Summer Reading. 12 th Grade. School Shooting. Suppose someone showed up in your classroom carrying an AK-47. You have a split second: To think. To act. To be a hero. But what is a hero?
Suppose someone showed up in your classroom carrying an AK-47.
You have a split second:
To be a hero.
But what is a hero?
That question becomes all too real for Arielle, November, Jericho, and their friends. They've been through so much: the hazing ritual that left Joshua dead and hearts aching; November finding out that she was pregnant with Josh's baby. But senior year is going well, and when the fire alarm goes off in English class, everyone assumes that crazy Jack is trying to get out of another quiz. But the alarm was pulled for a very different reason. A potentially deadly reason. There's only a matter of seconds to stop a tragedy, and all eyes are searching for someone -- anyone -- to step up and do something.
This shocking conclusion to the two-time Coretta Scott King Honor-winning trilogy by Sharon M. Draper will have you holding your breath to the very last page.
Just Another Hero
By: Sharon M. Draper
$12.74 288 pages
At the end of their junior year, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend pulls a gun in the Commons, leaving six students and a teacher dead and many others wounded. Valerie is hit by a bullet in the leg trying to stop him, just before he ends his own life. Until that point, Valerie had no idea that the "hate list" that she and Nick created would be used to target victims in a vengeful shooting spree. For her, the list of tormentors was a way to ease the pain of being bullied and an outlet against the constant fighting between her parents. Although the police investigation reveals that Valerie had nothing to do with the actual shootings, many people in her community, including her parents, have a hard time believing that she is not at fault, too. With the help of a patient and insightful therapist, Valerie bravely returns to school after the summer to face the challenges before her.
By: Jennifer Brown
$12.74 416 pages
High school sophomores Gary Searle and Brendan Lawlor have had enough. Day in and day out, for more than two years, they have been harassed, beaten up, and cursed out by most of the jocks at Middleton High--especially by football player Sam Flach. Armed with guns they've stolen from a neighbor's collection, Gary and Brendan storm a school dance, booby trap all the doors with homemade bombs, and prepare to turn their high school caste system upside down with a violent show of force. When it's all over, Sam Flach is alive (but without any hope of a future football career), Gary has killed himself, and Brendan is in a coma, after being beaten almost to death by other students who managed to disarm him. Could this tragedy have been prevented? Who, if anyone, is to blame?Consisting of short, related statements from students, parents, school administrators, and even the troubled shooters themselves, Give a Boy a Gun attempts to give a voice to the countless sides of the school violence issue. Is this novel disturbing and at times difficult to read? Yes, of course it is. But it is also an articulate, well-rounded cross section of the many viewpoints on gun control, peer bullying, and the high school social order since the traumatic events that took place in Littleton, Colorado.
Give A Boy A Gun
By: Todd Strasser
$5.24 208 pages
Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes deals with the truth and consequences of a small town high-school shooting. Set in Sterling, New Hampshire, Picoult offers readers a glimpse of what would cause a 17-year-old to wake up one day, load his backpack with four guns, and kill nine students and one teacher in the span of nineteen minutes. As with any Picoult novel, the answers are never black and white, and it is her exceptional ability to blur the lines between right and wrong that make this author such a captivating storyteller.
By: Jodi Picoult
$12.00 480 pages
Freelance writer Walls doesn't pull her punches. She opens her memoir by describing looking out the window of her taxi, wondering if she's "overdressed for the evening" and spotting her mother on the sidewalk, "rooting through a Dumpster." Walls's parents—just two of the unforgettable characters in this excellent, unusual book—were a matched pair of eccentrics, and raising four children didn't conventionalize either of them.
With a fantastic storytelling knack, Walls describes her artist mom's great gift for rationalizing. Apartment walls so thin they heard all their neighbors? What a bonus—they'd "pick up a little Spanish without even studying." Why feed their pets? They'd be helping them "by not allowing them to become dependent." While Walls's father's version of Christmas presents—walking each child into the Arizona desert at night and letting each one claim a star—was delightful, he wasn't so dear when he stole the kids' hard-earned savings to go on a bender. The Walls children learned to support themselves, eating out of trashcans at school or painting their skin so the holes in their pants didn't show. Buck-toothed Jeannette even tried making her own braces when she heard what orthodontia cost. One by one, each child escaped to New York City. Still, it wasn't long before their parents appeared on their doorsteps. "Why not?" Mom said. "Being homeless is an adventure."
The Glass Castle
By: Jeannette Walls
$11.25 288 pages
Ruthie Bolton was born January 6, 1961, in the Hungry Neck section of Charleston, South Carolina. At the time her mother was thirteen; she has never known who her father was. Her mother was the wandering kind, so Ruthie - nicknamed "Gal" by her step-grandfather - was raised in her grandparents' home. One day Grandmama died as a result of a severe beating by her husband - it occurred to no one to call this to the attention of the authorities - and Gal was left in the brutal hands of her granddaddy, who also beat her unmercifully. Ruthie began to steal things in school and developed a stutter; she drank and smoked dope. But she resolutely stuck with her education and graduated from high school, which was likely her salvation, for today Ruthie is happily married, with children and a fine job. At last, she is at peace - with herself, and even with the memory of her grandfather. It is nigh impossible to convey the astonishingly eloquent simplicity of Ruthie's witnessing to her time. Here is an absolutely remarkable document, as touching as it is painful, as ageless as it is timely.
Gal : a true life
By: Ruthie Bolton
$22.50 288 pages
Anke’s father is abusive. But not to her. He attacks her brother and sister, but she’s just an invisible witness in a house of horrors, on the brink of disappearing altogether. Until she makes the volleyball team at school. At first just being exhausted after practice feels good, but as Anke becomes part of the team, her confidence builds. When she learns to yell “Mine!” to call a ball, she finds a voice she didn’t know existed. For the first time, Anke is seen and heard. Soon, she’s imagining a day that her voice will be loud enough to rescue everyone at home—including herself.
Because I Am Furniture
By: Thalia Chaltas
$6.74 368 pages
What happens when your past is not just past, but wiped clean entirely? How do you figure out where you're going when you can't even claim where you've been? These were the questions that inspired Lock and Key. It's the story of a girl named Ruby who is abandoned by her mother and determined to make it on her own, even -and especially- when she is sent to live with her long-lost sister in a whole new world of privilege, family, and relationships. As Ruby learns, there's a big difference between being given help and being able to accept it. And sometimes, it takes reaching out to someone else to save yourself.
Lock & Key
By: Sarah Dessen
$6.74 432 pages
No Choirboy takes readers inside America’s prisons, and allows inmates sentenced to death as teenagers to speak for themselves. In their own voices—raw and uncensored—they talk about their lives in prison, and share their thoughts and feelings about how they ended up there. Susan Kuklin also gets inside the system, exploring capital punishment itself and the intricacies and inequities of criminal justice in the United States.
This is a searing, unforgettable read, and one that could change the way we think about crime and punishment.
By: Susan Kulkin
$13.49 224 pages
Welcome to Cold Mountain Penitentiary, home to the Depression-worn men of E Block. Convicted killers all, each awaits his turn to walk the GreenMile, keeping a date with "Old Sparky," Cold Mountain's electric chair.Prison guard Paul Edgecombe has seen his share of oddities in his years working the Mile. But he's never seen anyone like John Coffey, a man with the body of a giant and the mind of a child, condemned for a crime terrifying in its violence and shocking in its depravity. In this place of ultimate retribution, Edgecombe is about to discover the terrible, wondrous truth about Coffey, a truth that will challenge his most cherished beliefs...and yours.
The Green Mile
By: Stephen King
$5.99 400 pages
Journalist Lytle brings the capital punishment debate into sharp focus with her account of five men wrongly convicted and sentenced to death but later freed. The men, Lytle shows, were victims of false testimony and police coercion, among other ills of the justice system, and served up to 17 years in prison—much of it on death row. Michael Graham remained on death row for 14 years for the murder of en elderly couple before the key witness admitted fabricating her testimony. Madison Hobley, beaten and coerced into confessing to a deadly arson, spent 13 years on death row before he was pardoned. Randal Padgett, accused of raping and murdering his wife, was imprisoned for five and a half years—three and a half on death row—before he was granted a new trial and acquitted. Drawing on court documents and extensive interviews with the death row survivors, Lytle shines light on the often overlooked hardships these men face in returning to society after spending years in a six-by-nine-foot cell.
By: Leslie Lytle
$22.46 300 pages
Liam lives with his father, a famous writer, and his mother, a photographer, on Britain's Northumbrian coast. One day out wandering with his friend Max, Liam is led by a raven to a baby left with a note and some money. When Liam and his parents visit the infant's foster family, Liam connects immediately with two of the foster children, Crystal, a wild-child girl, and Oliver, a refugee from Liberia. Liam's mother falls in love with the baby, and she comes to live with his family. When Crystal and Oliver run away to Liam's secret hideaway, Oliver reveals his true identity, and Liam is forced to explore the darkest parts of his own soul as he realizes the evil he is capable of doing. Raven Summer is set in the recent past against the backdrop of the war in Iraq. It explores how children everywhere are physically and psychologically scarred by violence and brutality that they cannot escape and can be led to do horrible things. Almond's story is a passionate plea for peace, and the putting away of weapons of war.
By: David Almond
$12.74 208 pages
By: Amy Efaw
$13.50 350 pages
Opening in Vernal, Arkansas, this novel-in-verse speaks through 16-year-old Sissy Lexie, who, along with her younger brother, Boy, has been abandoned by their mother. The author reintroduces siblings who first made minor appearances in The Painters of Lexieville (2003). In this story, they want nothing more than to live with their older sister, Raynell, and her husband; instead, they are placed with an assortment of strangers, including religiously pious garbage collectors. When the garbage collectors take one too many swings at Boy, he and Lexie go on the lam. Upon finding their sister, they gain a stable and happy home, only to have it destroyed when one sibling dies and the other is thrown into a paralyzing grief. The spare, rhythmic text is rich in imagery and intriguing in tone. Readers, especially fans of verse, will be attracted.
By: Sharon Darrow
$12.75 160 pages
“WHEN YOU GREW UP IN THE PROJECTS, THERE WERE NO CHOICES. NO GOOD ONES, AT LEAST."
In the Frederick Douglass Project where DeShawn lives, daily life is ruled by drugs and gang violence. Many teenagers drop out of school and join gangs, and every kid knows someone who died. Gunshots ring out on a regular basis.
DeShawn is smart enough to know he should stay in school and keep away from the gangs. But while his friends have drug money to buy fancy sneakers and big-screen TVs, DeShawn's family can barely afford food for the month. How can he stick to his principles when his family is hungry?
In this gritty novel about growing up in the inner city, award-winning author Todd Strasser opens a window into the life of a teenager struggling with right and wrong under the ever-present shadow of gangs.
If I Grow Up
By: Todd Strasser
$6.74 240 pages
Marcus and Eddie are the stars of Long Island City High School’s basketball team. Marcus is black and Eddie is white, but they got past all that “racial crap” and have been best friends for years. Both boys are looking forward to great futures in college basketball and are waiting to see where they’ll land their scholarships. Then one cold night, something goes wrong and they make a big mistake. Now they can’t turn back and one of them will have to pay. Told in their two voices, BLACK AND WHITE is the gripping story of two good boys who make a bad mistake. It’s also a heartbreaking look at the realities of the urban criminal justice system.
Black and White
By: Paul Volponi
$5.24 192 pages
Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested. His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium — a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt's first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster — except for El Patrón. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself. As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister cast of characters, including El Patrón's power-hungry family, and he is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards. Escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But escape from the Alacran Estate is no guarantee of freedom, because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn't even suspect.
The House of the Scorpion
By: Nancy Farmer
$7.49 401 pages
In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would "unwind" them
Connor's parents want to be rid of him because he's a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev's unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family's strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until theireighteenth birthday, they can't be harmed -- but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.
By: Neal Shusterman
$6.74 352 pages
Eli has lucked into a job at Wyatt Transgenicsoffered to him by Dr. Wyatt, the famed scientist. The salary is substantial, the work is interesting, and Dr. Wyatt seems to be paying special attention to Eli. It's almost too good to be true. Is there a catch? Eli's father is vehemently against his taking the job, but won't explain why. Eli knows that there's some connection between Dr. Wyatt and his parents something too painful for his father to discuss. Something to do with his mother, who is now debilitated by Huntington's disease. As he continues to work at the lab, and to spend time with Dr. Wyatt, he begins to uncover some disconcerting truths about himself about his very makeup.
Rich and suspenseful, with a hair-raising conclusion, this is Nancy Werlin's most dynamic novel yet one that explores the ethics and amazements of genetic engineering.
By: Nancy Werlin
$5.24 256 pages
It is quite a shock to be in a war zone one moment and to wake up in a hospital bed the next, barely able to move.
Matt Duffy, a private in the U.S. Army who is serving in the Iraq War, opens his eyes to a doctor poking his feet with a sharp object, testing his nervous system. He is having flashbacks from the attack, a strange sequence of events that seems to culminate in a child being shot and an explosion right next to him. Matt doesn't remember exactly what happened, just a series of bizarre details from the alley: a stray dog sifting through garbage, a candy wrapper caught on a coil of razor wire, and the resonation of a muezzin call for the mosque. Then a man speaks to him “on behalf of the President of the United States and the citizens of a grateful nation,” and he is awarded the Purple Heart for wounds sustained in combat. The man goes on to tell Matt, “Your mission now, son, is to get better.” But such an order is easier said than done.
By: Patricia McCormick
$12.74 208 pages
What would it feel like to be fighting for your country --- and your life --- right after graduating from high school? Get a close-up view of the beginning of the current Iraq War in SUNRISE OVER FALLUJAH, another powerful novel by Walter Dean Myers. Against his father’s wishes, Robin Perry chooses the military over going to college in 2003. He finds himself near the border of Iraq, struggling to understand who he is and what he is doing there.When some people in an ambulance try to kill Robin and his comrades, Robin realizes he can no longer relax anywhere. Another time he sees an officer from his company killed by an IED (improvised explosive device) set off from a cell phone. Pulling that man from the remains of his vehicle haunts Robin’s thoughts for a long time afterwards.
Sunrise over Fallujah
By: Walter Dean Myers
$5.99 281 pages
Ryan Smithson joined the Army Reserve when he was seventeen. Two years later, he was deployed to Iraq as an Army engineer. In this extraordinary and harrowing memoir, readers march along one GI's tour of duty. It will change the way you feel about what it means to be an American.
Ghosts of War: The True Story
By: Ryan Smithson
$6.74 321 pages
Bright, popular, pretty and successful, Grace Bowman had the world at her feet. So what drove her to starve herself nearly to death at the age of 18? And what, more importantly, made her stop?
A grippingly honest account of life with anorexia nervosa, Thin is Grace's hearbreaking, shocking and, finally, inspirational memoir. An extraordinary story, it is also a common one - is there a woman in the western world who has a normal relationship with food? A compulsive read, essential for anyone hoping to understand more about eating disorders and overcoming addiction.
By: Grace Bowman
$11.24 304 pages
Since childhood, Eric Calhoune and Sarah Byrnes have found solace and support with one another as best friends. Eric grew up the fat kid --- "Moby" to all of his peers. Sarah struggled with her physical disfigurement --- a face and hands mysteriously burned to monstrous proportions before she even started school. Although their perceived weaknesses made them unnatural allies, it was their hearts that made them genuine friends. As Eric's place on the high school swim team begins to melt away his unwanted pounds, he feverishly eats to help maintain the balance --- thus the title, STAYING FAT FOR SARAH BYRNES. Secure in his devotion, Sarah lets Eric off the calorie conscious hook. But they soon discover it will be the unyielding brutality of Sarah's father Virgil, not Eric's new physique, that truly tests their friendship's resolve.
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes
By: Chris Crutcher
$6.74 304 pages
Terra Cooper was born with a port wine stain that covers one cheek and has dealt with numerous surgeries and treatments to try to at least make it fade a bit her entire life. She's also dealt with numerous taunts from her peers and has resorted to wearing thick pancake makeup to cover it. Her verbally abusive and degrading father has managed to destroy anything that was left of her self-esteem. She doesn't think she's good enough to have a boyfriend that truly cares for her, so she settles for a self-absorbed jock who only really cares about his muscles. Then one day, by chance, Terra meets Jacob, somewhat of an outsider himself, and through him, she is finally able to accept herself and learn to heal.
North of Beautiful
By: Justina Chen Headley
$6.74 373 pages
He wants to be the real deal...now.
Jomo Rodgers finished his first year on varsity hearing "if onlys," as in, if only he were bigger.
His talent on the field is easy to spot, and local papers and college recruiters are taking notice. But with his best friend on speed dial for recruiters at big-time college programs, and treated like a king at football-crazy Cranmer Academy, Jomo decides he wants to be more than merely good, he wants to be the real deal...now.
Taking his coach's lecture about commitment to heart, Jomo plunges into a new workout regimen that will make him stronger and faster. But is that enough? A little juice -- as in steroids -- might be the difference between being good and being great. It's an easy choice...that is about to make his life a whole lot harder.
By: Frederick McKissack, Jr.
$12.74 288 pages
Jeff is happily connected to his beautiful girlfriend, Norma, a skilled potter and social success, when "the fat girl," Ellen, enters their pottery class. Finding himself despising her, Jeff feels responsible when one day she overhears his mean remarks about her fat, her awkwardness, and her incompetence. Attempting to atone for his behavior, he visits her at her home and finds himself involved in more than he anticipated when she confides that she is considering suicide.
For reasons he himself doesn't understand until much later, he gradually becomes both friend and caretaker and, as she loses weight under his guidance, a possessive and supervisory boyfriend. Ellen's transformation eventuates in a new sense of her own worth and objectives, and also in a startling confrontation with the boy from whose help she also has to break free.
By: Marilyn Sachs
$6.71 240 pages
At the age of 16, Sara Shandler --- like much of America --- read Mary Pipher's acclaimed book about adolescent girls called REVIVING OPHELIA . Shandler was deeply affected by Pipher's book, but felt that Pipher was speaking for a group that could --- and should --- speak for themselves. So she began requesting submissions and collecting the poems, stories, essays, journal entries and letters that were to become OPHELIA SPEAKS. And the story they tell is moving, depressing, enlightening and rewarding.Shandler collected over 800 contributions from adolescent girls all over the country, expressing their thoughts on everything from body image to family relations to sex to their thoughts on feminism.
Ophelia Speaks: Adolescent
By: Sara Sandler
$10.49 304 pages
Rosemary Goode is smart and funny and loyal and the best eyebrow waxer in Spring Hill, Tennessee. But only one thing seems to matter to anyone, including Rosemary: her weight.
Rosemary's only boyfriends are the "secret lovers" stashed under her bed: Mr. Hershey, Mr. Reeses, and Mr. M&M. Worse, Christmas brought nothing but unwanted presents: a treadmill from Mother and two tickets to the Healing the Fat Girl Within conference from nosy Aunt Mary. And when your mom runs the most successful (and gossipy) beauty shop in town, it can be hard to keep a low profile…especially when the scale just hit an all-time high.
By: Suzanne Supplee
$5.99 288 pages
Synopsis: Randy "Igmund" Corso is a third-year freshman with a colorful track record at school. When you have a record like he does, teachers can lie about you, and no one believes you, especially not the court system that's supposed to decide if you're expelled from school or not. With his dad most likely passed out drunk or high at home and his mom "visiting someone" somewhere, Iggy doesn't have anyone to tell when he gets indefinitely suspended from high school for an offense he didn't commit. Even the social worker can't get through because the phone has been disconnected.With a few days until the hearing, Iggy turns to his friend Montell, a law school dropout from the rich side of town who is investing his time in pot and philosophy. Iggy needs a plan to straighten out his life, but that's more difficult done than said for a 16-year-old with no skills or money who has just been kicked out of school.
By: K.L. Going
$5.21 272 pages
Crank. Glass. Ice. Crystal. Whatever you call it, it's all the same: a monster. And once it's got hold of you, this monster will never let you go. Kristina thinks she can control it. Now with a baby to care for, she's determined to be the one deciding when and how much, the one calling the shots. But the monster is too strong, and before she knows it, Kristina is back in its grips. She needs the monster to keep going, to face the pressures of day-to-day life. She needs it to feel alive.
Once again the monster takes over Kristina's life and she will do anything for it, including giving up the one person who gives her the unconditional love she craves — her baby.
The sequel to Crank, this is the continuing story of Kristina and her descent back to hell. Told in verse, it's a harrowing and disturbing look at addiction and the damage that it inflicts.
By: Ellen Hopkins
$7.49 704 paages
Thyme Gilchrest is a model student who participates in numerous school activities and is definitely college-bound. She has an excellent reputation --- but that is about to change. This upper-middle class teen walks a very fine line, or straddles a pretty wobbly one, depending upon your point of view. Thyme is not your average drug dealer.Thyme is convinced that Ritalin, a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit disorder, would really help her study more efficiently. At school Ritalin is called a "study aid." Unable to convince her parents that she needs to visit a doctor, who she assumes will prescribe Ritalin for her, Thyme steals a bottle of medication from her friend Will. When she runs out of Ritalin and decides to quit cold turkey she experiences withdrawal. She vows never to run out of Ritalin again.
By: Tracy Lynn
$5.99 272 pages
Toby Malone is having an exceptionally bad year. He worries about everything: having to take a sex-ed class at school, trying out for the baseball team, determining whether Martha MacDowell is looking at him in a funny, pathetic kind of way or in an interested kind of way, and the gray hair sprouting out of his head. Toby is especially worried about his dad, who left the family after losing his job at the factory. He hasn't heard from him in so long that he's beginning to think he might never return.
And if that isn't enough to deal with, there's Toby's older brother Jake, who is getting into serious trouble with drugs. Toby feels that his mom has enough to worry about (like the unpaid bills), so he is taking it upon himself to clean up after Jake's messes, to come up with excuses for why he's late and why he's sick.
My Brother’s Keeper
By: Patricia McCormick
$4.49 192 pages
Addison was like the big brother Clay never had. Separated for years by a family argument, the two cousins are finally back together at Daytop, a drug treatment program. Clay’s parents caught him smoking pot; Addison was arrested for dealing crack. Now they’re at the same place at the same time, trying to work out their problems together. But Addison never gets a chance. One night he and Clay are on the rooftop of one of the buildings in the projects where Addison lives, and Addison is fatally shot--by the police--as Clay stands just a few steps away. Addison wasn’t armed. He didn’t deserve to die. But was he completely innocent? And what will prove more difficult for Clay-living a lie or facing the truth? The text is an unflinching look at justice, honesty, and what it means to be a man.
By: Paul Volponi