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Stem Magnet Academy Summer Reading Requirements


*Students should read the books on the list for the grade they will be entering for the 2017-2018 school year.

*Each class will cover a mandatory novel the first two weeks of school, and be responsible for an assessment grade assignment with the novels.  This novel MUST be read during the summer and completed BEFORE school begins in August.  It is the responsibility of THE STUDENT to bring a copy of this book to class in August.

*One book must be selected from the optional list for each class and read over the summer.  A writing assignment will be given in reference to these two books during the first nine weeks of school.

*A total of two books should be completed during the summer.

*Additional titles will be covered over the course of the year at each grade level.

English II (Incoming 10th Graders)

Mandatory Novel- Ruined: A Novel  by Paula Morris: Rebecca Brown couldn’t feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year while her dad is traveling. She’s staying in a creepy old house with her aunt Claudia, who reads tarot cards for a living. And at the snooty prep school, a pack of filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she’s invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he’s got a hidden agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and to show her the nooks and crannies of the city. There’s just one catch. Lisette is a ghost. A ghost with a deep, dark secret, and a serious score to settle.

Choose one from the following list

  • Catcher in the Rye- J.D. Salinger: A cynical teenager explains the events following his expulsion from prep school and subsequent nervous breakdown. The plot contains profanity and adult themes.

  • Unwind  by Neal Shusterman (Book #1): In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would “unwind” them. Connor’s parents want to be rid of him because he’s a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev’s unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family’s strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can’t be harmed — but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.


English I (Incoming 9th graders)

Mandatory Novel- Of Better Blood by Susan Moger: Teenage polio survivor Rowan Collier is caught in the crossfire of a secret war against "the unfit." It's 1922, and eugenics—the movement dedicated to racial purity and good breeding—has taken hold in America. State laws allow institutions to sterilize minorities, the "feeble-minded," and the poor, while local eugenics councils set up exhibits at county fairs with "fitter family" contests and propaganda. After years of being confined to hospitals, Rowan is recruited at sixteen to play a born cripple in a county fair eugenics exhibit. But gutsy, outspoken Dorchy befriends Rowan and helps her realize her own inner strength and bravery. The two escape the fair and end up at a summer camp on a desolate island run by the New England Eugenics Council. There they discover something is happening to the children. Rowan must find a way to stop the horrors on the island…if she can escape them herself.

Choose one from the following list

  • Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman: Caden Bosch lives in two worlds. One is his real life with his family, his friends, and high school. There he is paranoid for no reason, thinks people are trying to kill him, and demonstrates obsessive compulsive behaviors. In his other world, he's part of the crew for a pirate captain on a voyage to the Challenger Deep, the ocean's deepest trench. There he's paranoid, wary of the mercurial captain and his mutinous parrot, and tries hard to interpret the mutterings of his fellow shipmates as they sail uncharted waters toward unknown dangers. Slowly, Caden's fantasy and paranoia begin to take over, until his parents have only one choice left. Shusterman's latest novel gives readers a look at teen mental illness from inside the mind of Caden Bosch. He is a credible and sympathetic character, and his retreat into his own flawed mind is fascinating, full of riddles and surrealism. Shusterman based the novel on his son's mental illness, and Brendan's input regarding his diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and psychiatric care makes the novel ring true. Teens, especially fans of the author's other novels, will enjoy this book. VERDICT This affecting deep dive into the mind of a schizophrenic will captivate readers, engender empathy for those with mental illnesses, and offer much fodder for discussion.

  • Foul Trouble - John Feinstein: College recruiters are clamoring to sign up Terrell Jamerson, the #1 high school basketball player in the country. But not all of these recruiters are straight shooters, and Terrell will have to think fast if he wants to stay in the game.



8th Grade


Mandatory Novel-Monster- Walter Dean Myers: While on trial as an accomplice to a murder, 16-year-old Steve Harmon 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. The plot contains sexual assault.

Choose one from the following list

  • Call of the Wild – Jack London: Buck, a dog forced into the harsh life of a sled dog, must ultimately decide whether to stay with his master or obey his instinct to join the wolves. The plot contains graphic violence, racial prejudice within historical context, and mild profanity.

  • Diary of a Young Girl- Anne Frank: A thirteen-year-old Dutch-Jewish girl records her impressions of the two years she and seven others spent hiding from the Nazis before they were discovered and taken to concentration camps. The text contains mild profanity.


7th Grade


Mandatory Novel -  The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom: Corrie ten Boom, her sister, Bessie, and their father run a watch repair business outside of Amsterdam. When Corrie is in her 50's, Hitler's German army seizes Holland and begins persecuting Jews. Although Corrie and her family are devout Christians, their compassion for their neighbors leads to their involvement in a stealthy underground effort to hide and protect Jews. The ten Booms are eventually captured and imprisoned for their "crimes" against the Germans. Corrie and Bessie endure horrific conditions in several concentration camps, all the while sharing their faith with anyone who will listen.

Rivalry between rich and poor gangs in 1960s Oklahoma leads to the deaths of three teenagers and intense soul-searching for one of the kids involved, a sensitive 14-year-old writer named Ponyboy. The plot contains some profanity, violence, and alcohol use.

Choose one from the following list:

  • Heat- Mike Lupica: Pitching prodigy Michael Arroyo is on the run from social services after being banned from playing Little League baseball because rival coaches doubt he is only twelve years old and he has no parents to offer them proof.

  • Call It Courage- Armstrong Sperry: An inspiring youth overcomes his fear of the sea and proves his courage to himself and his tribe.


6th Grade


Mandatory Novel -  Number the Stars by Lois Lowry: As the German troops begin their campaign to "relocate" all the Jews of Denmark, Annemarie Johansen’s family takes in Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen Rosen, and conceals her as part of the family.

Through the eyes of ten-year-old Annemarie, we watch as the Danish Resistance smuggles almost the entire Jewish population of Denmark, nearly seven thousand people, across the sea to Sweden. The heroism of an entire nation reminds us that there was pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.

Choose one from the following list:

  • Among the Hidden- Margaret Peterson Haddix (#1): In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke, an illegal third child, has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family's farm in this start to the Shadow Children series from Margaret Peterson Haddix

  • What I Saw and How I Lied- Judy Blundell: When Evie's father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just good war stories. When movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe's company in postwar Austria, shows up, Evie is suddenly caught in a complicated web of lies that she only slowly recognizes. She finds herself falling for Peter, ignoring the secrets that surround him . . . until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family and breaks her life in two.


5th Grade


Mandatory Novel -  Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan: Echo, the newest book by the amazing Pam Muñoz Ryan, weaves together three powerful stories from three different cities both before and after World War II. A magical harmonica connects all of the stories and each one leaves you wanting more.

Choose one from the following list:

  • The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes: This book explores the serious issue of poverty and alienating classmates.

  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis: This historical fiction novel is about a family who moves from Michigan to Alabama, experiencing a tragic event of racism