Students entering grade 11 this fall are required to read at least one of the selections listed below.
The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater: This startling work of nonfiction tells the story of two teens from Oakland, CA. Sasha and Richard find themselves on the same public bus after school one day. One fateful act leaves Sasha covered with third degree burns and Richard facing a possible sentence of life in prison for the two hate crimes he finds himself charged with. Dashka Slater first covered this story as a journalist for The New York Times. By turning their story into a full length-novel, Slater is able to allow readers an intimate glimpse into both teens’ lives, that polarizing incident, and the aftermath that neither of them saw coming. Although centered around a horrible incident, the novel is ultimately about family, education, love, and forgiveness.
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate: Rill Foss and her siblings are taken from their home one night in 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee, brought to an orphanage, and told they will one day be reunited with their parents. Rill vows to keep her siblings together, but it is a difficult task considering the harsh conditions they face. Many years later, Avery Stafford, a lawyer from a privileged background returns home to discover some shocking secrets from her past. This novel is based on a little-known, yet true story!
The Lying Woods by Ashley Elston: Owen is shocked when his mother pulls him from the comfort of his boarding school to tell him his father has embezzled millions of dollars and disappeared in the blink of an eye. Owen must return home to a small town and the local public high school, where the local people look at Owen and his mother like criminals. Owen’s only source of solace is at his after school job, working for a man his father once worked for. But when Owen and his mother begin to receive threatening letters, Owen knows it’s up to him to uncover the truth about his father.
Who Killed Christopher Goodman? by Allan Wolf: Christopher Goodman might be a little odd, but people really like him. So who would want to kill him? This novel, based on a true story of a teenage boy who was killed in 1979, is told from the point of view of six different people–including the person who killed Christopher. The novel doesn’t just attempt to answer the question of who did it, but more importantly- how could something like this happen.
Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young: Mena is a girl who goes to a school where she is taught how to be the perfect woman. The girls are conditioned to behave properly and to obey those in authority. However, Mena starts noticing how unusual the school is and how sheltered the girls are as strange things start happening at the school. With the help of a boy from outside the school walls, Mena opens her eyes and sees what’s really going on at Innovations Academy. As all the girls band together, the men of Innovations will learn the meaning behind the phrase, “some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.”