English Department
Voorhees High School

[tabs style="1"] [tab title="Read This First"]

To: Parents and students of Voorhees High School (including current 8th graders)

From: Richard Broan, Voorhees High School English supervisor

Re: Summer Reading

Date: May 2013

The members of the Voorhees High School English department strongly believe that students need to read throughout the entire year in order to improve their reading ability. As a result, all Voorhees High School students are required to read at least two books for their summer reading – one from the list for their grade level and one book of their own choice. Summer reading is a requirement for all students, including seniors who may not have an English class during the first semester.

1. Book from the list for your grade level

  • Read one book from the list for the grade level you will start in August. Please note that English III Honors, Advanced Placement: Language and Composition, and Advanced Placement: Literature and Composition have specific required texts to read. The list of books is available at http://www.nhvweb.net/vhs/english/summer-reading/.
  • Your English teacher will assess your reading of this book when you return to school in August.

2. Book of your own choice

  • Read any other book that you would like to read that is appropriate for school and for your reading level. This book can be fiction or nonfiction.
  • Answer the following questions for this book:
    • What is the name of the book?
    • Who wrote the book?
    • On a 1-10 scale (with 10 being the highest), what score would you give this book?
    • Why did you give the book that score? Write one paragraph in response to this.
    • Do you think other students would enjoy this book? Explain your answer.
  • This information will be collected by your English teacher when you return to school in August.

Many of the books on the summer reading list are available in the Voorhees High School media center and your local library. You can check these books out from the Voorhees media center before you leave for the summer.

Happy reading!

[/tab] [tab title="9th Grade"] 

Students must read one book from the below list:

[spoiler title="Among the Barons (Haddix)" open="0" style="2"]Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Among the Barons

In a future world of false identities, government lies, and death threats, Luke feels drawn to the younger brother of the boy whose name Luke has taken.[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Among the Betrayed (Haddix)" open="0" style="2"]Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Among the Betrayed

Thirteen-year-old Nina is imprisoned by the Population Police, who give her the option of helping them identify illegal “third-born” children, or facing death. [/spoiler] [spoiler title="After the Dancing Days (Rostkowski)" open="0" style="2"]Rostkowski, Margaret. After the Dancing Days

A forbidden friendship with a badly disfigured soldier in the aftermath of World War I forces thirteen-year-old Annie to redefine the word “hero” and to question conventional ideas of patriotism.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Airborn (Oppel)" open="0" style="2"]Oppel, Kenneth. Airborn

Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling with her chaperone, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth’s surface.
[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Andromeda Strain (Crichton)" open="0" style="2"]Crichton, Michael.  The Andromeda Strain

A deadly microorganism enters Earth’s atmosphere with a returning satellite, and a team of medical specialists must discover how to battle it before time runs out.[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Body of Christopher Creed (Plum-Ucci)" open="0" style="2"]Plum-Ucci, Carol The Body of Christopher Creed

Torey Adams, a high school junior with a seemingly perfect life, struggles with doubts and questions surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the class outcast.[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Companions of the Night (Vande Velde)" open="0" style="2"]Vande Valde, Vivian.  Companions of the Night

When sixteen-year-old Kerry Nowicki helps a young man escape from a group of men who claim he is a vampire, she faces some bizarre and dangerous choices.[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Iliad (Homer, translated by Fagles)" open="0" style="2"]Homer. The Iliad

The greatest of Greek epics, The Iliad is the story of Achilles’ withdrawal from battle and his return to kill the Trojan hero Hector.[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Lost Years of Merlin (Barron)" open="0" style="2"]Barron, T.A. The Lost Years of Merlin

Fantasy lovers will relish this first book in Barron’s Merlin trilogy.  It begins with Merlin washing up on the rocks near death and with no memory.  He is cared for by Branwen and called Emrys.  He then sets out on a quest to solve the mysteries of his name and where he spent his early years.  His quest leads him to magical lands inhabited by magical beings.[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Pearl (Steinbeck)" open="0" style="2"]Steinbeck, John. The Pearl

Kino, a poor fisherman, finds a magnificent pearl. After a series of terrible events, and the unfolding of greed and envy around him, Kino must decide what to do with the pearl.[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Pox Party (Anderson)" open="0" style="2"]Andersen, M.T. The Pox Party

Various diaries, letters, and other manuscripts chronicle the experiences of Octavian, a young African American, from birth to age sixteen, as he is brought up as part of a science experiment in the years leading up to and during the Revolutionary War.[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Prince and the Pauper (Twain)" open="0" style="2"]Twain, Mark. The Prince and the Pauper

Edward VI of England and a little pauper change places for a few days before Henry VII’s death. The prince wanders in rags, while Tom Canty suffers the horrors of princedom.[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Private Peaceful (Morpurgo)" open="0" style="2"]Morpurgo, Michael. Private Peaceful

When Thomas Peaceful’s older brother is forced to join the British Army, Thomas decides to sign up as well, although he is only fourteen years old, to prove himself to his country, his family, his childhood love, and himself.
[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Something Wicked This Way Comes (Bradbury)" open="0" style="2"]Bradbury, Ray.  Something Wicked This Way Comes

Two boys in a small midwestern town are changed forever when a “dark carnival” arrives in the town one autumn evening.[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Lightning Thief (Riordan)" open="0" style="2"]Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief

After Percy Jackson finds out that he is the son of a Greek god, he and his friends must find and return what was stolen from Zeus to prevent a war on Mount Olympus.[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Whale Talk (Chris Crutcher)" open="0" style="2"]Crutcher, Chris. Whale Talk

Intellectually and athletically gifted, TJ, a multi-racial, adopted teenager, shuns organized sports and the gung-ho athletes at his high school until he agrees to form a swimming team and recruits some of the school’s less popular students.[/spoiler] [/tab] [tab title="10th Grade"]

Students must read one book from the below list.


[spoiler title="All Quiet on the Western Front (Remarque)" open="0" style="2"] Remarque, Erich Maria.  All Quiet on the Western Front

Four German youths are pulled abruptly from school to serve at the front as soldiers in World War I.  Although the young men of this novel are German, the message is universal in its delineation of the feelings of the common soldier.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="And Then There Were None (Christie)" open="0" style="2"] Christie, Agatha.  And Then There Were None

This is one of the earliest and the best of this prolific writer’s mysteries.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Armageddon Summer (Yolen and Coville)" open="0" style="2"] Yolen, Jane and Bruce Coville. Armageddon Summer

The followers of a religious cult have gathered on a mountaintop to await the end of the world.  Among them are two teenagers who, for different reasons, have accompanied their parents.  Marina and Jed fall in love and must come to terms with their own beliefs and feelings as they await the end of the world.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Bean Trees (Kingsolver)" open="0" style="2"] Kingsolver, Barbara.  The Bean Trees

Taylor Greer hits the road and inherits a three-year-old Cherokee girl who manages to slowly wind her way into Taylor’s heart.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Bless the Beasts and Children (Swarthout)" open="0" style="2"] Swarthout, Glendon.  Bless the Beasts and Children

Six troubled teenagers group together, develop self-esteem, and eventually heal their psychological wounds at an Arizona summer camp that specializes in “turning boys into cowboys.”

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Circle of Friends (Binchy)" open="0" style="2"] Binchy, Maeve.  Circle of Friends

Binchy transports readers to the village of Knockglen in Ireland to meet Benny, the only child of doting parents; Eve Malone, an orphan raised by nuns; and a host of local characters.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="A Cry in the Night (Clark)" open="0" style="2"] Clark, Mary Higgins.  A Cry in the Night

In this mystery, Jenny finds that the home of her new husband contains a terrible secret.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Eyes of the Dragon (King)" open="0" style="2"] King, Stephen.  The Eyes of the Dragon

This story is a horror fantasy featuring dragons, princes, evil wizards, an enchanted castle, and a terrible secret.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (McCullers)" open="0" style="2"] McCullers, Carson. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

John Singer, a deaf-mute, becomes the confidante of four very different people in a small Southern town.  Biff Brannon, the owner of a café; Mick Kelly, an adolescent girl; Jake Blout, a radical; and Benedict Copeland, the town’s black doctor, all desire to escape from the boredom of the town and find that Singer understands and cares for them.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Hunger Games (Collins)" open="0" style="2"] Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games.

In order for the Capitol to show its power, every year it makes 24 young people enter an arena, but only one comes out alive. This year, Katniss and Peeta are two of the contestants.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="How I Live Now (Rosoff)" open="0" style="2"] Rosoff, Meg.  How I Live Now

To get away from her pregnant stepmother in New York City, fifteen-year-old Daisy goes to England to stay with her aunt and cousins, with whom she instantly bonds, but soon war breaks out and rips apart the family while devastating the land.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Peeling the Onion (Orr)" open="0" style="2"] Orr, Wendy.  Peeling the Onion

Anna Duncan has just won a karate championship when her neck is broken in a car accident.  Anna must adjust to vast changes in life.  Pain, uncertainty, and fear become her companions as she moves toward the future.  Loyalty and disloyalty, love and separation, true friendship and fair-weather friendship are all addressed in this complex novel.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Sledding Hill (Crutcher)" open="0" style="2"] Crutcher, Chris, Sledding Hill

Billy, recently deceased, keeps an eye on his best friend, fourteen-year-old Eddie, and helps him stand up to a conservative minister and English teacher who is orchestrating a censorship challenge.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="World Made by Hand (Kunstler)" open="0" style="2"] Kunstler, James Howard. World Made By Hand

A novel about what could happen when we run out of our natural resources and have to rebuild society.



[/tab] [tab title="11th Grade"]

Students taking English III and English III CP must read one book from the below list. Students in English III Honors must read The Joy Luck Club. Students taking AP English Language and Composition must read the required books** (Notes of a Native Son and Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass).


[spoiler title="Ender’s Game (Card)" open="0" style="2"] Card, Orson Scott.  Ender’s Game

This exciting science fiction novel introduces Andrew “Ender” Wiggin.  He is a genetically bred child who is the hope of the government to save earth from aliens.

They train him by playing military games and he always wins. Now the question is can he win the “game” to save the earth from the aliens?

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Fixer (Malamud)" open="0" style="2"]Malamud, Bernard.  The Fixer

Yakov Bok, a Jewish handyman, is wrongly accused of murdering a Christian boy in czarist Russia.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Girl with a Pearl Earring (Chevalier)" open="0" style="2"]Chevalier, Tracy.  Girl with a Pearl Earring

In this fictional story of the 16-year-old girl who is the model for Vermeer’s famous painting,  17th century Delft comes alive with the details of everyday life in the household of this famous painter.  Problems emerge as Vermeer draws Griet into his world of painting.  A wonderful coming-of-age novel.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Good Earth (Buck)" open="0" style="2"]Buck, Pearl S.  The Good Earth

Set in pre-Revolutionary China, The Good Earth won universal acclaim for its sympathetically authentic picture of Chinese life.  Wang Lung and his wife O-lan rise from peasants to rich landowners through their own determination and persistence and the “good earth.”

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Grapes of Wrath (Steinbeck)" open="0" style="2"]Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath

Winner of the 1940 Pulitzer Prize, this novel follows the move of a family from Oklahoma to California during the Dust Bowl.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="*The Joy Luck Club (Tab) Required for English 3 Honors*" open="0" style="2"]Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club

Chapters in this novel alternate among the lives of four Chinese women in pre-1949 China and the lives of their American-born daughters in California.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="A Lesson Before Dying (Gaines)" open="0" style="2"]Gaines, Ernest J.  A Lesson Before Dying

In a small Louisiana community in the late 1940s, Jefferson, a mentally challenged African-American youth, is wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to die.  Wiggins, another African American, is called upon to forge a bond with Jefferson to help him die with pride and like a man.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Little Women (Alcott)" open="0" style="2"]Alcott, Louisa.  Little Women

Little Women is the story of the March family, whose daughters are growing up in New England in the mid-1800s. There are numerous sequels.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="My Sister’s Keeper (Picoult)" open="0" style="2"]Picoult, JodiMy Sister’s Keeper

Thirteen-year-old Anna, conceived specifically to provide blood and bone marrow for her sister Kate who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia at the age of two, decides to sue her parents for control of her body when her mother wants her to donate a kidney to Kate.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="**Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass (Douglass) Required for AP**" open="0" style="2"]Douglass, Fredrick. Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is a memoir and treatise on abolition written by the famous orator and ex-slave, Frederick Douglass.

Summary Source: Wikipedia

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="**Notes of a Native Son (Baldwin) Required for AP**" open="0" style="2"]Baldwin, James. Notes of a Native Son

Notes of a Native Son is a non-fiction book by James Baldwin. It was Baldwin’s first non-fiction book, and was published in 1955. The book collects ten of Baldwin’s essays, which had previously appeared in such magazines as Harper’s Magazine, Partisan Review, and The New Leader. The essays mostly tackle issues of race in America and Europe.

Summary Source: Wikipedia

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway)" open="0" style="2"]Hemingway, Ernest.  The Old Man and the Sea

The story chronicles Santiago’s fight with a huge marlin and his struggle to bring it back to his village.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Ordinary People (Guest)" open="0" style="2"]Guest, Judith.  Ordinary People

The death of one of two sons in an “ordinary” family proves disastrous to the remaining son and brings the family to crisis and disintegration.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Our Town (Wilder)" open="0" style="2"]Wilder, Thornton.  Our Town

Our Town is a drama of life in a small New Hampshire village called Grover’s Corners.  The people of the village go about their lives during a few years in the early 1900s.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="A Prayer for Owen Meany (Irving)" open="0" style="2"]Irving, John.  A Prayer for Owen Meany

This is a terrifying story of what happens in Owen Meany’s life as a result of hitting a foul ball that kills his best friend’s mother.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Things They Carried (O'Brien)" open="0" style="2"]O’Brien, Tim.  The Things They Carried

The Vietnam War is personalized through the brief episodes that make up this book.  The men of Alpha Company battle the enemy and sometimes each other in this intimate look into the world of the soldier during the Vietnam War.



[/tab] [tab title="12th Grade"]

Students must read one book from the below list. Students taking AP English Literature and Composition must read 1984 (Orwell) and Brave New World (Huxley).


[spoiler title="Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors (Read)" open="0" style="2"]Read, Piers Paul.  Alive:  The Story of the Andes Survivors

One of the greatest survival stories of all time, Alive relates the experiences of the survivors of a plane that crashed in the Andes Mountains.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Angela's Ashes (McCourt)" open="0" style="2"]McCourt, Frank.  Angela’s Ashes

Frank McCourt’s memoirs of growing up in the slums of Limerick, Ireland, earned him the Pulitzer Prize.  He recalls his alcoholic father, the loss of his siblings, the power of the Irish Catholic Church, and the shame of poverty in this engaging story.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Autobiography of a Face (Grealy)" open="0" style="2"]Grealy, Lucy, Autobiography of a Face

A memoir in which award-winning poet Lucy Grealy recalls her experiences with a potentially terminal cancer that required she have a third of her jaw removed when she was nine years old, and discusses the suffering she endured as she was growing up from classmates, strangers, and other people because of her looks.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Awakening (Chopin)" open="0" style="2"]Chopin, KateThe Awakening

This novel tells of a woman’s desire for an affair with the son of a Louisiana resort owner whom she meets on vacation.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Black and Blue (Quindlen)" open="0" style="2"]Quindlen, Anna.  Black and Blue

Black and Blue is a suspenseful novel about Fran Benedetto’s abusive relationship with her husband, Bobby, a New York City policeman.  After her passionate marriage turns into a nightmare, Fran runs away to Florida with her ten-year-old son and starts a new life under a new name, living in fear yet with increasing hope that Bobby will not track her down.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Garcia Marquez)" open="0" style="2"]Marquez, GarciaChronicle of a Death Foretold

A mysterious and haunting tale of romance and murder that begins with the marriage of a man and a woman in love. But when he inexplicably mistreats his beloved on the night of the wedding, he is in turn murdered by her brothers, and readers are left with a strange sense of inevitability and passions gone terribly awry.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Cold Mountain (Charles Frazier)" open="0" style="2"]Frazier, CharlesCold Mountain

Inman, a wounded Confederate soldier, leaves the hospital where he is being treated and determines to walk home.  The story of Ada, his sweetheart, is intertwined with Inaman’s. The novel is based on the story of the author’s great-great grandfather who deserted during the Civil War.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="A Doll's House (Ibsen)" open="0" style="2"]Ibsen, Henrik.  A Doll’s House

In this three-act psychological drama, Nora Helmer is pampered by her complacent husband, Torvald, who treats her like a scatterbrained child.  Unknown to him, she borrows money to finance a trip necessary for her husband’s health, and when he finds out, his convention-bound reaction has surprising repercussions.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Fifth Child (Lessing)" open="0" style="2"]Lessing, Doris.  The Fifth Child

Ben, the fifth child of Harriet and David Lovett, puts an end to the idealistic home life and harmony of the Lovett household.  This child, from before birth until his teenage years, is not normal by any societal standards.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Fountainhead (Rand)" open="0" style="2"]Rand, Ayn.  The Fountainhead

The novel is a brilliant story of society’s attempt to stifle the creativity of one person.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Grendel (Gardner)" open="0" style="2"]Gardner, John.  Grendel

This book retells the Beowulf legend from the monster’s point of view.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="The Handmaid’s Tale (Atwood)" open="0" style="2"]Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale
Atwood explores the consequences of a reversal of women’s rights in a novel that fits squarely in the genre of dystopian novels, such as Huxley’s Brave New World or Orwell’s 1984.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Hiroshima (Hersey)" open="0" style="2"]Hersey, John.  Hiroshima

Hiroshima is the story of six ordinary people – a clerk, a physician, a minister, a widowed seamstress, a young surgeon, and a German priest – starting at 8:15, when the first atom bomb was dropped.  The author follows the course of their lives after the bomb was dropped, hour by hour and then day by day.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Inexcusable (Lynch)" open="0" style="2"]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.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Jane Eyre (Bronte)" open="0" style="2"]Bronte, Charlotte.  Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre, a timid orphan who was mistreated at her uncle’s home, is sent to a boarding school, where she stays on to become a teacher.  Tired of teaching, Jane takes a position as governess for Adele Varens, a ward of Edward Rochester.  Jane eventually falls in love with Rochester and does not learn of his insane wife until the day she is to be married.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Light in August (Faulkner)" open="0" style="2"]Faulkner, William.  Light In August

Race, religion, and the Southern community are dominating themes of this compelling novel from the 1930s.  The central character, Joe Christmas, is an orphan with mixed bloodlines, antisocial tendencies, and a harsh personal history.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="People's Choice (Greenfield)" open="0" style="2"]Greenfield, Jeff.  People’s Choice

When the newly elected president falls off a horse and dies of an embolism, it is assumed that the vice-president elect will take his job until one of the electors begins an insurrection and constitutional chaos breaks out. This is a humorous, cautionary tale.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Poisonwood Bible (Kingsolver)" open="0" style="2"]The Poisonwood Bible

Nathan Price and his family move to the Belgian Congo in 1959. This novel presents the experiences they have while living in Africa and how they affect each member of the family in a different way.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Their Eyes Were Watching God (Hurston)" open="0" style="2"]Hurston, Zora Neale.  Their Eyes Were Watching God

Janie Crawford, a woman living in the black town of Eton, Florida, during the 1930s, is independent and articulate.  Married three times and accused and tried for the murder of one of her husbands, she continues to search for her real identity.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="A Thief of Time (Hillerman)" open="0" style="2"]Hillerman, Tony.  A Thief of Time

Chilling discoveries unearthed at a dig for Navajo pottery bring Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee to the site and put them on the trail of stolen artifacts, a missing woman, and bizarre and mystifying murders.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Watership Down (Adams)" open="0" style="2"]Adams, Richard.  Watership Down

Faced with the annihilation of its warren, a small group of rabbits sets out across the English downs in search of a new home.

[/spoiler] [spoiler title="Wuthering Heights (Bronte)" open="0" style="2"]Bronte, Emily.  Wuthering Heights

Mr. Lockwood, forced to spend a stormy night at Wuthering Heights, encounters the spirit of Catherine.  Heathcliff, an unsociable man who was taken off the streets by Catherine’s father and who fell in love with Catherine, continues to work his revenge against all those who had injured him before his inheritance.



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Download the Entire List:2013 Summer Reading List with summaries