Grade 12 Summer Reading List
(APPLICABLE for 12A, 12Honors, 12Creative, 12Creative Honors, 12Multicultural Lit, and 12Multicultural Lit Honors students)
ONLY need to choose ONE book from either FICTION, NON-FICTION, or GRAPHIC NOVELS below
Clap When You Land
by Elizabeth Acevedo
"Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people… In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash. Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other."
Genre: Realistic fiction; Multiple perspectives; Novels in verse
Subjects: Airplane accidents, Family secrets, Fathers, Grief, Half sisters, Separated sisters, Teenage girls
by A.S. King
"The Shoveler, the Freak, CanIHelpYou?, Loretta the Flea-Circus Ring Mistress, and First-Class Malcolm. These are the five teenagers lost in the Hemmings family's maze of tangled secrets. Only a generation removed from being simple Pennsylvania potato farmers, Gottfried and Marla Hemmings managed to trade digging spuds for developing subdivisions and now sit atop a seven-figure bank account, wealth they've declined to pass on to their adult children or their teenage grand children. As the rot just beneath the surface of the Hemmings precious white suburban respectability begins to spread, the far flung grand children gradually find their ways back to each other, just in time to uncover the terrible cost of maintaining the family name."
Genre: Magical realism; Multiple perspectives; Family sagas
Subjects: Cousins, Dysfunctional families, Family problems, Family reunions, Family secrets, Prejudice, Racism, Rich families, Suburban life, Wealth
by Andrew Smith
"Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival and the complex realities of the human condition."
Genre: Apocalyptic fiction; Science fiction
Subjects: End of the world, Insects, Adolescence, Friendship, Monsters, Humor, Sexuality, Best friends, Dating (Social customs), Families, Friendship, Genetic engineering, Love triangles, Survival
Love from A to Z
by S.K. Ali
A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together. An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are. But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry. When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break. Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her. Then her path crosses with Adam’s. Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister. Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father. Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals. Until a marvel and an oddity occurs… Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting. Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting."
Subjects: Realistic fiction; Epistolary novels; Multiple perspectives
Genre: Families, Family visits, Grief, Islamophobia, Multiple sclerosis, Prejudice, Secrets, Teenage romance
The Nickel Boys
by Colson Whitehead
"As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is “as good as anyone.” Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is a high school senior about to start classes at a local college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides “physical, intellectual and moral training” so the delinquent boys in their charge can become “honorable and honest men.” In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors. Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King’s ringing assertion “Throw us in jail and we will still love you.” His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble. The tension between Elwood’s ideals and Turner’s skepticism leads to a decision with repercussions that will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys’ fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy."
Genre: Realistic fiction; Historical fiction
Subjects: Corruption, Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, Friendship, Juvenile correctional institutions, Psychic trauma, Racism, Resistance (Psychology), Torture
On the Come Up
by Angie Thomas
"Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families. "
Genre: Realistic fiction
Subjects: Resilience (Personal quality), Children of celebrities, Children of musicians, Determination (Personal quality), Fame, Freedom of speech, Hip-hop culture, Mothers and daughters, Music industry and trade, Rap music, Rap musicians, Sixteen-year-old girls
Opposite of Always
by Justin A. Reynolds
"Jack Ellison King. King of Almost. He almost made valedictorian. He almost made varsity. He almost got the girl . . .When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. Jack’s curse of almost is finally over.But this love story is . . . complicated. It is an almost happily ever after. Because Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Beautiful, radiant Kate. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do—and let go—to save the people he loves."
Genre: Coming-of-age stories; Fantasy fiction; First person narratives; Love stories
Subjects: Consequences, Death, Girlfriends, Love Options, Alternatives choices, Second chances, Teenagers, Time travel
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
by Neil deGrasse Tyson
"What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson.But today, few of us have time to contemplate the cosmos. So Tyson brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in tasty chapters consumable anytime and anywhere in your busy day."
Genre: Science writing
Subjects: Astrophysics, Cosmogony, Cosmology, Space and time
Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates
"For Ta-Nehisi Coates, history has always been personal. At every stage of his life, he's sought in his explorations of history answers to the mysteries that surrounded him -- most urgently, why he, and other black people he knew, seemed to live in fear. What were they afraid of? Coates takes readers along on his journey through America's history of race and its contemporary resonances through a series of awakenings -- moments when he discovered some new truth about our long, tangled history of race, whether through his myth-busting professors at Howard University, a trip to a Civil War battlefield with a rogue historian, a journey to Chicago's South Side to visit aging survivors of 20th century America's 'long war on black people,' or a visit with the mother of a beloved friend who was shot down by the police. In his trademark style -- a mix of lyrical personal narrative, reimagined history, essayistic argument, and reportage -- Coates provides readers a thrillingly illuminating new framework for understanding race: its history, our contemporary dilemma, and where we go from here."
Genre: Autobiographies and memoirs; Life stories; Society and culture
Subjects: Intersectionality, Race (Social sciences), Race relations, Racism
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
by Trevor Noah
"The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle."
Genre: Autobiographies and memoirs; Essays; Family and Relationships; Humor writing; Life stories
Subjects: Comedians, Growing up, Mothers and sons, Poverty, Race relations, Television personalities
by Tara Westover
"Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag". In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard. Lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home. Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties."
Genre: Autobiographies and memoirs; Life stories
Subjects: Family violence, Home schooling, Rural life, Subcultures, Survivalism
Shout: The True Story of a Survivor Who Refused to be Silenced
by Laurie Halse Anderson
"Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares her life and calls women to action through deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before.Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #MeToo and #TimesUp, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice—and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore."
Genre: Autobiographies and memoirs; Biographies; First-person narratives; Social issues
Subjects: Empowerment (Social sciences), Healing, Sexual harassment, Sexual assault, Social change, Women authors
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
by Sebastian Junger
"Sebastian Junger, the bestselling author of War and The Perfect Storm, takes a critical look at post-traumatic stress disorder and the many challenges today’s returning veterans face in modern society. There are ancient tribal human behaviors-loyalty, inter-reliance, cooperation-that flare up in communities during times of turmoil and suffering. These are the very same behaviors that typify good soldiering and foster a sense of belonging among troops, whether they’re fighting on the front lines or engaged in non-combat activities away from the action. Drawing from history, psychology, and anthropology, bestselling author Sebastian Junger shows us just how at odds the structure of modern society is with our tribal instincts, arguing that the difficulties many veterans face upon returning home from war do not stem entirely from the trauma they’ve suffered, but also from the individualist societies they must reintegrate into."
Genre: History Writing; Society and culture
Subjects: Belonging, Homecomings, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Psychic trauma, Veterans
Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home
by Nora Krug
"Nora Krug's story of her attempt to confront the hidden truths of her family’s wartime past in Nazi Germany and to comprehend the forces that have shaped her life, her generation, and history. Nora Krug was born decades after the fall of the Nazi regime, but the Second World War cast a long shadow throughout her childhood and youth in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany. For Nora, the simple fact of her German citizenship bound her to the Holocaust and its unspeakable atrocities and left her without a sense of cultural belonging. Yet Nora knew little about her own family’s involvement in the war: though all four grandparents lived through the war, they never spoke of it. In her late thirties, after twelve years in the US, Krug realizes that living abroad has only intensified her need to ask the questions she didn’t dare to as a child and young adult. Returning to Germany, she visits archives, conducts research, and interviews family members, uncovering in the process the stories of her maternal grandfather, a driving teacher in Karlsruhe during the war, and her father’s brother Franz-Karl, who died as a teenage SS soldier in Italy. Her quest, spanning continents and generations, pieces together her family’s troubling story and reflects on what it means to be a German of her generation."
Genre: Autobiographical comics; Autobiographies and memoirs; Comics and Graphic novels; Life stories
Subjects: Ethnic identity, Families, Family secrets, Germans, Group identity, Identity (Psychology)
The Best We Could Do
by Thi Bui
"An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam from debut author Thi Bui.This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home.In what Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen calls “a book to break your heart and heal it,” The Best We Could Do brings to life Thi Bui’s journey of understanding, and provides inspiration to all of those who search for a better future while longing for a simpler past."
Genre: Autobiographical comics; Comics and Graphic novels; Family and Relationships; Life stories
Subjects: Acculturation, Coping, Family relationships, Identity (Psychology), Immigrant families, Vietnam War
by Fábio Moon, Gabriel Bá, Craig Thompson, Dave Stewart, and Sean Konot
"What are the most important days of your life? Meet Brás de Oliva Domingos. The miracle child of a world-famous Brazilian writer, Brás spends his days penning other people's obituaries and his nights dreaming of becoming a successful author himself—writing the end of other people's stories, while his own has barely begun.But on the day that life begins, would he even notice? Does it start at 21 when he meets the girl of his dreams? Or at 11, when he has his first kiss? Is it later in his life when his first son is born? Or earlier when he might have found his voice as a writer? Each day in Brás's life is like a page from a book. Each one reveals the people and things who have made him who he is: his mother and father, his child and his best friend, his first love and the love of his life. And like all great stories, each day has a twist he'll never see coming..."
Genre: Comics and Graphic novels
Subjects: Expectation (Psychology), Family relationships, Men, Relationships, Obituary writers, Purpose in life, Second chances
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic
by Alison Bechdel
"In this graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father.Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the Fun Home. It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve."
Genre: Autobiographical comics; Comics and Graphic novels; Family and Relationships; Life stories
Subjects: Brothers, Cartoonists, Children of divorced parents, Death, Divorce, Fathers and daughters, Funeral homes, Historic preservation, Parent and child, Teachers, Teacher-student relationships, Undertakers
Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
by Octavia E. Butler, Damian Duffy, John Jennings
"I lost an arm on my last trip home. Home is a new house with a loving husband in 1970s California that suddenly transformed in to the frightening world of the antebellum South. Dana, a young black writer, can't explain how she is transported across time and space to a plantation in Maryland. But she does quickly understand why: to deal with the troubles of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder--and her progenitor. Her survival, her very existence, depends on it."
Genre: Afrofuturism and Afrofantasy; Comics and Graphic novels; Science fiction comics
Subjects: Ancestors, Rescues, Slavery, Time travel (Past)