Non-Fiction Book # 1 • The Sociopath Next Door- by Martha Stout • Lexile Unknown • We are accustomed to think of sociopaths as violent criminals, but in The Sociopath Next Door, Harvard psychologist Martha Stout reveals that a shocking 4 percent of ordinary people—one in twenty-five—has an often undetected mental disorder, the chief symptom of which is that that person possesses no conscience. He or she has no ability whatsoever to feel shame, guilt, or remorse. One in twenty-five everyday Americans, therefore, is secretly a sociopath. They could be your colleague, your neighbor, even family. And they can do literally anything at all and feel absolutely no guilt.
Non-Fiction Book #2 • Mr. King’s AP Art History Selection • Girl with A Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier • Lexile 770 • With precisely 35 canvases to his credit, the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer represents one of the great enigmas of 17th-century art. The meager facts of his biography have been gleaned from a handful of legal documents. Yet Vermeer's extraordinary paintings of domestic life, with their subtle play of light and texture, have come to define the Dutch golden age. His portrait of the anonymous Girl with a Pearl Earring has exerted a particular fascination for centuries--and it is this magnetic painting that lies at the heart of Tracy Chevalier's second novel of the same title.Girl with a Pearl Earring centers on Vermeer's prosperous Delft household during the 1660s. When Griet, the novel's quietly perceptive heroine, is hired as a servant, turmoil follows. First, the 16-year-old narrator becomes increasingly intimate with her master. Then Vermeer employs her as his assistant--and ultimately has Griet sit for him as a model. Chevalier vividly evokes the complex domestic tensions of the household, ruled over by the painter's jealous, eternally pregnant wife and his taciturn mother-in-law. At times the relationship between servant and master seems a little anachronistic. Still, Girl with a Pearl Earring does contain a final delicious twist.
Non-Fiction Book #3 • Ms. Beswick’s AP Biology Selection • Survival of the Sickest– Sharon Moalem • Lexile Unknown • Joining the ranks of modern myth busters, Dr. Sharon Moalem turns our current understanding of illness on its head and challenges us to fundamentally change the way we think about our bodies, our health, and our relationship to just about every other living thing on earth. Through a fresh and engaging examination of our evolutionary history, Dr. Moalem reveals how many of the conditions that are diseases today actually gave our ancestors a leg up in the survival sweepstakes. But Survival of the Sickest doesn't stop there. It goes on to demonstrate just how little modern medicine really understands about human health, and offers a new way of thinking that can help all of us live longer, healthier lives.
Non-Fiction Book #4 • The Nazi Hunters– Neal Bascomb • Lexile 1000 • A thrilling spy mission, a moving Holocaust story, and a first-class work of narrative nonfiction.In 1945, at the end of World War II, Adolf Eichmann, the head of operations for the Nazis' Final Solution, walked into the mountains of Germany and vanished from view. Sixteen years later, an elite team of spies captured him at a bus stop in Argentina and smuggled him to Israel, resulting in one of the century's most important trials -- one that cemented the Holocaust in the public imagination.THE NAZI HUNTERS is the thrilling and fascinating story of what happened between these two events. Survivor Simon Wiesenthal opened Eichmann's case; a blind Argentinean and his teenage daughter provided crucial information. Finally, the Israeli spies -- many of whom lost family in the Holocaust -- embarked on their daring mission, recounted here in full. Based on the adult bestseller HUNTING EICHMANN, which is now in development as a major film, and illustrated with powerful photos throughout, THE NAZI HUNTERS is a can't-miss work of narrative nonfiction for middle-grade and YA readers.
Non-Fiction Book #5 • One Minute to Midnight – Michael Dobbs • Lexile Unknown • In October 1962, at the height of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union came to the brink of nuclear conflict over the placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba. In thishour-by-hour chronicle of those tense days, veteran Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs reveals just how close we came to Armageddon.Here, for the first time, are gripping accounts of Khrushchev's plan to destroy the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo; the handling of Soviet nuclear warheads on Cuba; and the extraordinary story of a U-2 spy plane that got lost over Russia at the peak of the crisis.Written like a thriller, One Minute to Midnight is an exhaustively researched account of what Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. called “the most dangerous moment in human history,” and the definitive book on the Cuban missile crisis.
Non-Fiction Book #6 • Nirvana FAQ – Bob Spitz • Lexile Unknown • Nirvana FAQ traces the band from its genesis to its end. Founded by friends Kurt Cobain and KristNovoselic, Nirvana had a rocky start and a succession of drummers, but by the end of 1990, its debut album, Bleach, had garnered international attention and the groups sixth drummer, Dave Grohl, had joined the fold. Following its mentors Sonic Youth to Geffen Records, Nirvana had hoped for modest success. Instead came unexpected wealth and fame on the strength of 1991s Nevermind and its iconic, breakthrough single “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Success didnt sit well with Cobain, who began to numb the stresses of rock stardom with heroin. Despite 1993s hit album In Utero, Cobains unhappiness became increasingly apparent. His suicide in April 1994 shocked the music world and put an end to a band at the height of its popularity. Nirvana FAQ answers such questions as, What guitar teacher did Cobain and Novoselic have in common? Where did Cobain record his first demo? What was the cause of his first arrest? How was second guitarist Jason Everman hired and fired? What was the name of Grohls first band, and where did he meet Cobain and Novoselic? Who is Teen Spirit about? How did Nirvanas war with Guns N Roses begin? And more.
Non-Fiction Book #7 • Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything – Joshua Foer • Lexile Unknown • An instant bestseller that is poised to become a classic, Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer's yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top "mental athletes." He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist's trade to transform our understanding of human memory. From the United States Memory Championship to deep within the author's own mind, this is an electrifying work of journalism that reminds us that, in every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.
Dystopian Series • Divergent • Insurgent • Allegiant – Veronica Roth • NOTE: Only Divergent is required. You may read all three if you choose. • Lexile 700, 710, 830 • Divergent: One choice can transform you. Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling debut is a gripping dystopian tale of electrifying choices, powerful consequences, unexpected romance, and a deeply flawed "perfect society." • Insurgent: One choice can destroy you. Veronica Roth's second #1 New York Times bestseller continues the dystopian thrill ride. As war surges in the factions all around her, Tris attempts to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. • Allegiant: The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergentand Insurgent.
Dystopian Fiction #1 • The Eleventh Plague – Jeff Hirsch • Lexile 790 • In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two-thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing--and their lives--forever.
Dystopian Fiction #2 • Origins – Jessica Khoury • Lexile 740 • Pia has always known her destiny. She is meant to start a new race, a line of descendants who will bring an end to death. She has been bred for no other purpose, genetically engineered to be immortal and raised by a team of scientists in a secret compound hidden deep in the Amazon rainforest. Now those scientists have begun to challenge her, with the goal of training her to carry on their dangerous work.For as long as she can remember, Pia’s greatest desire has been to fulfill their expectations. But then one night she finds a hole in the impenetrable fence that surrounds her sterile home. Free in the jungle for the first time in her life, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Unable to resist, she continues sneaking out to see him. As they fall in love, they begin to piece together the truth about Pia’s origin—a truth with nothing less than deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.Origin is a beautifully told, electric new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever. But is eternal life worth living if you can’t spend it with the one you love?
Dystopian Fiction #3 • Safekeeping – Karen Hesse • Lexile 720 • Radley’s parents had warned her that all hell would break loose if the American People's Party took power. And now, with the president assassinated and the government cracking down on citizens, the news is filled with images of vigilante groups, frenzied looting, and police raids. It seems as if all hell hasbroken loose.Coming back from volunteering abroad, Radley just wants to get home to Vermont, and the comfort and safety of her parents. Travel restrictions and delays are worse than ever, and by the time Radley’s plane lands in New Hampshire, she’s been traveling for over twenty-four hours. Exhausted, she heads outside to find her parents—who always come, day or night, no matter when or where she lands—aren’t there.Her cell phone is dead, her credit cards are worthless, and she doesn’t have the proper travel papers to cross state lines. Out of money and options, Radley starts walking. . . .Illustrated with 50 of her own haunting and beautiful photographs, this is a vision of a future America that only Karen Hesse could write: real, gripping, and deeply personal.
Dystopian/Classic FictionCombo #1 • Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury • Lexile 890 • Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.
Science Fiction #1 • Across the Universe – Beth Revis • Lexile 720 • WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO SURVIVE ABOARD A SPACESHIP FUELED BY LIES?Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the spaceship Godspeed. She has left her boyfriend, friends--and planet--behind to join her parents as a member of Project Ark Ship. Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri-Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously unplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.Someone tried to murder her.Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed's 2,312 passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader. And Elder, Eldest's rebellious teenage heir, is both fascinated with Amy and eager to discover whether he has what it takes to lead.Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she put her faith in a boy who has never seen life outside the ship's cold metal walls? All Amy knows is that she and Elder must race to unlockGodspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.
Fantasy #1 • Seraphina– Rachel Hartman • Lexile 760 • In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, "Some of the most interesting dragons I've read in fantasy."Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.SeraphinaDombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
Fantasy #2 • The Girl of Fire and Thorns – Rae Carson • Lexile 730 • Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and can't see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs her to be the chosen one, not a failure of a princess. And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies, seething with dark magic, are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake. Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn't die young. Most of the chosen do. "A page-turner with broad appeal."—Publishers Weekly
Personal Problems Book #1 • Willow – Julia Hoban • Lexile 730 • Seven months ago, on a rainy March night, sixteen-year- old Willow's parents drank too much wine and asked her to drive them home. They never made it. Willow lost control of the car and her parents died in the accident. Now she has left behind her old home, friends, and school, and blocks the pain by secretly cutting herself. But when Willow meets Guy, a boy as sensitive and complicated as she is, she begins an intense, life-changing relationship that turns her world upside down.Told in an arresting, fresh voice, Willow is an unforgettable novel about one girl's struggle to cope with tragedy, and one boy's refusal to give up on her.
Hispanic Literature #1 • Summer of the Mariposas – Guadalupe Garcia McCall • Lexile 840 • When Odilia and her four sisters find a dead body in the swimming hole, they embark on a hero's journey to return the dead man to his family in Mexico. But returning home to Texas turns into an odyssey that would rival Homer’s original tale. With the supernatural aid of ghostly La Llorona via a magical earring, Odilia and her little sisters travel a road of tribulation to their long-lost grandmother’s house. Along the way, they must outsmart a witch and her Evil Trinity: a wily warlock, a coven of vicious half-human barn owls, and a bloodthirsty livestock-hunting chupacabras. Can these fantastic trials prepare Odilia and her sisters for what happens when they face their final test, returning home to the real world, where goddesses and ghosts can no longer help them? Summer of the Mariposas is not just a magical Mexican American retelling of The Odyssey, it is a celebration of sisterhood and maternal love.
Historical Fiction #1 • The Radiance of Tomorrow– Ismael Beah • Lexile Unknown • In his best-selling A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (2007), Beah wrote of his traumatic experience as victim and perpetrator in Sierra Leone’s civil war. Now he works with Human Rights Watch and UNICEF in New York, and in this searing first novel, he tells of a young immigrant returning with his family to his native village seven years after the recent civil war. He finds both hope and horror, the latter driven by the overwhelming internal corruption, the former by the resilience of the people he encounters. He sees skulls and chopped hands, the remains of massacre. But there is the wonder of clean drinking water. A foreign company’s diamond mining, supported by the government, is leaving the village people displaced, houses shattered, the air thick with pollution, ancient burial grounds destroyed. A parent must see her child go to bed hungry, night after night. How much will people do for jobs to feed their families? The power of the story is in the close-up, heartbreaking detail of the struggle for survival, the cruelty, and also the kindness.(Booklist)
Historical Fiction #2 • Never Fall Down– Patricia McCormick • Lexile 710 • This National Book Award nominee from two-time finalist Patricia McCormick is the unforgettable story of ArnChorn-Pond, who defied the odds to survive the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979 and the labor camps of the Khmer Rouge. • When soldiers arrive in his hometown, Arn is just a normal little boy. But after the soldiers march the entire population into the countryside, his life is changed forever. Arnis separated from his family and assigned to a labor camp: working in the rice paddies under a blazing sun, he sees the other children dying before his eyes. One day, the soldiers ask if any of the kids can play an instrument. Arn's never played a note in his life, but he volunteers. This decision will save his life, but it will pull him into the very center of what we know today as the Killing Fields. And just as the country is about to be liberated, Arn is handed a gun and forced to become a soldier.
African-American #1 • Invasion – Walter Dean Myers • (Lexile 760) • Josiah Wedgewood and Marcus Perry are on their way to an uncertain future. Their whole lives are ahead of them, yet at the same time, death's whisper is everywhere. One white, one black, these young men have nothing in common and everything in common as they approach an experience that will change them forever.It's May 1944. World War II is ramping up, and so are these young recruits, ready and eager. In small towns and big cities all over the globe, people are filled with fear. When Josiah and Marcus come together in what will be the greatest test of their lives, they learn hard lessons about race, friendship, and what it really means to fight. Set on the front lines of the Normandy invasion, this novel, rendered with heart-in-the-throat precision, is a cinematic masterpiece. Here we see the bold terror of war, and also the nuanced havoc that affects a young person's psyche while living in a barrack, not knowing if today he will end up dead or alive.
African-American #2 • Black Boy White School – Brian F. Walker • Lexile 650 • Walker’s powerful debut never shies from violence (often stark), as it follows 14-year-old Anthony, aka “Ant,” from his poor East Cleveland neighborhood to preppy Belton Academy in Maine, exploring issues of racial identity and class. Although the standard “overcoming adversity” tropes appear, they pale compared to Walker’s forceful narrative voice and fast-paced storytelling. After his friend Mookie is killed, Ant resolves to take advantage of the scholarship offer he’s received and go to Belton. Ant soon discovers plenty of bigotry (including the occasional well-meaning assumption that he’ll be on the basketball team), but he also learns to balance his identity within the school with his roots in Cleveland. Had Walker left the novel there, it would still be a solid story, but his exploration of the effect of race and class on identity carries the story far. If there are a few moments of rote cliché (a teacher actually tells Ant, “You helped me grow up, too”), the writing and characters easily compensate for the occasional stumble.—Publishers Weekly
LGBT Fiction #1 • The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Emily M. Danforth • Lexile 1120 • Set in rural Montana in the early 1990s, emily m. danforth’sThe Miseducation of Cameron Post is a powerful and widely acclaimed YA coming-of-age novel in the tradition of the classic Annie on My Mind.Cameron Post feels a mix of guilt and relief when her parents die in a car accident. Their deaths mean they will never learn the truth she eventually comes to—that she's gay. Orphaned, Cameron comes to live with her old-fashioned grandmother and ultraconservative aunt Ruth. There she falls in love with her best friend, a beautiful cowgirl. When she’s eventually outed, her aunt sends her to God’s Promise, a religious conversion camp that is supposed to “cure” her homosexuality. At the camp, Cameron comes face to face with the cost of denying her true identity.
Classics #1 • Go Ask Alice– Anonymous • Lexile 1010 • After you've had it, there isn't even life without drugs.... It started when she was served a soft drink laced with LSD in a dangerous party game. Within months, she was hooked, trapped in a downward spiral that took her from her comfortable home and loving family to the mean streets of an unforgiving city. It was a journey that would rob her of her innocence, her youth -- and ultimately her life. Read her diary. Enter her world. You will never forget her. For thirty-five years, the acclaimed, bestselling first-person account of a teenage girl's harrowing decent into the nightmarish world of drugs has left an indelible mark on generations of teen readers. As powerful -- and as timely -- today as ever, Go Ask Alice remains the definitive book on the horrors of addiction.
Graphic Novel #1 • A Wrinkle in Time – Madeline L’Engel • Lexile 740 • It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger."Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I'll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract."A tesseract (in case the reader doesn't know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L'Engle's unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem. • A Wrinkle in Time is the winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal.
Graphic Novel #2 • Vietnamerica– GB Tran • Lexile Unknown • GB Tran is a young Vietnamese American artist who grew up distant from (and largely indifferent to) his family's history. Born and raised in South Carolina as a son of immigrants, he knew that his parents had fled Vietnam during the fall of Saigon. But even as they struggled to adapt to life in America, they preferred to forget the past--and to focus on their children's future. It was only in his late twenties that GB began to learn their extraordinary story. When his last surviving grandparents die within months of each other, GB visits Vietnam for the first time and begins to learn the tragic history of his family, and of the homeland they left behind.
SportsFiction #1 • Stupid Fast – Geoff Herbach • Lexile 670 • Delving straight into the teenage boy mind and hitting on topics both funny and hefty, Stupid Fast hits right into the struggles of a teenage guy from first love to finding himself to dealing with a quirky family in a great way. With a main character that truly is "average," a jerk at times and a total sweetheart at others, confused and awkward but then confidant and sure, this one is engaging and real. Through rambling in voice at times, and most definitely very boy in a way that could be a turn off to some female readers, the story is well written and well developed, providing a solid debut. - A Good Addiction
SportsNon-Fiction #1 • Friday Night Lights – HG Bissinger • Lexile 1260 • Secular religions are fascinating in the devotion and zealousness they breed, and in Texas, high school football has its own rabid hold over the faithful. H.G. Bissinger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, enters into the spirit of one of its most fervent shrines: Odessa, a city in decline in the desert of West Texas, where the Permian High School Panthers have managed to compile the winningest record in state annals. Indeed, as this breathtaking examination of the town, the team, its coaches, and its young players chronicles, the team, for better and for worse, is the town; the communal health and self-image of the latter is directly linked to the on-field success of the former. The 1988 season, the one Friday Night Lights recounts, was not one of the Panthers' best. The game's effect on the community--and the players--was explosive. Written with great style and passion, Friday Night Lights offers an American snapshot in deep focus; the picture is not always pretty, but the image is hard to forget. • Sports Illustrated’s #1 football book of all -time
Sports Non-Fiction #2 • The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky – Gene Wojciechowski • Lexile Unknown • March 28, 1992. The final of the NCAA East Regional, Duke vs. Kentucky. The 17,848 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia and the millions watching on TV could say they saw the greatest game and the greatest shot in the history of college basketball. But it wasn't just the final play of the game-an 80-foot inbounds bass from Grant Hill to Christian Laettner with 2.1 seconds left in overtime- that made Duke's 104-103 victory so memorable. The Kentucky and Duke players and coaches arrived at that point from very different places, each with a unique story to tell.