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 this 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).

    2. 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 paragraph 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 Remind. The class code is b9cg6c.

  2. 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 ENROLLMENT KEY.

      Class ID: 18056768                            Enrollment Key: HonEng11

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

  1. Bright Lights, Dark Nights by Stephen Emond            

    Walter Wilcox has never been in love. That is, until he meets Naomi, and sparks, and clever jokes, fly. But when his cop dad is caught in a racial profiling scandal, Walter, who is white, and Naomi, who is African American, are called out at school, home, and online. Can their bond (and mutual love of the Foo Fighters) keep them together? With black-and-white illustrations throughout and a heartfelt, humorous voice, Stephen Emond's Bright Lights, Dark Nights authentically captures just how tough first love can be...and why it's worth fighting for.

  2. City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

    Tina has been developing her plan for revenge against her mother's killer for five years, and it's finally time to set it in motion. But things don't go quite as planned when she breaks into Roland Greyhill's palatial estate in the hills above bustling Sangui City, Kenya. Greyhill's son, Michael, who was Tina's best friend when her mother worked as a maid in the house, catches her downloading information from his father's computer. His condition for not turning her in? Teaming up with him to prove that his father is innocent of murder. Their investigation involves members of the local gang Tina joined after her mother's death, smugglers, oil company executives, and a dissolute journalist, and it takes Tina, Michael, and her friend Boyboy into the remote area of Congo where Tina was born as they try to learn whether something in her mother's past led to her death. Themes of war-time horrors, post-traumatic stress disorder, economic disparity, and colonialism are seamlessly woven into a solidly plotted, swiftly paced international murder mystery that's laced with just a hint of romance. Highly recommended for teens looking for a gritty, suspenseful, immersive read driven by a tough, smart, realistic heroine.

  3. 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.

  4. Hit Count by Chris Lynch

    Arlo Brodie loves being at the heart of the action on the football field, getting hit hard and hitting back harder. Arlo’s dad cheers him on, but his mother quotes head injury statistics and refuses to watch games. Arlo’s girlfriend tries to make him see how dangerously he’s playing; when that doesn’t work, she calls time out on their relationship.Even Arlo’s coaches begin to track his hit count, ready to pull him off the field when he nears the limit. But for Arlo the winning plays, the cheering crowds, and the adrenaline rush are enough to convince him that everything is OK--in spite of the pain, the pounding, the dizziness, and the confusion.

  5. Draw the Line by Laurent Linn

    Adrian Piper is used to blending into the background. He may be a talented artist, a sci-fi geek, and gay, but at his Texas high school those traits would only bring him the worst kind of attention. In fact, the only place he feels free to express himself is at his drawing table, crafting a secret world through his own Renaissance-art-inspired superhero, Graphite. But in real life, when a shocking hate crime flips his world upside down, Adrian must decide what kind of person he wants to be. Maybe it’s time to not be so invisible after all—no matter how dangerous the risk.

  6. What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Pérez

    Seventeen-year-old Marisa s mother has been saying this for as long as Marisa can remember. Her parents came to Houston from Mexico. They work hard, and they expect Marisa to help her familia. An ordinary life marrying a neighborhood guy, working, having babies ought to be good enough for her. Marisa hears something else from her calc teacher. She should study harder, ace the AP test, and get into engineering school in Austin. Some days, it all seems possible. On others, she’s not even sure what she wants. When her life at home becomes unbearable, Marisa seeks comfort elsewhere and suddenly neither her best friend nor boyfriend can get through to her. Caught between the expectations of two different worlds, Marisa isn't sure what she wants other than a life where she doesn’t end each day thanking God it's over. But some things just can't wait...

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 Beniov 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. 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 Radium Girls by Kate Moore

The incredible true story of the women who fought America’s Undark danger….

The Curies’ newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War. Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill. But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women’s cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come. Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives...

     4. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train is an unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights a little-known but historically significant movement in America’s past—and it includes a special PS section for book clubs featuring insights, interviews, and more. Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance. Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both. Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

     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).