Below you will find lists of suggested titles for each grade level. You are not limited to the books on these lists. To get started, identify your grade level and theme. Browse the list of suggestions for ideas and inspiration. Visit your local library to borrow a book for your summer reading project. Review your assignment before you begin reading. Enjoy your book!


Realistic Fiction

Realistic fiction includes any story that resembles real life. The plot, characters, conflicts and solutions are developed by the author but are very believable. Many readers relate to realistic fiction because it reminds us of our own lives, experiences, disappointments and triumphs.

Adoff, Jaime. The death of Jayson Porter
In the Florida projects, sixteen-year-old Jayson struggles with the harsh realities of his life which include an abusive mother, a drug-addicted father, and not fitting in at his predominately white school, and bring him to the brink of suicide.

Anderson, Jessica Lee, 1980-. Border crossing
Manz, a troubled fifteen-year-old, ruminates over his Mexican father's death, his mother's drinking, and his stillborn stepbrother until the voices he hears in his head take over and he cannot tell reality from delusion.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak
A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school.

Arcos, Carrie. Out of reach
Accompanied by her brother's friend, Tyler, sixteen-year-old Rachel ventures through San Diego and nearby areas seeking her brother, eighteen-year-old Micah, a methamphetamine addict who ran away from home.

Asher, Jay, 1975-. Thirteen reasons why : a novel.
High school student Clay Jensen receives a box in the mail containing seven cassette tapes recorded by his crush, Hannah Baker, who committed suicide, and spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death.

Beam, Cris. I am J
J, who feels that he is a boy who was mistakenly born a girl, hides who he is from his family and the world, but after he loses his best friend, J decides to stop hiding, whatever the cost.

Beaudoin, Sean. You killed Wesley Payne
Seventeen-year-old Dalton Rev arrives at Salt River High where he must outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in order to solve the mystery of the body found wrapped in duct tape and hanging from the goal posts in the football field.

Bechard, Margaret. Hanging on to Max
When his girlfriend decides to give their baby away, seventeen-year-old Sam is determined to keep him and raise him alone.

Bick, Ilsa J. Drowning instinct
An emotionally damaged sixteen-year-old girl begins a relationship with a deeply troubled older man.

Birdsall, Olivia. Notes on a near-life experience
Fifteen-year-old Mia feels like a ghost watching her own life when her parents' arguments escalate into a separation, triggering counseling sessions, strange behavior in her brother and sister, and a new connection with her brother's best friend.

Bonham, Frank. Durango Street
As headman of his teenage gang, Rufus Henry has to deal not only with other gangs, but also with the police sanctioned sponsor who has involved himself with Rufus and his friends.

Booth, Coe. Bronxwood
Sixteen-year-old Tyrell, accustomed to being the man of the family, has mixed feelings when his father comes home from jail, but he knows he cannot just go back to being a little boy, especially after losing his younger brother to foster care, getting involved with drug dealers, learning about his mother's infidelity, and developing a relationship with Jasmine.

Booth, Coe. Kendra
High schooler Kendra longs to live with her mother who, unprepared for motherhood at age fourteen, left Kendra in the care of her grandmother.

Cadnum, Michael. Rundown
As a game, sixteen-year-old Jennifer pretends that she has been attacked by a serial rapist, but then she finds herself getting more attention than she wanted, from the police and her parents.

Caletti, Deb. The six rules of maybe
Scarlet, an introverted high school junior surrounded by outcasts who find her a good listener, learns to break old patterns and reach for hope when her pregnant sister moves home with her new husband, with whom Scarlet feels an instant connection.

Caletti, Deb. The story of us
Eighteen-year-old Cricket, having decided to take a break from her long-time boyfriend to sort out her love life, spends a week preparing for her mother's wedding and finds her life getting even more complicated by stepsisters who are against the marriage, a family secret revealed by her grandfather, the arrival of her mom's soon-to-be husband's ex, and feelings for a sweet and sexy guy she just met.

Chayil, Eishes. Hush
After remembering the cause of her best friend Devory's suicide at age nine, Gittel is determined to raise awareness of sexual abuse in her Borough Park, New York, community, despite the rules of Chassidim that require her to be silent.

Coburn, Jake. Prep
A one-time tag artist, Nick tries to come to terms with the death of a friend, to protect the brother of his would-be girlfriend, to escape the violence of wealthy New York City prep-school hoods, and to figure out who he really is.

Cohen, Joshua, 1969-. Leverage
High school sophomore Danny excels at gymnastics but is bullied, like the rest of the gymnasts, by members of the football team, until an emotionally and physically scarred new student joins the football team and forms an unlikely friendship with Danny.

Cohn, Rachel. You know where to find me
In the wake of her cousin's suicide, overweight and introverted seventeen-year-old Miles experiences significant changes in her relationships with her mother and father, her best friend Jamal and his family, and her cousin's father, while gaining insights about herself, both positive and negative.

Cooner, Donna D. (Donna Danell). Skinny
After undergoing gastric-bypass surgery, a self-loathing, obese teenaged girl loses weight and makes the brave decision to start participating in high school life, including pursuing her dream of becoming a singer and finding love.

Coy, John, 1958-. Crackback
Miles barely recalls when football was fun after being sidelined by a new coach, constantly criticized by his father, and pressured by his best friend to take performance-enhancing drugs.

Curtis, Vanessa. Zelah Green
Zelah Green is sent by her stepmother to a hospital where she must deal with her phobia of germs and dirt.

Davis, Lane. I swear
"After Leslie Gatlin kills herself, her bullies reflect on how things got so far"--Provided by publisher.

Deuker, Carl. Gym candy
Mick Johnson works hard for a placement on the varsity team during his freshman year, and decides to use steroids in order to hold onto his edge, despite the consequences to his health and social life.

Deuker, Carl. Payback time
Overweight, somewhat timid Mitch reluctantly agrees to be the sports reporter for the Lincoln High newspaper because he is determined to be a writer, but he senses a real story in Angel, a talented football player who refuses to stand out on the field--or to discuss his past.

Downham, Jenny. You against me
Eighteen-year-old Mikey's younger sister claims to have been raped and he seeks to avenge the crime, but when he meets and makes friends with Ellie, the sister of the accused, he complicates the situation considerably for all of them.

Draper, Sharon M. (Sharon Mills). November blues
Shortly after her boyfriend Josh is killed in a pledging accident, November Nelson learns she is pregnant and fears she has no one to turn to, until she finds solace in the arms of Josh's cousin Jericho.

Draper, Sharon M. (Sharon Mills). Out of my mind
Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.

Elkeles, Simone. Perfect chemistry
When wealthy, seemingly perfect Brittany and Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, develop a relationship after Alex discovers that Brittany is not exactly who she seems to be, they must face the disapproval of their schoolmates--and others.

Ellison, Kate. The butterfly clues
Penelope "Lo" Marin copes with the stress of constantly moving by collecting--sometimes stealing--things from each new place, a habit that has become more compulsive since the death of her brother, but while she is wandering around Cleveland, Ohio, Lo finds a butterfly pendant at a flea market she recognizes as something stolen from a recently murdered girl and begins to piece together clues to find out the truth behind her death.

Emond, Stephen. Happyface
After going through traumatic times, a troubled, socially awkward teenager moves to a new school where he tries to reinvent himself.

Frank, E. R. America : a novel
America, a runaway boy who is being treated at Ridgeway, a New York hospital, finds himself opening up to one of the doctors on staff and revealing things about himself that he had always vowed to keep secret.

Gattis, Ryan. Kung Fu High School
When Jen and her brother Cue's cousin Jimmy arrives in their home town, his reputation as a world-champion martial arts master precedes him, testing his vow to never fight again.

George, Madeleine. Looks
Two high school girls, one an anorexic poet and the other an obese loner, form an unlikely friendship.

Goodman, Shawn, 1970-. Something like hope
Shavonne, a fierce, desperate seventeen-year-old in juvenile lockup, wants to turn her life around before her eighteenth birthday, but corrupt guards, out-of-control girls, and shadows from her past make her task seem impossible.

Greenman, Catherine. Hooked
Thea Galehouse, a student at the prestigious Stuyvesant High School, has a baby with her college boyfriend, and, with the support of their parents they are able to maintain their education and relationship, until an accident threatens their new family and forces Thea to seek support from her stiff, uncompromising father.

Halpern, Julie, 1975-. Get well soon
Anna Bloom, confined to a mental hospital by her parents who do not know how to deal with her depression and panic attacks, writes letters to her best friend Tracy sharing the funny details of her life and the people she is getting to know at Lakeland.

Hautman, Pete, 1952-. Blank confession
A new and enigmatic student named Shayne appears at high school one day, befriends the smallest boy in the school, and takes on a notorious drug dealer before turning himself in to the police for killing someone.

Henry, April. Torched
In order to save her parents from going to jail for possession of marijuana, sixteen-year-old Ellie must help the FBI uncover the intentions of a radical environmental group by going undercover.

Herbach, Geoff. Stupid fast
Just before his sixteenth birthday, Felton Reinstein has a sudden growth spurt that turns him from a small, jumpy, picked-on boy with the nickname of "Squirrel Nut" to a powerful athlete, leading to new friends, his first love, and the courage to confront his family's past and current problems.

Hinton, S. E. The outsiders
Rivalry between rich and poor gangs in 1960s Oklahoma leads to the deaths of three teenagers and intense soul-searching for one of the youths involved, a sensitive fourteen-year-old writer named Ponyboy.

Hoban, Julia. Willow
Sixteen-year-old Willow, who was driving the car that killed both of her parents, copes with the pain and guilt by cutting herself, until she meets a smart and sensitive boy who is determined to help her stop.

Hopkins, Ellen. Impulse
Three teens who meet at Reno, Nevada's Aspen Springs mental hospital after each has attempted suicide connect with each other in a way they never have with their parents or anyone else in their lives.

Johnson, Angela, 1961-. A certain October
After a terrible accident, Scotty feels responsible for the death of someone she hardly knew and struggles with her own reality while her friends and family deal with their own troubles, but the prospect of a boy and a dance add positive possibility back into Scotty's life.

Johnson, Angela, 1961-. The first part last
Bobby's carefree teenage life changes forever when he becomes a father and must care for his adored baby daughter.

Jones, Traci L. Standing against the wind.
After her mother is sent to jail, eighth-grader Patrice Williams moves to Chicago to live with her aunt Mae where she attends a school filled with gangs and drug runners, applies for a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, and learns there is hope for her future.

Jordan, Toni. Addition
Obsessive-compulsive Grace Lisa Vandenburg counts everything, a habit that has alienated her from most of her family and put her on disability from her teaching job--due to a former student's parents claim that she was insane--but she never counted on meeting Seamus Joseph O'Reilly at the café.

Katcher, Brian. Almost perfect
With his mother working long hours and in pain from a romantic break-up, eighteen-year-old Logan feels alone and unloved until a zany new student--who is hiding a big secret--arrives at his small-town Missouri high school.

Koertge, Ronald. Now playing Stoner & Spaz II
High schooler Ben Bancroft, a budding filmmaker with cerebral palsy, struggles to understand his relationship with drug-addict Colleen while he explores a new friendship with A.J., who shares his obsession with movies and makes a good impression on Ben's grandmother.

Konigsberg, Bill. Out of the pocket
As Bobby Framingham, quarterback of his high school football team, finally acknowledges to himself that he is gay, events start to spin out of control when his sexual orientation is revealed in the student newspaper and then in the local press, and he learns that his father has cancer.

LaCour, Nina. Hold still
Caitlin wrestles with her feelings of devastation and helplessness after her friend Ingrid commits suicide, and she turns to her family and newfound friends for help while encountering love, broadening her horizons, and using Ingrid's journal to heal.

Lake, Nick. In darkness
In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, Shorty, a poor, fifteen-year-old gang member from the slums of Site Soleil, is trapped in the rubble of a hospital and as he grows weaker, he has visions and memories of his life of violence, his lost twin sister, and of Toussaint L'Ouverture, who liberated Haiti from French rule in 1804.

Langan, Paul, 1972-. Schooled
Lionel Shephard dreams of joining the NBA, but while his father disapproves of his plans, his teachers are threatening to fail him--unaware of his poor reading abilities--and Lionel needs to decide how far he is willing to go for his dreams.

Leavitt, Martine, 1953-. My book of life by Angel
"Sixteen-year-old Angel struggles to free herself from the trap of prostitution in which she is caught."--Provided by publisher.

Lelic, Simon. A thousand cuts
Detective Inspector Lucia May investigates the case of Samuel Szajkowski, a new history teacher who gunned down three students and a colleague before turning the weapon on himself, resisting her supervisor's pressure to make it an open-and-shut case as she uncovers a toxic school culture that contributed to the teacher's violent breakdown.

Lipsyte, Robert. Raiders night
Matt Rydeck, co-captain of his high school football team, endures a traumatic season as he witnesses the rape of a rookie player by teammates and grapples with his own use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Livaneli, Zülfü, 1946-. Bliss
Fifteen-year-old Meryem refuses to hang herself after being raped by her uncle, and is sent to Istanbul with her cousin Cemal, an army commando, who has been charged with killing Meryem to save the family honor, but the young people are shocked by the liberal atmosphere of the city, and their lives are changed forever when they are offered jobs aboard the boat of a wealthy professor preparing to sail the Aegean Sea.

Lurie, April. The latent powers of Dylan Fontaine
Fifteen-year-old Dylan's friend Angie is making a film about him while he is busy trying to keep his older brother from getting caught with drugs, to deal with his mother having left the family, and to figure out how to get Angie to think of him as more than just a friend.

Lynch, Chris. Inexcusable
High school senior and football player Keir sets out to enjoy himself on graduation night, but when he attempts to comfort a friend whose date has left her stranded, things go terribly wrong.

Mac, Carrie. The Beckoners
Zoe, unhappy to be moving once again, falls in with the Beckoners, a group of bullies at her new school, but soon finds herself trying to get free from the gang whose actions against their favorite target, a girl they call Dog, are escalating to violence.

Mackler, Carolyn. The earth, my butt, and other big round things
Feeling like she does not fit in with the other members of her family, who are all thin, brilliant, and good-looking, fifteen-year-old Virginia tries to deal with her self-image, her first physical relationship, and her disillusionment with some of the people closest to her.

Madonia, Kristen-Paige. Fingerprints of you. 1st ed. New York : Simon & Schuster BFYR, c2012.
After spending her life moving from place to place with her single mother, pregnant seventeen-year-old Lemon takes a bus to San Francisco to seek the father she never knew, as well as truths about her mother and herself.

Maia, Love. DJ rising. 1st ed. New York : Little, Brown, 2012.
Sixteen-year-old Marley Diego-Dylan's career as "DJ Ice" is skyrocketing, but his mother's heroin addiction keeps dragging him back to earth.

Marcus, Kimberly. Exposed. 1st ed. New York : Random House, c2011.
High school senior Liz, a gifted photographer, can no longer see things clearly after her best friend accuses Liz's older brother of a terrible crime.

Martin, C. K. Kelly. I know it's over. 1st ed. New York : Random House, c2008.
Sixteen-year-old Nick, still trying to come to terms with his parents' divorce, experiences exhilaration and despair in his relationship with his girlfriend Sasha especially when, after instigating a trial separation, she announces that she is pregnant.

McGowan, Anthony. The knife that killed me. 1st American ed. New York : Delacorte Press, c2008.
Paul Varderman, a secondary student in an English Catholic School, is a loner until, just as he is becoming friends with "the freaks," the school bully encourages Paul to join his gang and gives him a knife to carry as an incentive.

Millward, Carol Larese. Star in the middle. 1st ed. Lodi, NJ : WestSide Books, c2009.
Sixteen-year-old Star struggles with the responsibility of being a mother, while the baby's father, a star athlete, is urged by friends and family to lend his support to Star and his newborn son.

Moskowitz, Hannah. Break. 1st Simon Pulse pbk. ed. New York : Simon Pulse, 2009.
To relieve the pressures of caring for a brother with life-threatening food allergies, another who is a fussy baby, and parents who are at odds with one other, seventeen-year-old Jonah sets out to break every bone in his body in hopes of becoming stronger.

Myers, Walter Dean. Dope Sick
Seeing no way out of his difficult life in Harlem, seventeen-year-old Jeremy "Lil J" Dance flees into a house after a drug deal goes awry and meets a strange man who reveals different turning points in Lil J's life when he could have made better choices.

Nelson, Blake, 1960-. Recovery Road
Seventeen-year-old Maddie meets Stewart in a rehabilitation facility for drug and alcohol abuse, and they begin a relationship, which they try to maintain after they both finish treatment.

Oates, Joyce Carol, 1938-. Two or three things I forgot to tell you
"When their best friend, Tink, dies from an apparent suicide, high school seniors Merissa and Nadia are alienated by their secrets, adrift from each other and from themselves"--Provided by publisher.

Pagliarulo, Antonio. A different kind of heat
Trying to come to terms with her brother's death, high school student and former gang member Luz meets his killer face to face as she begins to rebuild her own life in a group home in New York City.

Peña, Matt de la. I will save you. 1st Ember ed. New York : Ember, 2011, c2010.
Kidd, unhappy with his life in a group home and job at the beach, learns lessons about identity, love, and friendship through his relationships with Olivia, a rich girl from Cardiff, and Devon, a mysterious teen driven by a death wish.

Peters, Julie Anne. By the time you read this, I'll be dead. 1st ed. New York : Hyperion DBG, c2010.
High school student Daelyn Rice, who has been bullied throughout her school career and has more than once attempted suicide, again makes plans to kill herself, in spite of the persistent attempts of an unusual boy to draw her out.

Reed, Amy Lynn. Beautiful. 1st Simon Pulse pbk. ed. New York : Simon Pulse, 2010, c2009.
Haunted by serious problems in her recent past, thirteen-year-old Cassie makes a fresh start at a Seattle school but is drawn by dangerous new friends into a world of sex, drugs, and violence, while her parents remain oblivious.

Rees, Celia. This is not forgiveness. New York : Bloomsbury, 2012.
In England, a beautiful, manipulative teenaged girl affiliated with a group of political anarchists seduces both seventeen-year-old Jamie and his older brother, a wounded veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

Simon, Charnan. Plan B. Minneapolis, MN : Darby Creek, c2011.
Lucy has her life mapped out, thinking she will join her boyfriend Luke at college, become a Spanish teacher, get married, and live happily ever after, but when Lucy learns she is pregnant, she is forced to make the most difficult decision of her life.
Tanzman, Carol M. Dancergirl
Rendered famous when a friend posts videos of her dance routines online, Ali Ruffino hopes to pursue a professional career only to be targeted by mean-spirited detractors and a ruthless stalker.

Tillit, L. B. Edge of ready
High school senior Dani Garcia has to manage school and family life, when an unfortunate event changes her life.

Vizzini, Ned, 1981-. It's kind of a funny story. 1st Hyperion pbk. ed. New York : Hyperion, 2010, c2006.
New York City teenager Craig Gilner succumbs to academic and social pressures at an elite high school and enters a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide.

Volponi, Paul. Crossing lines
Adonis, a football hero and boyfriend to one of the prettiest girls at school, goes along with the team when they target Alan, a new kid who wears lipstick and joins the fashion club, but he must choose between being popular and doing the right thing when his buddies come up with a plan to humiliate Alan.

Wiess, Laura, 1960-. Leftovers
Two teenagers, Blair and Ardith, lose their innocence in more ways than one as they are transformed from happy ninth-graders to high school sophomores determined to secure justice for their families and friends, whatever the cost.

Wilkinson, Lili, 1981-. Pink
Sixteen-year-old Ava does not know who she is or where she belongs, but when she tries out a new personality--and sexual orientation--at a different school, her edgy girlfriend, potential boyfriend, and others are hurt by her lack of honesty.

Williams, Carol Lynch. Miles from ordinary
Thirteen-year-old Lacey must face the reality of what life with her mother means for both of them as her mother's mental illness spins terrifyingly out of control.

Williams-Garcia, Rita. Every time a rainbow dies
After seeing a girl raped and becoming obsessed with her, sixteen-year-old Thulani finds motivation to move beyond his interest in his birds and his grief over his mother's death.

Winthrop, Elizabeth Hartley, 1979-. December
Wilson and Ruth Carter, having spent the past nine months trying to understand why their eleven-year-old daughter Isabelle suddenly quit speaking, are forced to face the possibility that what they initially thought was just an adolescent phase might be a lifelong transformation.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Beneath a meth moon : an elegy
Laurel Daneau, having lost her mother, grandmother, and home in Hurricane Katrina, thinks things are going well with her new life as a cheerleader and the girlfriend of basketball start T-Boom, but after T-Boom introduces her to meth and she finds the drug helps her deal with her past, she must rely on the help of an artist named Moses and her friend Kaylee to overcome the addiction.

Wright, Bil. When the black girl sings
Adopted by white parents and sent to an exclusive Connecticut girls' school where she is the only African-American student, fourteen-year-old Lahni Schuler feels like an outcast, particularly when her parents separate, but after attending a local church where she hears gospel music for the first time, she finds her voice.

Zadoff, Allen. Food, girls, and other things I can't have : a novel
Fifteen-year-old Andrew Zansky, the second fattest student at his high school, joins the varsity football team to get the attention of a new girl on whom he has a crush.

Zarr, Sara. How to save a life
Told from their own viewpoints, seventeen-year-old Jill, in grief over the loss of her father, and Mandy, nearly nineteen, are thrown together when Jill's mother agrees to adopt Mandy's unborn child but nothing turns out as they had anticipated.

Zeises, Lara M. Contents under pressure
Lucy, a fourteen-year-old high school freshman, experiences the happiness and confusion of dating a popular older boy, changing relationships with life-long friends, and sharing a bedroom with her older brother's pregnant girlfriend.

Zielin, Lara, 1975-. The implosion of Aggie Winchester
Sixteen-year-old Aggie Winchester knows being the principal's daughter, her Goth clothing, and her friendship with her tough best friend Sylvia make her a target at school, but when Sylvia begins hanging out with the most popular boy in school and turns on Aggie, she finds herself even more alienated from the other students, and a scandal involving her mother proves to be the last straw.