The MacDuffie School Summer Reading 2019

The English Department is pleased to present its summer reading program for the 2019-2020 academic year. You can buy your books wherever you choose, but here is the recommended link to purchase your books.

Each Middle School student (6-8) must read one mandatory summer reading book and one selected summer reading book before the school year begins.

Each Upper School student (9-12) must read two mandatory summer reading books and one selected summer reading book before the school year begins. The exceptions are honors and AP courses, which usually have three mandatory books, plus one choice.

Summer reading thought questions for the mandatory books are available here.

Students should annotate their selected books as they read. Students should be prepared to write about their selections once they return in the fall; they will also be asked to discuss these books in class.

So that students might have a clearer sense of each choice, teachers have included short descriptions of the books for their respective classes.

Please direct questions to Ms. Tomkiel at ctomkiel@macduffie.org.

We look forward to seeing you in September!

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ENGLISH 6                      

Mandatory:  The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan

Choose one from the following:

Turtle in Paradise, Jennifer L. Holm

Set in the Florida Keys during the Great Depression, an eleven-year old girl named Turtle is sent to live with distant relatives when her mother is forced to take a housekeeping job for an employer who doesn’t like children.  While adjusting to new people and surroundings, Turtle experiences adventures particular to Key West involving lost pirate treasure, a hurricane, and a meeting with a famous literary figure. Combining rich description, humor, and historical detail, this selection also explores the importance of family and what that means to different people.

The Giver, Lois Lowry

Jonas is an eleven-year-old boy who lives in a “perfect world” somewhere in the future. In this society, there is no war, or fear, or even pain. Everyone follows the rules, and there are very few choices. All the people in this community are assigned a job. When Jonas turns twelve, he is assigned a very unique role. He is to train with The Giver, who is the only person that has all the memories of both the good and bad parts of life. When Jonas begins to learn the truth, he begins to question his community and must make a very difficult choice.

A Single Shard, Linda Sue Park

When Tree-ear, a thirteen-year old boy living in 12th century Korea, is apprenticed to the artisan Master Min, he learns how to create the highly prized and exquisite celadon pottery. Hoping to be awarded a commission from the royal court, Tree-ear encounters unanticipated challenges and dangers as he journeys from his village to the palace, eventually arriving with no more than a small broken fragment of the original celadon creations to show the king’s emissary.

When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead

In 1979, Miranda is a middle school student living with her mother in New York City. One day, she receives a strange note from an unknown person.  The notes continue to come, leaving Miranda confused and intrigued. Who is sending the notes? Why? Around the same time, other strange events start to occur in Miranda’s life.  Full of mysteries, this novel also has themes of identity, friendship, and even a bit of time travel.

Powerless, Matthew Cody

Daniel Corrigan is a twelve-year-old boy who moves to a new town with his family to take care of his sick grandmother. Being the new kid is hard, but Daniel quickly makes friends with some kids in school. He soon learns that his new friends have a secret: they all have super powers. In fact, many of the kids in the town have super powers and, even stranger, they all lose their powers on their thirteenth birthday. A mysterious villain from the past appears to be the one stealing the children’s powers, and Daniel, a normal kid with no powers, might be the only one who can help his superfriends.

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ENGLISH 7

Mandatory:  The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd

Choose one from the following:

The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman

Nobody (Bod) Owens is a boy with a childhood as unusual as his name: he is the only living inhabitant of a graveyard on a hill in a small city in England. This eerie, bewitching novel revisits Bod every few years (from the time he is an infant to the time he is fifteen) as he is raised by a cast of dead and undead creatures that range from ghost to witch to vampire to a werewolf. Bod does his best to follow the ghostly teachings of his guardians, but at times he longs to be fully in the world of the living. But as Bod tries to balance these two very different worlds, another far more sinister problem approaches. The Man Jack, who murdered Bod’s parents and sister, has been tracking the boy – and he wants to complete the job he began fourteen years ago.

Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson

This memoir, written as a series of poems, shares Woodson’s story of growing up as an African American in the US in the 1960s and 70s. Her poems share her love for telling stories even through her struggles in learning to read and her strong connection with her family despite geographic distances. Woodson’s poems make her thoughts and experiences come alive on the page. Her story explores how people are crafted by where they live and what they see happening around them.

Farewell to Manzanar, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

Within months of the bombing of the Pearl Harbor naval base in December 1941, the government of the United States undertook the forced relocation of all Japanese citizens living on the West Coast because they were seen as a threat to American security. It did not matter that most of those forced to give up their homes, education, and jobs were full-fledged American citizens. Upon arrival at Manzanar, one of several hastily constructed internment camps, Jeanne begins a new life, one filled with bewildering contradictions and deprivation. In this memoir, Ms. Houston revisits the site and shares her thoughts as she tries to understand the experience she and her family were forced to endure.

Shackleton’s Stowaway, Victoria McKernan

Ernest Shackleton’s doomed 1914 Antarctic expedition includes an unwanted and uninvited guest: eighteen-year-old stowaway Perce Blackborow. When given the opportunity to return home, Blackborow convinces the explorer to hire him as a ship’s steward. Shackleton’s voyage captivated the world’s imagination, and this fictional account of the experience gives life to the exploits endured by the crew of the Endurance in their brave, and ultimately disastrous, attempt to reach the South Pole.

Lyddie, Katherine Paterson

Set in the early days of America’s Industrial Revolution, eleven-year-old Lyddie is forced by circumstances to work in a New England textile factory, where conditions are not only inhumane but actually life threatening to those operating the machines. Lyddie’s is but one of several stories of the hard-working young women who seek a better life through one of the very few opportunities life in 19th century New England provides.

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ENGLISH 8

Mandatory:  Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Choose one from the following:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

Early in this very funny science fiction satire, aliens destroy the earth to make room for a space highway.  (Don’t Panic! I haven’t given anything away!) A mild-mannered Englishman named Arthur Dent is rescued just moments before the disaster.  Soon, Arthur finds himself on an amazing and perplexing adventure with his alien friend Ford Prefect, a two-headed galactic president named Zaphod Beeblebrox, Zaphod’s human girlfriend Trillian, and a very depressed robot named Marvin.  Oh, and the Guide itself is basically the best Google App ever.  Beneath the humor, Adams offers some real social commentary about human flaws.

Stones for My Father, Trilby Kent

This gripping tale is set during South Africa’s Boer War, over a hundred years ago.  The British have attacked the homeland of 12-year-old Corlie Roux. When she and her family are forced to flee their home, Corlie must battle both the invaders and her own difficult mother as she struggles to survive.  Corlie is a girl whose fierce love for her country and whose bravery under pressure make her a very compelling heroine.

A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness

This is a moving and beautifully told story.  Conor O’Malley is a 13-year-old boy who is haunted by the same nightmare every night at the same time. One night, he hears a voice outside his window. A monster seems to have come to life, and it wants to tell stories to Conor.  Once it is done telling stories, Conor will have to finally tell his own. This novel deals with dark, serious issues in a remarkable way; the novel includes terrific pen-and-ink illustrations.  

The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Mary E. Pearson

This is a fascinating novel about a 17-year-old girl, Jenna Fox, who’s just woken up from a year-long coma.  As Jenna tries to recall just what caused her accident, she can’t shake the feeling that something’s wrong with her memories.  She also becomes suspicious that her parents and grandmother are keeping terrible secrets from her. As Jenna meets new friends and recalls old ones, she makes profound discoveries about herself and her world.  This novel is not only a gripping read, but it asks great questions about the theme of personal identity.

Nation, Terry Pratchett

This is a great adventure story set in a parallel world to ours.  The time is the mid-1800s. A boy named Mau, who lives on an island in the South Pacific, is in the middle of an initiation rite when a major tsunami hits.  At the same time, a British girl named Ermintrude (who calls herself Daphne) is shipwrecked. Mau and Daphne find themselves alone on Mau’s deserted island home. Soon, Mau and Daphne make a discovery that could influence not only the future of the island but the rest of human history.  The story is told with humor, intelligence, and curiosity; it also delves into varied themes like social order, loneliness, science, race, and storytelling.       

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WESTERN LITERATURE

Mandatory:    Purple Hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer ***Note: Make sure you read the original edition, ISBN 0061730335, not the Young Readers’ Edition.***

Choose one from the following:

Feed, M. T. Anderson

Think about your phone – social media, games, shopping, news – ceaseless communication and information. Then imagine taking your phone and putting it inside your brain. This dystopian novel is set in a future where humans are connected to the internet through a chip in their brains that receives a constant stream of information – where they should go, what they should eat, who they should hang out with. The novel tells the story of Titus and his friends, who go to the moon to have fun, but get more than they bargained for when their feeds malfunction and they meet a girl who makes them begin to question the purpose and usefulness of the feeds that they have come to take for granted.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart

Frankie Landau-Banks is the clever, daring, and utterly unforgettable protagonist of this curious and entertaining novel. 15-year-old Frankie sets her sights on shaking up the status quo when she is denied access to The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, an all-male secret society at her boarding school. Over the course of her sophomore year, she manipulates the members of the Loyal Order into pulling a series of highly visible (and often political) practical jokes on the school’s campus. This book will make you think as much as it makes you laugh as you follow Frankie’s attempts to expose and put right the gender discrimination she refuses to accept in her world.

I’ll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson

This novel follows the story of two fraternal twins – artistic Noah and daredevil Jude – as they grow up, grow apart, and ultimately grow back together. Chapters narrated by Noah tell about the twins at 13, best friends coping with their grandmother’s death and dreaming of a future at a competitive art school. Jude takes over to narrate their story at age 16, three years later, when a family tragedy and competition over boys and school have driven the brother and sister apart. The novel is set in the foggy, ethereal northern California coast, and uses elements of magical realism and vivid imagery help to build a world and a story that will stay with readers after the book is over.

Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi

This coming-of-age graphic memoir portrays Satrapi’s experiences growing up in Iran during a time of extraordinary political and religious turbulence. Urged by her grandmother to remember that there is “nothing worse than bitterness and vengeance,” Satrapi recounts in comic-book illustrations the seismic events of the Islamic Revolution that shaped her youth, threatened the safety of her family, and changed her destiny in unforeseen ways.

Dear Martin, Nic Stone

Justyce McAllister is trying hard to move beyond the rough Atlanta neighborhood where he grew up. He is in the top of his class at Braselton Prep, the mostly white prep school he attends, and he is looking forward to graduation and heading to Yale in the fall. But when Justyce has a series of run-ins with white police officers, he starts to notice the prejudice he deals with both at school and in society. Looking to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a guide, he writes a journal of letters to King as he tries to find where he fits in his different worlds. This novel takes a head-on, honest, and unflinching look at American race relations. Please note that this novel contains explicit language and violence that might not be appropriate for all readers. This should be considered before choosing this as your optional choice book.

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BRITISH LITERATURE

Mandatory:    Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

         1984, George Orwell

Choose one from the following:

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

This beloved novel takes place in a world where a female’s livelihood is dependant on the man she marries. Strict social rules are in effect, but our heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, doesn’t want to settle for a marriage of convenience. She lives with her sisters, her overbearing mother, and her kind but weak-willed father. When a new family moves to the area, Elizabeth meets Mr. Darcy, a wealthy, handsome, but seemingly arrogant landowner. It i dislike at first sight for Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, but something slowly begins to spark between them.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman

In this acclaimed fantasy novel, a middle-aged narrator returns to the English village where he grew up. There, he relives a time in his youth when a strange, supernatural woman invades his life and threatens his world. The only hope for the boy’s survival–and, perhaps, for his adult self–resides with a mysterious farm girl named Lettie, who may have magic powers of her own. This wonderful story examines themes of friendship, love, aging, family, regret, and the possibility that other worlds exist just beyond this one.

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

Should you choose this novel, the first thing you’ll have to do is forget what you think you already know about the characters. Mary Shelley’s Creature is not an unthinking, clanking hulk, but rather an intelligent, pained monster locked in a fateful spiral with his creator, the young Dr. Victor Frankenstein. The book is a chilling story, written when its author was just 19. At its heart, the novel questions the power of science to control nature and of our ability to control the results. In our current technological age, the issues this book raises have never felt more relevant.

Lord of the Flies, William Golding

A modern classic about survival and social conflict, this novel follows a group of young boys as they navigate the catastrophe of being stranded on a remote island. Golding’s narrative is filled with equal parts adventure and philosophy, questioning what it means to live in harmony and how societies can confront the evil that lurks in human beings. Long known for its symbolism and allegorical elements, the novel is just as relevant as ever in its treatment of violence, fear, adolescence, and masculinity.

This Census-Taker, China Mieville

This novella by acclaimed fantasy and science fiction writer China Mieville chronicles the struggles of a nameless young boy who lives “uphill” from a gritty town. Set against a surreal landscape that is both alien and familiar, this narrative is filled with mystery, adventure, terror, and self-discovery. Things are not what they seem in this story crafted from sparse yet beautiful prose. Read this novella for a journey in a dark and strange world.

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AMERICAN LITERATURE: (COLLEGE PLACEMENT)

Mandatory:    The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

                      Bread Givers, Anzia Yezierska

Choose ONE from the following:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie

Set on the Spokane Indian reservation, this is the story of how creativity, family and friends, and hope can help one rise above loss. Even though it means being called a traitor by his own people, Junior chooses to attend the all-white school in a neighboring town, where he finds he is stronger than he thought. He takes on the basketball team, racist teachers and parents, a 21 mile daily commute, and his own self-doubts to make a new life while coming to understand and love the one from which he came. Based on Alexie’s own youth, this novel will make you laugh out loud, cry a little, and believe that you too have dreams to be imagined and lived.

The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz

The 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, Diaz’s novel focuses on a geeky, overweight Dominican outsider named Oscar de Leon. Oscar is a dreamer whose mother has a tragic history and whose sister is a runaway. The novel is set in New Jersey and the Dominican Republic; it shifts narrators and points of view; it jumps back and forth in time; it’s filled with wild footnotes that delve deep into history, love, comics, and science fiction. Oh, and it sometimes slips into Spanish. A rollicking, heartfelt ride with a unique voice.

House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus III

A former colonel in the Iranian Air Force yearns to restore his dignity in America. To do this, he and his family struggle to embrace a new culture. A small house in the California hills becomes their dream, and tragically, their demise. It is owned by a troubled young woman who refuses to let it go because to her, it is all she has left. This is a story of cultural collision and a yearning for stability and justice. This is a poignant story of courage and hope in the face of fragility and loss. The novel contains adult themes and images. It is recommended for mature readers.

Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich

Motivated by welfare reform in the late 1990s, journalist Barbara Ehrenreich embarks on an undercover assignment to investigate the realities for low wage workers in America.  Living in trailer parks and motels and working in a variety of minimum wage jobs like waitressing, she travels around the States to examine America’s promise of the better life from the bottom.

The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien

The novel is set during the Vietnam War and tells the story of several American soldiers who must face the burdens of war:  the fear, the shame, the guilt, the brutality, the futility. It brings into question not only the nature of the Vietnam War but the nature of all wars and the individual responses of those involved.

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AMERICAN LITERATURE (HONORS)

Mandatory:  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas Foster

Bread Givers by Anzia Yezierska

Choose ONE from the following:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Michael Chabon   

The 2001 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, this book is about friendship, love, loss, magic, sexuality, heroism, fantasy, ethnicity, and the birth of American comic books. Joe Kavalier is a Czech-born teenaged Jew who undergoes a harrowing escape from Prague in the lead-up to WWII; Sammy Clay is the Brooklyn cousin with whom Joe lives upon his arrival in America.  With the odds stacked against them, the boys find a shared vision in comics and pursue their respective versions of the American Dream.

The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz

The 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, Diaz’s novel focuses on a geeky, overweight Dominican outsider named Oscar de Leon. Oscar is a dreamer whose mother has a tragic history and whose sister is a runaway. The novel is set in New Jersey and the Dominican Republic; it shifts narrators and points of view; it jumps back and forth in time; it’s filled with wild footnotes that delve deep into history, love, comics, and science fiction. Oh, and it sometimes slips into Spanish. A rollicking, heartfelt ride with a unique voice.

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis

This novel ranks among the most important twentieth-century works addressing the struggles of people caught in the machinery of “modern life.” Babbitt, whose name has become synonymous with unthinking conformity, is the story of a middle-class businessman who seems to be living the American Dream.  He has a family, an office, a house, a social club, and the acceptance of his peers who admire his propriety and his prosperity, that is until a personal crisis forces Babbitt to break with convention. Every page is a cautionary tale of the dangers that loom within the unexamined life.

The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien

The novel is set during the Vietnam War and tells the story of several American soldiers who must face the burdens of war:  the fear, the shame, the guilt, the brutality, the futility. It brings into question not only the nature of the Vietnam War but the nature of all wars and the individual responses of those involved.

Educated by Tara Westover

This is a memoir about perspective, about how education can help us see our lives through new eyes that make change and growth possible. Tara Westover learns to do this as she struggles beyond the survivalist mentality of her parents who have deprived her of medical care, peers/friends, and an education.  Determined to know life beyond the mountains of Idaho, Tara teachers herself enough math, grammar, and science to be admitted to college where her studies transform her, ultimately taking her over oceans and across cultures.

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ENGLISH 11: AP LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION

Mandatory:    The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver   

        The Word for World is Forest, Ursula K. LeGuin

        The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien

Choose ONE from the following:

The Other Wes Moore, Wes Moore   

In this highly relevant and insightful work of nonfiction, Wes Moore examines how two boys with the same name who grow up in the same neighborhood end up living very different lives. Part biography and part personal narrative, Moore looks at how the intersections of family, friendship, race, and education play a role in the urban landscapes of today’s America.

State of Wonder, Ann Patchett

This beautifully written novel crosses easy boundaries of genre as it follows the journey of Marina Singh, a scientist from Minnesota who travels deep into the Amazon on the trail of a research colleague who has suddenly died. Along the way, Marina encounters a famous doctor from her past and learns that a remarkable discovery may lie at the heart of the mystery. Patchett delves into issues of culture, loneliness, passion, motherhood, friendship, fear, courage, and modern science.

The Natural, Bernard Malamud

A classic of baseball literature, this novel is also a modern reinterpretation of the hero’s journey. The narrative follows a slugger on the fictional New York Knights who careens between greatness and demise. With flowing prose, Malamud explores the promise and emptiness of the American Dream through the batter’s box, touching on regret, redemption, and the permanence of the past.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

This novel is a distillation of the United States in the tumultuous 1920s. Fitzgerald examines the definition of success, disillusionment with the American Dream, and the legacies of love and memory. Through layers of narration and poetic prose, the novel follows Jay Gatsby and the vicissitudes of his mysterious life, which is filled with wealth and luxury on one hand, sadness and regret on the other.

A Walk in the Woods, Billy Bryson

Join Bill Bryson on this hilarious journey on the Appalachian Trail. Combining memoir with a richly researched history of the AT, A Walk in the Woods is a tribute to the natural world and a continuation of the long tradition of nature writing in Britain and the United States. In an age when technology continually distracts us from the world outside, Bryson reminds us that adventure and beauty are just often beyond the backyard.

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WORLD LITERATURE (ACROSS CULTURES)

Mandatory:    Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan

                       The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Choose one from the following:

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

The novel tells the story of Afghanistan in the 1970s and the coming of age of Amir (the privileged narrator) and Hassan (the son of his father’s servant).  It also chronicles the country’s revolution, invasion by Russian forces, and rule by the Taliban.

To Live, Yu Hua

Spanning decades of profound political and social upheaval in 20th century China, this award-winning novel tells the story of Fugui, whose misadventures have impoverished his wealthy landowning family.  Fugui’s attempts to redeem himself take unexpected turns, as he and millions of Chinese find themselves buffeted by the winds of Fate, most immediately represented by Civil War, famine, and China’s Cultural Revolution. Through it all, Fugui is energized by the most basic human instinct, and finds meaning in life in spite of any obstacle he confronts.

Lost Names:  Scenes from a Korean Boyhood, by Richard Kim

Set at the height of the Japanese occupation, 1935-1945, the novel follows one Korean family (and one young boy) forced to renounce their heritage (even their names) to adopt the Japanese culture and language.

Sold, by Patricia McCormick

In a series of vignettes, the novel tells the story of Lakshmi, a 13-year-old girl from a village in Nepal.  She is sold by her stepfather into prostitution in India, which she survives through her courage, perseverance, and hope.

Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt

The memoir tells the story of a young boy growing up poor in Catholic Ireland. It is a tribute to his mother Angela who overcame abandonment, sickness, prejudice, and deprivation to remain steadfastly devoted to her faith and her family.  Humor combines with tragedy in this coming of age story that traces the struggles and the hopes of a family and a country growing beyond the taboos and superstitions of its past.

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ENGLISH 12: WORLD LITERATURE (COLLEGE PLACEMENT)

Mandatory:    Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan

                      Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke

Choose one from the following:

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini

          The novel tells the story of Afghanistan in the 1970s and the coming of age of Amir (the privileged narrator) and Hassan (the son of his father’s servant). It also chronicles the country’s revolution, invasion by Russian forces, and rule by the Taliban.

Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer

Adventure journalist and mountaineer Jon Krakauer didn’t know when he summited Mount Everest in May of 1996 that this was about to become the deadliest season in Everest history. This bestselling non-fiction book recounts Krakauer’s preparation to climb the mountain, his successful summit attempt, and the tragedy that occurred after as a deadly storm claimed the lives of several of his fellow climbers. Krakauer also peeks into the psyche of mountaineers and adventurers as he wonders what it is about mountains – and Everest in particular – that sparks the human thirst for danger and adventure.

Lost Names:  Scenes from a Korean Boyhood, Richard Kim

Set at the height of the Japanese occupation, 1935-1945, the novel follows one Korean family (and one young boy) forced to renounce their heritage (even their names) to adopt the Japanese culture and language.

The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine Wamariya

In this candid, emotional memoir, Wamariya recounts a childhood spent in transit between refugee camps and the houses of family and friends after she and her sister were forced to leave their family and home behind during the Rwandan massacre in 1994. Years later, the sisters are granted asylum in the United States and move to Chicago, where Clemantine attempts to live a normal teenage life: attending private school, becoming a cheerleader, and eventually graduating from Yale. However, she finds it impossible to erase years of living in fear and uncertainty – feelings that are conveyed with incredible clarity in this book’s expressive prose.

The Time Machine, H. G. Wells

This classic science fiction novel, written in 1895, coined the term “time machine” and set the stage for almost every time travel novel that came after it. The main character, known simply as “the Time Traveller,” recounts his experiments in making a time machine and his journey 800,000 years into the future. There he encounters two futuristic races: the sophisticated Eloi, who live above ground, and the more mysterious Morlocks, who live in tunnels beneath the Earth’s surface.

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ENGLISH 12: WORLD LITERATURE (HONORS)

Mandatory:  Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel

The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Haruki Murakami

Choose one from the following:

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

A landmark novel in the dystopian genre, this terrifying story takes place closer to home than many readers realize. Set in the near future in the Republic of Gilead, the story follows a young woman trapped in a nightmarish world where escape seems impossible. Atwood confronts issues of gender, class, memory, and religion in this challenging and gripping tale.

The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri

The Ganguli family makes its way from Bengali to Cambridge, Massachusetts in this story of the inter-generational and trans-cultural challenges faced by an Indian immigrant family.  While earning an advanced degree at M.I.T., Ashoke Ganguli and his pregnant wife try to establish a new life while continuing to honor old traditions. The story focuses equally on their son who grows up considerably more accepting of American culture than his parents will ever be.

Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt

The memoir tells the story of a young boy growing up poor in Catholic Ireland. It is a tribute to his mother Angela who overcame abandonment, sickness, prejudice, and deprivation to remain steadfastly devoted to her faith and her family.  Humor combines with tragedy in this coming of age story that traces the struggles and the hopes of a family and a country growing beyond the taboos and superstitions of its past.

The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini

The novel tells the story of Afghanistan in the 1970s and the coming of age of Amir (the privileged narrator) and Hassan (the son of his father’s servant).  It also chronicles the country’s revolution, invasion by Russian forces, and rule by the Taliban.

Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison

    This thrumming, challenging novel tells the story of Macon “Milkman” Dead, a young African-American male who tries to make his way through life in mid-20th century Michigan while coming to grips with his complicated parents, his protective friend Guitar, and his racial and cultural heritage. The novel’s daring structure, beautiful writing, and powerful themes helped earn Morrison the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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ENGLISH 12: AP LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION

Mandatory:    Picnic Lightning, Billy Collins

                      A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini

                      A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O’Connor

                      The Kitchen God’s Wife, by Amy Tan