English 11 Honors Summer Work

Honors English 11 Summer Reading List


Welcome to Honors English 11!  My philosophy on summer reading is that it is necessary for your brain and your soul; consistent reading is crucial to improve reading, and reading different texts is crucial to developing your opinions and values.  So, if you want a brain and a personality, read some books this summer – not just the ones on the list!

~Ms. Hood



  1. Read Beowulf, chapters 1-18 (check this out from TFN bookstore before you leave). You can also find the text online, but you may find it easier to have the actual text since we will be spending the first two-three weeks on this text.
    1. Write a modern adaptation (assignment and rubric attached).
      1. Submit to turnitin.com before the first day of school, and turn in a hard copy on the first day of school.
  2. Read a book on List 1 and choose ONE of the assessments below. Submit to turnitin.com before the first day of school, and turn in a hard copy on the first day of school.
    1. Design a new cover for the novel and justify how your design choices reflect the larger themes of the novel in a two page statement (you do not need to submit the cover to turnitin.com – just submit the statement).
    2. Create a soundtrack for the novel that includes 8-10 songs. Include the lyrics, title, and artist (must be school appropriate) and write a brief analysis of how each choice reflects the themes, the events, or characters in the novel.
  3. Read a book on List 2 and prepare for an in-class essay on the second day of school.
    1. You will be given the topic of the essay the first day of school. Since you will not know what the essay is about, it is in your best interest to take quite a few notes.
    2. Keep a list of quotes with parenthetical citations. You will be required to have quotes in your essay. Make sure you write down quite a few quotes you can choose from (20-30). You will be allowed to bring the novel to class, so post-it notes are also fine. See more details about how to take notes under List 2.

Additional Things To Know

  1. Sign up for Remind101. The class code is b9cg6c.
  2. If you need any help this summer, there will be several options for you to come to school. I will be here both dates in June, and other honors teachers will be here on the July date. All dates will be in Room 201.

                 June 7: 11:30-12:30   /   June 27: 11:45-12:45   /   July 24: 11:30-12:30

  3. You must add my class on turnitin.com before school starts.
    1. Go to http://turnitin.com and click on “login” in the upper right-hand corner.
    2. Your password for turnitin will be a lower case “n” followed by your student ID number (No spaces between the ‘”n” and ID number).
    3. Choose the tab at the top that says “Enroll in a Class.” You will be asked to enter a CLASS ID and PASSWORD.
      1. Class ID: 15416772                            Password: HE112017

List 1:  Young Adult Novels (all reviews are from amazon.com or goodreads.com)

1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

        Eleanor, 15, is the new girl at school and bullied because she's overweight and dresses in a flamboyant manner. Park is a half-Korean boy who has lived in Omaha, Nebraska, all his life but still feels like an outsider. This is a story of first love, which very slowly builds from the first day Eleanor sits next to Park on the school bus. First they ignore each other, and then they slowly become friends through their love of comic books and 1980s alternative music. Park is the only good thing in Eleanor's life. Her home life is a miserable exercise in trying to stay out of her abusive stepfather's way, and finding new ways to wear the same clothes repeatedly since there is no money for anything extra. Park adores everything about Eleanor, and she finds refuge at his house after school with his understanding parents. Things finally explode at Eleanor's house and Eleanor and Park's relationship is truly tested. The narrative points of view alternate between Eleanor and Park, adding dimension to Rowell's story.

2. Mexican White Boy by Matt de la Peña

Danny is constantly out of place, or at least that's how he sees it. He has a gift for pitching-his lanky arms can throw a baseball fast enough to get noticed by any coach or college scout-but he loses his cool on the mount. His mother is a blue-eyed blonde, but the color of his skin sets him apart at the private school he attends in San Diego, where he isn't "white enough." He isn't "Mexican enough" for the barrio either though. He looks Mexican so everyone assumes he speaks Spanish, but he doesn't. He can throw a baseball 95 miles per hour but isn't on any team. All in all, he is out of place. When he spends the summer with relatives in his dad's old neighborhood, Danny becomes convinced that if he saves up enough money he can go to Mexico and find his father. Danny is desperate to find his place in this world and develop a sense of self, longings that will ring true with any teen.

3. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.  The first book in a series.

4. Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

At almost 16, Felton hits a huge growth spurt, finds he has athletic talent, begins to think of himself differently, finds a girlfriend, and deals with his mother’s mental breakdown.  It’s about a boy.   It’s about sports.  It’s about being a serious dork.  It’s about a paper route.  It’s about bullying and the opposite.  It’s about a girl.  It’s about hair growth.  It’s about a little brother.   It’s about piano.  It’s about a depressed mother.  It’s about learning to be who you are.  It’s about not hiding.

5. The Hate U Give by Angela Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

List 2:  Adult Fiction and Nonfiction (all reviews are from amazon.com or goodreads.com)

You will be writing an in-class essay for this novel. Since you do not yet know the question you need to address in your essay, it is important to keep a list of notes and quotes. If you use an ebook, look up how to cite it. Consider the following as you read, and take notes/collect quotes for each category:

  • Choose at least three themes.What is the author trying to say about life?How is the theme evident in the book?
  • Consider the genre or category of the novel. Is it a mystery? Realistic fiction? Dystopian fiction? Once you have decided on the genre of your novel (you can look on www.amazon.com to find this out), you may want to look up the features of the genre to help you focus on certain characteristics while reading.
  • Consider the characters. How did they change? Why? Focus in particular on relationships between characters. How do they affect each other? Is there redemption for any characters?When you consider character development, one of the best things to look at is the choices a character makes.
  • Consider critical moments.What changed the course of a character’s life? What does that tell you about a character’s values?

    1.  City of Thieves by David Benioff

Having elected to stay in Leningrad during the siege, 17-year-old Lev Benioff is caught looting a German paratrooper's corpse. The penalty for this infraction (and many others) is execution. But when Colonel Grechko confronts Lev and Kolya, a Russian army deserter also facing execution, he spares them on the condition that they acquire a dozen eggs for the colonel's daughter's wedding cake. Their mission exposes them to the most ghoulish acts of the starved populace and takes them behind enemy lines to the Russian countryside. There, Lev and Kolya take on an even more daring objective: to kill the commander of the local occupying German forces. A wry and sympathetic observer of the devastation around him, Lev is an engaging and self-deprecating narrator who finds unexpected reserves of courage at the crucial moment and forms an unlikely friendship with Kolya, a flamboyant ladies' man who is coolly reckless in the face of danger. Benioff blends tense adventure, a bittersweet coming-of-age, and an oddly touching buddy narrative to craft a smart crowd-pleaser.

2. Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother by Sonia Nazario

Based on the Los Angeles Times newspaper series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for feature writing and another for feature photography, this page-turner about the power of family is a popular text in classrooms and a touchstone for communities across the country to engage in meaningful discussions about this essential American subject. Enrique’s Journey recounts the unforgettable quest of a Honduran boy looking for his mother, eleven years after she is forced to leave her starving family to find work in the United States. Braving unimaginable peril, often clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains, Enrique travels through hostile worlds full of thugs, bandits, and corrupt cops. But he pushes forward, relying on his wit, courage, hope, and the kindness of strangers.

3.  The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation by Natalie Y. Moore

Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel have touted and promoted Chicago as a "world class city." The skyscrapers kissing the clouds, the billion-dollar Millennium Park, Michelin-rated restaurants, pristine lake views, fabulous shopping, vibrant theater scene, downtown flower beds and stellar architecture tell one story. Yet, swept under the rug is the stench of segregation that compromises Chicago. The Manhattan Institute dubs Chicago as one of the most segregated big cities in the country. Unlike many other major U.S. cities, no one race dominates. Chicago is divided equally into black, white, and Latino, each group clustered in their various turfs. In this intelligent and highly important narrative, Chicago-native Natalie Moore shines a light on contemporary segregation on the South Side of Chicago through reported essays, showing the life of these communities through the stories of people who live in them. The South Side shows the important impact of Chicago's historic segregation - and the ongoing policies that keep it that way.

4.  Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Look beyond the inevitable comparison to The Hunger Games--Red Rising is the first book of a gritty, complex trilogy that blazes its own trail. On desolate Mars, the protagonist, Darrow, is caught in a class system that thrives on oppression and secrecy. He is a Red, the lowest member of society, born to toil in the bowels of the planet in service to the sovereign Golds. When Darrow suffers a devastating loss and betrayal he becomes a revolutionary, taking on a dangerous role in an attempt to bring about social justice. Questions of fate, duality, and loyalty, evolve in a cruel test of war between the sons and daughters of the ruling elite. By turns brutal and heartfelt, Red Rising is nonstop action with surprising twists and unforgettable characters.

5.  Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased. Her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story is like going on a journey with your bravest friend to the cemetery at midnight. She demystifies death, leading us behind the black curtain of her unique profession. And she answers questions you didn’t know you had: Can you catch a disease from a corpse? How many dead bodies can you fit in a Dodge van? What exactly does a flaming skull look like? Honest and heartfelt, self-deprecating and ironic, Caitlin's engaging style makes this otherwise taboo topic both approachable and engrossing. Now a licensed mortician with an alternative funeral practice, Caitlin argues that our fear of dying warps our culture and society, and she calls for better ways of dealing with death (and our dead).