Students entering grade 9 this fall are required to read at least one of the selections listed below.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: 15 year old Will has just witnessed his brother get shot and killed. In his neighborhood, you don’t snitch- you get revenge. And that’s just what he’s about to do. In this novel, the majority of which takes place over the course of 60 seconds, Will gets on an elevator intent on shooting the man who killed his brother. But, as the ghosts of the past visit him along the ride, Will begins to question whether or not he should go through with what he set out to do.
Scythe by Neal Shusterman: Imagine a world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all of these, even death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life in order to keep the size of the population under control. This job is the only one not overseen by the Thunderhead, an advanced version of “the cloud” that oversees every aspect of the population. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe – a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, but they soon learn that a perfect world comes with a heavy price.
Colin Fischer by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz: Colin Fischer just started his freshman year of high school, but he isn’t your average ninth grader. Colin has Asperger’s Syndrome, a neurological condition related to Autism. He hates to be touched and freaks out around loud noises, but he is also very observant. He records his daily observations of the “very interesting” people around him. This comes in handy one day when a handgun goes off in the school cafeteria. Wayne Connelly, the school bully and Colin’s tormentor, is accused of the crime, but Colin is certain that Wayne didn’t do it. Colin is determined to find out who really brought the gun.
Pride by Ibi Zoboi: Zoboi gives Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice a modern remix, telling the story of a Brooklyn teen named Zuri Benitez. Zuri immediately clashes with her new neighbor, the wealthy Darius Darcy. Against her first impressions, Zuri’s feelings towards Darius begin to change when they get to know each other better. Torn between college applications and a changing community, Zuri learns to embrace her family and traditions while appreciating new people and eye-opening experiences.
Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson: Jade thinks that she has to get out of her neighborhood if she ever wants to make something of herself. With her mother’s support, she takes any opportunity that comes her way. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. As a student in a Women to Women mentoring program, Jade realizes that she doesn’t need support from these “mentors” and that she just might be able to show these women a thing or two about the real world and about how to make a real difference. Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this thoughtful story explores real issues young women face.