Home > Uncategorized > 2012 Grade 9-12 Summer Reading List

2012 Grade 9-12 Summer Reading List

This list was compiled by Linda Williams for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Many of the titles selected are loosely connected to Connecticut’s statewide summer reading theme, NIGHT. All listed titles have been selected as exemplary books by at least one of the following: American Library Association (ALA) the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), or the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA). Note: There is little coverage of high school level titles by any of these organizations other than ALA. (Download a .pdf of the list)


Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Seventeen-year-old Amy Goodnight has long been the one who makes her family of witches seem somewhat normal to others, but while spending a summer with her sister caring for their aunt’s farm, Amy becomes the center of weirdness when she becomes tied to a powerful ghost.

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
Fifteen-year-old Colie, a former fat girl, spends the summer working as a waitress in a beachside restaurant, staying with her overweight and eccentric Aunt Mira, and trying to explore her sense of self.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life. (Trailer)
ALA (not yet, but it’s a sure thing) 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor’s dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.
ALA (Alex Award)

Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos
In the 1960s, Rico Fuentes, a pale-skinned Cuban American teenager, abandons drug-infested New York City for the picket fence and apple pie world of Wisconsin, only to discover that he still feels like an outsider and that violent and judgmental people can be found even in the wholesome Midwest. (Trailer)

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks
Fifteen-year-old vampire Nina has been stuck for fifty-one years in a boring support group for vampires, and nothing exciting has ever happened to them–until one of them is murdered and the others must try to solve the crime.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Rory, of Boueuxlieu, Louisiana, is spending a year at a London boarding school when she witnesses a murder by a Jack the Ripper copycat and becomes involved with the very unusual investigation. (Trailer)

Gil’s All Fright Diner by Lee A. Martinez
Earl and Duke stop in at a roadside diner in Rockwood County, and Loretta, the cafe’s owner asks them to help solve the zombie problem that is troubling the local town.
ALA (Alex Award)

Wake by Lisa McMann
Ever since she was eight years old, high school student Janie Hannagan has been uncontrollably drawn into other people’s dreams, but it is not until she befriends an elderly nursing home patient and becomes involved with an enigmatic fellow-student that she discovers her true power. (Trailer)

Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis
Sold to be the eighth wife of a rich and cruel merchant, Safia, also called Raka, tries to escape her fate by telling stories of Farhad the thief, his companion Nitish the white tiger, and their travels across India to retrieve a famous jewel that will save a kidnapped princess from becoming the bride of a demon king.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
A circus known as Le Cirque des Reves features two illusionists, Celia and Marco, who are unknowingly competing in a game to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters, and as the two fall deeply and passionately in love with each other, their masters intervene with dangerous consequences. (Trailer)
ALA (Alex Award)

Somewhere in the Darkness  by Walter Dean Myers
A teenage boy accompanies his father, who has recently escaped from prison, on a trip that turns out to be an, often painful, time of discovery for them both.

A Step from Heaven by An Na
A young Korean girl and her family find it difficult to learn English and adjust to life in America.

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
When his twin brother falls ill in the family’s chateau in the independent republic of Geneva in the eighteenth century, sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein embarks on a dangerous and uncertain quest to create the forbidden Elixir of Life described in an ancient text in the family’s secret Biblioteka Obscura. (Trailer)

The Boy Who Couldn’t Sleep and Never Had To by D. C. Pierson
Fifteen-year-old Darren, a social misfit who spends his time at school trying not to be noticed while drawing characters for a planned film series and book tie-ins, befriends Eric, another outcast who reveals that he never sleeps.
ALA (Alex Award)

Nation by Terry Pratchet
After a devastating tsunami destroys all that they have ever known, Mau, an island boy, and Daphne, an aristocratic English girl, together with a small band of refugees, set about rebuilding their community and all the things that are important in their lives.

Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Eighteen-year-old Zach does not remember how he came to be in a treatment center for alcoholics, but through therapy and caring friends, his amnesia fades and he learns to face his past while working toward a better future.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
In all the years she has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house, Grace has been particularly drawn to an unusual yellow-eyed wolf who, in his turn, has been watching her with increasing intensity. (Trailer)

The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
When a mysterious threat reenters the lives of twins Ben and Sheere, separated as babies and reunited as teenagers in 1930s Calcutta, the siblings must confront an unspeakable terror, with the help of their secret society of fellow orphans. (TrailerUSBBY


Trickster: Native American Tales
Collects over twenty trickster stories, in graphic novel format, from various Native American traditions, including tales about coyotes, rabbits, ravens, and other crafty creatures and their mischievous activities.


Langston Hughes : Poetry for Young People edited by David Roessel & Arnold Rampersad
A brief profile of the African American poet Langston Hughes accompanies some of his better known poems for children.

A Wreath for Emmett Till  by Marilyn Nelson
This illustrated poetry collection eulogizes Emmett Till, an African American man who was killed in a brutal, racially motivated lynching in 1955.


Race: A History Beyond Black and White by Marc Aronson
Race. You know it at a glance: he’s black; she’s white. They’re Asian; we’re Latino. Racism. I’m better; she’s worse. Those people do those kinds of things. We all know it’s wrong to make these judgments, but they come faster than thought. Why? Where did those feelings come from? Why are they so powerful?

Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition by Karen Blumenthal
Chronicles the history of Prohibition in the United States, a period from 1920 to 1933 during which it was illegal to sell or drink alcohol, discussing how what began as a movement to heal social ills, became a burden to ordinary citizens and a boon to criminals.

Seeing in the Dark  by Timothy Ferris
The author shares his own experiences as an amateur astronomer, and discusses the discoveries of other backyard stargazers around the world who are expanding the field of knowledge with binoculars, small telescopes, and high-tech imaging equipment.
ALA (Alex Award)

Stiff  by Mary Roach
Explores how human cadavers have been used throughout history, discussing how the use of dead bodies has benefited every aspect of human existence.
ALA (Alex Award)


Janis Joplin by Ann Angel
A biography of rock musician Janis Joplin, with photographs and anecdotes from those who knew her, covering her work to improve as a singer, struggle against authority, and love for her mother.

Breaking Night by Liz Murray
Liz Murray, who was homeless at the age of fifteen and had drug-addicted parents, reflects on how she overcame obstacles and eventually attended Harvard University.
ALA (Alex Award)

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Pam Gagnon
    March 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    I loved Soulless by Carriger, but it does have some fairly graphic (though humorous) sex scenes. I have it in the library, but I don’t know if I’d put on a list.

  2. Helen Aveline
    March 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Thanks, Linda! Just what I need for a meeting tomorrow!

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