>>>>> TEEN FICTION: GIRLS >>>>>
The Dairy Queen Series by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011, 276 p.)
Athletic D.J. Schwenk is stuck working on her family’s Wisconsin dairy farm. With cows to take care of and a barn to repair, she has no time for a life on the side -- until she tries out for her town’s football team and finds unexpected allies, a rival friend, and a farm-town Romeo and Juliet tale.
Shine by Lauren Myracle (Abrams, 2011. 376 p.)
After her best friend becomes a hate-crime victim because of their town’s unwillingness to accept his sexual orientation, Cat decides to take matters into her own hands and find out who should do the time for the crime. Based on the heart-wrenching story of Matthew Shepard, Shine will easily steal your attention and love.
The Ruby Red Trilogy by Kerstin Gier (V. 3, 2012, 368 p.)
In the trilogy’s closing volume, Gwen discovers she has inherited her family’s time travel gene and is suddenly hurled into a world that criss-crosses the timeline of London. With battles in both present and past, Gwen must prove to her family and foes that she and her snoopy best friend can get the job done.
The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty (Scholastic, 2005, 352 p.)
Three best friends have found themselves with an itch for revenge. When their private academy has enlisted them for a mandatory pen pal program with a less elite boys’ school, the girls start a project of their own. But hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, as one boy will find out.
Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson (Scholastic, 352p)
Following Suite Scarlett, book two of the trilogy finds Scarlett Martin’s family barely able to keep their New York City hotel above water. Dealing with her failing actor of a brother, social climbing big sister and crazy new employer, Scarlett's shocked stressful summer takes an unexpected turn.
>>>>> TEEN FICTION: BOYS >>>>>
Boy21 by Matthew Quick (Little, Brown, 2012, 250 p.)
When Russ and Finley meet in their town ridden with drugs, violence and racial tension, they forge a surprising bond of friendship through basketball and the jersey number 21. Following their difficult and tragic lives, Boy21 explores the struggles of the two teenagers and shines a much-needed spotlight on local poverty.
Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz (Penguin, 2012, 256 p.)
With his exploits as a modern day Sherlock Holmes, Colin Fischer is not your average teenager. When a gun found in his school interrupts a birthday celebration, Colin faces the dilemma of clearing his own bully’s name as he seeks to find the gun’s owner.
The Nothing Special Series by Geoff Herbach (Sourcebooks, 3 vols.)
Following Stupid Fast and Nothing Special, I'm with Stupid finds Felton Reinstein walking a fine line between nerd and jock. From a cross-country road trip with his Muppet-loving friend to trying out for the football team, he faces troubles and pressures from both his family and friends.
The Unwind Trilogy by Neal Shusterman (vol. 1, 416 p.)
Three teenagers, Risa, Lev and Connor, have chosen to run away after their parents choose to give them up in a way that’s socially accepted after the Second American Civil War. That means these kids would be dissected for their organs and distributed to various recipients. But these three won’t accept their fate.
The Chaos Walking Series by Patrick Ness (Candlewick, 2010, 608 p.)
In the New World, Todd is a boy alone among men. The infection of the Noise germ has eliminated females and created secrets. When everyone can hear his every thought, how will Todd escape? And what should he do when he finds a silent mind — that belongs to a girl?
>>>>> ADULT FICTION >>>>>
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (528 p.)
The Nolans are one of many poor families in Brooklyn during the early 20th century. Francie Nolan has seen enough hardships for a girl of her age. With relationships with others blooming in her life, she learns many lessons and proves to be smart and resourceful. Who says life gets to decide your limitations?
11 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline (Harper Collins, 2013, 278 p.)
When Molly Ayer has to take on a community service project to stay out of juvenile detention, she doesn’t expect to find what’s hidden in an old woman’s attic. The story of Vivian Daly’s youth on an orphan trains is begging to be told. Are a young rebel and an old lady really so different?
The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Penguin, 2009, 464 p.)
1960’s Mississippi is explored through the eyes of two black maids and one young, white, aspiring writer who decide to take on the hidden stories of African-American maids of the south. Through scandals, tears and risks, three women provide a new insight into American racism during the fight for integration with untold histories.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (2002, 320 p.)
Spurred by a possession of her late mother and racism in her South Carolina town, Lily Owens runs away with her black mother figure, Rosaleen. In another town, the pair are taken in by three beekeeper. Lily is amazed by the women and their Black Madonna and finds her place by their side.
14 The Secret Life of Bees
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen (Harper Collins, 2009, 496 p.)
Classic for a reason, Pride & Prejudice paints the witty tale of sisters and their conflicted suitors. Stuck in a web of love and loathing, the girls must marry in a time where females can’t inherit, husbands are a wanted commodity and deciding who has the right intentions is essential.
Escape From Camp 14 by Blaine Harden (Penguin, 2012, 224 p.)
The true escape story of Shin Dong-Hyuk is astonishing. Growing up in a concentration camp in North Korea, Shin was completely unaware of the outside world. Taught to betray friends and family to earn the guards’ favor, Shin experiences culture shock outside the fence.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House, 2010, 473 p.)
Louis Zamperini, 26, an Olympic athlete, is floating in the Pacific. World War II is in full bloom when Zamperini’s Air Force bomber crashes and sinks. After spending 47 days on a raft, Zamperini and his fellow airman are picked up by the Japanese navy, only to live as POWs.
The Qur'an (trans. Abdullah Yusul Ali, 538 p.)
Enlightening passages from the Qu’ran will help others to understand Islam with a more open-minded approach. By reading the holy book of another culture, one can learn to interact respectfully and successfully with diverse neighbors. With knowledge and understanding at your fingertips, this is a must-read.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown, 2008, 320 p.)
In this book, Malcolm Gladwell investigates just what exactly makes an individual achieve success. From professional hockey players, to math connoisseurs, to the Beatles, Gladwell leaves no corner unexplored and no lead lonely. With culture, family, upbringing and generation, Gladwell looks at every possible answer.
Night by Elie Wiesel (FS&G, 1960, 116 p.)
Elie Wiesel doesn’t sugar coat the description of his teenage years at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Seeing the terrors of death, persecution and true evil through his young eyes, Wiesel explains just what mad him lose his faith in God and his Judaic upbringing. This is how you find what really happened during the Holocaust.
A reading list to occupy your carefree summer hours
“I travel in time and space, across gender lines, across culture lines,” said English teacher Janet Johnson, describing the reasons behind her love for books. “But I always learn something about myself when reading a good book.”
With school ending, the time crunch has begun for teenagers to finalize their summer reading lists. Yes, I said reading. The hiatus from school is the prime time to retreat to your preferred reading spot and disappear for hours with a book of your choice.
Though finding your next favorite book can be tricky, plenty of people have got your back. Whether the book is hiding in the public library, gathering dust on your friend’s bookshelf or awaiting a new owner at the local bookstore down the block, with just a little help it can be in your hands quickly.
When finding your next read, the experts say to look for a few key things, such as an author you’ve liked in the past.
“If you really enjoyed an author, go back to that author,” said Marcus Mayer of Addendum teen bookstore in Saint Paul. When you find a book you click with, make sure to remember the writer’s name. If you enjoyed their writing style in one novel, you will again.
Many authors also mention a brief, inside-joke riddled thank you in the acknowledgements to a fellow author friend who assisted them in their endeavors. If a writer is praised at the end of your beloved novel, you may often be surprised to find how similar the writing styles are between friends. Some websites, such as Goodreads.com, allow you to follow an author, check up on their current project and even see what they’re reading right now.
Minnehaha librarian Bonnie Morris is offering a way to get your hands on the book you’ve chosen. This summer, Morris is allowing any returning students to check out books until they come back for the 2013-14 school year.
With tips for picking stories and ways to get ahold of them for free, students are prepared to build and take on the To-Be-Read pile. But in case issues still doom your page-turning future, here are some ideas for your reading list.