High School Summer Reading List

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based on 11 ratings
May 16, 2011
Updated on Apr 2, 2014

Throughout the school year, your teen has used books as one of the primary ways of gathering information and understanding new concepts. Summer is your teen's chance to read what she wants to read, just for the joy it brings. And, while she might not realize it, she's also keeping her vocabulary skills and reading fluency in shape. We know getting kids to put down the phone and pick up a book can be a challenge, especially during the carefree summer months, so we've looked high and low for exciting new titles for young adults. Here's our list of favorites to exhilarate, fascinate, and yes, educate.

Our 2012 Summer Reading List

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Fifteen-year-old Jacob is bored in his well-kept lifestyle, poised to take over the family drugstore chain, when his grandfather dies suddenly with Jacob on the scene. Armed with his grandfather’s cryptic last words, he sets sail for Europe, hoping to find out if the stories that his grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, told of growing up in a magical orphanage were true, or if they were just his way of coping with a traumatic past. Wisps of chilling secrecy cloud this creeping and ominous novel. Rumor has it there’s a movie in the works; encourage your teen to read this novel now, so that when the film version hits theaters she’ll have the chance to say, “I liked the book better.” (Quirk, $12.23)

Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk. Guy Langman is having trouble coping with the death of his father, or so his therapist says. In light of recent events, he doesn’t know if it’s a great idea for him to enroll in his school’s forensics team. He soon shows a knack for unraveling mysteries, which comes in handy when a family heirloom is stolen from his home and then he and the Berry Ridge High Forensics Squad stumble upon an actual dead body. Snark, sarcasm and slapstick humor pervade in this uproarious farce that takes a refreshingly silly approach to the typical coming-of-age melodrama. (Random House, $11.98)

Legend by Marie Lu. With Hunger Games fever still running high, you might be looking for a follow-up to keep your teen reading this summer. Look no further than this dystopian fantasy. Set in the future where the former United States is now the Republic, a place where war is constant, you’ll recognize a lot of similarities with Hunger Games: wealthy and poor districts, military control, class warfare. But it’s the two extremely likeable main characters, one groomed for military greatness, the other born into poverty, that keep the fire going here, page after page. Watching their relationship transform and their suspicion for each other dissolve, makes for super-charged summer reading.  (Putnam, $11.98)

Best Shot in the West: The Adventures of Nat Love by Patricia C. McKissack and Frederick L. McKissack, illustrated by Randy Duburke. Saddle up for a dusty ride through the Wild West! Nat Love, formerly known as “Deadwood Dick,” was one of the best cowboys in the West. But now he is retired, and the Old West is gone. Relive some of his wild adventures as he tells some of the tales of his glory days working as a cattle herder. This graphic novel is beautifully illustrated and will take you back to the time of outlaws and sharpshooters. Beware of mildly violent content and racial slurs of the era. (Chronicle, $13.59)


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