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Suggested Summer Reading 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)