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The books listed below are recommendations from Worcester Academy students and faculty. Choose one of these books to read this summer or select a title of your choice!
The Hate U Give by
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does--or does not--say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
Concrete Rose by
If there's one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it's that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad's in prison. Life's not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav's got everything under control. Until, that is, Maverick finds out he's a father. Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it's not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he's offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he's expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove he's different. When King Lord blood runs through your veins, though, you can't just walk away. Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten to tear Mav apart, especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He'll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man.
Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by
Coming of age as a Fat brown girl in a white Connecticut suburb is hard. Harder when your whole life is on fire, though. Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat. People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it's hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn't help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like- thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter. But there's one person who's always in Charlie's corner- her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing--he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? Because it's time people did.
Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by
"I've left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don't, put the book back on the shelf, please." 16-year-old Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on her favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. Dash, in a bad mood during the holidays, happens to be the first guy to pick up the notebook and rise to its challenges. What follows is a whirlwind romance as Dash and Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City. But can their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions, or will their scavenger hunt end in a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by
Dash and Lily have had a tough year since readers watched the couple fall in love in Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. Lily's beloved grandfather suffered a heart attack, and his difficult road to recovery has taken a major toll on her typically sunny disposition. Lily's spark has dimmed so much that Langston, her brother, has put aside his grudge against Dash to team up and remind Lily what there is to love about life. With only twelve days left until Christmas-Lily's favorite time of the year-Dash, Langston, and their friends take Manhattan by storm to help Lily recapture the holiday spirit of New York City in December, a time and place unlike anywhere else in the world. Told in alternating chapters, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily is bound to be a Christmas favorite for seasons to come.
Mind the Gap, Dash and Lily by
Dash and Lily were feeling closer than ever...it's just too bad they're now an ocean apart. After Dash gets accepted to Oxford University and Lily stays in New York to take care of her dogwalking business, the devoted couple are struggling to make a long distance relationship work. And when Dash breaks the news that he won't be coming home for Christmas, Lily makes a decision: if Dash can't come to her, she'll join him in London. It's a perfect romantic gesture...that spins out of Lily's control. Soon Dash and Lily are feeling more of a gap between them, even though they're in the same city. Will London bring them together again--or will it be their undoing?
Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by
It's August in Paris and 17-year-old Khayyam Maquet--American, French, Indian, Muslim--is at a crossroads. This holiday with her parents should be a dream trip for the budding art historian. But her maybe-ex-boyfriend is probably ghosting her, she might have just blown her chance at getting into her dream college, and now all she really wants is to be back home in Chicago figuring out her messy life instead of brooding in the City of Light. Two hundred years before Khayyam's summer of discontent, Leila is struggling to survive and keep her true love hidden from the Pasha who has "gifted" her with favored status in his harem. In the present day--and with the company of a descendant of Alexandre Dumas--Khayyam begins to connect allusions to an enigmatic 19th-century Muslim woman whose path may have intersected with Alexandre Dumas, Eugène Delacroix, and Lord Byron. Echoing across centuries, Leila and Khayyam's lives intertwine, and as one woman's long-forgotten life is uncovered, another's is transformed.
Love from A to Z by
A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes--because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together. An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb's teacher, who won't stop reminding the class how "bad" Muslims are. But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn't bad. She's angry. When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt's house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break. Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, "nicer" version of herself in a place where no one knows her. Then her path crosses with Adam's. Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam's stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister. Adam's also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father. Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals. Until a marvel and an oddity occurs... Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting. Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.
With the Fire on High by
Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago's life has been about making the tough decisions--doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it's not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.
All the Bright Places by
This book has two strong narrators whose viewpoints are told in an alternating fashion. Both of them have struggled with mental illness and family issues. They also deal with typical issues of fitting in at school. It has a lot to say about what it is like to live with a mental illness and what it is like to care for someone else who has one. It also has a lot to say about love and the choices we make in life. I haven't met anyone who has read it who didn't love it.
Recommended by Ms. Huff
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a very refreshing story of a young boy and his complicated journey throughout high school, and can teach anyone a lesson on growing up and having good friends to do it with.
Recommended by James Marculitis
I'll Give You the Sun by
I loved this book because it followed dual perspectives and it focused a lot on character development. It also was filled with metaphors and mysteries so it kept me on my toes.
Recommended by Adelyne Reynolds
The Fault in Our Stars by
It keeps readers interested and wanting to read. It's about a girl with cancer who finds true love.
Recommended by Megan
Everything, Everything by
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I'm allergic to the world. I don't leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He's tall, lean and wearing all black--black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can't predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It's almost certainly going to be a disaster.
It's about the life of a high school boarding student in Massachusetts and dilemmas she faces in facing her identity. -- Recommended by Isha Mayor
It's Kind of a Funny Story by
Like many ambitious New York City teenagers, Craig Gilner sees entry into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School as the ticket to his future. Determined to succeed at life-which means getting into the right high school to get into the right college to get the right job-Craig studies night and day to ace the entrance exam, and does. That's when things start to get crazy. At his new school, Craig realizes that he isn't brilliant compared to the other kids; he's just average, and maybe not even that. He soon sees his once-perfect future crumbling away. The stress becomes unbearable and Craig stops eating and sleeping-until, one night, he nearly kills himself. (publisher's description)
It is a really strong and moving book that opens the readers eyes about topics that should be well known throughout high school. -- Recommended by Laura Hill
Looking for Alaska by
Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave "the Great Perhaps" even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same. (publisher's description)
Recommended by Carley Daly
The Truth about Alice by
The book is one that you can't put down. It is page turning novel. It is a book that is perfect for the summer. I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys easy summer teenage romance novels. -- Recommended by Michaela Brady
That's Not What Happened by
Students are telling their stories about their experience during a school shooting. People are making assumptions about what happened in the the bathroom with two best friends but only one person knows the truth.
Gray Wolf Island by
Ruby sets off on an adventure to the legendary Gray Wolf Island to fulfill her twin sister's dying wish and to find the treasure rumored to be hidden there. Accompanied by a group of teens from her seaside town, she has only a poem and a treasure map to guide her way.
Recommended by Kat Fechner.
Goodbye Days by
High school student Carver Briggs sends a text to his three driving best friends, the texts lead to a car crash, and ultimately their death. Many people believe that he is their killer, and even more believe that he should face jail time. This beautifully written story shows the journey of a boy as he tries to avoid the truth: he killed his best friends.
Little and Lion by
Suzette went off to boarding school to get away from her stressful family situation -- i.e., her brother, who is grappling with mental illness. To make things even more complicated, she discovers her own sense of self is still in flux when she falls in love with her brother's crush.
Recommended by Ms. Yacono
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she's thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond's big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
Recommended by Grace Rade
The Namesake by
This novel tells the story of an Indian family, after immigrating to the US. The story centers around family's son, Gogol, as he struggles to balance both his American and Indian identities.
They Went Left by
Germany, 1945. The soldiers who liberated the Gross-Rosen concentration camp said the war was over, but nothing feels over to eighteen-year-old Zofia Lederman. Her body has barely begun to heal, her mind feels broken. And her life is completely shattered: Three years ago, she and her younger brother, Abek, were the only members of their family to be sent to the right, away from the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Everyone else--her parents, her grandmother, radiant Aunt Maja--they went left. Zofia's last words to her brother were a promise: Abek to Zofia, A to Z. When I find you again, we will fill our alphabet. Now her journey to fulfill that vow takes her through Poland and Germany, and into a displaced persons camp where everyone she meets is trying to piece together a future from a painful past: Miriam, desperately searching for the twin she was separated from after they survived medical experimentation. Breine, a former heiress, who now longs only for a simple wedding with her new fiancé. And Josef, who guards his past behind a wall of secrets, and is beautiful and strange and magnetic all at once. But the deeper Zofia digs, the more impossible her search seems. How can she find one boy in a sea of the missing? In the rubble of a broken continent, Zofia must delve into a mystery whose answers could break her--or help her rebuild her world.
All the Light We Cannot See by
This beautiful novel is about two teenagers, a French girl and a German boy, trying to survive WWII. As the war progresses, both are faced with choices that raise the question of to what extent we are in charge of our own destinies and the fate of the world. It is also about how art -- music, stories -- connects us to each other and how history connects us to those who came before us. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2015; its compelling story and dazzling prose will take carry you to a different time while forcing you to ask questions about your own place in history.
Recommended by Ms. Schlesinger
Between Shades of Gray by
It is the story of a girl named Lina who is Lithuanian. This story takes place in 1941 and is the journey of her family and friends getting displaced to Siberian work camps during World War II. Although the topics are quite unpleasant the story is beautiful.
Recommended by Maggie Reiter
The Help by
I enjoyed it had historical significance but not in dull way. It was funny and well paced. The characters were heartwarming and complex.
Recommended by Lucy Ding
The Book Thief by
I'm sure that we're all familiar with the premise of "The Book Thief," but I believe its a book that students will feel affected by and also enjoy reading. The language and situation are what drives it along, and it has subtle social undertones.
Recommended by Daviana Perez
Girl in Translation by
Gives us a real view of how some immigrants have to live in this country and how they make such good use of every opportunity given to them. It is eye opening and inspirational.
Recommended by Isha Mayor
The Revenant by
It's a great book about revenge and about the civil war. Its nonfiction and its a great read.
Recommended by Ethan Student
A Painted House by
Using a young boy as narrator, Grisham explores interactions between rich and poor, races, and people in a fast, easy read with good insight.
Recommended by Mr. Glassmire
War and Peace by
War and Peace broadly focuses on Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men. (publisher's description)
Recommended by Oleksandr Litus
Warriors Don't Cry by
This is a great book regarding the history of integration in Little Rock, Arkansas. -- Recommended by Rohan Krishnan
Mildred H. McEvoy Library at Worcester Academy | 81 Providence Street | Worcester, MA 01604