Required Reading Lists
Reading for enjoyment is a priceless pastime that people of all ages enjoy. To cultivate this in our students, the TFS English Department will again require Summer Reading for all students. Each student is responsible for reading one book over the summer. The student may choose which book to read from the list below. During the first two weeks of school, English teachers will be giving an in-class response prompt that assesses comprehension of the book. Later in the first two weeks, students may also work on a project that stems from the book's content. Honors and AP students have required reading that differs from those students not enrolled in Honors or AP classes. Teachers have explained and distributed the specific assignments to all students.
All summer reading grades will be included in the first grading period. Students transferring into the district after the end of the first quarter will not be required to take the summer reading assessment/assignment. All transfer students who arrive during the first quarter will be required to complete the assessment and assignment.
The English Department and Library Director came together to select the required books based on Illinois State Library's Read for a Lifetime booklist. We feel they are interesting, insightful, and engaging for teens. Please take a moment to look over the book selections. These books may be found in a variety of locations and students are NOT required to purchase them. The Lansing and Glenwood/Lynwood Libraries both have multiple copies of each title. Check Lansing Library and place a hold for a title here.
Other classes and courses also require summer reading. Please check the list at left to view other classes and courses.
Students enrolled in English 9, 10, 11, or 12 (non-honors) must choose one book from the following list:
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?
Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation by Ari Folman
This first graphic edition of the Diary includes extensive quotation directly from the definitive edition. It remains faithful to the original, while the stunning illustrations interpret and add layers of visual meaning and immediacy to this classic work of Holocaust literature.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.
Boots on the Ground by Elizabeth Partridge
In over a decade of bitter fighting, America's war in Vietnam claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American soldiers and beleaguered four US presidents. Boots on the Ground tells the personal stories of six American soldiers, one American military nurse, and one Vietnamese refugee.From dense jungles and terrifying firefights to chaotic helicopter rescues and harrowing escapes, each individual experience reveals a different facet of the war and moves us forward in time.
The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas
There are no more cheerleaders in Sunnybrook, but that doesn't mean anyone else is safe. First there was the car accident. Not long after, the murders happened. Monica's sister was the last cheerleader to die. After her suicide, Sunnybrook High disbanded the cheer squad. That was five years ago. Now the faculty and students at Sunnybrook High want to remember the lost cheerleaders, but it's not that easy for Monica. She just wants to forget as her world is starting to unravel. Some people in town know more than they're saying, and somehow, Monica is at the center of it all.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s half Persian, on his mom’s side, and his first-ever trip to Iran is about to change his life. Darius has never really fit in at home, and he’s sure things are going to be the same in Iran. His clinical depression doesn’t exactly help matters, and trying to explain his medication to his grandparents only makes things harder. Then Darius meets Sohrab, the boy next door, and everything changes.
Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich
When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family's griefover the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend. Suddenly, Evan isn't invisible anymore--even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy's parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend.
Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham
When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family's property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the present and the past. Nearly one hundred years earlier, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what's right the night Tulsa burns. Through intricately interwoven alternating perspectives, the Tulsa race riot of 1921 are brought to blazing life raising important questions about the complex state of US race relations--both yesterday and today.
Dry by Neal Shusterman
The drought, or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it, has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers. Until the taps run dry. Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. When her parents don’t return and her’s and her brother’s lives are threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far and if there was still a way home.
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people do in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river, your best friend, who is gone forever, or your mother, who has nothing left to give you. Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka
In kindergarten, Jarrett Krosoczka's teacher asks him to draw his family, including a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett's family is much more complicated than that. His addict mom is in and out of rehab and of Jarrett's life. His father is a mystery! Jarrett doesn't know where to find him, or what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents -- two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along. Jarrett goes through his childhood trying to make his non-normal life as normal as possible, finding a way to express himself through drawing even as so little is being said to him about what's going on.
I have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman
Around the time that Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, Harun is making plans to run away from home to find the boy that he loves, and Nathaniel is arriving in New York City after a family tragedy leaves him isolated on the outskirts of Washington State. After the three of them collide in Central Park, they slowly reveal the parts of their past that they haven't been able to confront, and together, they find their way back to who they're supposed to be.
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. She’s an anomaly in her friend group: as the only child of a young, single mom, her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon. So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways.
Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
Seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school. But in the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down.
Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton
Cliff Hubbard is a huge loser...literally! His nickname at Happy Valley High School is Neanderthal because he's so enormous-6'6" and 250 pounds to be exact. He has nobody at school, and life in his trailer-park home has gone from bad to worse ever since his older brother's suicide. There's no one Cliff hates more than the nauseatingly cool quarterback Aaron Zimmerman. Then Aaron returns to school after a near-death experience with a bizarre claim: while he was unconscious he saw God, who gave him a list of things to do to make Happy Valley High suck less. And God said there's only one person who can help: Neanderthal.
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 win her first battle. As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But it’s hard to get your come up when you’re labeled a hoodlum at school, and your fridge at home is empty after your mom loses her job. So Bri pours her anger and frustration into her first song, which goes viral...for all the wrong reasons. Bri soon finds herself at the center of a controversy, portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. But with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri doesn’t just want to make it—she has to make it, even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.
Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson
Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she's ever going to succeed. Every day she rides the bus away from her friends and to the private school where she feels like an outsider, but where she has plenty of opportunities. But someopportunities she doesn't really welcome, like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for "at-risk" girls. Just because her mentor is black and graduated from the same high school doesn't mean she understands where Jade is coming from. She's tired of being singled out as someone who needs help, someone people want to fix.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her Mami finding out.
Refugee by Alan Gratz
Josef is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world. Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America. Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe. All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers -- from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow.
Sadie by Courtney Summers
Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie, determined to bring her sister's killer to justice, hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.
Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner
When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution humanity has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and their message leads to the planet Gaia, a treasure trove waiting to be explored. For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an ancient alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Despite their opposing reasons for smuggling themselves onto the alien planet's surface, they're both desperate to uncover the richeshidden in the Undying temples. Beset by rival scavenger gangs, Jules and Mia form a fragile alliance... but both are keeping secrets that make trust nearly impossible.
We Regret to Inform You by Ariel Kaplan
Mischa Abramavicius is a walking, talking, top-scoring, perfectly well-rounded college application in human form. So when she's rejected not only by the Ivies, but her loathsome safety school, she is shocked and devastated. All the sacrifices her mother made to send her to prep school, the late nights cramming for tests, the blatantly résumé-padding extracurriculars, the feelings of burnout ... all that for nothing. As Mischa grapples with the prospect of an increasingly uncertain future, she questions how this could have happened in the first place.
What if it’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it. Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things. But when Arthur and Ben meet at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?
Required Summer Reading