Charles Dickens-Great Expectations:
An orphan in Victorian England is helped by a mysterious benefactor.

John Grisham-Bleachers:
A former high school football star attends the funeral of his coach, and tries to resolve his mixed feelings for the man.

John Irving-A Prayer for Owen Meany:
During a baseball game, eleven-year-old Owen hits a foul ball that kills his best friend’s mother.

Daniel Keyes-Flowers for Algernon:
After being mentally retarded all of his life, Charlie undergoes an operation designed to change his life.

Farley Mowat-Lost in the Barrens:
Two boys need all their skills and knowledge to survive in the Arctic wilderness they are exploring alone.

Richard Wright-Native Son:
The classic story of a young Black man caught up in poverty, and the terrible crime he has committed.

Jane Yolen-Briar Rose:
A retelling of the classic fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty,” set during the Holocaust.

Contemporary Realistic

May contain mature themes

Laurie Halse Anderson-Speak:
A traumatic event at the end of summer has a devastating effect on Melinda’s Freshman year.

Laurie Halse Anderson-Prom:
Ash wants nothing to do with the prom, but when disaster strikes, her involvement transforms her life.

Ann Brashares-Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants:
Four friends share a pair of secondhand jeans that magically adapts to each of their figures and affects their attitudes to their different summer experiences.

Christopher Paul Curtis-Bucking the Sarge:
A boy dreams of becoming a philosopher despite being involved in his manipulative mother’s shady businesses in Flint, Michigan,

Robert Cormier-After the First Death:
The hijacking of a busload of children is told from the perspectives of those involved in the incident.

Chris Crutcher-Ironman:
While training for a triathlon, Bo attends an anger management group at school, which leads him to examine his relationship with his father.

Susan Draper-Tears of a Tiger:
The death of a HS basketball star in an auto accident affects many people, especially his close friend, the driver of the car.

Alex Flinn-Nothing to Lose:
After running away to escape his unbearable home life, Michael returns to Miami to find that his mother is on trial for the murder of his abusive stepfather.

K.L. Going-Fat Kid Rules the World:
Troy, depressed, suicidal, and overweight, gets a new perspective on life when he is asked to be the drummer in a rock band.

Angela Johnson-The Last Part First:
Sixteen-year-old Bobby is going to become a father and he and his girlfriend try to sort out the situation and decide what to do.

Joyce Maynard-The Usual Rules:
A teenage girl finds herself living with her father and coping with her mother’s violent death in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Beatrice Sparks-It Happened to Nancy:
Teenage Nancy becomes a victim of date rape and later finds that she has been infected with AIDS as a result. Based on a true story.

Rob Thomas-Doing Time: Notes from the Undergrad:
To fulfill graduation requirements, students must volunteer in the community. The project changes the teens’ lives.

Rob Thomas-Rats Saw God:
Steve sorts out his relationship with his famous astronaut father and the events that changed him from a promising student into a troubled teen.

Walter Dean Myers-Monster:
While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, teenager Steve records his experiences in prison and in the courtroom in the form of a film script as he tries to come to terms with the course his life has taken.

Walter Dean Myers-Shooter:
Written in the form of interviews, reports, and journal entries, the story of three troubled teenagers ends in a tragic school shooting.

Susanna Vance-Deep:
Two very different girls become allies when they meet up with a ruthless modern-day pirate.

Fiction in Diary Form

Melody Carlson-Diary of a Teenage Girl: Face the Music:
Chloe details life on the road with The Redemption, a rising Christian rock group.

Ellen Hopkins, Crank:
A teenage girl’s life radically changes after a visit with her estranged father. Kristina’s dabbling with crystal meth brings out a reckless alter-ego. Fictionalized account of a true story.

Beatrice Sparks-Go Ask Alice:
A teenage girl chronicles her daily struggle to escape the pull of the drug world. This cautionary tale from the ‘seventies is a work of fiction.

Fiction in Verse
Interconnected free verse stories

Nikki Grimes-Bronx Masquerade:
Students in an English class express themselves through an open-mike poetry forum.

Margaret Nelson, Carver: A Life in Poems.
The life of the famous African-American scientist George Washington Carver told in poetic form.

David Levithan-The Realm of Possibility:
Students describe their ideas, experiences, and relationships in a series of poems.


Douglas Adams-Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:
A befuddled earthman and his alien friend journey through space.

Isabel Allende-City of the Beasts:
Alexander and his grandmother try to find a humanoid creature in the Amazon.

Ray Bradbury-Fahrenheit 451:
In this futuristic novel, book reading has become a crime.

Orson Scott Card-Ender’s Game:
Ender is only a child but he needs to save the world.

Michael Crichton-Timeline:
Scientists travel through time to 14th-century France and threaten the history of the world.

Neil Gaiman-Coraline:
A young girl ventures into a world that is similar, yet disturbingly different from her own.

Margaret Peterson Haddix-Among the Hidden:
In a future where families are allowed to have only two children, Luke has lived all his life in isolation and fear until another “third” convinces him that the government is wrong.

Donna Jo Napoli-Beast:
A reworking of the classic fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast” told from the perspective of the beast.

Kenneth Oppel-Airborn:
A boy helps to rescue a hot air balloonist who describes strange winged mammals in his journal. A fast-paced fantasy-adventure.

Edith Pattou-East:
A young woman journeys to a distant castle on the back of a great white bear who is the victim of a cruel enchantment.

Philip Pullman-The Golden Compass Triology:
1. The Golden Compass: Lyra tries to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subjects of gruesome experiments in the far north.
2. The Amber Spyglass: Lyra and Will find themselves at the center of a battle between the forces of authority and those gathered by Lyra’s father, Lord Asriel.
3. The Subtle Knife: As the boundaries between worlds begin to dissolve, Lyra and her daemon help Will in his search for his father and for a powerful, magical knife.

Mary Shelley-Frankenstein:
The classic novel about a scientific experiment to create a man-made human.

Mitch Albom-The Five People You Meet in Heaven:
A man re-examines his life after his death.

Louis Sachar-Holes:
Stanley Yelnats is sent to a correctional camp where he finds his first real friend, a treasure and a new sense of himself.

Graphic novels

Chuck Dixon-The Hobbit: An Illustrated Edition of the Fantasy Classic:
A quiet and contented hobbit embarks on a grand and dangerous adventure when he joins the wizard Gandalf and a group of dwarves on their quest to reclaim a stolen treasure.

Neil Gaiman-Death, the High Cost of Living:
Once every century, Death takes a human form to remember just what it is she is taking away.

Marjane Staprapi-Persepolis:
Life during the Iranian revolution

Historical Fiction

Laurie Halse Anderson-Fever 1793:
Mattie fights to survive during the Philadelphia malaria epidemic.

Mary Jane Auch-Ashes of Roses:
The story of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire told by a local author.

Tracy Chevalier-The Girl With a Pearl Earring:
Imagines the life of Griet, a maid in Vermeer’s turbulent household.

Christopher Paul Curtis-The Watsons Go To Birmingham, 1963:
The lives of an African-American family from Michigan are drastically changed after they visit Alabama in the summer of 1963.

Jennifer Donnelly-A Northern Light:
Mattie takes a job at a hotel in 1906 where the death of a guest renews her determination to live her own life. Based on a true incident.

Arthur Golden-Memoirs of a Geisha:
A young Japanese girl is sold into slavery as a geisha. The outbreak of World War II forces an end to the only life she has ever known.

Barbara Kingsolver-Poisonwood Bible:
An American family is ill-prepared for life in the Belgian Congo of 1959.

L.A. Meyer-Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy:
An orphan disguises herself and slips aboard a warship set for high sea adventure in search of pirates.

Michael Morpurgo-Private Peaceful:
When Thomas Peaceful’s older brother is forced to join the British Army during WWI, young Thomas decides to sign up as well.

Linda Sue Park-A Single Shard:
In medieval Korea an orphan learns the potter’s trade. 2002 Newbery Award-Local author.

Celia Rees-Pirates!:
Nancy and Minerva, a slave, escape oppression on a Jamaican plantation and become female pirates.

Celia Rees-Witch Child:
Mary’s journal describes life as a Puritan near Salem, Massachusetts. Sorceress continues the story.

Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn-One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich:
The experiences of a prisoner at a Soviet work camp in Siberia, and his struggles for survival.

Jerry Spinelli-Milkweed:
Stopthief, a street child weathers the horrors of the Nazi regime when he is taken in by a band of orphans.

Jane Yolen-Girl in a Cage:
Princess Marjorie, daughter of the newly crowned Scottish king, Robert the Bruce, is captured by England’s King Edward Longshanks and held in a cage on public display.

Leander Watts-Wild Ride to Heaven:
A girl from a poverty-stricken village downriver from Lake Ontario is sold by her drunken father into servitude. Local author.


Gordon Korman-Son of the Mob:
Made-man’s son dates daughter of the FBI agent keeping tabs on his family.

Kurt Vonnegurt–Cat’s Cradle:
A young man discovers ice-nine, which can set off a chain reaction more deadly than a nuclear bomb.

Gregory Maquire-Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West:
Elphaba comes of age in the land of Oz, where she rooms with the beautiful debutante Glinda at the university. An exceedingly imaginative and clever fantasy for lovers of satire.


Julia Alvarez-Before We Were Free:
Anita learns that her family is involved in the plot to overthrow General Trujillo in the Dominican Republic of the 1960’s.

Sandra Cisneros-The House on Mango Street:
A young girl muses about her life in a Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago.

An Na-A Step From Heaven:
A Korean family immigrates to America and must adapt to their new country’s way of life.

Khaled Hosseini-The Kite Runner:
Haunted by his betrayal of a friend, Amir attempts to redeem himself by rescuing a boy from a life of slavery to a Taliban official.

Chaim Potok-The Chosen:
Recounts the story of two boys and the course of their friendship as they grow up in Brooklyn.

Benjamin Alire Saenz-Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood:
Sammy and Juliana live amongst the racism, discrimination, and everyday violence during the 1960s in a small town in New Mexico.

Suzanne Staples-Shabanu:
A young girl is pledged in marriage to an older man in present-day Pakistan. She must accept her family’s decision or risk the consequences of disobeying them.

Gloria Whelan-Homeless Bird:
When 13-year old Koly enters into an ill-fated arranged marriage, she must either suffer a destiny dictated by India’s tradition or find courage to oppose it.


Mark Haddon-The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time:
A Novel: Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, a mathematically-gifted, autistic boy decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor’s dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.

Graham McNamee-Acceleration:
Duncan finds the diary of a serial killer and sets out to stop him.

Frank E Peretti-Nightmare Academy:
Teenage twins face a rigorous test of faith when their job takes them into a world of twisted reality. Christian Fiction.

Short story collections

Andrea Barrett-Ship Fever: Stories:
Historical and fictitious characters move between past and present as they discuss ambition, failure, achievement, and shattered dreams. Local author Barrett won the National Book Award for Fiction for the collection.

Chris Crutcher-Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories:
Stories featuring characters from the author’s novels.

Z. Z. Parker-Drinking Coffee Elsewhere:
Predominately African-American characters struggle to maintain their sense of self while they confront unexpected life events.


Eric Maria Remarque-All Quiet on the Western Front:
An idealistic group of young German men enlist in World War I and discover the reality of war.

Steven Crane–Red Badge of Courage:
A young Union soldier matures to manhood and finds peace of mind as he comes to grips with his conflicting emotions about the Civil War.

Laura Elliott-Under a War-torn Sky:
After his plane is shot down by the Luftwaffe, Henry is helped by French Resistance to rejoin his unit.

Seamus Heaney-Beowulf: A New Verse Translation:
Bilingual verse translation of the classic Old English poem “Beowulf,” in which a Norse hero saves Denmark’s royal house from monsters. Includes genealogical charts, historical summaries, and a glossary of proper names.

Linda Sue Park-When My Name was Keoko:
A brother and sister face the increasingly oppressive occupation of Korea by Japan during World War II. Based on Park’s family memoirs.

Cynthia Rylant-I Had Seen Castles:
Now an old man, John is haunted by memories of enlisting to fight in World War II, a decision which forced him to face the horrors of war and changed his life forever.

Joseph Heller-Catch 22:
A bombardier tries to avoid flying while his colonel demands that he complete a never-ending amount of missions during the waning days of WWII. A darkly humorous satire on bureaucracy.

Elie Weisel-Dawn:
A teenage terrorist spends a night waiting to kill an English officer in Palestine as a reprisal for Britain’s execution of a Jewish prisoner.

Don Wullfson-Soldier X:
Drafted into the German army at age 16, Erik is sent to fight on the Russian front. To save himself after a horrific battle, he switches identities with a Russian soldier, and fights for his enemies.



Joseph Bruchac-CodeTalker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two:
Navajo men are recruited to send messages in their native language during World War II.

Maya Angelou-I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings:
The first book in the author’s autobiographical series dealing with her childhood in Arkansas.

Chris Crutcher-King of the Mild Frontier: An Ill-Advised Autobiography:
The renown author tells of growing up in Idaho, and becoming a writer.

Latifa [pseud.]-My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban; A Young Woman’s Story:
A teenager dreamed of becoming a journalist until the repression changed her life.

Malcolm X. The Autobiography of Malcolm X:
The life of the Black Muslim leader.

James McBride-The Color of Water:
An African-American man’s tribute to his white mother, who refused to admit her true identity.

Neil de Grasse Tyson-The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist:
Tyson shares his lifelong fascination with the night sky. We follow his path from his tough boyhood to his appointment as Director of the Hayden Planetarium.

Andrea Warren-Escape From Saigon: A Vietnam War Orphan Becomes an American Boy:
A boy thrives with his adopted family in Ohio.

Richard Wright-Black Boy:
The story of an African-American boy growing up in the South before the Civil Rights Movement.

Robert Kurson-Shadow Divers : the True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II :
In 1991 two men discovered a World War II German U-boat, sunk sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey.

Jack Gantos-A Hole in My Life:
The popular writer of children’s books describes how he overcame a mistake that landed him in jail and almost kept him from becoming a successful author.

Bill Gates-The Road Ahead:
The new tools of the information age are transforming forever the way we buy, work, learn and communicate.

Gary Paulsen-Puppies, Dogs and Blue Northers:
Young adult author Gary Paulsen describes the strong bond between him and his sled dogs.

Lynne Cox-Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer:
Cox describes her emotional and spiritual need to swim and about the mythical act of swimming itself, and chronicles some of her more memorable swims.

Tony Hawk-Hawk: Occupation Skateborder:
Pro-skater describes his sport.

Jon Katz-Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet Out of Idaho:
Two computer savvy misfits find salvation in technology as they use their knowledge of computers as a ticket to a better lifeduring the early days of the ‘Web.

Jon Krakauer-Into Thin Air:
A vivid recreation of a distasterous 1996 Mt. Everest expedition.

Jackie Robinson-I Never Had It Made:
Robinson was the first African-American to play major league baseball.

Andrew Carroll, editor-War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars:
Letters written by American servicemen including accounts of combat, complaints about conditions, love letters and final thoughts.

Tad Bartimus, editor-Torn: Stories of War from the Women Reporters Who Covered Vietnam:
Nine women describe their experiences as young journalists reporting on the Vietnam War.

Richard Wright-Black Boy:
The story of an African-American boy growing up in the South before the civil rights movement.


Tom Clancy-Armored Cav: A Guided Tour of an Armored Cavalry Regiment:
The technology, roles and daily routine of the armored cavalry.

Tom Clancy-Fighter Wing: A Guided Tour of an Air Force Combat Wing:
An insider’s look at the people behind the planes and weapons used by the U.S. Air Force.

Tom Clancy-Marine: A Guided Tour of a Marine Expeditionary Unit:
Discusses the role of the Marines in the present and future world.

Chris Hedges-War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning:
Presents a thought-provoking look at wars through the ages, and exposes the myths of the culture of combat.

Simone Payment-Navy SEALS: Special Operations for the U.S. Navy:
Explains the role of the SEALS.

Social studies/History

Steve Almond-Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America :
Secrets of the modern candy industry.

Michael Capuzzo-Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916:
Attacks cause havoc along the New Jersey coast.

Chris Crowe-Getting Away with Murder: the True Story of Emmett Till Case:
A sobering and insightful account of the 1955 Mississippi murder trial of two white men for the killing of a fourteen-year-old black boy from Chicago.

Marita Golden-Don’t Play in the Sun: One Woman’s Journey Through the Color Complex:
Examines the issue of color in African-American culture.

Erik Larson-Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America:
A serial killer uses the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair as a backdrop to lure people to their deaths.

Beverly Daniel Tatum- “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” : And Other Conversations About Race:
Examines racial identity, and discusses why groups often feel the need to stick together.

Charles Wheelan-Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science:
Strips away all of the jargon to offer a concise introduction to its basic principles.


Phillip M. Hoose-The Race to Save the Lord God Bird:
Tells the story of the ivory-billed woodpecker’s extinction in the United States.

Tim Berners-Lee: Weaveing the Web: the Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web:
The originator of the WWW looks toward the future, and offers opinions on censorship, privacy, and other issues.

Richard Phillips Feynman-“Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynmen!”: Adventures of a Curious Character:
A collection of often humorous anecdotes about the 1965 Nobel Prize winner for Physics.

Leslie Horvitz-Eureka!: Scientific Breakthroughs That Changed the World:
Explores the events and thought processes which have led twelve great scientific minds to their profound discoveries.

Peter Lovenheim-Portrait of a Burger as a Young Calf: The True Story of One Man, Two Cows, and the Feeding of a Nation:
The author provides insights into the dairy and beef industries. Local author.

Jim Murphy-An American Plague: the True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793.
Newbery Medal winner describes the yellow fever epidemic that swept through Philadelphia in 1793.

Peter Pringle-Food, Inc.: Mendel to Monsanto-The Promises and Perils of the Biotech Harvest:
Examines the debate over genetically modified food.

Mary Roach-Stiff:
Explores how human cadavers have been used throughout history, discussing how the use of dead bodies has benefited every aspect of human existence.

Ingrid Wickelgren-Ramblin’ Robots: Building a Breed of Mechanical Beasts:
Examines the evolution of robotics and the efforts of scientists to develop robots with the abilities of various animals.

Art and music

Sabine Adler-Lovers in Art:
Romance and art are natural companions in this gorgeous book that spans five centuries of Western European art.

Jan Greenberg, editor-Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by Twentieth Century American Art:
This collection of lyrical responses to famous American works of art will make you a believe art can speak.

Ross King-Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture.
In this vivid recreation of the political and artistic milieu of 15th century Florence, an audacious architect achieves the impossible, and makes possible modern building.

Alan Light-The Vibe History of Hip Hop.
“VIBE” magazine looks at the music, dance, and fashion that have evolved into hip hop culture.

Susan Vreeland-The Passion of Artemisia
This eloquent rendering of the story of Artemisia Gentileschi evokes appreciation of both her magnificent art and her struggles to succeed as an artist.