High School Summer Reading List (page 2)

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

Our 2011 Summer Reading List

Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein. Lady Catherine's romance with Walter Ralegh gets her banished from Queen Elizabeth's court to the colony on Roanoke Island. Cate clings to survival on the island. To stay alive, she joins a community of Croatoan Indians, and falls in love with the warrior Manteo. When Ralegh suddenly shows up, Cate must make an agonizing choice. This is historical fiction at its finest, with a strong heroine, accurate details, and high-intensity action.(Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, $12.74) 

Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster. This story begins when Kyle Straker lets his friend hypnotize him in front of the entire town. When the trance ends a new and bizarre world awakes around him. The question is why; the reality is frightening. Suspense, complex character relationships and funny quips make this book a page-turner for a sci-fi reader, videogamer or anyone who likes a good mystery. (Egmont USA, $11.55)

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. What can the bond of sisters endure? This haunting tale about sisters Chloe and Ruby is up for interpretation. Part-paranormal, part-psychological roller coaster, this book is filled with evocative imagery and ideas that will leave parents and teens something to talk about together. (Dutton, $10.58)

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Expect late nights and an infinitely distracted teenager: this series is insanely addictive. A dystopian fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic world sets the scene for this incredible thriller, where breathless pacing and complex characters make for heart-stopping reading. Production is just starting on the movie version, so let your teen inhale this high-intensity adventure before Hollywood steals the books' thunder. (Scholastic, $31.47)

The Boneshaker by Kate Milford. Welcome to Arcane, Missouri, a crossroads town in 1913. For 12-year-old Natalie, life in Arcane is about building machines and making them work, but when the town doctor leaves, Arcane becomes vulnerable to the evils of the world; strange things can happen at a crossroads. It's not for the faint of heart, but may give you courage by the end. (Clarion Books, $6.99)

Our 2010 High School Summer Reading Picks

The Keeper's Tattoo by Gill Arbuthnott. Nyssa has lived with her adoptive parents ever since she turned up on their doorstep at the age of four. All she had were the clothes on her back, a broken flute, and a strange tattoo on her forearm. Everything changes when a boat of Shadowmen arrive on the island, looking for descendents of a clan they thought had been destroyed. Could Nyssa be the chosen one the evil Alaric has been searching for all these years? This fast-paced tale weaves an imagined age of darkness, treachery, and rebellion with a tone and style reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings. A great choice for boys and girls alike, especially reluctant readers. (Scholastic, $12.95) 

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. This YA novel does the impossible: it makes a book about relationships, whether romances or friendships, gay or straight, not only readable, but enjoyable for the hard-to-reach high school boy as well as girl. It accomplishes this through an inventive plot, a talented duo of authors, and language that speaks to the way real teens think and speak (not to how their parents might want them to). This means that there's a fair amount of bad language and frank references to sex, depression, and homosexuality...and that's precisely why a high schooler might want to read it. Under the candor is a warm and compelling story full of humor and love, told from the eyes of two Will Graysons. One is a depressed gay teen whose only happiness comes from his Internet boyfriend. Another is a straight teen with a penchant for complicated friendships. When the two Wills cross paths, they both head in a new direction in this frank and frequently hilarious read. (Dutton, $11.69)

If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Bound for Julliard, teeming with talent, and deeply in love with her family, seventeen-year-old Mia immediately captures the head and heart of the reader. A bloody and brutal car accident changes Mia's life forever. Everything else falls away and she is left with only one choice--a choice between life and death. This heart-breakingly beautiful novel is not only a fantastic read, but it does something that every good book should do: it touches the reader in a way that is personal and potentially life changing. Forman's ability to articulate the deepest and most human of thoughts and emotions will keep the pages turning and your heart racing. (Dutton, $8.99) 

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien. Reminiscent of both 1984 and a Brave New World, this gripping page-turner is a perfect intro to futuristic, dystopian fiction. Set in the 2400's, the story follows Gaia, a midwife, on her quest to track down her parents and uncover the secrets of the oppressive regime that her family so dutifully serves. But to do so, she must make her way inside the walls of the Enclave. The hitch: with half her face covered in scars, she sticks out like a sore thumb among a government-cultivated population that's been bred to perfection. Readers accompany the novel's inspiring heroine on an undertaking brimming with danger, intrigue, and romance. And with lessons about DNA, vocabulary-building, and thinking for yourself, there's major educational value, too. (Roaring Brook Press, $16.99)

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. Forced to grapple with her intense grief after the sudden death of her older sister, 17-year-old Lennie tells a coming-of-age story that has a little bit of everything. Beautifully poetic verses, brutally honest narration, and a full spectrum of emotions make this book a heartbreaking masterpiece. Anyone who has ever experienced tragedy, the strength of the bond between sisters, or has lived a day in the life of an adolescent girl will find something to identify with here. But parents should be aware that this book is unabashedly real: it contains a few slightly graphic sexual passages, references to marijuana, underage drinking, and other genuine issues teens encounter. If yours is ready to face these topics in literature, she'll definitely be in for a treat with more depth than the average high school novel. (Dial Books for Young Readers, $17.99)

Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkarraman. Fifteen-year-old Vidya is the odd girl out in British-occupied India. While her friends dream of the perfect arranged marriage, she wants nothing more than to head to college. Just as it appears she might achieve the impossible, tragedy strikes, and she's sent to live in the traditional household of her grandfather, where the men live upstairs and the women are segregated below. Set against the backdrop of World War II and the simultaneous protests of Mahatma Ghandi, this tale of teenage rebellion and finding one's place in the world will sit just right with teenagers fighting their own battle for independence, but happy to get swept away in a lush setting ripe with charged emotions. An atmospheric historical novel, with a bit of romance thrown in. (Putnam, $16.99) 

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