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!

THE SUMMER BEFORE…
9TH GRADE

Coming of Age

Coming of Age: When a character “comes of age,” it is usually a time in life when the character or others begin to view himself/herself as a mature, young adult as opposed to a little kid. For the character, there may be a significant event, crises, challenge, moment, or turning point that allows him/her to become self-aware of this change.

Tharp, Tim, 1957-. Knights of the hill country
In his senior year, high school star linebacker Hampton Greene finally begins to think for himself and discovers that he might be interested in more than just football.

Alcantara, Pedro de, 1958-. Backtracked
While playing a dangerous subway prank, a fifteen-year-old slacker, who lives a comfortable life in Brooklyn, falls through a time-travel vortex and is transported to different time periods in twentieth-century New York City, where he learns firsthand about hardship.

Auster, Paul, 1947-. Invisible
While attending Columbia University, twenty-year-old Adam Walker enters a life-altering triangle that culminates into violence after he meets a mysterious Frenchman and his girlfriend at a party in the spring of 1967.

Banks, Russell, 1940-. Rule of the bone : a novel
The story of a troubled fourteen-year-old boy who, upon leaving an abusive homelife, lives on the edge of society, struggling to find himself.

Bardi, Abby. The Book of Fred
A sheltered fifteen-year-old girl named Mary Fred Anderson is removed from her home in a fundamentalist sect and placed in foster care in a Washington, D.C. suburb, where a violent act upon her new family has an indelible impact on her, making her reexamine her long-held beliefs.

Barnes, John, 1957-. Tales of the Madman Underground
Karl Shoemaker, starting his senior year in Lightsburg, Ohio, in 1973, vows to break out of the therapy group he has been forced to attend during school hours and become "normal.".

Beckett, Chris, 1954-. Dark Eden
On a sunless planet called Eden, the 532 members of the Family seek shelter and warmth under the Forest's lantern trees, and the legends of ancestors who built ships that could cross the stars inspire young John Redlanter to venture out into the dark and discover the truth about Eden.

Bickle, Laura. The outside
Kicked out of the safety of her Amish community, teenaged Katie must face the dangerous vampire-infested outside world.

Blundell, Judy. What I saw and how I lied
In 1947, with her jovial stepfather Joe back from the war and family life returning to normal, teenage Evie, smitten by the handsome young ex-GI who seems to have a secret hold on Joe, finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies whose devastating outcome change her life and that of her family forever.

Bognanni, Peter. The house of tomorrow
Sebastian Prendergast, having left the safety of the geodesic dome in which he lived after his grandmother had a stroke, meets sixteen-year-old Jared Whitcomb, and together the boys experience the angst of being teenagers while forming a punk rock band, but when Jared's grandma asks him to return to her home, he is faced with choosing between her dying wish and his newfound life.

Brahmachari, Sita, 1966-. Mira in the present tense
Mira Levenson uses her diary to try and make sense of friendship, puberty, death, and other aspects of life as she approaches her twelfth birthday.

Brunt, Carol Rifka. Tell the wolves I'm home : a novel
"Her world upended by the death of a beloved artist uncle who was the only person that understood her, fourteen-year-old June is mailed a teapot by her uncle's grieving friend, with whom she forges a poignant relationship"--Provided by publisher.

Calame, Don. Swim the fly
Swim team members and best friends Matt, Sean, and Coop, set themselves the summertime goal of seeing a live girl naked, and while the chances of that happening seem very dim, Matt's personal goal to swim the one-hundred-yard butterfly to impress the new girl on the team seems even less likely to happen.

Campbell, Bebe Moore, 1950-. Your blues ain't like mine
A Chicago-born young African-American man pays the ultimate price for speaking a few words in French to a white woman while visiting relatives in Mississippi in the 1950s.

Chbosky, Stephen. The perks of being a wallflower
Charlie, a freshman in high school, explores the dilemmas of growing up through a collection of letters he sends to an unknown receiver.

Combs, Sarah. Breakfast served anytime
Gloria decides to attend a summer camp for gifted students before her senior year of high school and finds herself dealing with the loss of her grandmother, a mysterious professor, and obnoxious fellow campers.

Davis, Amanda, 1971-. Wonder when you'll miss me
Sixteen-year-old Faith Duckle embarks on a journey of discovery when she runs off with the circus after attacking one of the boys who raped her the year before.

Davis, Bridgett M. Shifting through neutral
In early-1970s Detroit, African-American teenager Rae Dodson struggles to care for her ill father, who suffers debilitating migraines, after the departure of her mother and tries to make sense of her parents' dysfunctional relationship and her own future.

Durrow, Heidi W., 1969-. The girl who fell from the sky : a novel
Rachael, whose mother is Danish and father is an African-American, loses both her parents and is forced to move to a new city to live with her strict African-American grandmother, but when she is immersed into an African-American community, her physical appearance draws attention and Rachel struggles with her own uncertainties about her identity.

Enger, Leif. Peace like a river
In the 1960s, a spiritual man named Jeremiah Land sets out from his Minnesota home with his young son and daughter to find his elder son, Davy, after he escapes jail on the morning of his sentencing for murder.

Fischer, Jackie. An egg on three sticks
In the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1970s, twelve-year-old Abby watches her mother fall apart and must take on the burden of holding her family together.

Grossman, Lev. The magicians : a novel
High school senior Quentin Coldwater's real world never quite measures up to Fillory, the enchanted land in his favorite fantasy novels, and even an education at the mysterious Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy leaves him without purpose, but when he discovers a way into Fillory, his life becomes a dangerous adventure.

Hahn, Mary Downing. Mister Death's blue-eyed girls
Narrated from several different perspectives, tells the story of the 1956 murder of two teenaged girls in suburban Baltimore, Maryland.

Hall, Barbara, 1960-. The Noah confessions
Instead of a car for her sixteenth birthday, Lynnie receives a manuscript from her father in which her deceased mother writes about family secrets, helping Lynnie to understand more about her parents and the complexity of growing up.
Fuck school
Han, Jenny. It's not summer without you : a summer novel
Teenaged Isobel "Belly" Conklin, whose life revolves around spending the summer at her mother's best friend's beach house, reflects on the tragic events of the past year that changed her life forever.

Han, Jenny. The summer I turned pretty
Belly spends the summer she turns sixteen at the beach just like every other summer of her life, but this time things are very different as she finds herself falling for a boy she has known since childhood.

Heiligman, Deborah. Intentions
After fifteen-year-old Rachel overhears her rabbi committing infidelity, she must come to terms with the fact that adults make mistakes, too--and that she is old enough to be held responsible for her own mistakes.

Jacoby, M. Ann. Life after genius
Theodore "Mead" Fegley disappoints and surprises everyone when he drops out of his university, and his work on the Riemann Hypothesis, to return home to rural Illinois, where he was known as "the young Fegley genius," and learns the family business--selling furniture and embalming the dead.

Josefson, Dan. That's not a feeling
Abandoned in a therapeutic boarding school in upstate New York, sixteen-year-old suicide survivor Benjamin endures a turbulent environment dominated by scheduled medication, emotionally arrested caregivers, and a brilliant but raging headmaster whose sudden illness throws the school into turmoil.

Keltner, Kim Wong. Buddha baby
Lindsay Owyang struggles with love and identity when a boy from the distant past shows up while her boyfriend is away on a retreat.

Kincaid, Nanci. As hot as it was you ought to thank me : a novel
Thirteen-year-old Berry Jackson, just beginning to grapple with issues of love and sexuality, is further confused when her father disappears--along with the local teenage beauty--when a hurricane rips through small Pinetta, Florida, her mom takes up with a wealthy businessman, and she develops a crush on a young convict who has come to help rebuild the town.

Letts, Billie. Where the heart is : a novel
Novalee Nation, seventeen, pregnant, and living in a Wal-Mart store discovers friendship, encouragement, direction and love with a group of caring people in Sequoyah, Oklahoma.

Lynch, Janet Nichols, 1952-. My beautiful hippie
Fifteen-year-old Joanne, raised in San Francisco's Haight District, becomes involved with Martin, a hippy, and various aspects of the late 1960s cultural revolution despite her middle-class upbringing.

Madonia, Kristen-Paige. Fingerprints of you
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.

Martínez, Manuel Luis. Drift
Sixteen-year-old Robert Lomos, living with his grandmother in San Antonio since his father abandoned the family and his mother suffered a breakdown and moved with his little brother to California, struggles to earn the money to follow her and put his family back together.

Maynard, Joyce, 1953-. The usual rules
A novel about a thirteen-year-old girl who finds herself living with her father, across the country from her native Brooklyn, coping with her mother's violent death in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

McDermott, Alice. Child of my heart
Theresa recalls her fifteenth summer as the most sought-after babysitter in Long Island, and the challenges of caring for her fragile younger cousin while crossing over into the world of adulthood.

Moriarty, Laura, 1970-. The center of everything
Evelyn Bucknow is happy living with her single mother, Tina, in a small apartment outside Kerrville, Kansas, until Tina's failed romance with her married boss leaves her jobless and desperate, forcing Evelyn to distance herself and turn to her conventional grandmother for help.

Myers, Walter Dean, All the right stuff
The summer after his absentee father is killed in a random shooting, Paul volunteers at a Harlem soup kitchen where he listens to lessons about "the social contract" from an elderly African American man, and mentors a seventeen-year-old unwed mother who wants to make it to college on a basketball scholarship.

Nayeri, Dina. A teaspoon of earth and sea
Fascinated with America, young Saba Hafezi of 1980s Iran becomes convinced that her suddenly missing mother and twin sister have departed for America without her, a situation that compels her to envision her twin's Western life throughout subsequent years.

Peck, Dale. Sprout, or, My salad days, when I was green in judgment
Moving from Long Island to Kansas after his mother dies, a teenaged boy nicknamed Sprout is surprised to find new friends, a fascinating landscape, and romantic love.

Preston, Caroline. The scrapbook of Frankie Pratt : a novel in pictures
In her scrapbook full of typed notes and a variety of vintage ads, photos, postcards, fabric swatches, and much more, Frankie Pratt describes her life from her graduation in high school in 1920 through her education at Vassar College, her travels around the world, and her efforts to find love and to achieve her dream of becoming a novelist.

Robinson, Randall, 1941-. Makeda
Makeda Gee Florida Harris March is a proud matriarch, the anchor and emotional bellwether who holds together a hard-working African American family living in 1950s Richmond, Virginia. Lost in shadow is Makeda's grandson Gray, who begins escaping into the magical world of Makeda's tiny parlor.

Rosen, Renée. Every crooked pot
Nina Goldman, growing up in Akron, Ohio, in the 1970s, struggles to overcome the feelings of inferiority caused by the birthmark that covers one of her eyes, but she is helped along by her loving mom and larger-than-life father, and when a treatment is found that could remove the mark, Nina is conflicted about whether to go forward.

Rosenthal, Lorraine. Other words for love
Ari, having transferred to an elite Manhattan prep school after receiving a large inheritance and been introduced to the glamorous side of New York by wealthy student Leigh, begins dating Leigh's cousin Blake, but when her parents start to worry about how close she has gotten to Blake and he pulls away after his family suffers misfortune, Ari is forced to reevaluate their intense relationship.

Rosoff, Meg. Picture me gone : a novel
Twelve-year-old Mila travels with her father to upstate New York to visit friends and family, who may lead them to clues to the whereabouts of her father's best friend, who has gone missing.

Sáenz, Benjamin Alire. Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe
Fifteen-year-old Ari Mendoza is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante and they become friends, Ari starts to ask questions about himself, his parents, and his family that he has never asked before.

Sheinmel, Alyssa B. The lucky kind
Having always felt secure within his small family, Manhattan high school junior Nick is unsettled to discover the existence of an older brother that his father put up for adoption many years ago.

Slouka, Mark. Brewster : a novel
Sixteen-year-old Jon Mosher and his friends, Ray Cappicciano and Karen Dorsey, form a tight friendship in which they find in each other everything they lack at home, and plot to leave their dead-end town with tragic consequences.

Spinelli, Jerry. Milkweed : a novel
Follows a young Jewish orphan in the Warsaw ghetto during World War Two as he slowly understands the horrible reality that surrounds him and attempts to steal in order to help others survive.

Tarttelin, Abigail, 1987-. Golden boy : a novel
The Walker family seems to be the perfect family, but they are hiding a secret about their son Max Walker.

Walton, Leslye J. (Leslye Jo Anne). The strange & beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender
Ava Lavender tells the story of her young life starting with her birth in 1944 Seattle, Washington; she was born with wings.

Watt, Alan, 1965-. Diamond dogs
Seventeen-year-old Neil Garvin blames his abusive father for driving his mother away years earlier, and plans on leaving his small hometown after graduating high school, but when he accidentally commits a terrible crime, which his father, unasked, covers up, he finds himself unwillingly indebted to his father.

Williams, Katie, 1978-. The space between trees
Sixteen-year-old Evie discovers the body of a classmate and former childhood playmate in the woods, but a lie she tells at the funeral gets her involved with the girl's father and best friend, and pulls her into a dangerous hunt for the killer.

Williams, Lori Aurelia. When Kambia Elaine flew in from Neptune
Shayla Dubois, an aspiring writer growing up in a poor section of Houston, is mystified by the fantastic stories told to her by new neighbor Kambia Elaine, but she soon comes to realize that the girl is in trouble, yet she cannot get past the stories to the truth.

Woodrell, Daniel. Winter's bone : a novel
Ree Dolly, a sixteen-year-old living in poverty in the Ozarks, sets out alone to find her father after he puts the family home up for bond on drug charges and disappears with the court date swiftly approaching.