Middle School Summer Reading

Please click on the link below to find out summer reading information for your grade.  All book titles link to the Goodreads page for more information.  All required reading can be purchased from the online bookstore unless otherwise noted.

**PLEASE NOTE: The edition linked to through the online bookstore is the CORRECT edition to purchase.  All Goodreads links are meant to just give you more information about a particular title and do not necessarily reflect the correct edition of the title you should read.**

Students entering Class VI


Students entering Class V













Class VI

Students entering Class VI.

All students entering 7th grade are required to read four books:

  1. Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff for EVL
  2. Shipbreaker  by Paolo Bacigalupi for Geography
  3. One book from the choice list.
  4. One book of your choosing!





















Class V

Students entering Class V.

All students entering 8th grade are required to read four books:

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas for English V
  2. Enrique’s Journey (The Young Adult Adaptation): The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother by Sonia Nazario for Civics
  3. One book from the choice list
  4. One book of your choosing



















Middle School Choice List.

Recommended by Students and Faculty
(Some summaries are from Amazon.com and Goodreads)

Pick TWO books from the following list, organized by genre:


  1. Nonfiction
  2. Fantasy/Science Fiction/Dystopian
  3. Historical Fiction
  4. Realistic Fiction
  5. Thriller/Mystery
  6. Graphic Novels






Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone

(Recommended by Emily Tragert)

What does it take to be an astronaut? Excellence at flying, courage, intelligence, resistance to stress, top physical shape — any checklist would include these. But when America created NASA in 1958, there was another unspoken rule: you had to be a man. Here is the tale of thirteen women who proved that they were not only as tough as the toughest man but also brave enough to challenge the government. They were blocked by prejudice and jealousy. But even though the Mercury 13 women did not make it into space, they did not lose, for their example empowered young women to take their place in the sky, piloting jets and commanding space capsules.


Behind Enemy Lines (True Stories of Amazing Courage) by Bill H. Doyle
Amazing true stories of soldiers and their bravery and courage.


Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson
The thrilling and true story of the twelve-day chase to capture John Wilkes Booth after the assassination of President Lincoln


Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose

(Recommended by Talya Sokoll)

On March 2, 1955, an impassioned teenager, fed up with the daily injustices of Jim Crow segregation, refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of being celebrated as Rosa Parks would be just nine months later, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin found herself shunned by her classmates and dismissed by community leaders. Undaunted, a year later she dared to challenge segregation again as a key plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South. This story of an important yet largely unknown civil rights figure is fascinating and inspiring.


Food and the City: New York’s Professional Chefs, Restaurateurs, Line Cooks, Street Vendors, and Purveyors Talk About What They Do and Why They Do It by Ina Yalof
(Recommended by Talya Sokoll)

“In Food and the City, Ina Yalof takes us on an insider’s journey into New York’s pulsating food scene alongside the men and women who call it home. Dominique Ansel declares what great good fortune led him to make the first Cronut. Lenny Berk explains why Woody Allen’s mother would allow only him to slice her lox at Zabar’s. Ghaya Oliveira, who came to New York as a young Tunisian stockbroker, opens up about her hardscrabble yet swift trajectory from dishwasher to executive pastry chef at Daniel. Restaurateur Eddie Schoenfeld describes his journey from Nice Jewish Boy from Brooklyn to New York’s Indisputable Chinese Food Maven. From old-schoolers such as David Fox, third-generation owner of Fox’s U-bet syrup, and the outspoken Upper West Side butcher “Schatzie” to new kids on the block including Patrick Collins, sous chef at The Dutch, and Brooklyn artisan Lauren Clark of Sucre Mort Pralines, Food and the City is a fascinating oral history with an unforgettable gallery of New Yorkers who embody the heart and soul of a culinary metropolis.”


March by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
(Recommended by Erica Pernell)

Congressman John Lewis is a civil rights hero.  One of the Chairmen of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) he helped to plan many of the major events of the Civil Rights movement, including the March on Washington.  This series of three graphic novels tell the story of his life.


Moonbird: a Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose
(Recommended by Emily Tragert)

B95 is a robin-sized shorebird, a red knot of the subspecies rufa.Each February he joins a flock that lifts off from Tierra del Fuego, headed for breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic, nine thousand miles away.  Late in the summer, he begins the return journey.

B95 can fly for days without eating or sleeping, but eventually he must descend to refuel and rest. However, recent changes at ancient refueling stations along his migratory circuit—changes caused mostly by human activity—have reduced the food available and made it harder for the birds to reach. And so, since 1995, when B95 was first captured and banded, the worldwide rufa population has collapsed by nearly 80 percent. Most perish somewhere along the great hemispheric circuit, B95 wings on. He has been seen as recently as November 2011, which makes him nearly twenty years old. Shaking their heads, scientists ask themselves: How can this one bird make it year after year when so many others fall?  


The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb

The the amazing true story of a group of men tasked with hunting down Adolf Eichmann, architect of the Holocaust


Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in Transition by Katie Rain Hill
(Recommended by Talya Sokoll)

Katie never felt comfortable in her own skin. She realized very young that a serious mistake had been made; she was a girl who had been assigned male at birth. In this memoir, Katie reflects on her pain-filled childhood and the events leading up to the life-changing decision to undergo gender reassignment as a teenager. She reveals the unique challenges she faced while unlearning how to be a boy and shares what it was like to navigate the dating world and experience heartbreak for the first time in a body that matched her gender identity. A great, compelling read.


Triangle: The Fire that Changed America by David von Drehle

A detailed account of the tragic 1911 fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory that claimed the lives of 146 immigrants, mostly women.

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Fantasy/Science Fiction/Dystopian.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber
(Recommended by Talya Sokoll)

“Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over. But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.”


The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
(Recommended by Thomas Forteith)

A wonderful fantasy featuring polar bears, hot-air balloonists, and an awesome protagonist named Lyra Belacqua.  Far better than the movie!


Gone by Michael Grant

What would you do if one day all the people over the age of fourteen disappeared? Find out how a group of regular kids cope when they are faced with suddenly being the only ones left after all the adults disappear.


Graceling by Kristin Cashore

In Katsa’s world, selected people are given a special gift; hers is killing. She is forced to use her skill for evil until she decides she wants to use it for good.


The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond
(Recommended by Talya Sokoll)

What would the world be like if Hitler and the Nazis had won World War Two? In this dystopian novel, Richmond imagines a world where the Third Reich was victorious because of genetically engineered super soldiers. Eighty years later, 16-year-old Zara, living in the Eastern American Territories, must find a way to survive under the harsh regime and deal with her superpowers that she has to keep a secret.


The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees themuntil this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her. His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain.


When We Wake by Karen Healey
(Recommended by Thomas Forteith)

Set two hundred years in the future, a timely sci-fi thriller that makes some pretty interesting predictions about the future!


A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
(Recommended by Thomas Forteith)

If you like Harry Potter, this is similar but better. The first in the Earthsea Trilogy.

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Historical Fiction.

Firestorm! by Joan Hiatt Harlow
Poppy is an orphan living in Chicago. When her friend makes a mistake that she is blamed for, she runs away, straight into the great Chicago fire.


Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
Ida Mae wants nothing more than to fly planes in the Air Force, and now that women are being allowed to join the WWII effort she might get her chance. But Ida Mae knows the only way she will be accepted is if she uses her light skin to “pass.” Will she hide her true self or be honest about her identity?


Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

A young boy living in the Ozarks achieves his heart’s desire when he becomes the owner of two redbone hounds and teaches them to be champion hunters.

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Realistic Fiction.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Mia doesn’t remember the accident that killed her parents. All she knows is that she is currently lying in a hospital, somewhere between life and death. Will she have the strength to hold on?


Monster by Walter Dean Myers
(Recommended by Paulina Jones-Torregrosa)

“Steve (Voice-Over): Sometimes I feel like I have walked into the middle of a movie. Maybe I can make my own movie. The film will be the story of my life. No, not my life, but of this experience. I’ll call it what the lady prosecutor called me … Monster.”

Steve Harmon is in jail for murder. Is he innocent? Was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time? This book tells Steven’s story through a screenplay so that it’s a combination book-and-movie.


A Separate Peace by John Knowles
(Recommended by Thomas Forteith)

Set in New England boarding school during World War II, it tells of the relationship between fearful Gene and his best friend, the fearless and incomparable Finny.  Perhaps best for rising fifthies!

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The Fire Seekers by Richard Farr
(Recommended by Chris Averill)

This is the story of Daniel, a teenager with dyslexia who has brilliant parents. His mom is one of the world’s most brilliant mathematicians and his dad speaks over 20 languages making him not only an expert in ancient history but also a Babbler. When personal tragedy strikes, Daniel is caught in a web of intrigue involving a religious group known as the Seraphins and Series of mysterious disappearances across the globe. Along the lines of The Davinci Code this book can best be described as historical science fiction. It’s well written, fast paced and an enjoyable read that leaves me eagerly awaiting the second book next year.


Ghosts in the Machine by Richard Farr
(Recommended by Chris Averill)

The sequel to Fire Seekers,  the story continues with new twists and turns as we figure out what the Seraphim are really up too. Is what they believe in true, do people really go to a better place or are they some ancient alien life form trying to take over the world.


The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
(Recommended by Liz Benjamin)

I read this book with seventh graders when I taught English at my previous school, and none of us could put it down! It is the story of a futuristic post-drug war North America, where the powerful drug lord, El Patrón, rules a new country, Opium. Through morally wrong scientific advancements, such as cloning, genetic engineering, and computer brain implants, El Patrón’s family, the Alacranes (Spanish for scorpion), live much longer than the average human being. The story revolves around El Patron’s clone, Mateo Alacrán, and his struggle to survive his fate. I loved this book because of its Mexican cultural allusions, it tells the story of a lovable young boy, and because it appeals to one’s humanity, making one question their morality. It’s a page-turner, and takes you in many unexpected directions.


I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
(Recommended by Chris Averill)

A brilliantly written story with an interesting plot twist. It is about an underaged cab driver named Ed Kennedy who doesn’t have much of a future. To make things worse, he is horrible at playing cards and he is hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey. The book starts as he continues with the routine of his life, until he unintentionally stops a bank robbery. That’s the day when the first ace arrives in the mail and Ed becomes the messenger.  If you enjoyed The Book Thief, you will love this one!


Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
(Recommended by Kate Blake)

Taylor Markham is not a popular choice to be leader of the boarders at Jellicoe School. She is erratic, has no people skills, and never turns up to meetings–not to mention the time when she ran off to search for her mother and got only halfway there. But she’s lived at Jellicoe School most of her life, and that is her greatest asset, especially now that the cadets, led by the infamous Jonah Griggs, have arrived. The territory wars between the boarders, townies and cadets are about to recommence. But Taylor has other things on her mind: she wants to understand the mystery of her own past just as Hannah, the woman who found her, disappears, leaving nothing but an unfinished manuscript about five kids whose lives entwined twenty years ago on the Jellicoe Road. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might be able to change her future.


The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen
(Recommended by Chris Averill)

A boy has spent his whole life living in an underground basement with his family, who were disfigured by a fire before he was born. One day, fireflies come into the basement and their intriguing light makes him yearn to escape and see the outside world. The trouble is all the doors are locked and he doesn’t know how to get out. Mysteries abound: why are they in the basement? Why can’t he get out, or can he? Who is the father of his sister’s new baby?

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Graphic Novels.

Lumberjanes vol. 1, 2 and 3
(Recommended by E.B. Bartels)

File this under books that I wish had been around when I was a teenager. A thoroughly fun read, Lumberjanes follows a group of friends at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. I loved that the graphic novel is all about friendship between girls and that it puts queer girls, girls of color, and not traditionally feminine girls at the center. The diversity of the characters shows the many ways there are to be a girl in the world, and each girl brings her own personality, style, background, talents and flair to the group. Every adventure they have is only possible because of the power of their differences and their unity. I think this series perfectly executes the Audre Lorde mantra of how, in a group, our differences shouldn’t be divisive, but they should make us stronger.


March by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
(Recommended by Erica Pernell)

Congressman John Lewis is a civil rights hero.  One of the Chairmen of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) he helped to plan many of the major events of the Civil Rights movement, including the March on Washington.  This series of three graphic novels tell the story of his life.


Turning 15 On the Road to Freedom: My Story of the Selma Voting Rights March by Linda Blackmon Lowery

(Recommended by Emily Tragert)

As the youngest marcher in the 1965 voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, Lynda Blackmon Lowery proved that young adults can be heroes. Jailed nine times before her fifteenth birthday, Lowery fought alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. for the rights of African-Americans. In this memoir, she vividly shows what it means to fight nonviolently (even when the police are using violence, as in the Bloody Sunday protest) and how it felt to be part of changing American history.

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