Home > Summer Reading Lists > 2014 Grade 9-12 Summer Reading List

2014 Grade 9-12 Summer Reading List

This list was compiled by Linda Williams for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Most selected titles are loosely connected to Connecticut’s statewide summer reading theme, SCIENCE. Many 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), the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA) or the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Note: There is little coverage of high school level titles by any of these organizations other than ALA and AAAS. (Download a .pdf of the list)


We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Coming of age in middle America, 18-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family member and who Rosemary loved as a sister. Lexile:
ALA, Outstanding Books for the College Bound,


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Seconds before Earth is demolished to make room for a galactic freeway, an earthman is saved by his friend. Together they journey through the galaxy. Lexile: 1000

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
In 2025 California, an eighteen-year-old African American woman, suffering from a hereditary trait that causes her to feel others’ pain as well as her own, flees northward from her small community and its desperate savages. Lexile: 710

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
After being interrogated for days by the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco, California, seventeen-year-old Marcus, released into what is now a police state, decides to use his expertise in computer hacking to set things right. Lexile: 900. Ebook can be downloaded for free here: http://bit.ly/1lLO4vt

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
As seventeen-year-old Jill Jekel and classmate Tristen Hyde work together on a chemistry project, hoping to win a scholarship for her and a cure for his curse, they also uncover family secrets and a chemistry of their own. Lexile:

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Charlie Gordon, born with an unusually low IQ, must face his gradual return to his former state when the astounding results of an experimental surgery that increased his intelligence prove to be only temporary. Lexile:

The Carbon Diaries, 2015 by Saci Lloyd
In 2015, when England becomes the first nation to introduce carbon dioxide rationing in a drastic bid to combat climate change, sixteen-year-old Laura documents the first year of rationing as her family spirals out of control. Lexile: 690

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony’s true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World. Lexile: 860. Sequels: The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men.
ALA, Outstanding Books for the College Bound,

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix
Battling aliens, space pirates, and competitors, Prince Khemri meets a young woman, named Raine, and learns more than he expected about the hidden workings of a vast, intergalactic Empire, and about himself. (Publisher) Lexile: 1070

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Dr. Moreau’s daughter, Juliet, travels to her estranged father’s island, only to encounter murder, medical horrors, and a love triangle. Lexile: 640

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Austin Szerba narrates the end of humanity as he and his best friend Robby accidentally unleash an army of giant, unstoppable bugs and uncover the secrets of a decades-old experiment gone terribly wrong. Lexile:

Double Helix by Nancy Werlin
Eighteen-year-old Eli discovers a shocking secret about his life and his family while working for a Nobel Prize-winning scientist whose specialty is genetic engineering. Lexile: 690
NBA Finalist,

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Cassie Sullivan, the survivor of an alien invasion, must rescue her young brother from the enemy with help from a boy who may be one of them. Lexile: 690


How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial by Darryl Cunningham
Author-illustrator Darryl Cunningham looks at hot-button science topics and presents a fact-based, visual assessment of current thinking and research on eight different issues everybody’s arguing about. Lexile:

Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein by Gris Grimly
Retells, in graphic novel format, Mary Shelley’s classic tale of a monster, assembled by a scientist from parts of dead bodies, who develops a mind of his own as he learns to loathe himself and hate his creator.

Feynman by Jim Ottaviani
In this substantial graphic novel biography, First Second presents the larger-than-life exploits of Nobel-winning quantum physicist, adventurer, musician, world-class raconteur, and one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century: Richard Feynman. Written by nonfiction comics mainstay Jim Ottaviani and brilliantly illustrated by First Second author Leland Myrick, Feynman tells the story of the great man’s life from his childhood in Long Island to his work on the Manhattan Project and the Challenger disaster. Ottaviani tackles the bad with the good, leaving the reader delighted by Feynman’s exuberant life and staggered at the loss humanity suffered with his death. (Publisher) Lexile: 620


Steampunk Poe by Edgar Allan Poe
Presents a collection of Poe’s short stories and poems, including “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” and “The Raven,” accompanied by steampunk-inspired illustrations. Lexile:


Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts by Emily Anthes
Examines the advances in cloning technology, including sensor-wearing seals, cyborg beetles, a bionic bulldog, and the world’s first cloned cat. Lexile:

Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom and Science by Marc Aronson
Sugar has left a bloody trail through human history. Cane–not cotton or tobacco–drove the bloody Atlantic slave trade and took the lives of countless Africans who toiled on vast sugar plantations under cruel overseers. And yet the very popularity of sugar gave abolitionists in England the one tool that could finally end the slave trade. This book traces the history of sugar from its origins in New Guinea around 7000 B.C. to its use in the 21st century to produce ethanol. Lexile: 1120

Gulp.: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
Examines the alimentary canal and the digestive system, answering such questions as, can constipation kill a person, why the stomach doesn’t digest itself, how much can be eaten before the stomach bursts, and more. Lexile: . Or any book by Mary Roach.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Examines the experiences of the children and husband of Henrietta Lacks, who, twenty years after her death from cervical cancer in 1951, learned doctors and researchers took cells from her cervix without consent which were used to create the immortal cell line known as the HeLa cell; provides an overview of Henrietta’s life; and explores issues of experimentation on African-Americans and bioethics. Lexile: 1140
ALA, Outstanding Books for the College Bound

Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries by Neil deGrasse Tyson
A collection of essays on the cosmos, written by an American Museum of Natural History astrophysicist, includes “Holy Wars,” “Ends of the World,” and “Hollywood Nights.” Lexile: 1300

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
A study of what would happen to Earth if the human presence was removed examines our legacy for the planet, from the objects that would vanish without human intervention to those that would become long-lasting remnants of humankind. Lexile:


The Radioactive Boys Scout: The Frightening True Story of a Whiz Kid and His Homemade Nuclear Reactor by Ken Silverstein
This book recreates David Hahn’s nuclear quest to build a breeder reactor in his backyard garden shed. Lexile: 1300
ALA, Outstanding Books for the College Bound

Favorites & Classics


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda’s freshman year in high school. Lexile: 690

Kindred by Octavia Butler
A young African-American woman is mysteriously transferred back in time leading to an irresistible curiosity about her family’s past. Lexile: 580

Feed by M. T. Anderson
In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble. Lexile: 770

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Set in the near future, America has become a puritanical theocracy and Offred tells her story as a Handmaid under the new social order. Lexile: 750

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Young Ender Wiggin may prove to be the military genius Earth needs to fight a desperate battle against a deadly alien race that will determine the future of the human race. Lexile: 780

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
A young girl living in a Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago ponders the advantages and disadvantages of her environment and evaluates her relationships with family and friends. Lexile: 850

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
A series of letters to an unknown correspondent reveals the coming-of-age trials of a high-schooler named Charlie. Lexile: 720

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Follows nine-year-old Oskar Schell as he encounters a number of interesting characters in his search for information about his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and tries to find the lock that fits the mysterious key he left behind. Lexile: 940

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. Lexile: 850

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-yearold boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor’s dog and uncovers secret information about his mother. Lexile: 1180

Monster by Walter Dean Myers
While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, sixteen-yearold Steve Harmon records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.Lexile: 670

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Contains black-and-white comic strip images in which the author shares the story of her life in Tehran, Iran, where she lived from ages six to fourteen while the country came under control of the Islamic regime. Lexile: 380

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Young Francie Nolan, having inherited both her father’s romantic and her mother’s practical nature, struggles to survive and thrive growing up in the slums of Brooklyn in the early twentieth century. Lexile: 810

Buried Onions by Gary Soto
When nineteen-year-old Eddie drops out of college, he struggles to find a place for himself as a Mexican American living in a violence-infested neighborhood of Fresno, California. Lexile: 850


Weetzie Bat series by Francesca Lia Block
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Earthsea series by Ursula K. Le Guin
His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
Shiver trilogy by Maggie Steifvater
Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor
Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld

Categories: Summer Reading Lists
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