Student Nominated Summer Reading 2015 -Pick One!
All of these books are available in the Edith Hamilton Library, and most are available for free in Bryn Mawr's Overdrive e-Book Collection. Just type in your Bryn Mawr e-mail address to download a book.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Annie)
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. (excerpt from Amazon)
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell (Jordan)
“David Mitchell combines flat-out adventure, a Nabokovian lore of puzzles, a keen eye for character, and a taste for mind-bending philosophical and scientific speculation. “
Cloud Atlas is recommended for rising 11th and 12th graders.
Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein (Amanda)
"It's one of my favorite books and I'd love to share it with the Bryn Mawr community. I think that students would enjoy it because the story, while dealing with heavy topics, is still funny at times. The central friendship made me love Code Name Verity, even though historical fiction is not usually a genre that I like to read. I find the narration switch intellectually engaging because the reader gets to see the same characters from two different perspectives."
The Cuckoo's Calling, by J.K Rowling (Ellie)
"The Cuckoo's Calling is a murder mystery about the death of the famous model Lula Landry. Rowling really brought the story to life for me; the characters and plot feel as though they would be living in our world and not in a fictional one. The Cuckoo's Calling is unlike any other book I have read. Rowling brings a contemporary vibe to the mystery genre, which is something that is often difficult to do. I would recommend this book to anyone, and I hope you consider having it as a summer reading book."
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley (Emily)
Victor Frankenstein is a hard-working young man at university who discovers how to give life to an inanimate body and uses his knowledge to create a man-monster. He believes his discovery will lead to further scientific advances but when he succeeds in bringing his creation to life he is filled with loathing.
The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How it Changed Science, Cities and the Modern World, by Steven Johnson (Claire) Read by Rachel
"I would like to nominate The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic - and How it Changed Science, Cities and the Modern World, by Steven Johnson. This book provides a great amount of medical information with the drama of a novel. It's enticing, educational, and fascinating in general. It reads like fiction but is impressive because it is in fact, a true story. The book is set during a major cholera epidemic in 19th century London and how it was stopped by one man, beginning modern epidemiology as we know it today. It was the mandatory freshman summer reading book at the University of Vermont a few years back and has shown up on many other reading lists. The book is basically a 'watered-down' The Great Influenza in the best way possible. It maintains a decent amount of information without being dry and hard to read."
Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn (Anna)
The narrator of this extraordinary tale is a man in search for truth. He answers an ad in a local newspaper from a teacher looking for serious pupils, only to find himself alone in an abandoned office with a full-grown gorilla who is nibbling delicately on a slender branch. “You are the teacher?” he asks incredulously. “I am the teacher,” the gorilla replies. Ishmael is a creature of immense wisdom and he has a story to tell, one that no other human being has ever heard. (excerpt from Amazon)
Killing Floor, by Lee Child (The first book in the Jack Reacher Series). (Charlotte)
Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He’s just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he’s arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Reacher knows is that he didn’t kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn’t stand a chance of convincing anyone. Not in Margrave, Georgia. (excerpt from Amazon)
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (Sarah)
"After reading The Kite Runner, my eyes were forever opened to the Afghani struggle for peace and freedom throughout the most recent part of its history. In short, after reading this book my life was changed forever. The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir, an Afghani immigrant to America, who lived with his wealthy father until the Afghani monarchy fell and the Taliban regime took control. The story travels from Amir’s childhood in Afghanistan to his flee to Pakistan and finally to his life in California. The novel is extremely well written, and will move a reader to feel the sorrow, joy, and guilt that Amir feels throughout his journey. The novel will hopefully educate the student body about a part of the world’s history that not many people in our generation are educated about, and hopefully will spike an interest in the current Central Asian/Middle Eastern events. I think girls can relate to the novel in many ways, especially because Amir faces some of the struggles teenagers face today."
Warning: The Kite Runner contains some violence. Common Sense Media recommends it for age 16 and up.
Not in My Neighborhood, by Antero Pietila (Monita)
This all-American tale is told through the prism of Baltimore, from its early suburbanization in the 1880s to the consequences of "white flight" after World War II, and into the first decade of the twenty-first century. The events are real, and so are the heroes and villains. Mr. Pietila's engrossing story is an eye-opening journey into city blocks and neighborhoods, shady practices, and ruthless promoters.
Orlando, by Virginia Woolf (Ana)
"...a history of English literature in satiric form. The books describes the adventures of a poet who changes gender from man to woman as they travel through time and meet the key figures of English literary history.
recommended for incoming 11th and 12th Graders
Persuasion, by Jane Austen (Kimaya)
At the center of the novel is Anne's thwarted romance with Captain Frederick Wentworth, a navy man Anne met and fell in love with when she was 19. At the time, Wentworth was deemed an unsuitable match and Anne was forced to break off the relationship. Eight years later, however, they meet again. By this time Captain Wentworth has made his fortune in the navy and is an attractive "catch." However, Anne is now uncertain about his feelings for her. But after various twists and turns of fortune, the novel ends on a happy note.
Raven Boys, by Maggie Stiefvater (Dima)
"It is a fascinating book with amazing imagery and wonderful characters. It is about Blue, a girl in high school in the remote town of Henrietta, and how she lives in a house of not one, not two, but three psychic ladies, her mom included. It’s about her chance meeting with Raven boys, and her life suddenly becomes much more complicated then picking up the phone every time someone calls the 1-800- PYSCHIC hotline. It’s a story that mixes in Welsh mythology, a nice dose of sarcasm, and brilliant characters. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes to read fantasy books. I hope that you consider this as one of the summer reading books!"
Some Assembly Required, by Arin Andrews (Zipi)
"I think that this book is very relatable for high school students since it addresses the issue of body image. Although Arin's study, of being biologically born a woman who identified as a male, is not necessarily relatable to many here, it does connect to the idea of body image and pretty much all teenage girls struggle to think positively about their bodies. Furthermore, his book allows readers to learn the personal story of someone who is transgender, which can open their eyes to different types of people and identities. The story is informative yet doesn't throw tons of vocabulary at the readers and instead uses personal experiences to explain how those who are transgender might feel."
What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarity (Joanna)
"Imagine waking up and thinking it was 2005--completely unfamiliar with the relationships that you had made, confused about why friendships were broken and not able to recognize yourself in the mirror. This was a scary reality for Alice, the main protagonist in What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. After a fall at the gym, Alice wakes up in 2008, thinking it was 1998. She has no memory of meeting any of her three children, does not know why she is getting divorced and is confused by the lack of relationship she has with her sister. What Alice Forgot, takes you through Alice's journey of gaining her memory back and rediscovering the person she started to become 10 years earlier. Ultimately, Alice must decide if forgetting was a blessing or a curse, and whether it is possible for her to start over. What Alice Forgot is a novel that is challenging to put down and is sure to make you think about how the decisions you make now affect the person that you will become."
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race, by Beverly Daniel Tatum (Deja)
Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see black youth seated together in the cafeteria. Of course, it's not just the black kids sitting together-the white, Latino, Asian Pacific, and, in some regions, American Indian youth are clustered in their own groups, too. The same phenomenon can be observed in college dining halls, faculty lounges, and corporate cafeterias. What is going on here? Is this self-segregation a problem we should try to fix, or a coping strategy we should support? How can we get past our reluctance to talk about racial issues to even discuss it? (excerpt from Amazon)