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9-12 English Summer Reading

The Clarence High School English Department recommended reading list has been created to present relevant and high-interest literature to foster reading for pleasure in young adults. Here you’ll find a list of titles in a variety of genres to appeal to a wide audience at all levels. Some of these titles kept us up far past our bedtimes when we were teenagers ourselves, and others have become favorites more recently. Some titles for our older students may contain mature content, and we recommend using reviews to make informed decisions when selecting books.

It is our goal to provide parents and students with ample resources that can be used to sustain development of skills and a life-long love for reading. While students will not be assessed when we return to school, their reading will benefit them in countless ways. We all look forward to hearing about our students’ reading journeys and hope that each of them will find something perfect among the titles listed here.

Some Books We Love:

Ms. Adams -                 
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by VE Schwab
The Dictionary of Lost Words, by Pip Williams
The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett

Mr. Aquilina -
The Syringa Tree, by Pamela Gien
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, 
by Anne Lamott
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,
 by Michael Chabon
Mrs. Bieler -
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur
Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling

Mrs. Boyle - 
Circe, by Madeline Miller
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, by Holly Jackson
A Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds
Scythe, by Neal Shusterman

Mr. Chambers -
What Made Maddy Run, by Kate Fagan
Open, by Andre Agassi
The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach

Mr. Everett - 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Mr. Johnston (CHS Library/High School Librarian) -
Dry, by Neal Shusterman
Dear Martin, by Nic Stone
The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

Mr. Jowett -
Bird Dream: Adventures at the Extremes of Human Flight, by Matt Higgins
The History of Science Fiction: A Graphic Novel Adventure by Xavier Dollo
We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer

Ms. LaVigne -
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie
Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green

Mrs. Leiser - 
We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart
Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell
Hot Zone, by Richard Preston

Ms. Mroz -
Looking for Alaska, by John Green
V for Vendetta, by Alan Moore
Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance 

Ms. Rohe -
The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
The Green Mile, by Stephen King
Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice

Mr. Runfola -
1984, by George Orwell
The Mosquito Coast, by Paul Thoreaux
How to Win Friends & Influence People, 
by Dale Carnegie

Ms. Rzepka - 
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Blackout by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon

Mrs. Sorrels -                
Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier        
The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
The Firm, by John Grisham    

1984, by George Orwell - Written more than 70 years ago, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever. This book is a timeless classic.

And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie - The world's best-selling mystery begins with eight guests lured to an isolated island mansion off the coast of England. The housekeeper and butler welcome them, but their hosts are suspiciously absent. The mystery grows as, one by one, people begin dying.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chambon Forced to live together in a small New York apartment, two cousins Samuel Clay and Joseph Kavalier bond over their shared interest in comic books and cartoon art. Together, they create 'The Escapist', a Nazi fighting Superhero who journeys across the world to fight for the oppressed. Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott - Best selling novelist Anne Lamott shares what she knows about the process of writing through funny, relatable stories and memories.  One might think that a book about writing could be a snore, but Lamott doesn’t disappoint.  Many of my students through the years have praised Lamott’s quick wit. They will attest that Bird by Bird is a real page-turner.

Bird Dream: Adventures at the Extremes of Human Flight, by Matt Higgins - (He’s a friend of mine. Great book, cheap plug.)

Blackout, by Dhonielle Clayton, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, Ashley Woodfolk, and Nicola Yoon - This novel intertwines six different stories of Black couples navigating a power outage in New York City. Through new relationships, bitter exes, and everything in between, this novel will be hard to put down!

The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison - This book was the starting point in my obsession with Toni Morrison. The Bluest Eye is a beautiful work of fiction that speaks to issues of race, gender, and conformity.

Circe, by Madeline Miller In the house of Helios a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power to transform rivals into monsters. But there is danger in that, for Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians.

Daring Greatly, by Brené Brown - This nonfiction book discusses the importance of advocating for mental health. Brown validates the difficulties that come with standing up for oneself, and articulates how to effectively communicate with others. A great read if you are looking to have a summer “restart!”

Dear Martin, by Nic Stone - A raw and emotional novel. The main character confronts the realities of being an educated young African-American male confronting issues of police brutality, social injustice, and inequality. He navigates these issues by writing letters to Dr. Martin Luther King.

The Dictionary of Lost Words, by Pip Williams - A beautiful exploration of history and the power of language. For anybody who loves words and celebrates them, this story of love and literature and family and history and learning will be a joy.

Dry, by Neal Shusterman - Set in the near future, this is a fast-paced survival story, about what happens when the fresh water supply dries up in California. Neighbors and friends turn on each other, while the main characters race to save themselves. A real-page turner.

Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell - Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under.

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card –The fate of the human race rests in the hands of an unnaturally intelligent six year old, Ender Wiggins. Ender is recruited to enroll in the infamous Battle School, which is located in space. There he will be trained as a military leader to fight an alien race known as the Buggers. Will Ender use his uncommon intelligence, charisma, brutality, and determination to save humanity or will he ultimately reject the pressures and expectations of the people around him and embrace a different path?

The Firm, by John Grisham -  a blockbuster, legal thriller which launched the career and Hollywood screen adaptations of John Grisham.

The Four Winds, by Kristin Hannah - a captivating, heartbreaking tale of a family who will do anything for each other ― and everything to survive.

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, by Holly Jackson - Everyone in Fairview knows the story of how pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh. Five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town, but she can't shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case and discovers a trail of dark secrets.

The Green Mile, by Stephen King -  It tells the story of death row supervisor Paul Edgecombe's encounter with John Coffey, an unusual inmate who displays inexplicable healing and empathic abilities.

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (nonfiction) - A true story of a young man growing up in extreme poverty in Appalachia, who pursues his dreams for a better life.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams - Seconds before Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who is actually an alien disguised as an out-of-work actor. This book will keep you laughing as you journey across the galaxy with the main characters.

Hot Zone, by Richard Preston - The dramatic and chilling story of an Ebola virus outbreak in a suburban Washington, D.C. laboratory, with descriptions of frightening historical epidemics of rare and lethal viruses. More hair-raising than anything Hollywood could think of, because it's all true.

How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie - Dale Carnegie’s rock-solid, time-tested advice has carried countless people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. One of the most groundbreaking and timeless bestsellers of all time, How to Win Friends & Influence People will teach you: Six ways to make people like you; Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking; Nine ways to change people without arousing resentment…and much more! Achieve your maximum potential—a must-read for the twenty-first century.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab - Creative, thought-provoking (time travel and lots of “what-ifs”), just so INTERESTING and a pleasure to read!

A Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds -  This fiercely stunning GRAPHIC NOVEL IN VERSE is written as one story that is told through a series of poems and it all takes place in sixty seconds—the time it takes Will to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the person who killed his brother. As the elevator stops on each floor, someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a much larger story.

Looking for Alaska, by John Green- A book about love, loss, and what it means to be young.

The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury - This is my all-time favorite book. From the sci-fi master, this is told in chronological vignettes about the exodus from Earth to Mars. The original stories began in 1999, they have been updated to start in 2030. My favorite tale from this book is ‘Usher II’ which is actually the influence for Fahrenheit 451, where Earthlings burned books and would’ve escaped Usher II if only they’d read Poe.

The Mosquito Coast, by Paul Theroux - The paranoid and brilliant inventor Allie Fox takes his family to live in the Honduran jungle, determined to build a civilization better than the one they've left. Fleeing from an America he sees as mired in materialism and conformity, he hopes to rediscover a purer life. But his utopian experiment takes a dark turn when his obsessions lead the family toward unimaginable danger.

The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah - Tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France—a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

Open, by Andre Agassi - (nonfiction) This is the story of how one of the greatest tennis players of all time became a superstar who hated the sport that made him wealthy and famous. Agassi grew up in the spotlight and overcame personal demons and physical pain to become one of the most beloved figures in professional tennis. It’s a sports book (sort of) that is also very real and--at times--critical of sports.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky – a frank and honest experience of high school told through letters from an overly empathetic freshman trying to live his life while simultaneously running away from it. I reread this book every couple of years, and it leaves a mark every time.

The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver – a novel of great beauty and lyricism set in the African Congo on the eve of revolution and narrated by the daughters and wife of a well-meaning but misguided Baptist missionary.

Rebecca, by Daphne DuMaurier – A Gothic thriller about a young, newly married woman who marries the mysterious Maxim DeWinter and becomes mistress of Manderley, an estate riddled with secrets.

The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur - I bet you’ve seen Rupi Kaur’s poetry and illustrations on Instagram! This is her second collection of poems. They’re beautiful, short, and profound. An easy collection to devour this summer!

The Summer I Turned Pretty, by Jenny Han - This book is the first of a three-part series that follows a young girl as she navigates the intricacies of summer romances and friendships! This quick read is accessible, endearing, and the perfect book to kick off your summer!

The Syringa Tree, by Pamela Gien - Set in apartheid South Africa, The Syringa Tree tells the stories of two families “separated by racism, but connected by love.” The original form of the story was a one-woman show off Broadway and won the 2001 OBIE for best play. Gien expanded the true memoir into a best-selling novel the following year.

Scythe, by Neal Shusterman - Humanity has conquered hunger, disease, war and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe and must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Turtles All the Way Down, by John Green -  On the surface, this book focuses on an intriguing mystery and a tender teenage romance. Underneath, there is a dark tale of compulsive anxiety and its challenging effects. Aza, the main character, cannot escape her insistent spiraling thoughts.

V for Vendetta, by Alan Moore-  A graphic novel about the dangers of censorship and totalitarianism.

The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett - Told in flashbacks and alternating points of view, this novel examines identity and belonging. A riveting and sympathetic story about the bonds of sisterhood and just how strong they are, even at their weakest.

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart - a modern, sophisticated suspense novel. Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

What Made Maddy Run, by Kate Fagan - (nonfiction) Madison Holleran is a star soccer player and runner at her high school in New Jersey. Also a star in the classroom, Maddy is recruited to run track at an Ivy League school, the University of Pennsylvania. This book explores Maddy’s  transition from high school to college, the role of social media in all of our lives (but especially those of high school and college kids), the pressures of high level athletics, issues surrounding mental health, and, ultimately, the tragic lessons we can all learn from Maddy’s death. I’ve taught this book in Sports and Literature (elective), and I think every high school student should read it before going off to college. It’s powerful and important.

A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin – Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth. Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.

Additional Suggested Authors:
●    Angelou, Maya
●    Alexie, Sherman
●    Anderson, Laurie Halse
●    Atwood, Margaret
●    Austen, Jane
●    Bari, Jennifer Lynn
●    Bohjalian, Chris
●    Bruchac, Joseph
●    Byatt, A. S.
●    Cabot, Meg
●    Crutcher, Chris
●    Dave, Laura
●    Diamat, Anita
●    Dessen, Sarah
●    Doerr, Anthony
●    Frank, Anne
●    Forman, Gayle
●    Fowler, Therese Anne
●    Gladwell, Malcolm
●    Green, John
●    Gould, Stephen Jay
●    Haig, Matthew
●    Harjo, Joy
●    Heller, Miranda Cowley
●    Heywood, Claire
●    Hannah, Kristin
●    Ishiguro, Kazuo
●    Jenkins Reid, Taylor
●    Keller, Helen
●    Kidd, Sue Monk
●    King, A. S.
●    King, Stephen
●    Kostova, Elizabeth
●    Krakauer, Jon
●    Levithan, David
●    Lloyd, Ellery
●    Moyes, Jojo
●    Myers, Walter Dean
●    Ng, Celeste
●    Patchett, Ann
●    Pearse, Sarah
●    Picoult, Jodi
●    Reynolds, Jason
●    Rooney, Sally
●    Rowell, Rainbow
●    Sacks, Oliver
●    Sayers, Dorothy
●    Semple, Maria
●    Sepetys, Ruta
●    Shusterman, Neal
●    Smiley, Jane
●    Strasser, Todd
●    Thomas, Angie
●    Tolkien, J.R.R.
●    Trueman, Terry
●    Turton, Stuart
●    Westerfeld, Scott
●    Vowell, Sarah
●    Whitehead, Colsen
●    Yanagihara, Hanya

Click here for the PDF version of the list