College Ready Summer Reading List for High School Students

Make sure your kids are ready for next year and college by reading some of these reccommended books this summer!

Before Entering Ninth Grade

Adams: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy c1980 humor, science fiction
After narrowly escaping Earth’s destruction, Arthur Dent travels the galaxy with the help of tour guide Ford Prefect, on a quest to save the universe.

Anaya: Bless Me, Ultima c1972 diversity, fiction
A healer helps Antonio when he comes to live with his family in New Mexico.

Anderson, Laurie Halse: Speak c1999 emotional problems, fiction
Melinda begins high school as a social outcast after a traumatic experience in the summer.

Blackwood: The Year of the Hangman c2002 alternate history adventure
In 1777, 15-year-old Creighton is kidnapped from England and taken to the American colonies, where he becomes involved in the political unrest that can change the course of history.

Covey: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens c1998 nonfiction
Hints and strategies for success in life, communicated through engaging stories, cartoons and quotations.

Cox: Swimming to Antarctica c2004 nonfiction, memoir
Follow the story of Lynne Cox as she deals with achieving her dreams of conquering some of the roughest waters in the world. The story shows that young people can accomplish great things.

Dessen: The Truth about Forever c2004 grief, fiction
The summer after her father dies holds unexpected changes that help Marcy face her grief.

Dickens: Oliver Twist c1867 classic
An orphan in Victorian England finds his true identity through his misadventures.

Dumas: The Count of Monte Cristo c1846 historical fiction, classic
This classic adventure novel involves a daring prison escape, a risky search for buried treasure and a quest for revenge.

Farmer: The House of the Scorpion c2002 science fiction
In the future, clones are looked down upon by humans. However, Matt, a clone of a powerful leader, experiences special privileges.

Grimes: Dark Sons c2005 African American fiction
This starkly written novel is a story of two young men, separated by history, who struggle with identity, race and faith. Both young men struggle with societal acceptance and a place to belong.

Halberstam: Firehouse c2002 nonfiction, biography
Out of all the men who responded to the terrorists' attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, from the Engine 40 Ladder 35 firehouse, only one man survived.

Johnson: The First Part Last c2003 teenage, African American fiction
The birth of Bobby’s baby girl brings life changes to his carefree teenage life.

Krakauer: Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster c1998 nonfiction/survival
In March 1996, a group of people joined an expedition to climb Mount Everest. This group included journalist Jon Krakauer and lead climber Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of the climbers, the expedition met with disaster. Krakauer analyzes why.

Lord: A Night to Remember c1955 nonfiction, history
The story of the sinking of the Titanic is told in a "you were there" approach.

McKinley: Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast c1978 romance, folklore fiction
While the beautiful heroine is being held captive in the castle of the frightening beast, her love for the beast releases him from the spell that transformed him.

Murdock: Dairy Queen c2006 farm life, fiction
With humor, sports action, romance and wit, this book could appeal to both male and female. The interesting and empathetic characters in non-conventional roles provide “food for thought” and provide insight into situations not usually covered in young adult fiction.

Murray: Bottled Up c2003 drug abuse, realistic fiction
Pip must face his high school principal, his drug addiction, his alcoholic father and a younger brother who looks up to him.

Nolan: Dancing on the Edge c2007 fiction
Miracle McCloy feels like a misfit in a dysfunctional family. Her mother died when she was born and her distant, brooding father disappears suddenly. Raised by her psychic grandmother, Gigi, Miracle searches for her identity and dancing becomes the only thing that makes Miracle feel like a whole person. After being committed to the psychiatric ward of a hospital, Miracle must face the truth about her past.

Nye: 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East c2002 poetry
Poetry of the Middle East.

Oates: Freaky Green Eyes c2003 realistic fiction
Fourteen-year-old Frankie relates the events leading up to her mother’s disappearance and her own attempt to come to terms with her parents’ relationship.

Peck: The Teacher’s Funeral c2004 teenage guys’ fiction
In rural Indiana in 1904, fifteen-year-old Russell’s dream of quitting school and joining a wheat threshing crew is disrupted when his older sister takes over teaching at his one room schoolhouse after mean, old Myrt Arbuckle "hauls off and dies."

Philbrick: In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex c2000 nonfiction, survival
This is the story of the tragic sinking of the Essex by an 80 foot sperm whale in 1820. Elements of this tragedy inspired the writing of the classic tale Moby Dick.

Schaap: Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics c2007 nonfiction, sports biography
This book uncovers the history of one of sports greatest track and field stars, Jesse Owens. It traces the racial struggles he faced in America and the dramatic contests in 1936 at the Olympics in Nazi Berlin.

Tolkien: Lord of the Rings Trilogy c1954 fantasy, classic
This trilogy includes The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. It is the story of how the dark power of Sauron is destroyed.

Uchida: Desert Exile: The Uprooting of a Japanese-American Family c1982 nonfiction, survival
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, like many other Japanese-American families, Yoshiko’s family is assigned to an internment camp in Utah.

Woodson: Behind You c2004 African American fiction
After fifteen-year-old Jeremiah is mistakenly shot by the police, his loved ones struggle to cope with his loss, unaware that he is watching over them.

Before Entering Tenth Grade

Alexie: Flight c2007 Native American fiction
A teenager in a new foster home wrestles with the anger and injustice of his own situation and contemplates violence before taking a jolting time travel journey to examine the conquest of Native Americans and the consequences of hatred from various viewpoints.

Alvarez: In the Time of the Butterflies c1994 diversity, historical fiction, war
A fictionalized account of four Mirabel sisters who helped form a resistance movement in the Dominican Republic against the dictatorship of General Trujillo.

Anderson: Feed c2002 science fiction, war
People in this futuristic society constantly receive information and commercials from computers implanted in their brains at birth. The story criticizes our consumer-driven society.

Bissinger: Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream c2000 nonfiction, sports
The story of a high school football team in Texas and their struggle to win the championship in 1988.

Bray: A Great and Terrible Beauty c2004 historical fantasy
Gothic with a touch of the occult and light horror, Bray creates an adolescent heroine with present day sensibilities. The novel also provides a strong depiction of the role of women in Victorian times.

Cary: Bloodline: A Novel c2005 vampire, historical fiction
A British soldier in World War I finds out that his regiment commander is a descendant of Count Dracula.

Collins (Editor): Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry c2003 poetry
An anthology of poems selected and introduced by Billy Collins, America’s Poet Laureate.

Dillard: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek c1974 nonfiction, sciene, nature
This Pulitzer Prize winning book is a series of interconnected essays that force one to contemplate the natural world beyond its commonplace surfaces.

Du Maurier: Rebecca c1938 Gothic fiction
Maxim de Winter has married his second wife, who finds it hard to live in the shadow of the first wife.

Ehrenreich: Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in Boom-Time America c2001 nonfiction, social issues
Recount the experiences of a reporter who tried to support herself in three different areas of the United States, working at three different minimum-wage jobs.

Grogan: Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog c2005 nonfiction, humor
Grogan recounts his misadventures with Marley, a clumsy, mischievous, mentally unstable 97 lb. yellow lab.

Haddon: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time c2003 autism, mystery
Christopher, a mathematically-gifted but socially challenged autistic teen, uncovers secrets about his own family while investigating the murder of a neighbor’s dog.

Halberstam: October 1964 c1994 nonfiction, sports
The story of how the hardscrabble St. Louis Cardinals toppled the seemingly invincible New York Yankees in the 1964 World Series.

Jeter: The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams c2000 nonfiction, sports
An account of the inspirational life of baseball player Derek Jeter.

Kooser: Delights and Shadows c2004 poetry
Presents a collection of poems by Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser, that describe the habits and struggles of daily life.

Larsen: All the Numbers c2006 psychological fiction
A summer lake vacation turns into a tragedy for Ellen Banks who loses her son James as the result of a Jet Ski accident. Ellen is determined to see that the reckless skier is punished, while trying to hold her life together as well as help her younger son cope with the tragedy. Judy Merrill Larsen is a local author.

Meyer: Twilight c2005 vampire fiction
Bella moves from sunny, dry Arizona to wet, dreary Forks, Washington to live with her dad. Not only does Bella live in a totally different place, she meets a handsome guy who is also totally different.

Naidoo: Out of Bounds: Seven Stories of Conflict and Hope c2001 South African fiction
Set in the South Africa of the Apartheid period, the stories tell of the experiences of young people from different races as they cope with the society’s many restrictions.

Poe: Selected Tales c2001 classic, horror
Seventeen of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories including "The Tell-Tale Heart."

Satrapi: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood c2003 nonfiction, biography, graphic novel
Graphic novel depicting how the author lived in Tehran, Iran until the country came under the control of the Islamic regime.

Shelley: Frankenstein horror, classic
Victor Frankenstein discovers the secret of generating life and creates a monster.

Spiegelman: Maus: A Survivor's Tale I and II historical fiction, graphic novel
A memoir about Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz and about his son, a cartoonist, who tries to come to terms with his father, his story and history itself. The cartoon format portrays Jews as mice and Nazis as cats.

Thomas: The Right Words at the Right Time c2002 nonfiction
A compilation of stories that illustrate how the right words at the right time made a big impact.

Tsukiyama: Dreaming Water psychological fiction
Set in contemporary California, this is the story of a mother’s courage, a daughter’s strength and a friend’s love dealing with Werner’s syndrome, a disease that causes premature aging..

Volponi: Black and White c2005 interracial friendship, fiction
Two friends experience the justice system differently after committing a crime and getting caught.

Before Entering Eleventh Grade

Austen: Sense and Sensibility classic
This book tells the story of two sisters, one practical and one romantic, and how they share the pangs of tragic love.

Berthon: Warlords: An Extraordinary Re-creation of World War II Through the Eyes and Minds of Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin c2006 nonfiction, war
By using the words of the "warlords" and the words of their contemporaries, this book provides parallel accounts of how these powerful men tried to outthink and outfight each other in World War II.

Blumenthal: Let Me Play: The Story of Title IX, The Law that Changed the Future of Girls in America c2005 nonfiction, women athletes
The gripping history about women’s struggle for equality in sports from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Bronte: Jane Eyre classic
An orphaned young woman in nineteenth century England, takes employment as a governess at a country estate. She falls in love with her employer, who has a secret.

Brooks: True Confessions of a Heartless Girl c2003 realistic fiction
A confused seventeen-year-old girl, a single mother and her young son, two elderly women and a lonely man come together to form a community in a small Manitoba town.

Callahan: The Cheating Culture c2004 nonfiction, social issues
Callahan reports on cheating in sports, education and business, exposing how people will do anything (legal or illegal) to get ahead.

Chevalier: Girl with a Pearl Earring c1999 historical fiction
The possible story behind the relationship between seventeenth century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer and the girl in his famous painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring.

Collins: Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems c2001 poetry
These insightful, sometimes humorous poems are simply written about familiar topics.

Danticat: The Farming of Bones: A Novel c1998 Haitian-American fiction
The story of a young woman who tries to weather the "ethnic cleansing" that took place in 1937 in the Dominican Republic under the rule of Trujillo.

De Botton: The Art of Travel c2004 nonfiction, travel philosophy
A look at why we travel and how to get the most from our trips.

Erdrich: Tracks: A Novel c1988 Native American fiction
In the early 1930s, orphans Karl and Mary Adare arrive by boxcar in a small town in North Dakota to find refuge with their aunt and uncle.

Gladwell: Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference c2000 nonfiction, social issues
Gladwell notes how small changes in human behavior can start a fad or change the world.

Hersey: Hiroshima c1985 nonfiction, WWII
An emotionally wrenching account of 6 survivors of the Hiroshima bombing. They vividly recount the horrors of the first few days and explain how their lives have been forever changed. The descriptions of what happened to the victims and the death that occurred are nightmarish yet all too real.

Hilton: Lost Horizon c1936 historical fiction, adventure
A plane crash in the Himalayan mountains, leaves the passengers stranded until they are rescued by a group of people living in Shangri-La where growing old is slow and life is "perfect."

Hopkins: Crank c2004 realistic fiction
After Kristina Snow meets a boy, she becomes a very different person.

Hugo: Les Miserables c1862 historical fiction, French Revolution
The story of the adventures of Jean ValJean, one of the world’s most beloved escaped convicts, during the French Revolution.

Lahiri: The Namesake c2003 coming of age story, diversity
Ashoke Ganguli, born in the United States of Indian parents, struggles with his identity from his teen years through his thirties.

Larson: The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America c2003 nonfiction, history
Erik Larson tells the parallel stories of Daniel Burnham, the main architect of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and serial killer Henry H. Homes, who used the fair to lure victims to their deaths.

Matheson: I am Legend c1954 science fiction
Robert Neville appears to be the only survival of the human race after a disease has either killed everyone or has changed them into "vampires." How to overcome the loneliness and reverse what has happened, is Robert’s goal.

Picoult: My Sister’s Keeper c2004 psychological fiction, organ donations
There are two sisters in a family of five, one is very sick and the other conceived to save the oldest sister. What happens to the entire family is told in this story.

Plath: The Bell Jar c1963 psychological fiction
Esther Greenwood, a talented and beautiful young woman, undergoes a mental breakdown.

Preston: Hot Zone c1994 nonfiction, science, nature
The story of an outbreak of the Ebola virus among monkeys in a Virginia laboratory in 1989.

Schlosser: Fast Food Nation c2005 nonfiction
An alarming look into the origins and effects of the American fast-food industry.

See: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan c2005 historical fiction, China
This elegantly written novel takes place in 19th century China when girls suffered from foot binding. It tells the story of "nu shu," a secret language between Chinese women. The story is suspenseful and poignant and provides insight into a non-Western culture.

Walls: The Glass Castle: A Memoir c2005 nonfiction, autobiography
The author tells the story of how she and her siblings eventually found the resources and will to leave home away from their alcoholic father and distant mother.

Welty: One Writer’s Beginnings c1983 nonfiction, autobiography
In this memoir, writer Eudora Welty describes her family and the background that shaped her as a writer. In the book she gives a vivid description of growing up in the South as well as the tools necessary to perfect her craft.

Before Entering Twelfth Grade

Allende: Zorro c2005 adventure fiction
Diego de la Vega returns to California to reclaim the home in which he was raised and to seek justice for the weak and helpless.

Ambrose: Citizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany c1998 nonfiction, war
The story of American soldiers in World War II, from the Normandy invasion to the German surrender.

Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale c1986 science fiction
Offred, a handmaid, tells of her life in the puritanical theocracy that had taken over America due to an "incident."

Bissinger: Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager c2006 nonfiction, sports
Buzz Bissinger discusses baseball through the perspective of Tony LaRussa and focusing on a three game series between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003.

Bryson: A Short History of Nearly Everything c2004 nonfiction, humor
The science textbook that you always wished you had. It provides an intriguing whirlwind tour of the major branches of science, but without too much technical language.

Cisneros: Caramelo c2002 diversity, fiction
Celaya Reyes travels from Chicago to Mexico City each summer and pulls together the stories of her Mexican-American family.

Chandrasekaran: Imperial Life in the Emerald City c2006 nonfiction
Former Washington Post Baghdad bureau chief, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, explains what life is like in the protected region of U.S. controlled Baghdad. He details the decisions and mistakes made that have hindered the creation of a stable Iraq.

Fleming: Casino Royale: A James Bond Novel c1953 spy fiction
Meet Bond, James Bond. The first of the James Bond novels that was published will not disappoint the James Bond fan. This spy novel is filled with action, glamour and romance.

Foer: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close c2005 psychological fiction
After losing his father in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001, Oskar goes looking for the lock that a key that his father left behind will open.

Frazier: Cold Mountain c1997 Civil War fiction
The story of two people’s lives as they endure the Civil War to once again find each other and start their lives together.

Friedman: The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century c2005 nonfiction, social issues
Award-winning journalist suggests that the globe is "flattening" with technology binding more and more countries together.

Goodwin: No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II c1994 nonfiction
A fascinating account of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt’s marriage and remarkable partnership. The historical context of the World War II era provides insights into American and world history, and the Roosevelt storyline is intriguing. Goodwin’s research is first rate and the book is a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Guterson: Snow Falling on Cedars c1994 historical fiction
A newspaper journalist covering the trial of a Japanese-American accused of murder comes to terms with his own past.

Haruf: Plainsong c1999 psychological fiction
Guthrie, a high school teacher raising his two young sons on his own, becomes involved in the lives of Victoria, a pregnant teenager and the two elderly bachelor brothers who take her in.

Hosseini: Kite Runner c2003 coming of age fiction
A story of mystery, friendship, betrayal and redemption set in pre-war Afghanistan.

Hughes: The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes c1995 poetry
A collection of poems written by Langston Hughes over his lifetime.

King: The Shining c1977 horror
The Torrance family takes over as caretakers at an off-season resort and their five-year-old son begins having horrific visions.

Kingsolver: The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel c1998 historical fiction
Saga of a missionary family in the Congo beginning in 1959, as told from the point of view of the various family members.

Larkin: Finding George Orwell in Burma c2005 nonfiction, travel narrative
A great tie-in to the books written by George Orwell giving an in-depth account of the human rights issues that have been taking place in Burma.

Mortenson and Relin: Three Cups of Tea c2006 nonfiction
Be inspired by a real life hero living in our times. Greg Mortenson climbed some of the highest mountain peaks in the world and then, became involved in even bigger challenges. This book reveals the culture and challenges of the people living in Pakistan and may inspire you to make a dramatic, positive impact on the world.

Picoult: Nineteen Minutes c2007 psychological fiction
How does someone who was known to be so sensitive grow up to shoot 29 people in a high school? This is that high school’s story.

Seierstad: The Bookseller of Kabul c2004 nonfiction, biography
After living 3 months with a bookseller, a journalist writes of the nations’ journey to recover from war.

Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream play
Shakespeare's play involving young Athenian lovers, a boisterous group of local tradesmen and the monarchs and subjects of the fairy kingdom.

Sittenfeld: Prep: A Novel c2005 coming of age fiction
At the age of fourteen, Lee Fiora leaves her middle-class and close-knit Indiana family behind to embark on a new life in an elite co-ed boarding school in Massachusetts.

X, Malcolm: The Autobiography of Malcolm X c1965 nonfiction, biography
Story of Malcolm X, the Black Muslim leader, firebrand and anti-integrationist.

Walker: The Color Purple c1982 African American fiction
The life stories of two African-American sisters, one an African missionary, the other an unhappy wife in the South, is communicated through their letters.

Xiaolong: Death of a Red Heroine c2000 detective fiction
Follow Inspector Chen as he tries to solve the murder of a worker in the communist party. As the case unfolds, so do the difficulties of being a good detective versus the desires of the party.


(Visited 39 times, 1 visits today)

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *