Student Nominated Summer Reading 2014-Read One!
Evidence of Things Unseen, by Marianne Wiggins
This poetic novel describes America at the brink of the Atomic Age. In the years between the two world wars, the future held more promise than peril, but there was evidence of things unseen that would transfigure our unquestioned trust in a safe future. Alice S., who nominated this book, said "You should read this book if you like historical fiction or love stories. The language is the most beautiful I have ever read".
(appropriate for rising 11th and 12th Graders)
In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
"In the Time of the Butterflies is a powerful novel that tells the story of four sisters from the Mirabel family. This story is set during Rafael Trujillo’s dictatorship in the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1961. One of the sisters decides to join the revolution against the dictator, and in doing so, endangers the lives of all four. They are forced to change their ways of life under his oppressive power and the result is a fantastic tale of life and death and the human experience. One of my favorite things about this novel is the vibrant culture and the way Julie Alvarez is able to successfully convey the unique voice and personality of all four sisters." (review by Alex)
Paper Towns, by John Green (Young Adult)
"Quentin Jacobsen is senior who lives in a small town in Miami. He has spent a lifetime falling in love with the girl next door, Margo Roth Spiegelman. So when an opportunity to help her arises, he immediately accepts. After an adventurous night out spent getting revenge and trespassing, Quentin arrives at school to discover that Margo, has disappeared. However Quentin soon realizes that there are clues that she left him, to help discover where she is."(review by Peyton)
Warning:This book contains some bad language and sexual references.
Emma, by Jane Austen
"Matchmaking, while extremely fun, is a dangerous business. Emma is Jane Austen’s novel about a girl who considers herself to be a magnificent matchmaker when in reality, she is anything but. Emma is an independent, clever, high society young woman who does not require a man at her side. However, although not interested in finding herself love, she is very interested in finding other people their love interests. This charmingly comical novel about love, friendship, and the bridge that connects the two is most definitely a worthwhile and extremely rewarding read." (review by Kimaya)
Orphan Train, by Christina Baker Kline (Ms. Kline will visit Bryn Mawr next October.)
"Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates were determined by pure luck. The children in this story were entrusted to families , in many cases, to help with household chores or cheap labor. Not only does it entail a beautiful story of two women in their battle for identity, but it can teach the reader about her own identity." (review by Allie)
Every Day, by David Levithan (Young Adult)
For the past 16 years, without warning of any kind, the narrator known only as A wakes up in a different life every single day. The new identity is always A's age, or close to it, but that's mostly where the similarity ends. A can be a boy or a girl, gay or straight, funny or downright cruel. A never gets attached to a family, to a school, or a group of friends--until Rhiannon. (nominated by Celia)
The Long Walk, by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
The Long Walk, a Stephen King novel, is a book about a future dystopian society. Every year on May 1st, a competition called the Long Walkstarts is held. During this contest, one hundred teenage boys, picked at random from a large pool of applicants, walk as far as possible without stopping. They must maintain a 4-mile-per-hour pace and are warned if unable to meet this requirement. After four warnings, the person is “ticketed.” The last person standing wins the “Prize,” awarded by “the Major” who is the leading figure of the country. This action packed novel filled with friendship, survival, and suspense will leave the reader questioning the ending. I chose this book because I found Ray, the protagonist, to be an interesting character who’s questions and thoughts made me think and explore topics I had never thought of, and morals I have never questioned. This book brings alive each character and makes them unforgetable. (review by Charlotte)
Warning: This book is scary, and contains profanity and some violence. Please check with a parent or guardian before reading!
Daughter of Smoke and Bone,by Laini Taylor (Young Adult). “Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.” That’s the first line of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It’s a good line—a catchy line—but it’s also a misleading line. It makes everything sound so simple: angels and devils, fairytales and tragic romance. To be fair, Daughter of Smoke and Bone technically does have all those things, but there’s so much more at its heart. A blue-haired girl named Karou who collects teeth to string into wishes. Dusty shops and goulash soup and a dancing girl dressed as a marionette. Prague, a city that serves not as a backdrop, but as a character all its own. And a rip in the sky behind which lies a distinctly unearthly universe. Daughter of Smoke and Bone has some of the most fascinating and creative fantasy world-building I’ve seen in a long time. It’s witty and vibrant and beautifully written.” (review by Emily)
On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
"When my father handed me a copy of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road for my 15th birthday, I didn’t know what was given to me. I had never heard of Kerouac in my life, let alone the Beat Generation. There are many people, simpletons in my mind, who see Kerouac and his beats as nothing more than a crew of degenerates who engaged in every known vice under the sun. I would like to banish this stigma once and for all, as Kerouac’s work stretches farther than the stereotype people have put him in. On the Road is a novel of the individual, as well as a novel of America. On the Road is a novel of the individual, as well as a novel of America. It uses the landscape of the country to express all that is inherent in the human condition." (review by Maddie)
Warning: This classic contains references to drugs, alcohol, and sex. Common Sense Media rates it as appropriate for 16 yrs. and older.
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
“I don’t know what’s worse: to not know what you are and be happy, or to become what you’ve always wanted to be, and feel alone.” In Flowers for Algernon, Charlie Gordan is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. He is given the chance to receive a surgery in order to reverse his mental disability. The surgery comes with great risks, as he would be the very ﬁrst human to even attempt such a thing. The surgery has only worked one time on a mouse named Algernon, who Charlie creates a close relationship with. As Charlie’s intelligence grows he must try to develop his emotional age as well. Charlie sees the world through a fresh pair of eyes and his take on his surroundings is refreshing. "Flowers for Algernon gives a fresh take on the world and on the relationships that we have with people. It is a heart-wrenching novel and truly moved me when I read it. I highly recommend this book. " (review by Isabelle)
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown
"Traditional texts glory in our nation's conquest of the virgin frontier. But how did the American Indians of the Old West feel about the coming of the white man? What did Chief Joseph, Red Cloud, Geronimo and Sitting Bull have to say about it? This book, written by a librarian, uses beautiful photographs and contemporary, original sources to document the actual words of American Indians who were coping with the loss of their lands. Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee will change forever your perception of how the west was really won." (review by Sophie, read by Rachel)
In the Heart of the Sea:The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex, by Nathaniel Philbrick
The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the twentieth. In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with twenty crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than ninety days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents-including a long-lost account written by the ship's cabin boy-and penetrating details about whaling and the Nantucket community to reveal the chilling events surrounding this epic maritime disaster. (nominated by Mr. Brown)