Summer Reading List 2021


Choose one from the appropriate grade level


Ninth Grade


Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever that Saved Him – Luis Carlos Montalvan and Bret Witter

Until Tuesday is the story of how two wounded warriors, who had given so much and suffered the consequences, found salvation in each other. It is a story about war and peace, injury and recovery, psychological wounds and spiritual restoration. More than that, it is a story about the love between a man and dog, and how, together, they healed each other's souls.


The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd

This is a gorgeous, heart-warming coming-of-age story that lives up to the hype.  It is set in 1964 during the Civil Rights movement. This delightful tale is about one girl's search for her (long dead) mother. At 14 years old Lily Owens does not know much about life. Nor does she know much about her mother, who died in an accident when Lily was just four.  When Lily and her nanny run away, the pair is taken in by three black bee-keeping sisters. Here, in the safe arms of three proud women, Lily learns the truth about her mother and the healing, recuperative power of love. 


A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog - Dean Koontz             

Dean Koontz thought he had everything he needed. A successful novelist with more than twenty #1 New York Times bestsellers to his credit, Koontz had forged a career out of industry and imagination, but he had always wanted a dog--had even written several books in which dogs were featured. Not until Trixie, a retired service dog, was he truly open to the change that such a beautiful creature could bring about in him. Trixie was joyful and direct, and she put her heart into everything--from chasing tennis balls, to playing practical jokes, to protecting those she loved.


Bleachers – John Grisham

This is the story of a past high school star quarterback, Neely Crenshaw, who returns after many      years to the town that he left and never looked back. His former coach, Eddie Rake, is on his deathbed, so the boys from teams past have come to sit and hold vigil in the Messina High bleachers each evening regaling each other with tales of their playing days and tough coach.


Tenth Grade


All Over but the Shoutin' by Rick Bragg

The autobiography of Bragg's upbringing in the poor and rural south of the 1960's is moving, tragic, and uniquely American. His story pays homage to the selfless efforts of his mother to raise her three young sons without the assistance of their heavy-drinking and abusive Korean War vet father. Growing up not realizing the sacrifices she has made for them, Bragg feels indebted to his mother for all she has done without in her life. He pushes himself to become a better son and writer, starting out as a sports reporter for a local daily newspaper in Alabama, working his way up to the New York Times, a prestigious fellowship to Harvard, and a Pulitzer Prize for journalism.


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This story is set in a dystopian society in the year 2044, where people live in the OASIS (a virtual reality game) to escape their boring lives. Wade Watt is one of those people, and he has a mission: to find an Easter egg hidden inside the OASIS by its creator, James Halliday. Wade must find three hidden keys and open three secret gates to win the prize by using his knowledge of the 1980s and Halliday. Wade is racing against many others for the prize, including his friends Hech and Art3mis, and the evil Sixers. What could possibly go wrong?


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years.


The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

The Good Earth is the classic story of Wang Lung, a Chinese peasant farmer, and his wife, O-lan, a former slave. With luck and hard work, the couple’s fortunes improve over the years. However, success brings with it a new set of problems. Wang soon finds himself the target of jealousy, and as good harvests come and go, so does the social order.


Eleventh Grade

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

This book is at once an enthralling adventure, a stirring love story, and a luminous evocation of a vanished America in all its savagery, solitude, and splendor. Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, Inman, a Confederate soldier, decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains and to Ada, the woman that he loved there years before.


The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

This book is at once an enthralling adventure, a stirring love story, and a luminous evocation of a vanished America in all its savagery, solitude, and splendor. Sorely wounded and fatally disillusioned in the fighting at Petersburg, Inman, a Confederate soldier, decides to walk back to his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains and to Ada, the woman that he loved there years before.


A Separate Peace by John Knowles

In John Knowles's A Separate Peace, scholarly Gene and athletic Finny are best friends at a prep school in the 1950s. Their physical resemblance and complementary personalities make them almost like doubles of each other. A tragic fall from a tree leads to shattered dreams for one boy and self-discovery and maturity for the other. John Knowles's A Separate Peace dramatizes the challenge of growing up to be a truly individual adult in a conformist world.


Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks

This memoir chronicles a three week trip around the world that he took with his brother, Micah. The brothers, then 37 and 38 years old, are the only surviving members of their family. Three Weeks with My Brother works through the untimely deaths of their parents and sibling and tells the story of their family.


AP Summer Reading List

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood was written to document the Herbert Clutter murders. Capote does extensive research of these murders and on Clutter himself in order to get his message across. The Clutter family, parents Herb and Bonnie and teens Kenyon and Nancy, are a happy, prosperous, civic-minded, church-going family living on their farm in Holcomb, Kansas. The narrator follows the Clutters through the ordinary event of their last day on earth.


As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Sometimes it is the journey that matters. In Faulkner’s novel As I Lay Dying, a journey is used to support the greater whole of the novel and the argument that Faulkner makes. As I Lay Dying is a southern gothic novel that embodies the dysfunctional family. The family treks forty miles toward the city of Jefferson with their dead mother in a coffin. This was her last wish. Through calamities the family goes to the city and finally buries her decaying corpse.


The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave--"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"--wasn't about dying; it was about living. In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an unforgettable form.


The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald

Set in the 1920’s, The Great Gatsby is the story of an outsider who meets a man named Gatsby. Gatsby is a rich man who covers his insecurities and traumas by throwing extravagant parties. Symbolism runs rampant in this tale as the “green light” that Gatsby stares at longingly represents his unattainable love, Daisy. Fitzgerald uses a stunning precision and beautiful phrasing in order to convey his point.



Twelfth Grade


Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte

Published to widespread success in 1847, Jane Eyre catapulted 31-year-old Charlotte Bronte into the upper echelon of Victorian writers. Though it presumably relates events from the first decade of the 19th century, contemporary Victorians, particularly women, identified with Bronte's critique of Victorian class and gender mores.


Grendel – John Gardner

This book is a retelling of Beowulf from the point of view of one of the most frightening monsters in literature.  From this viewpoint the reader comes to know Grendel as more than monstrous: He is searching for meaning and questioning the heroic values that depend so heavily on his own death. 


Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.



NOTE: There is no summer reading enrichment for dual enrollment classes.

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