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Dec 16, 2012 (4 years and 10 months ago)

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Summer Reading


August 29, 2008




Check out these great book choices and select one to
read during Summer Break. Receive bonus points for
participating in a book discussion and completing a
project to share on Literacy Day.



#1


Jimi and Me


by Jaime Adoff


This verse novel carries Keith, a biracial teen,
through the tumultuous first six months after his
father’s death. His dad, a music producer who
called him “Little Cool” and shared his love for
Jimi Hendrix’s music, is shot to death in Brooklyn.
Their money seems to be gone, so he and his
mom move to Ohio to live with his aunt. Keith
copes with a small town, a racist bully, and panic
attacks, but he also meets a shy beautiful blonde
and plays his guitar fiercely.

He uncovers the truth of his father’s money losses,
and he finds another Jimi who was in his father’s
life, so the title has a double meaning. Look for a
great ending, which takes place in Cleveland’s
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Often funny, Adoff also
captures the real pain and doubts facing a teen as
he faces the challenges of growing up. An
engaging, fast
-
paced story for anyone who “hates
to read.” It’s also a wonderful coming of age story
for rising freshmen.



#2


The Truth About
Forever

by Sarah Dessen


A long dull summer stretches ahead of Macy
(the narrator who is smart and sensitive)
while her boyfriend is away at Brain Camp.
Days will be spent at a boring job in the
library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary
drill for the SATs, and spare time will be
passed with her mother, the two of them
sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of
her father. This is a story about change.
Sometimes unexpected things can happen
-
things like the catering job at Wish, with its
fun
-
loving, chaotic staff.




Or her sister’s project of renovating the
neglected beach house, awakening long
-
buried
memories. Things like meeting Wes, a boy with
a past, a taste for truth
-
telling, and an amazing
artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn
any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures
out of her shell, she begins to wonder if it really
is better to be safe than sorry. What is the truth
about forever?

Recommended for all grade levels.

#3
-

Runner

by Carl Deuker


High
-
school senior Chance is a “ghost
-
walker” at
school
-
barely talking, just passing, finding escape
only in long, solitary, after
-
school runs. He’s just
waiting to graduate and enlist in the army to get
away, but a new friend named Melissa gets through
to him. His hard
-
drinking father can’t keep a job,
and Chance worries how they will pay the bills.
When a marina worker offers him a job picking up
and delivering a mysterious package on his daily run,
Chance can’t turn down the lucrative opportunity,
even though he is sure it’s illegal.


As his friendship with smart Melissa grows, so does
Chance’s concern about his job and its possible links
to local smuggling rings.


Melissa’s curiosity about his runs, however, nearly get
her in danger. Deuker drops plenty of hints about
what’s in the packages, but the tragic blockbuster
ending may be a big surprise. The sports and
suspenseful action easily draws readers as Deuker
crafts a story that tackles timely issues of terrorism,
patriotism, poverty, and privilege. Chance’s dilemmas
grip the reader and keep the pages turning. Mild use
of language. The guys will connect with this plot, but it
is a great story for all high school students.

#4


The First Part Last

by Angela Johnson


This is a gripping story about a teenage father,
loving his daughter. How did this happen?
Johnson develops the ploy through the narrative
of the father, Bobby, in a series of vignettes
“then” and “now.” There is believable language,
with occasional swearing and some references to
Bobby’s sexual experiences with Nia, the baby’s
mother. Bobby’s family truly cares about him
and his baby. Stress over the baby’s arrival,
however, causes his parents’ separation, and
this, of course, does not help Bobby cope with
the situation. Bobby and Nia had planned to
give the baby up for adoption, but tragedy
strikes, and everyone’s future is changed.

How can he take care of this child and provide what she
needs; he has to go to school, prepare for his future
education, and stay in touch with friends. The
characters in the story are thoughtful, conscientious, and
loving young people with failings, but trying to do better.
Readers grow to care about what happens to them. Both
male and female readers will find the story appealing
because it deals with sensitive issues that adolescents
face in the real world. Recommended for all grade levels.

#5


The Lightning Thief

by Rick Riordon


The escapades of the Greek gods and heroes get a
fresh spin in the first book in the Percy Jackson and
the Olympians series, about a contemporary
adolescent New Yorker who learns that he is a
demigod. Perseus, (AKA) Percy Jackson, has big
problems. His father left before he was born, he’s
been kicked out of six schools in six years, he’s
dyslexic, and he has ADHD. That’s only the tip of the
iceberg: he vaporizes his algebra teacher, learns his
best friend is a satyr, and is almost killed by a
minotaur before his mother manages to get him to
the safety of Camp Half
-
Blood

where he discovers
that Poseidon is his father. More problems!

Poseidon has been accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning
bolt, and unless Percy can return the bolt, mankind is
doomed. This fast
-
paced adventure is captivating,
dangerous, and just plain funny. Percy is a reluctant hero,
the modernized gods are hilarious, and the parallels to
Harry Potter are obvious. This novel might create a rush
of readers wanting to read the classic stories about Greek
gods and heroes. A great read for incoming freshmen, but
a just
-
can’t
-
put
-
it
-
down book for everyone. If you like a
story that’s really funny, grab this book and get ready for
a fast
-
paced adventure.


#6


One Foot in Eden

by Ron Rash


Rash writes about a lost place and time
through the five voices of vivid, thoroughly
human characters. This is a story about
family secrets and family bonds. The plot
combines a love triangle and a murder
mystery. Will Alexander is the sheriff in a
small town in southern Appalachia, and he
knows that the local thug Holland
Winchester has been murdered. The only
thing is the sheriff can find neither the body
nor someone to attest to the killing.


Simply told through the voices of the sheriff, a local
farmer, his beautiful wife, their son, and the sheriff’s
deputy, One Foot in Eden will hold the reader
captive. Rash pulls the reader into this world
immediately following World War II with colloquial
dialect and descriptions of a way of life that has
disappeared. It’s a “must read” mystery; a real page
turner. Plan to meet Ron Rash when he visits our
campuses on Literacy Day.

A great novel for grades 10
-
12.

#7


Notes from the
Midnight Driver

by Jordan Sonnenblick


Narrator Alex Gregory starts off by describing his
first drinking episode: getting drunk alone,
hijacking his mother’s car in order to drive to his
father’s house and give the man a piece of his
mind (his parents are separated), and taking an
unplanned detour into a neighbor’s yard,
destroying a lawn gnome. What begins as humor
takes on darker implications as the story develops.
Not because Alex has a drinking problem (he
never takes another sip in the story), but because
of a drunk driver’s impact on Sol Lewis, the
resident of a nursing home to whom Alex is
assigned by Judge J. Trent as part of his
community service for his crime.

Alex’s best friend, Laurie, sticks by him throughout this
challenging time. And Sol, who starts out crotchety, turns
out to be much wiser below the surface, and far more
complicated. After all, he does see more than friendship
between Alex and Laurie. The bond that guitar
-
playing
forges between the Alex and Sol serves not only to make
them peers musically, but also personally, allowing Sol to
reveal his own past. This story examines the growth of a
young man who discovers the positive side of suffering
consequences for a past mistake.


Recommended for all grade levels.



#8


Double Helix

by Nancy Werlin


Eighteen
-
year
-
old Eli Samuels, whose once
-
vibrant
mother is losing her long battle with the ravages of
Huntington’s disease, is hired at the Wyatt Transgenics
Lab. Eli’s father is dead set against the job because of a
“secret” he harbors concerning the lab’s owner, Dr.
Quincy Wyatt, and Eli’s mother. Dr.Wyatt takes a special
interest in Eli and engages him in stimulating
conversations about genetics. Shortly after starting work,
the teen meets Kayla Matheson, a beautiful girl who eerily
reminds him of a photo of his mother when she was
young. Slowly, Eli uncovers one layer after another of the
shocking truth about Dr. Wyatt’s genetic
-
engineering
experiments and their connection to his parents, Kayla,
and himself.

With the support of his longtime girlfriend and
soul mate, he confronts Dr. Wyatt in a gripping
climax to the story. The author raises
fundamental bioethical issues for teens to
consider. She weaves a riveting story around
well developed characters and their complex
relationships that will stick with readers long
after the book is closed. Werlin keeps the
suspense high in this mystery that leaves room
for lots of thought and discussion. A great read
for all high school students.

#9


The Kite Runner

by Khaled Hosseini


This novel is a heartbreaking story
that parallels the demise of an
unlikely friendship and the decline
of Afghanistan at the end of the
20th century. The story follows
Amir as he suffers from regret and
guilt and eventually returns to his
native country to atone for his
childhood mistakes. Amir comes of
age during the last peaceful days of
the monarchy, just before his
country’s revolution and its invasion
by Russian forces.

Parts of this story are graphic, but it is a powerful
account of family and love. A riveting story about
friendship, social injustice, and war. Violence is still
a constant force that threatens the people of
Afghanistan today. Readers explore the culture of a
previously obscure nation. A powerful, challenging
novel for highly motivated readers. Mature themes
and violence. Recommended for grades 11
-
12.