Students will choose ONE book from the following options.
To help you make your selection, books have been organized into contemporary, non-fiction and classic title columns.
The Scar Boys by Len VlahosPlaying in a punk rock band brings peace to a bullied teen in Len Vlahos's debut novel. A severely burned teenager. A guitar. Punk rock. The chords of a rock 'n' roll road trip in a coming-of-age novel that is a must-read story about finding your place in the world...even if you carry scars inside and out. In attempting to describe himself in his college application essay--help us to become acquainted with you beyond your courses, grades, and test scores--Harbinger (Harry) Jones goes way beyond the 250-word limit and gives a full account of his life. The first defining moment: the day the neighborhood goons tied him to a tree during a lightning storm when he was 8 years old, and the tree was struck and caught fire. Harry was badly burned and has had to live with the physical and emotional scars, reactions from strangers, bullying, and loneliness that instantly became his everyday reality. The second defining moment: the day in 8th grade when the handsome, charismatic Johnny rescued him from the bullies and then made the startling suggestion that they start a band together. Harry discovered that playing music transported him out of his nightmare of a world, and he finally had something that compelled people to look beyond his physical appearance. Harry's description of his life in his essay is both humorous and heart-wrenching. He had a steeper road to climb than the average kid, but he ends up learning something about personal power, friendship, first love, and how to fit in the world. While he's looking back at the moments that have shaped his life, most of this story takes place while Harry is in high school and the summer after he graduates.
City of the Beasts by Isabel AllendeFifteen-year-old Alexander Cold is about to join his fearless grandmother on the trip of a lifetime. An International Geographic expedition is headed to the dangerous, remote wilds of South America, on a mission to document the legendary Yeti of the Amazon known as the Beast. But there are many secrets hidden in the unexplored wilderness, as Alex and his new friend Nadia soon discover. Drawing on the strength of their spirit guides, both young people are led on a thrilling and unforgettable journey to the ultimate discovery. . . .
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart"A rich, stunning summer mystery with a sharp twist that will leave you dying to talk about the book with a pal or ten."--Parade.com "An ambitious novel with an engaging voice, a clever plot and some terrific writing."--New York Times Book Review "No one should be talking about the shocking twist ending. What we can talk about is...[Lockhart's] razor-sharp portrayal of a family for whom keeping up appearances is paramount and, ultimately, tragic."--The Chicago Tribune
H20 by Virginia Bergin.27 is a number Ruby hates.
It's a number that marks the percentage of the population that has survived. It's a number that means she's one of the "lucky" few still standing. And it's a number that says her father is probably dead.
Against all odds, Ruby has survived the catastrophic onset of the killer rain. Two weeks after the radio started broadcasting the warning, "It's in the rain. It's fatal and there's no cure," the drinkable water is running out. Ruby's left with two options: persevere on her own, or embark on a treacherous journey across the country to find her father-if he's even still alive.
All the Right Stuff by Walter Dean MyersFor Paul DuPree, life is about to get real. Paul is just coasting after his dad is shot and killed. Elijah won't stop talking about philosophy and how it affects Paul's life. Keisha has crazy basketball skills . . . and a baby daughter at home. Sly may be sleazy, may be wise. He's the Harlem dude who sees the "social contract" as a tool to keep the poor down. This summer is about more than getting by. It's about taking charge of your life.
Swagger by Carl DeukerLevi was simple, like a child. It was the best thing about him, and it was the worst, too.nbsp; When high school senior Jonas moves to Seattle, he is glad to meet Levi, a nice, soft-spoken guy and fellow basketball player. Suspense builds like a slow drumbeat as readers start to smell a rat in Ryan Hartwell, a charismatic basketball coach and sexual predator. When Levi reluctantly tells Jonas that Hartwell abused him, Jonas has to decide whether he should risk his future career to report the coach. Pitch-perfect basketball plays, well-developed characters, and fine storytelling make this psychological sports novel a slam dunk.
Parrot in the Oven by Victor MartinezDad believed people were like money. You could be a thousand-dollar person or a hundred-dollar person -- even a ten-, five-, or one-dollar person. Below that, everybody was just nickels and dimes. To my dad, we were pennies.
Fourteen-year-old Manny Hernandez wants to be more than just a penny. He wants to be a vato firme, the kind of guy people respect. But that′s not easy when your father is abusive, your brother can′t hold a job, and your mother scrubs the house as if she can wash her troubles away.
In Manny′s neighborhood, the way to get respect is to be in a gang. But Manny′s not sure that joining a gang is the solution. Because, after all, it′s his life -- and he wants to be the one to decide what happens to it.
Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World by Matthew GoodmanOn November 14, 1889, Nellie Bly, the crusading young female reporter for Joseph Pulitzer's World newspaper, left New York City by steamship on a quest to break the record for the fastest trip around the world. Also departing from New York that day--and heading in the opposite direction by train--was a young journalist from The Cosmopolitan magazine, Elizabeth Bisland. Each woman was determined to outdo Jules Verne's fictional hero Phileas Fogg and circle the globe in less than eighty days. The dramatic race that ensued would span twenty-eight thousand miles, captivate the nation, and change both competitors' lives forever. nbsp; The two women were a study in contrasts. Nellie Bly was a scrappy, hard-driving, ambitious reporter from Pennsylvania coal country who sought out the most sensational news stories, often going undercover to expose social injustice. Genteel and elegant, Elizabeth Bisland had been born into an aristocratic Southern family, preferred novels and poetry to newspapers, and was widely referred to as the most beautiful woman in metropolitan journalism. Both women, though, were talented writers who had carved out successful careers in the hypercompetitive, male-dominated world of big-city newspapers. Eighty Days brings these trailblazing women to life as they race against time and each other, unaided and alone, ever aware that the slightest delay could mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred LansingThe astonishing saga of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton's survival for over a year on the ice-bound Antarctic seas, as Time magazine put it, "defined heroism." Alfred Lansing's scrupulously researched and brilliantly narrated book -- with over 200,000 copies sold -- has long been acknowledged as the definitive account of the Endurance's fateful trip. To write their authoritative story, Lansing consulted with ten of the surviving members and gained access to diaries and personal accounts by eight others. The resulting book has all the immediacy of a first-hand account, expanded with maps and illustrations especially for this edition.
Kisses from Katie by Katie J. DavisThe New York Times bestselling account of a courageous eighteen-year-old from Nashville who gave up every comfort and convenience to become the adoptive mother to thirteen girls in Uganda. What would cause an eighteen-year-old senior class president and homecoming queen from Nashville, Tennessee, to disobey and disappoint her parents by forgoing college, break her little brother's heart, lose all but a handful of her friends (because they think she has gone off the deep end), and break up with the love of her life, all so she could move to Uganda, where she knew only one person and didn't even speak the language? A passion to follow Jesus. Katie Davis left over Christmas break of her senior year for a short mission trip to Uganda and her life was turned completely inside out. She found herself so moved by the people of Uganda and the needs she saw that she knew her calling was to return and care for them. Katie, a charismatic and articulate young woman, is in the process of adopting thirteen children in Uganda and has established a ministry, Amazima, that feeds and sends hundreds more to school while teaching them the Word of Jesus Christ. Kisses from Katie invites readers on a journey of radical love down the red dirt roads of Uganda. You'll laugh and cry with Katie as she follows Jesus into the impossible and finds joy and beauty beneath the dust. Katie and her children delight in saying yes to the people God places in front of them and challenge readers to do the same, changing the world one person at a time.
Dead Wake by Erik LarsonFrom the #1 New York Times bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds"--the fastest liner then in service--and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger's U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small--hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more--all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history. It is a story that many of us think we know but don't, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.
Sudden Sea by R. A. ScottiIn the tradition of "The Perfect Storm, Sudden Sea" harkens back to a natural disaster that struck terror in the hearts of many. In this narrative, readers experience The Great Hurricane of 1938, the most financially destructive storm on record.
How Not to Be Wrong by Jordan EllenbergThe Freakonomics of math--a math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands
The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn't confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do--the whole world is shot through with it.
Poe-Land by J. W. OckerEdgar Allan Poe was an oddity: his life, literature, and legacy are all, well, odd. In Poe-Land, J. W. Ocker explores the physical aspects of Poe's legacy across the East Coast and beyond, touring Poe's homes, examining artifacts from his life--locks of his hair, pieces of his coffin, original manuscripts, his boyhood bed--and visiting the many memorials dedicated to him. Along the way, Ocker meets people from a range of backgrounds and professions--actors, museum managers, collectors, historians--who have dedicated some part of their lives to Poe and his legacy. Poe-Land is a unique travelogue of the afterlife of the poet who invented detective fiction, advanced the emerging genre of science fiction, and elevated the horror genre with a mastery over the macabre that is arguably still unrivaled today.
The Outsiders by S. E. HintonA heroic story of friendship and belonging No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he's got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers, Darry and Sodapop. And he knows that he can count on his friends;true friends who would do anything for him, like Johnny and Two-Bit. And when it comes to a vicious gang of rich kids who enjoy beating up on "greasers" like him and his friends;he knows that he can count on them for trouble. But one night someone takes things too far, and Ponyboy's world is turned upside down... Written over forty-five years ago, The Outsiders is a dramatic and enduring work of fiction. S. E. Hinton's classic story of a boy who finds himself on the outskirts of regular society remains as powerful today as it was the day it was first published. "The Outsiders transformed young-adult fiction from a genre mostly about prom queens, football players and high school crushes to one that portrayed a darker, truer world." The New York Times
After the Funeral by Agatha ChristieWhen Cora Lansquenet is savagely murdered with a hatchet, the extraordinary remark she made the previous day at her brother Richard's funeral suddenly takes on a chilling significance.At the reading of Richard's will, Cora was clearly heard to say,"It's been hushed up very nicely, hasn't it....But he was murdered, wasn't he?" In desperation, the family solicitor turns to Hercule Poirot to unravel the mystery....
Watership Down by Richard AdamsA phenomenal worldwide bestseller for more than forty years, Richard Adams's Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time. Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage, and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan SwiftTravels into Several Remote Nations of the World. In Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships, better known simply as Gulliver's Travels (1726, amended 1735), is a novel by Anglo-Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift, that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the "travellers' tales" literary subgenre. It is Swift's best known full-length work, and a classic of English literature.
The Pearl by John SteinbeckA story of classic simplicity, based on a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man's nature, the darkest depths of evil, and the luminous possibilities of love.
Northanger Abbey by Jane AustenIn this spirited comedy of manners, Catherine Morland falls in love with a young clergyman while vacationing in Bath, and his father, thinking her wealthy, invites her to be a guest at Northanger Abbey, the family's country estate. But things take a turn for the worse when it's discovered that she is not wealthy.
A Midsummer Night's Dream by William ShakespeareA Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy play by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596. It portrays the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors (mechanical), who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set. The play is one of Shakespeare's most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.