2020 Summer Reading List - Honors, AP, and IB English Courses


by Alan Gratz

Grade 6 Honors

The novel follows the stories of three refugee children in three different geographic locations and points in time. Each child experiences traumatic losses and personal victories as they struggle to escape the political instability of their homelands. Josef Landau is fleeing Nazi Germany in 1939.

Piercing Me Together

by Renee Watson

Grade 7 Honors

A timely and powerful story about a teen girl striving for success in a world that too often feels like it wants to break her.

Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she's ever going to succeed. Her mother tells her to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. And she has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for "at-risk" girls. Except really, it's for black girls. From "bad" neighborhoods. And just because Maxine, her college-graduate mentor, is black doesn't mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.


by Neal Shusterman

Grade 8 Honors

In entries in her "gleaning journal," Scythe Curie gives the reader the history of her world. in 2042, humans became immortal and created the Scythedom, an organization of scythes—people trained to "glean," or kill others permanently—to control the population growth. This job is the only one not overseen by the Thunderhead, an advanced version of "the cloud" that has replaced government and oversees every aspect of the population. With immortality has come the sense that there's no longer a point to life, and people in Curie's age don't understand what it was like to live knowing that death was inevitable.

Seventeen-year-old Citra is horrified when Scythe Faraday shows up on her family's doorstep and invites himself for dinner. She and her parents are terrified that he's going to glean them, and Citra angrily snaps at him. He admits he's here to glean their neighbor. Not long after, Faraday shows up at Rowan's school to glean the quarterback, Kohl Whitlock. Rowan stubbornly insists on holding Kohl's hand when Faraday electrocutes him, and for this, Rowan's classmates, including his best friend Tyger, shun him. When Faraday invites both Citra and Rowan to become his apprentices, they both accept; however, only one of them will become a scythe.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee book coverTo Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

Grade 9 Honors & AP

Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep South—and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred.

One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than forty million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father—a crusading local lawyer—risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals book coverWarriors Don't Cry

by Melba Pattillo Beals

Grade 10 Honors & AP

In 1957, well before Martin Luther King’s "I Have a Dream" speech, Melba Pattillo Beals and eight other teenagers became iconic symbols for the Civil Rights Movement and the dismantling of Jim Crow in the American South as they integrated Little Rock’s Central High School in the wake of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education.

Throughout her harrowing ordeal, Melba was taunted by her schoolmates and their parents, threatened by a lynch mob's rope, attacked with lighted sticks of dynamite, and injured by acid sprayed in her eyes. But through it all, she acted with dignity and courage, and refused to back down.

Just Mercy

by Bryan Stevenson

Grade 11 AP & IB

After graduating from Harvard, Bryan Stevenson heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or those not afforded proper representation. One of his first cases is that of Walter McMillian, who is sentenced to die in 1987 for the murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite evidence proving his innocence. In the years that follow, Stevenson encounters racism and legal and political maneuverings as he tirelessly fights for McMillian's life.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel book coverLife of Pi

by Yann Martel

Grade 12 AP & IB

The beloved and bestselling novel and winner of the Booker Prize, Life of Pi.

"A story to make you believe in the soul-sustaining power of fiction."—Los Angeles Times Book Review

After the sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan—and a 450-pound royal bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and beloved works of fiction in recent years.

Universally acclaimed upon publication, Life of Pi is a modern classic.

Summer Reading
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