Summer Reading Requirements 2021
- Incoming Freshmen
To Students: Welcome to John Carroll! As an incoming freshman English student, you’ll be asked to read one of the books from the list below.
To Parents: The Freshman English teachers have selected the books on this list from popular and well-regarded contemporary young adult fiction titles. An assignment for the English book, as well as a completed sample assignment, can be found below. Students should own, and bring to school, a copy of the book they select.
Many of the books listed have won awards from literary organizations, libraries, and other groups and have been selected by other high schools as required reading. As with nearly all contemporary novels, even those written for teenagers, some content may be considered objectionable by some parents. Though each of the titles listed below has a central message that is valuable for young people, some of the authors have also included adult themes. For this reason, we have provided a wide array of options. Parents concerned about the content of any of the titles are urged to visit http://www.commonsensemedia.org and search by author or title for a detailed breakdown each book’s content
Freshman English List (Young Adult Fiction – choose ONE)
1. When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka
2. Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
3. Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
4. The Beckoners by Carrie Mac
5. Monster by Walter Dean Meyers
6. Jude by Kate Morgenroth
7. Can't Get There from Here by Todd Strasser
8. Borderline by Allan Stratton
9. Going for The Record by Julie A. Swanson
10. The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
Freshman English Book Choice Descriptions:
1. When the Emperor was Divine by Julie Otsuka. On a sunny day in Berkley, California, in 1942, a woman sees a sign in a post office window, returns to her home and begins to pack her family’s possessions. Like thousands of other Japanese Americans, they have been reclassified, virtually overnight, as enemy aliens and are about to be uprooted from their home and sent to a dusty internment camp in the Utah desert. This story is told from five different points of view from one family trying to survive its fate. Julie Otsuka is a PEN/Faulkner award winning author.
2. Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher: Intellectually and athletically gifted, TJ, a multiracial, 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. Winner of the 2002 Washington State Book Award.
3. Serpent King by Jeff Zentner: Winner of the 2017 William C. Morris Award, which honors a book written for young adults by a previously unpublished author, is a coming of age story about the main character Dill and his two best friends Travis and Lydia who all wrestle with problems at home, face down bullies at school, and go on to overcome these obstacles before graduating from high school. Good Reads writes, “In a small southern town, senior year finds three misfit friends facing the prospect of their separate futures with both anticipation and dread. Dill fears he will never escape his snake-handling preacher father’s poisonous legacy. However, Lydia, a fashion blogger, and Travis, a fantasy warrior, foresee hopeful futures.”
4. The Beckoners by Carrie Mac: After moving to a new town, Zoe tries to fit in at her new school by joining the Beckoners, a group of girls who use intimidation and violence to rule the school. A nominee for the International Reading Association’s 2006 Book Award.
5. Monster by Walter Dean Meyers: Steve Harmon, a 16-year-old from Harlem, is on trial for murder. Through diary entries and a screenplay-like format, Steve comes to grips with who he is and the choices he’s made. A winner of the Prinz Award and a Coretta Scott King Award.
6. Jude by Kate Morgenroth: Still reeling from his drug-dealing father’s murder, moving in with the wealthy mother he never knew, and transferring to a private school, fifteen-year-old Jude is tricked into pleading guilty to a crime he did not commit. A selection of the New York and Texas public libraries and an Edgar Award nominee.
7. Can’t Get There from Here by Todd Strasser: Tired of being hungry, cold, and dirty from living on the streets of New York City with a tribe of other homeless teenagers who are dying, one by one, a girl named Maybe ponders her future and longs for someone to care about her. Named a Best Book for Teens by the American Library Association.
8. Borderline by Allan Stratton: Sami sets out to prove his father’s innocence after Homeland Security breaks into their house and hauls his father away as a person of interest in a possible terrorist attack. A selection of the American and Canadian Library Associations.
9. Going for The Record by Julie A. Swanson: Seventeen-year-old Leah's chance to make the national soccer team does not seem so important when she learns that her father has cancer and may only have months to live. Named as one of 2005’s Top Ten Sports Books for Youth by Booklist.
10. The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin: Seventeen-year-old Matthew recounts his attempts, starting at a young age, to free himself and his sisters from the grip of their emotionally and physically abusive mother. Selected as a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association.
- Rising Sophomores
- Rising Juniors
- Rising Seniors