Ninth Grade Summer Reading Lists Program
As students are preparing to begin high school, the complexity and content of books grows. This is a good time to explore a variety of genres, as they will be expected to move outside of their comfort zones during the school year.
Daily reading is a must, with a focus on reading for at least 40 minutes each day. It is more difficult to set a goal for the number of books to read, as many of them are quite a bit longer than what the student is used to.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Must Read)
Told through the eyes of a child, this is the story of a crisis that divides a Southern town. The characters are richly drawn and the story is simply wonderful. This is Lee's only novel.
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (Must Read)
Alice was like any other teenage girl - until someone slips acid into her drink for the first time. She easily enters into the drug scene and is dragged under. This is a cautionary tale told unflinchingly. While some of the references seem dated, overall the issues facing teens are the same as they were when it the book was originally published in 1971.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Must Read)
A group of boys from an English school are stranded on a deserted island. They struggle with establishing their own society and rules as they fight for power and survival.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (Must Read)
A group of Chinese women form a mahjong club in 1949. They use the time to tell stories and support each other. The tradition is carried on by their daughters many years later. A very emotional story.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
This memoir, first published in 1969, clearly illustrates just how inspiring Maya Angelou is. Her spirit, her strength, and her poetic prowess are all on display here.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The title refers to the temperature at which paper ignites, knowledge needed by Guy Montag. Guy is a fireman whose job it is to burn books - a job he enjoys until he meets some people who see things differently.
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Owen Meany, after hitting a foul ball that strikes his best friend's mother and killing her, believes that he is God's instrument. Where this belief takes him is darkly humorous and incredibly interesting.
Big Mouth and Ugly Girl by Joyce Carol Oates
Ugly Girl is a misfit. She is tall, defiant, and opinionated. Big Mouth is a top student who writes for the school paper. When he makes a joke that gets him arrested, the only one who steps up to stand by his side is Ugly Girl.
The Mole People by Jennifer Toth
This is a nonfiction description of the people who live in New York City's abandoned tunnels from subway and sewer lines. Their self-made societies and culture are described in detail.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
This is a coming-of-age story about Irish immigrants in Brooklyn. Her early life is difficult, but Francie's values are sound and lead her to follow her dreams.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy, travels from Spain to Egypt in search of a treasure said to be buried in the pyramids. He meets some interesting people on his journey, and learns to listen to his heart.
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
Crichton has written some fantastic fiction, and this is a great example of his writing prowess. Biophysicists have warned the US government that the sterilization procedures for satellites re-entering our atmosphere are inadequate. This proves true when one drops to Earth and an entire town suffers the consequences.