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High School Recommended Reading Lists: Grade 11-12
In Northern Ireland during the Troubles of the 1970s, an unnamed narrator finds herself targeted by a high-ranking dissident known as Milkman.
Kudos by Rachel Cusk
F CUS (Literary Fiction)
A woman writer visits a Europe in flux, where questions of personal and political identity are rising to the surface and the trauma of change is opening up new possibilities of loss and renewal.
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevski
F DOS (Classics Fiction)
Raskolnikov, a former Russian student, murders an old pawnbroker and her sister. The guilt with which he struggles results in a tragedy of tension and terror.
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
F EDU (Historical Fiction)
Washington Black is an eleven-year-old field slave who knows no other life than the Barbados sugar plantation where he was born.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
F GAR (Literary Fiction)
The rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family.
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann
Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
F GRE (Realistic Fiction)
Receiving an invitation to his ex-boyfriend's wedding, Arthur, a failed novelist on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, embarks on an international journey that finds him falling in love, risking his life, reinventing himself, and making connections with the past.
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
F HEM (Classics Fiction)
An American ambulance driver serving on the Austro-Italian front in World War I becomes entangled with an English nurse and deserts to join her after the retreat of Caparetto.
The Word is Murder by Anthony Horowitz
F HOR (Mystery Fiction)
One bright spring morning in London, Diana Cowper, the wealthy mother of a famous actor, enters a funeral parlor. She is there to plan her own service.
Everything Under by Daisy Johnson
F JOH (Literary Fiction)
Daisy Johnson's debut novel turns classical myth on its head and takes readers to a modern-day England unfamiliar to most.
Dubliners by James Joyce
SC JOY (Short Stories)
Presents James Joyce's 1914 work made up of fifteen short stories about strangers of various classes who all live in Dublin
Into the Wild by Jon Krauker
Tells the story of Chris McCandless, a twenty-four-year-old who walked into the Alaskan wilderness on an idealistic journey and was found dead of starvation four months later. Attempts to discover what led the young man to that point.
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
F KUS (Realistic Fiction)
It's 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women's Correctional Facility, deep in California's Central Valley.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
F LEE (Literary Fiction)
Follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all.
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
F MAK (Literary Fiction)
In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery.
Atonement by Ian McEwan
F MCE (Literary Fiction)
Imaginative thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis, misinterpreting a scene between her older sister Cecilia and Robbie Turner, the housekeeper's son, later accuses Robbie of a crime she has no proof he committed and spends years trying to atone for her actions.
The Radium Girls by Kate Moore
Explores the story of radium poisoning to young American women during WWI from the paint used on watch dials, and the ensuing legal consequences that occurred as a result of these work health hazards. Panda Book.
She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore
F MOO (Historical Fiction)
Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still, she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
F MOR (Historical Fiction)
An eleven-year-old African-American girl in Ohio, in the early 1940s, prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be beautiful.
Suite Francaise : a novel by Irene Nemirovsky
F NEM (Historical Fiction)
In 1940, several families and individuals are thrown together as they flee Paris on the eve of the Nazi invasion and struggle to stay alive and grieve for the life they once knew.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
An autobiography of lawyer and American First Lady Michelle Obama.
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
F OND (Historical Fiction)
Decades after World War II, Nathaniel Williams reflects on his experiences in 1945, when his parents left him and his sister in the care of a mysterious neighbor.
The Overstory by Richard Powers
F POW (Fantasy Fiction)
A novel of activism and natural-world power presents interlocking fables about nine remarkable strangers who are summoned in different ways by trees for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest.
Barkskins by Annie Proulx
F PRO (Realistic Fiction)
The descendants of two penniless Frenchmen travel across North America, Europe, China, and New Zealand and the brutal conditions they endure against rivals, accidents, pestilence, and cultural annihilation.
Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
F RAO (Realistic Fiction)
Tells the story of a bond between two girls from India who are driven apart by circumstances but relentless in their search for one another.
The Long Take Robin Robertson
Walker, a young Canadian recently demobilized after the war (WWI) suffers from a post-traumatic stress disorder and is unable to face a return to his family home in rural Nova Scotia. He goes in search of freedom, change, anonymity, and repair. A noir narrative written with the intensity and power of poetry.
The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East (1978-1984) by Riad Sattouf
GN SAT (Graphic Novels)
Riad, now settled in his father's hometown of Homs, gets to go to school, where he dedicates himself to becoming a true Syrian in the country of the dictator Hafez Al-Assad.
The Case Against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering by Michael J. Sandel
Examines the moral and ethical aspects of genetic engineering, discussing the ethics of enhancement, bionic athletes, designer children, and other related topics.
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
F SHA (Romance Fiction)
From an internationally acclaimed novelist, the suspenseful and heartbreaking story of a family ripped apart by secrets and driven to pit love against loyalty, with devastating consequences.
Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh
During Smarsh's turbulent childhood in Kansas in the '80s and '90s, the forces of cyclical poverty and the country's changing economic policies solidified her family's place among the working poor.
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
F SOL (Science Fiction)
Aster lives in the low deck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
F STE (Classics Fiction)
The story of a farm family's Depression-era journey from the Dustbowl of Oklahoma to the California migrant labor camps in search of a better life.
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
F TOK (World Literature Fiction)
A seventeenth-century Dutch anatomist discovers the Achilles tendon by dissecting his own amputated leg. Chopin's heart is carried back to Warsaw in secret by his adoring sister.
Candide by Voltaire
F VOL (Classics Fiction)
A philosophical novel satirizing the optimistic creed "All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds," through the misadventures of Candide.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
F WAR (Realistic Fiction)
Living with his grandparents and sister on a Gulf Coast farm, Jojo navigates the challenges of his mother's addictions and his grandmother's cancer before the release of his father from prison prompts a road trip of danger and hope.
I Remember You by Sigurðardóttir Yrsa
F YRS (Horror Fiction)
In an isolated village in the Icelandic Westfjords, three friends set to work renovating a rundown house. But soon, they realize they are not as alone as they thought. Something wants them to leave, and it's making its presence felt.
Educated by Tara Westover
A memoir about a young girl who kept out of school leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.
The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Search for the Earth’s Ultimate by Paige Williams
In 2012, a New York auction catalog made an unusual offering: "a superb Tyrannosaurus skeleton."