Comparing Summer Reading

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What are you reading this summer? Below we have the summer reading assignments for four local high schools. I initially set out to research summer reading after realizing my daughter’s high school was not assigning any books this summer. Although I applaud the multimedia and multi-cultural approach her school is taking, as an educator and researcher, I know how important reading books is for future school success. So I looked at what other schools were assigning and found some schools had no summer work and others had up to three books.

At College Calm, we challenge each of our students to read at least one book this summer that is not assigned. Why? Because reading for fun lets you explore a new perspective, helps you prepare the SAT/ACT reading section, and prepares you for college essay questions. If you are having a hard time finding something to read, keep reading for a comparison list of the summer reading assignments, great books that explore social justice, a list of books every high schooler should read, and new releases you won’t want to miss. * represents books on multiple lists.



Summer Reading for FRESHMAN

St. Francis
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
Annie John, Jamaica Kincaid

Menlo School
When the Emperor Was Divine, Julie Otsuka
Choose one:
Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
There There, Tommy Orange
Monster, Walter Dean Myers
*Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens

Menlo- Atherton High School Choose from a list:

If you enjoy dystopian literature: • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

If you enjoy biographies: • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

If you enjoy stories about teenagers fighting for what they feel passionately about: • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo • The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

If you enjoy historical fiction: • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak • Refugee by Alan Gratz

If you enjoy books about sports: • Booked by Kwame Alexander • The Brooklyn Nine by Alan Gratz

Summer Reading for SOPHOMORES

Menlo-Atherton High School
Feed, MT Anderson
The Martian, Andy Weir
The Night Tiger, Yangsze Choo
Salvage the Bones, Jessmyn Ward

Sacred Heart
*Stamped, Jason Reynolds and IbramX. Kendi
American Like Me, America Ferrera

The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
The Glass Castle: a Memoir, Jeannette Walls

St. Francis
You Bring the Distant Near, Mitali Perkins
A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry

Summer reading for JUNIORS

Sacred Heart
Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Menlo-Atherton High School
*Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson
The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri
*Educated, Tara Westover

Looking for Alaska, John Green
White Teeth, Zadie Smith
In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction, Lee Gutkind, ed.

St. Francis
Greetings from Bury Park: A Memoir, Sarfraz Manzoor
How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi

Summer Reading for SENIORS

Time Was Soft There:
A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare and Co., Jeremy Mercer
*Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward

St. Francis
*The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri
Love Medicine, Louise Erdrich
The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka

Sacred Heart
Choose based on class:
Everything I Never Told You AND/OR Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
Consolations, David Whyte
Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, Gabrielle Hamilton Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin

Menlo-Atherton High School
*The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolsto


Ghost Boy Rhodes, Jewell Parker
Dear Martin Stone, Nic
*Between The World and Me Coates, Ta-Nehisi
*Just Mercy Stevenson, Bryan
*Stamped Reynolds, Jason
Native Son Wright, Richard
To Kill a Mockingbird Lee, Harper
Black Enough Stories of Being Young & Black in America Zoboi, Ibi Aanu
*The 57 Bus Slater, Dash