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Updated by Rhonda Gail Lesperance on May 14, 2017
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2017 High School Summer Reading List

High School, Grades 9-12

Unless it says otherwise, summaries of books were taken from School Library Journal

37

Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski

Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski

An aristocratic girl who is a member of a warmongering and enslaving empire purchases a slave, an act that sets in motion a rebellion that might overthrow her world as well as her heart.

4

The Tragedy Paper – Elizabeth LaBan

The Tragedy Paper – Elizabeth LaBan

When Duncan returns to the Irving School, an elite boarding school in New York, he is as preoccupied with the thought of writing his Tragedy Paper, a sort of senior thesis on the nature and magnitude of tragedy, literary and otherwise, as he is with finding his assigned single room and the "treasure" left for him by the prior year's occupant. Once he discovers his name on a small room on the end of the hall, he encounters a stack of CDs left by last year's oddest and yes, perhaps even most tragic, senior: Tim Macbeth, an albino transfer student. Thus begins a compelling narrative tapestry of Duncan's senior year woven with Tim's, come to life from one's taped voice to the other's headphones, giving all the details about last year's traditional senior game that ended in tragedy.

5

Far Far Away - Tom McNeal

Far Far Away - Tom McNeal

Grades 7-10. So it begins: What follows is the strange and fateful tale of a boy, a girl, and a ghost. Ghostly Jacob Grimm, of the famous Brothers, narrates this tale of Jeremy and Ginger and their near-tragic encounter with town baker Sten Blix, whose long-held grudges figure in the disappearance of several village children. Unappreciated as a youngster, Blix has elevated revenge to a sweet art, and he holds Jeremy, Ginger, and an additional victim, Frank Bailey, in a hidden dungeon under the bakery, while Jacob desperately tries to tell parents and friends of the predicament. If he fails, the three may become grist in the baker’s next batch of Prince Cakes. Reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel and rife with allusions to the Brothers Grimm tales, this is a masterful story of outcasts, the power of faith, and the triumph of good over evil. McNeal’s deft touch extends to the characterizations, where the ritual speech of traditional tales (Listen, if you will) establishes Jacob’s phantasmagoric presence amid the modernist American West. There are moments of horror (as there were in the Brothers Grimm original tales), but they are accomplished through the power of suggestion. Details aplenty about Jacob and his famous sibling make this a fiction connector to both fairy tales and Grimm biographies, too.
Booklist starred (June 1, 2013)

6

Not a Drop to Drink - Mindy McGinnis

Not a Drop to Drink - Mindy McGinnis

While defending her resources in a lawless world where water is a rare commodity, Lynn learns about life and humanity. Ever since Lynn was a small child, she's known the hard truths of the world--chiefly that anyone who approaches her mother's pond leaves thirsty or dies, by Lynn's gun if necessary. Besides her mother and a single neighbor, visible only at a distance, Lynn has more experience with the coyotes than with other people. Two bands of strangers appear near their land; one group, armed, encroaches on Lynn's land, so she must be ready to protect her beloved home and water source from attacks that could come at any time, providing urgency and tension. After a tragedy forces her to team up with her neighbor, Lynn learns that the other group is just a trio of refugees who have no idea how to survive in the wilderness and will surely die without help. Despite her mother's hard-nosed teachings, Lynn finds herself with growing compassion for them. The third-person, past-tense narration gives the story a gritty tone, and the only break from the realism comes in the form of characters who can successfully dowse for water. The epilogue jumps to a future that fulfills Lynn's character growth. A high-quality survivalist story for readers who enjoy internal story arcs as well as external dangers.
Kirkus Reviews (August 1, 2013)
(Speculative fiction. 13 & up)

7

All the Truth That's in Me – Julie Berry

All the Truth That's in Me – Julie Berry

Eighteen-year-old Judith Finch gradually reveals the horror of her two-year disappearance in a stunning historical murder mystery and romance. One summer four years ago, Judith Finch and her friend Lottie Pratt disappeared. After two years, only Judith returned. Lottie's naked body was found in the river, and Judith stumbled back on her own, her appearance shocking the town--not just because she had returned, but that her tongue had been cut out, and she can't tell anyone what happened to her. Illiterate, maimed, cursed, doomed to be an outsider but always and forever in love with Lucas Whiting, Judith finds a way to tell her story, saying, "I don't believe in miracles, but if the need is great, a girl might make her own miracle," and as her story unfolds, all the truth that's in her is revealed. Set in what seems to be early-18th-century North America, the story is told through the voice inside Judith's head--simple and poetic, full of hurt and yearning, and almost always directed toward Lucas in a haunting, mute second person. Every now and then, a novel comes along with such an original voice that readers slow down to savor the poetic prose. This is such a story. A tale of uncommon elegance, power and originality. (Historical thriller. 12 & up)
Kirkus Reviews starred (July 1, 2013)

8

Somebody Up There Hates You – Hollis Seamon

Somebody Up There Hates You – Hollis Seamon
9

In The After – Demitria Lunetta

In The After – Demitria Lunetta
10

The Testing – Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing – Joelle Charbonneau
11

Winger – Andrew Smith

Winger – Andrew Smith

Two years younger than his classmates at a prestigious boarding school, fourteen-year-old Ryan Dean West grapples with living in the dorm for troublemakers, falling for his female best friend who thinks of him as just a kid, and playing wing on the Varsity rugby team with some of his frightening new dorm-mates.

12

Sex and Violence – Carrie Mesrobian (mature content)

Sex and Violence – Carrie Mesrobian (mature content)
13

Made of Stars – Kelley York

Made of Stars – Kelley York
14

Impossible Knife of Memory – Laurie Halse Anderson

Impossible Knife of Memory – Laurie Halse Anderson
15

Heart Beat – Elizabeth Scott

Heart Beat – Elizabeth Scott
17

Just One Day – Gayle Forman

Just One Day – Gayle Forman
18

Far From You – Tess Sharpe

Far From You – Tess Sharpe

Grades 9-12. Debut novelist Sharpe attempts a delicate balancing act between past and present in this murder mystery about secrets and truth. The story begins with the crime, which is then unraveled by our narrator, Sophie, as she describes how she got to the point where her best friend, Mina, was murdered. Sophie alternates between telling her current story and relating past events, starting with the car accident three years before, which ravaged her physically and led to an OxyContin addiction. It will not take the reader long to realize that Sophie and Mina were not only best friends but in love with each other; Sophie’s heartbreak is as much about this as it is about Mina’s death. Despite Sophie’s eagerness to find the killer, the hunt for him feels a bit abandoned as past events are continually revisited and analyzed. Fortunately, Sharpe’s writing is beautiful and her characters are fully realized, which should carry readers through to the book’s sorrowful finale.
Booklist (May 1, 2014 (Vol. 110, No. 17))

19

Forgive Me Leonard Peacock – Leonard Quick

Forgive Me Leonard Peacock – Leonard Quick
20

Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson
21

Proxy - Alex London

Proxy - Alex London
22

Lucy Variations – Sara Zarr

Lucy Variations – Sara Zarr
23

Earth Girl – Janet Edwards

Earth Girl – Janet Edwards

A disabled teen archaeologist works in fascinating, hazardous conditions on a far-future Earth. It's 2789. Humanity lives on numerous planets. Transportation, including between star systems, merely requires stepping into a portal--even schoolchildren do a "mass off-world kiddie commute" daily. But off-world atmospheres are fatal for the rare babies born Handicapped, who are portalled to Earth within minutes and must stay forever. Parents tend to disappear, unwilling to live on Earth just to raise a "throwback." Earth provides those on its Handicapped wards full care, education and career choice, but Jarra's bitter that "exos" (non-Handicapped norms) consider her an "ape," "the garbage of the universe." Enrolling in a Pre-history course that's taught on Earth but administered by an off-world university, Jarra plans to quench her thirst for history while teaching some exos a lesson. Terrific nitty-gritty details limn her team's excavations of a high-risk dig site that was once Manhattan. Although readers won't see disabilities they recognize, Edwards successfully shows that being physically unable to partake in society's core structure equals disability. Jarra slides temporarily--implausibly--from matter-of-fact first-person narrator to a character in denial of her reality, but more important are perilous rescues, Jarra's skills, a solar superstorm that closes portals and endangers hundreds of Military, and some humorous romance with sparkling chemistry. Action, rich archaeological detail and respectfully levelheaded disability portrayal, refreshingly free from symbolism and magical cures, make this stand out. (Science fiction. 11-16)
Kirkus Reviews starred (February 1, 2013)

24

Golden Boy – Tara Sullivan

Golden Boy – Tara Sullivan
25

If You Find Me - Emily Murdoch

If You Find Me - Emily Murdoch
26

Hostage Three – Nick Lake

Hostage Three – Nick Lake
27

All Our Yesterdays – Terrill Cristin

All Our Yesterdays – Terrill Cristin
28

The Truth About Alice – Jennifer Mathieu

The Truth About Alice – Jennifer Mathieu