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Juniors & Seniors

Excellent Reading for Juniors in High School

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Girl with a Pearl Earring
by Tracy Chevalier

History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius . . . even as she herself is immortalized in canvas and oil.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

“You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.” ― Frederick Douglass

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set in the Jazz Age on Long Island, the novel depicts narrator Nick Carraway’s interactions with mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and Gatsby’s obsession to reunite with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan.

The Crucible

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Based on historical people and real events, Arthur Miller’s play uses the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence unleashed by the rumors of witchcraft as a powerful parable about McCarthyism.

A Prayer for Owen Meany

A Prayer for Owen Meany
by John Irving

In the summer of 1953, two eleven-year-old boys—best friends—are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy’s mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn’t believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary.

Life Of Pi

Life Of Pi by Yann Martel

After the sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a wounded zebra, an orangutan—and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi Patel, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with the tiger, Richard Parker, for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them “the truth.” After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional—but is it more true?

The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold

“My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.” So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her — her friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy.

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. The Fault in Our Stars is insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw. It brilliantly explores the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson

Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us, the one who seems made of flesh rather than marble. In a sweeping narrative that follows Franklin’s life from Boston to Philadelphia to London and Paris and back, Walter Isaacson chronicles the adventures of the runaway apprentice who became, over the course of his eighty-four-year life, America’s best writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist, as well as one of its most practical and ingenious political leaders.

Invisible Man

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Ellison describes growing up in a Black community in the South, attending a Negro college from which he is expelled, moving to New York and becoming the chief spokesman of the Harlem branch of “the Brotherhood,” before retreating amid violence and confusion.

Grendel

Grendel by John Gardner

This classic and much lauded retelling of Beowulf follows the monster Grendel as he learns about humans and fights the war at the center of the Anglo Saxon classic epic.

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, caught in the tragic sweep of history, The Kite Runner transports readers to Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of change and destruction. A powerful story of friendship, it is also about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

The Screwtape Letters

The Screwtape Letters
by C. S. Lewis

This a classic masterpiece of religious satire that entertains readers with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below.” At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written.

A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms
by Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell to Arms is the unforgettable story of an American ambulance driver on the Italian front and his passion for a beautiful English nurse. Set against the looming horrors of the battlefield—weary, demoralized men marching in the rain during the German attack on Caporetto; the profound struggle between loyalty and desertion—this gripping, semiautobiographical work captures the harsh realities of war and the pain of lovers caught in its inexorable sweep.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The New York Times bestselling novel from Garth Stein—a heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope—a captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life… as only a dog could tell it.

The Color Purple

The Color Purple
by Alice Walker

The Color Purple broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery. Deeply compassionate and beautifully imagined, Alice Walker’s epic carries readers on a spirit-affirming journey towards redemption and love.

Shoe Dog

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

At twenty-four, Knight decides that rather than work for a big corporation, he will create something all his own, new, dynamic, different. He details the many risks he encountered, the crushing setbacks, the ruthless competitors and hostile bankers—as well as his many thrilling triumphs. Above all, he recalls the relationships that formed the heart and soul of Nike, with his former track coach, the irascible and charismatic Bill Bowerman, and with his first employees, a ragtag group of misfits and savants who quickly became a band of swoosh-crazed brothers. Together, harnessing the electrifying power of a bold vision and a shared belief in the transformative power of sports, they created a brand—and a culture—that changed everything.

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.

Excellent Reading for Seniors in High School

Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe

A classic narrative about Africa’s cataclysmic encounter with Europe as it establishes a colonial presence on the continent. Told through the fictional experiences of Okonkwo, a wealthy and fearless warrior in the late 1800s, Things Fall Apart explores one man’s futile resistance to the devaluing of his traditions by British forces and his despair as his community capitulates to the powerful new order.

The Alchemist

The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho

Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.

Outliers

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers”–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? Outliers is a landmark work that will simultaneously delight and illuminate.

A Time to Kill

A Time to Kill
by John Grisham

The life of a ten-year-old black girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless white men. The mostly white town of Clanton in Ford County, Mississippi, reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman crime—until the girl’s father acquires an assault rifle and takes justice into his own hands. For ten days, as burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spread through the streets of Clanton, the nation sits spellbound as defense attorney Jake Brigance struggles to save his client’s life—and then his own.

 Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore

Gritty with pain, betrayal, and brutality, this incredible true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

The Great Divorce

The Great Divorce
by C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, The Great Divorce will impact the way we think about good and evil.

Atonement

Atonement
by Ian McEwan

On a hot summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives.

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace – One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson & David Oliber Relin

The astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his humanitarian campaign to use education to combat terrorism in the Taliban’s backyard.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

In this book, we have a front-row seat to Miller’s journey–from sleeping all day to riding his bike across America, from living in romantic daydreams to facing love head-on, from wasting his money to founding a life-changing nonprofit.

Quiet

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Experience the book that started the Quiet Movement and revolutionized how the world sees introverts—and how introverts see themselves—by offering validation, inclusion, and inspiration.

The Pillars of The Earth

The Pillars of The Earth
by Ken Follett

This historical epic—a twelfth-century tale of the building of a mighty Gothic cathedral—stunned readers and critics alike with its ambitious scope and gripping humanity.

Love Does

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff

Can a simple concept shift your entire world? When it comes to loving your neighbors, rather than focusing on having the “right answers” or checking the “right boxes,” what if you decide to simply DO love? To shamelessly show grace and love? What would that look like? In Love Does, Bob shows you how to live a fully engaged life; how to stop putting things off until “next time” and instead find your place of imagination and wonder, today.

Siddhartha

Siddhartha
by Hermann Hesse

The story of the quest of Siddhartha, a wealthy Indian Brahmin who casts off a life of privilege and comfort to seek spiritual fulfillment and wisdom. On his journey, Siddhartha encounters wandering ascetics, Buddhist monks, and successful merchants, as well as a courtesan named Kamala and a simple ferryman who has attained enlightenment. Traveling among these people and experiencing life’s vital passages–love, work, friendship, and fatherhood–Siddhartha discovers that true knowledge is guided from within.

Angela's Ashes

Angela’s Ashes
by Frank McCourt

So begins the luminous memoir of Frank McCourt, born in Depression-era Brooklyn to Irish immigrants and raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. Frank’s mother, Angela, has no money to feed the children since Frank’s father, Malachy, rarely works, and when he does he drinks his wages. Malachy—exasperating, irresponsible, and beguiling—does nurture in Frank an appetite for the one thing he can provide: a story.

The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye
by Toni Morrison

Pecola Breedlove—an 11-year-old Black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others—prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment.

The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye details two days in the life of 16-year-old Holden Caulfield after he has been expelled from prep school. Confused and disillusioned, Holden searches for truth and rails against the “phoniness” of the adult world. He ends up exhausted and emotionally unstable.

Slaughterhouse-Five
by Kurt Vonnegut

Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy
Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear most.

The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar
by Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther’s mental breakdown with such intensity that Esther’s neurosis becomes completely understandable and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such thorough exploration of the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche – and the profound collective loneliness that modern society has yet to find a solution for – is an extraordinary accomplishment, and has made The Bell Jar American classic.

PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Fathers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist. Some of the information on this post was inspired by Kristen Ivy and Reggie Joiner’s Parenting Your Eleventh Grader and Parenting Your Twelfth Grader available on www.parentcuestore.org.

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