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Summer Reading for Rising 9th Graders

Northwestern High School: Students should go to the website below and click on the class for which they registered to take next year. They will enroll in the Canvas course for that class and instructions are given for summer reading. 

*NWHS will be sending a letter with instructions to the middle schools to put in students' report cards.


South Pointe High School: Summer Reading requirements are below. 


Rock Hill High School:  RHHS does not have any summer reading requirements for rising 9th graders.


Dear Rising Ninth Graders,

Literature provides an imaginative space in which we can enter into others’ experiences and reflect on the world around us. Our English course in ninth grade will be filled with discoveries, and many will arise from questions that you ask. Some of these discoveries will be about our own identities or our emerging understandings of society.

Over the summer, as you prepare to enter English, we ask that you read at least two books chosen from the options below. Read for pleasure. Read to maintain or build your reading ability. Read to have some good points of reference at the start of our course. Read to have something interesting to share with your classmates in the fall.

Choose books that you find appealing. If you would like to think about your options before diving into a book, you could check out reviews at In terms of length, you might want to consider the number of pages in the book, but recognize that the length of a book isn’t really correlated with the reader’s quality of experience.

Once you’ve picked a book, give it a decent chance—read at least 20% before deciding that it isn’t right for you. However, do not feel the need to keep slogging through a book that simply doesn’t “grab” you or is too hard/too easy of a read. Please be aware that in the first days of our course in the fall, part of our process of developing our class culture will be sharing with each other our responses to the books we read over the summer

As you consider books to read, you might enjoy picking one that has a character or setting with whom you can easily identify in some ways and picking another with a character or setting that takes you out of your familiar experiences.

If you haven’t read for pleasure outside of school recently, this summer is an opportunity to find that pleasure again. Enjoy this opportunity!

Sincerely, Your ninth-grade English teachers


English 9 Reading List

Young Adult Fiction

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli*: Not-so-openly-gay Simon is blackmailed into being his classmates’ wingman with the threat of his sexual identity—and that of his pen pal—being revealed.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson*: Lia comes to terms with her best friend's death from anorexia as she struggles with the same disorder.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: In this heart-pounding fantasy, six outcasts attempt an impossible heist. They’re the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell: In Japan, teenaged Abe Sora, who is afflicted with Lou Gehrig's disease, finds friends online and elicits their help to end his suffering.

Tyrell by Coe Booth: Tyrell, who is living in a Bronx homeless shelter with his spaced-out mother and his younger brother, tries to avoid temptation so he does not end up like his father.

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown*: When Jo’s radio evangelist father remarries and moves them to Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to go back into the closet for her senior year.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: Charlie, a freshman in high school, explores the dilemmas of growing up through a collection of letters he sends to an unknown receiver.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: Life in 2044 is spent in the virtual world OASIS. When Wade stumbles on a puzzle set up by the creator of OASIS, he starts to compete to claim a prize of massive fortune.

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham: Katie’s family life is already full of stress when she has to start caring for a grandmother with Alzheimer's she’s never met. Plus, Katie has a secret of her own that she cannot reveal.

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott*: When Jess's family is torn apart, she must rely on an unlikely friendship and her skill at Fives—an intricate, athletic competition—to protect her Commoner mother and biracial sisters.

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan*: Leila's Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates, and if word got out that she liked girls, life would be twice as hard. But when a new girl shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would.

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin: A gender-fluid teenager who struggles with identity creates a blog on the topic that goes viral and faces ridicule at the hands of fellow students.

Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert*: Braden cares about three things: baseball, his father, and God. They’re all called into question when his father, a Christian radio host, is accused of murdering a Hispanic police officer.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon: Despite his fear of people, an autistic boy decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor's dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham: Rowan finds a skeleton on her family's property. Investigating the murder leads to painful discoveries about the past. Alternating chapters tell the story of William, another teen grappling with the racial firestorm leading up to the 1921 Tulsa race riot.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee: In 1849, Chinese-American Samantha is on the run as a suspected murdered, dressed as a boy and following the Oregon Trail with runaway slave Annamae.

Character Driven by David Lubar: In his last year of high school, Cliff Sparks has to figure out what to do with his life, including how to meet new girl Jillian and how to deal with old issues with his unemployed father.

How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon: When Tariq is shot to death, his community is in an uproar. Tariq was black, the shooter is white, and everyone has something to say, but no two accounts of the events agree.

Shame the Stars by Guadalupe García McCall: A retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story set in 1915 along the U.S.-Mexico border as the Mexican Revolution is taking hold and Texas Rangers fight Tejano insurgents.

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick*: Based on a true story, Arn Chorn Pond is separated from his family and sent to a labor camp when the Khmer Rouge takes comes to power in Cambodia in the 1970s.

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore: Best friends Miel and Sam are strange and magical. Now four beautiful sisters, rumored to be witches, are after Miel and Sam’s magic and their secrets.

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina: It’s the summer of 1977 in the Bronx—a summer of arson, the serial killer Son of Sam, and citywide blackouts. But Nora’s just looking to get out of her house and away from her family.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy*: Willowdean proves she’s “more than just a fat girl” while preparing to compete in the pageant her mother runs and navigating her feelings for a co-worker.

A Step from Heaven by An Na: Korean-born Young Ju tells her story from the age of four, when her family immigrates to the United States, through her teenage years, as she adapts to life as an American.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson*: A story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal told from different points in time, and in separate voices, by twin artists Jude and Noah.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes: A handless teen escapes from a cult, only to find herself in juvenile detention and suspected of knowing who murdered her cult leader.

Shadowshaper by José Older: When murals in her neighborhood start to change, Sierra discovers that her Puerto Rican family members are shadowshapers in an epic battle for their lives with an evil anthropologist.

Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung: Australia teen Lucy tries to balance her life at home surrounded by her Chinese immigrant family with her life at a pretentious private school.

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero*: Gabi Hernandez chronicles her senior year as she copes with the personal and family drama, cravings for food and cute boys, and the poetry that helps forge her identity.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: Ari is an angry loner with a brother in prison, but when he meets Dante, he starts to ask questions about himself and his family.

Winger by Andrew Smith: Ryan Dean grapples with living in the boarding-school dorm for troublemakers, falling for his female best friend who thinks of him as just a kid, and playing wing on the Varsity rugby team.

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork: Marcelo, a high-functioning autistic teenager, faces new challenges, including romance and injustice, when he goes to work for his father in the mailroom of a law firm.

American Girls by Allison Umminger: Anna runs away to LA where her half-sister takes her in, but after spending days on television and movie sets, she learns LA is not the glamorous escape she imagined.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini*: New York City teenager Craig Gilner succumbs to academic and social pressures at an elite high school and enters a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide.

The Final Four by Paul Volponi*: Four players at the Final Four of the NCAA basketball tournament struggle with the pressures of tournament play and the expectations of society at large.

Black Boy White School by Brian F. Walker: Anthony gets a scholarship to a prep school in Maine, where he finds that he must change his image and adapt to a world that never fully accepts him.

This Side of Home by Renée Watson*: Twins Nikki and Maya agree on most things but react differently to their neighborhood gentrification and the new family that moves in when their best friend is evicted.

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon: Natasha is on the verge of being deported to Jamaica when she meets Korean-American good son Daniel who believes there is something extraordinary in store for them.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner: The son of an imprisoned Pentecostal preacher faces his personal demons as he and his friends try to make it through their senior year of high school in rural Tennessee.

American Street by Ibi Zoboi: Fabiola and her mother try move back to the U.S. from Haiti, but her mother is detained at the airport, and so she moves in with her cousins in Detroit and has to navigate a new life there.

Nonfiction & Memoirs

Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine by Ibtisam Barakat: This memoir follows the author through her childhood and adolescence in Palestine from 1972-1981 and chronicles her desire to be a writer.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates*: In this National Book Award winner, Coates discusses our nation’s history and current crisis of racism in the form of a letter to his teenage son.

Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee*: Lee’s memoir of growing up in North Korea and fending for himself after his parents disappeared when he was 12.

Spare Parts by Joshua Davis: The story of four Latino teenagers, born in Mexico and raised in Arizona, who built an underwater robot and used it to win one of the biggest robotics competitions in the country.

Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler: Aaron grew up in a family where he was taught that the Rapture could happen at any moment. But in his teens, he finds himself more attracted to his earthly life (and other boys).

The Reason I Jump by Naomi Higashida: Naoki Higashida, a 13-year-old autistic boy, demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds by answering more than 50 questions.

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren: A memoir about adventures in science, growing up in rural Minnesota and finding a sanctuary in science, and Jahren’s relationship with a man who becomes her lab partner and best friend.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer: The story of Chris McCandless, a 24-year-old who walked into the Alaskan wilderness on an idealistic journey and was found dead of starvation nearly four months later.

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah: Trevor Noah's unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth.

We Should Hang Out Sometime by Josh Sundquist*: At age 25, Josh Sundquist, a paralympic ski racer, looks back to try to understand why he has never had a steady girlfriend.

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai: Yousafzai describes her fight for girls’ education under Taliban rule, the support she received from her parents, and how the Taliban retaliated against her by trying to kill her.

Classics & Literary Fiction

Watership Down by Richard Adams

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood*

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie*

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri*

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin

Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London

A River Runs Through It and Other Stories by Norman Maclean

The Natural by Bernard Malamud

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien*