deal with less-than-perfect gear, unsanitary conditions for days, or pushing through illness or injury to accomplish a mission. It is good to read something that brings to light the people behind the military soldier working hard to make the soldier’s job a bit more bearable.” (Brett Shavers, Goodreads)

 

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Nonfiction
Grades 9-12
“The book is a perfect introduction to Norse mythology. It was an extremely interesting read, especially seeing that so many writers have drawn their inspiration from Norse mythology, especially in the fantasy genre. Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones? You name it. They all have obvious connections to Norse mythology. Even Lewis Carroll the writer of Alice in Wonderland, seems to have taken out little elements, like the three sisters (past, present, future or Skuld, Verdandi and Urd).”  (Madamereadsalot, Goodreads)

 

Snowden by Ted Rall
Graphic Novel
Grades 9-12
“A quick and interesting graphic novel about the life, motivation and strategies of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Discusses both sides of the issue and firmly supports Snowden. A strong critique of the way our government works against its citizens.” (Alida Hanson, Goodreads)

 

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a True Story by Josh Sundquist
Autobiography/Memoir
Grades 9-12
“I laughed out loud a few times reading this memoir by a 25 year old guy trying to figure out why he never had a girlfriend. He uses the following method to investigate: he writes one chapter about the girl he had a crush on, their "relationship" and how it ended. Next, he poses a brief hypothesis extended with a chart about how the actions could be interpreted. Last, he writes a chapter about the present-day meeting he has with the girl to discuss the past and find out what her true feelings were. Even the girls from middle school! Absurd, entertaining, and good natured.” (Alida Hanson, Goodreads)

 

Weaponized Lies: How to think critically in the post-truth era by Daniel J. Levitin
Nonfiction
Grades 10-12
“I want to buy a copy for everybody. EVERYBODY. I can't, of course, but I can urge you to go out and get your own copy or try to get it from the library. This is the crucial guide to navigating the "information age", which has rapidly become the "counterinformation age". It's a crash course in basic statistics and critical thinking, and hopefully can help us all ask better questions and demand better answers.” (Katherine, Goodreads)

Librarian

Alida Hanson's picture
Alida Hanson
Contact:
Weston High School
444 Wellesley St.
Weston, MA 02394
781-786-5860