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Summer Reading

Summer Reading Assignment (Updated for Summer 2016)

Lowell’s English faculty selected the following titles as required summer reading.  Please make certain that you have read the book (one for regular English classes) or books (two for Honors and AP English Classes) assigned to your fall English course before you come to school in August.  This is a required assignment that will affect the grade you earn in your English class.  Early in the semester your English teacher will expect you to demonstrate your ability to identify and understand various literary elements within the works.

To enhance your understanding, ask yourself the following questions as you read:

  • Plot             What happens in the story?  How do events, big and small, affect the characters?
  • Characters  How would you describe the characters?  (Consider what the characters say about themselves or others, how the characters behave and what the narrator says about them.)
  • Conflict        What problems do the characters face in the story?  How do they respond to them?
  • Theme          What main idea do you think the author is trying to convey?  How does the author use the plot, characters, conflict, setting, or other elements to present that idea?

Students taking 9th Grade English (1A or 1B) AND 10th Grade English (2A or 2B) are to read one book from the following list. Titles marked (PD) are in the public domain and can be accessed online for free. 


Ninth Grade


Graceling by Kristin Cashore

I Will Fight No More Forever by Chief Joseph (PD)

Life in Motion, An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (PD)

Sister of My Heart by Chitra Benrjee Divakaruni

Looking For Alaska by John Green

Shanghai Express by Zhang Henshui

Kwaidan: Japanese Ghost Stories by Lafcaido Hearn

Fatu Hiva by Thor Heyerdahl

The Big Sea by Langston Hughes

The Call of the Wild by Jack London (PD)

Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody

Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

The Crippled Tree by Han Suyin


Tenth Grade


Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

The Color of Water by James McBride

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Franny & Zooey by J.D. Salinger

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (PD)

Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington (PD)


Students taking 10th Grade English Honors (2A Honors or 2B Honors) must read one of the following books     


 Austen, Jane                                                     Emma (Public Domain)

 Eugenides, Jeffrey                                           Middlesex                                                      



Eleventh and Twelfth Grade (Students taking an English elective, including Expository Writing and Ms. Innis’s AP Language and Composition course must read one of the titles listed below. Titles marked (PD) are in the public domain and can be accessed online for



Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (PD)

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (PD)

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (PD)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

The Secret Place by Tana French 

Sula by Toni Morrison



AP 74 (Crabtree/Galang) (Eleventh Grade)

                Ishiguro, Kazuo                                            The Buried Giant

                McCarthy, Cormac                                        The Road


AP 75 (Freeland/ Yuan) (Eleventh Grade)

                Díaz, Junot                          The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

                Wright, Richard                   Black Boy (long version)


AP 80 (Carney) and AP 83 (Recht) (Twelfth Grade)

Students must read two out of the four titles listed below.

                Austen, Jane                                      Persuasion   (public domain)                                 

                Patchett, Ann                                    Bel Canto                                                    

               Smith, Zadie                                         White Teeth

                 Stoker, Bram                                        Dracula    (public domain)