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2015 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: High School

Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2014–2015 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.

For a handy take-along list of titles, download our printable PDF, or purchase them from our online bookstore at a 20% discount.

Picture Books | Early Readers and Primary Grades | Intermediate | Middle School

High School

Suggested grade level for all entries: 9 and up

charleyboy_dreaming in indianDreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices ed. by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale (Annick)
In this dizzyingly eclectic anthology, forty-six contributors, clearly identified by tribe or background, present poems, paintings, drawings, etc. Some reflect the theme of contemporary Native life; others simply depict Indian people following a variety of pursuits. 130 pages.

juby_truth commissionThe Truth Commission by Susan Juby (Viking)
Bright dialogue and appealing characters draw readers along as narrator Normandy Pale and best friends Neil and Dusk unearth truths at their Vancouver high school. The “Truth Commission” that they form also shifts dynamics at home, allowing Norm to confront the pain caused by her graphic-novelist sister’s caricatures of their dysfunctional family. 310 pages.

king_glory o'brienGlory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King (Little, Brown)
After Glory ingests desiccated bat remains (ew!), she begins receiving eerie “transmissions” from people around her — including scenes from the future depicting a Second Civil War, sparked by rampant misogyny, in which a white-haired Glory is a prominent rebel fighter.

lauer_please excuse this poemPlease Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation ed. by Brett Fletcher Lauer and Lynn Melnick (Viking)
One hundred contemporary poems meander through topics and styles. Many poems (such as Patricia Lockwood’s uncomfortably humorous “Rape Joke”) pack punches with raw handling of timely issues. This anthology’s gritty, unapologetic sensibility will appeal to teens. 289 pages.

levithan_hold me closerHold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan (Dutton)
In Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Tiny Cooper — friend to one Will and love interest of the other — writes and directs a musical about his life. Now that musical (starring Tiny as main character) is a book of its own: a story of coming out, looking for love, and valuing one’s friends. 202 pages.

lewis_march bk 2March: Book Two by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin; illus. by Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
This second volume of the graphic-memoir trilogy continues Lewis’s personal story of the civil rights movement, from sit-ins to Freedom Rides to the 1963 March on Washington, where Lewis spoke alongside Dr. King. A one-two punch of powerful words and images. 192 pages.

reynolds_boy-in-the-black-suitThe Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum)
High school senior Matt hopes his funeral-home job will help him cope with his own grief about his dead mother and fallen-off-the-wagon father. While all this sounds like heavy problem novel territory, it isn’t. Reynolds writes about urban African American kids in a way, warm and empathetic, that the late Walter Dean Myers would have applauded. 257 pages.

shabazz_xX: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon (Candlewick)
This vivid and immediate fictionalized portrait of the civil rights activist, co-written by Malcolm X’s daughter, follows young Malcolm from his tragic Depression-era childhood in Michigan and heady teen years in Boston and Harlem, through his imprisonment for larceny, to end with his conversion to Islam in his mid-twenties. 375 pages.

sloan_just call my nameJust Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan (Little, Brown)
Sam and Riddle (I’ll Be There) are finally free of their abusive father, Clarence. When an alluring teen drifter girl named Destiny comes to town, Sam’s relationship with Emily Bell is tested, but romantic drama takes a back seat when Clarence breaks out of jail to kidnap Emily. 328 pages.

suma_walls around usThe Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (Algonquin)
Soon after “Bloody Ballerina” Orianna begins her sentence for the murder of two rival dancers, all forty-two girls interned at her detention center die in an unexplained mass killing. Two unreliable narrators — Ori’s best friend Violet and inmate Amber — reveal the twisting, ghostly tale of Ori’s life, death, and redemption. 321 pages.

For past years’ summer reading lists from The Horn Book, click on the tag summer reading.

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