The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
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Summer Reading 2021

Upper School Summer Reading Lists

Summer Reading Lists

The lists below represent summer reading options for rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders at Fay. Each student should choose books according to the following parameters:
 
Rising 7th graders:  One title from either list
Rising 8th graders:  Two titles, at least one from each list
Rising 9th graders:  Three titles, at least one from each list

You are certainly not limited to the parameters set for your grade - read as many as you like!  In the fall, your teachers will speak to you individually about the books you chose, and you will share your understanding of your reading in some creative ways.

There are many resources available for finding great books to read, and while these titles represent our effort to generate a thoughtful and accessible set of choices, we encourage you to read as widely as you can this summer.  Please explore this website – The American Library Association’s “Best of the Best” for so many additional summer reading options.  

List 1

List of 33 items.

  • Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

    Merci Suárez begins the sixth grade and knows things will change, but she did not count on her grandfather acting strangely, not fitting in at her private school, and dealing with Edna Santos' jealousy.
  • The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

    After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp, where she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single red pencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder.
  • A Walk in the Woods Bill Bryson

    Following his return to America after twenty years in Britain, Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail. In this entertaining guide, he introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy folks he meets along the way, perhaps even a couple of bears.
  • All That I Can Fix by Crystal Chan

    In Makersville, Indiana, people know all about fifteen-year-old Ronney--he's from that mixed-race family with the dad who tried to kill himself, the pill-popping mom, and the genius kid sister. Can Ronney figure out a way to hold it together as all his worlds fall apart?
  • Beast Rider by Tony Johnston

    Having faced great danger, twelve-year-old Manuel finally succeeds in hopping a train out of Mexico but after reuniting with his brother in Los Angeles, he realizes something is not right.
  • Black Panther: the Young Prince by Ronald Smith

    T'Challa is the 12-year-old prince of Wakanda, an isolated, technologically advanced African nation. In order to protect his friends and stop an ancient evil, T'Challa must take on the mantle of a hero, setting him on the path to becoming the Black Panther.
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

    Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. 
  • Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

    Clinically-depressed Darius Kellner, a high school sophomore, travels to Iran to meet his grandparents, but it is their next-door neighbor, Sohrab, who changes his life.
     
  • Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

    In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.
  • Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

    The life of eighth-grader Steven Alper, already complicated by his friendship with two girls and a prodigious talent for drumming, is turned upside down when his five-year-old brother Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia.
  • Dry by Neal Shusterman

    A lengthy California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, turning Alyssa's quiet suburban street into a warzone, and she is forced to make impossible choices if she and her brother are to survive.
  • Endurance by Alfred Lansing

    Discover one of the greatest adventure stories of the modern age: the harrowing tale of British explorer Ernest Shackleton's 1914 attempt to reach the South Pole.
  • Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott

    It describes the journeys of A. Square, a mathematician and resident of the two-dimensional Flatland, where women -- thin, straight lines -- are the lowliest of shapes, and where men may have any number of sides, depending on their social status.
  • Friday Night Lights by Buzz Bissinger

    Named Sports Illustrated's best football book of all time and a #1 NYT bestseller, this is the classic story of a high school football team whose win-loss record has a profound influence on the town around them.
  • Ghost by Jason Reynolds

    Ghost, a naturally talented runner and troublemaker, is recruited for an elite middle school track team. He must stay on track, literally and figuratively, to reach his full potential.
  • Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

    Graduating from their school's special education program, Quincy and Biddy are placed together in their first independent apartment and discover unexpected things they have in common in the face of past challenges and a harrowing trauma.
  • Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

    Lives of four misfits are intertwined when a bully's prank lands shy Virgil at the bottom of a well and Valencia, Kaori, and Gen band together in an epic quest to find and rescue him.
  • How to Be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery

    A naturalist and adventurer discusses the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals who have profoundly affected her, exploring themes of learning to become empathetic, creating families, coping with loss, and the otherness and sameness of people and animals.
  • Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

    Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. 
  • Internment by Samira Ahmed

    A terrifying, futuristic United States where Muslim-Americans are forced into internment camps, and seventeen-year-old Layla Amin must lead a revolution against complicit silence.
  • Lovely, Dark and Deep by Justina Chen

    Teenager Viola Li and her sister Roz are selling bean buns at a science fiction gathering in Seattle when she suddenly collapses--she wakes up in the hospital to find that somehow she has developed an extreme case of photosensitivity (so bad that even ordinary lights can cause blisters), and somehow, in her senior year of high school, she has to craft a new life that will still include journalism school, activism, and the new guy who caught her as she fell.
  • Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar

    In 1960s New York, fifth-grader Ruthie, a Cuban-Jewish immigrant, must rely on books, art, her family, and friends in her multicultural neighborhood when an accident puts her in a body cast.
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

    In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

    You may also choose to read the other two books in Gaither Sisters series: P. S. Be Eleven or Gone Crazy in Alabama.
  • Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar

    While navigating his first year of high school and awaiting the birth of his new baby brother, Scott loses old friends and gains some unlikely new ones as he hones his skills as a writer.
  • Sparrow by Sarah Moon

    Fourteen-year-old Sparrow Cooke of Brooklyn has always been the kind of child who prefers reading books to playing with friends (not that she has many of those) and since fifth grade the one person who seemed to understand her was the school librarian --so when Mrs. Wexler was killed in an accident, Sparrow's world came apart, and when she was found on the edge of the school roof everyone assumed that it was a suicide attempt, which Sparrow denies, but cannot find the words to explain.
  • The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater

    One teenager in a skirt.
    One teenager with a lighter.
    One moment that changes both of their lives forever.

    A nonfiction story of a 2013 assault in Oakland, California, when an African American public school teen boy named Richard set fire to a sleeping, gender-nonconforming white private school teen named Sasha on that bus. 
  • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel Brown

    An irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.
  • The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth Letts

    American soldiers, aided by an Austrian colonel who was both an Olympian and a trainer of Lipizzaners, attempt to kidnap horses that had been taken by Nazis "for the glorification of the Third Reich" and smuggle them to safety.
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

    Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.
  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

    When Stevie Bell, an amateur detective, begins her first year at a famous private school in Vermont, she sets a plan to solve the cold case involving the kidnapping of the founder's wife and daughter shortly after the school opened.
  • Warcross by Marie Lu

    When teenage coder Emika Chen hacks her way into the opening tournament of the Warcross Championships, she glitches herself into the game as well as a sinister plot with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

    Spending the summers on her family's private island off the coast of Massachusetts with her cousins and a special boy named Gat, teenaged Cadence struggles to remember what happened during her fifteenth summer.
  • Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer

    When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous alliance between Earth and Luna, android Iko joins up with a handsome royal guard to hunt down the rogue leader.

List 2

List of 24 items.

  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles

    Set at a boys' boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.
  • Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

    By mistake, Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a farm on Prince Edward Island and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone.
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

    Set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story's protagonist.
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

    In a society in which books are outlawed, Montag, a regimented fireman in charge of burning the forbidden volumes, meets a revolutionary school teacher who dares to read. Suddenly he finds himself a hunted fugitive, forced to choose not only between two women, but between personal safety and intellectual freedom.
  • How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez

    Eagerly embracing their new American culture in Miami, the four Garcia women iron their hair, smoke cigarettes, date American men, forget their Spanish, and lose their accents all in their journey toward adulthood. 
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

    Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.
    But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

    Adventurous geology professor Lidenbrock chances upon a manuscript in which a 16th-century explorer claims to have found a route to the earth's core. He can't resist the opportunity to investigate, and with his nephew Axel, he sets off across Iceland in the company of Hans, a native guide. The expedition descends into an extinct volcano toward a sunless sea, where they encounter a subterranean world of luminous rocks, antediluvian forests, and fantastic marine life — a living past that holds the secrets to the origins of human existence.
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

    The adventures of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy as they grew into young ladies in mid-nineteenth-century New England.
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

    Former slave, impassioned abolitionist, brilliant writer, newspaper editor and eloquent orator whose speeches fired the abolitionist cause, Frederick Douglass led an astounding life. Physical abuse, deprivation and tragedy plagued his early years, yet through sheer force of character, he was able to overcome these obstacles to become a leading spokesman for his people. In this book, Douglass provides graphic descriptions of his childhood and horrifying experiences as a slave as well as a harrowing record of his dramatic escape to the North and eventual freedom. 
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

    Huck Finn is a thirteen-year-old semi-literate boy living in Missouri in the 1830s. He's been brought up to see blacks as slaves, as property, as something less than human. On Huck's journey to escape his drunken, abusive father, he meets Jim, who is escaping slavery and Huck is transformed by Jim's friendship.
  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

    The book tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
  • The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

    It is the charming, engrossing tale of rural Kentucky native Taylor Greer, who only wants to get away from her roots and avoid getting pregnant. She succeeds, but inherits a 3-year-old native-American little girl named Turtle along the way, and together, from Oklahoma to Tucson, Arizona, half-Cherokee Taylor and her charge search for a new life in the West.
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

    Sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield, realizing he is about to be expelled from boarding school, seeks to escape the hypocrisies of life by running away to New York City. He spends three days there and tells the story of what he did and suffered there.
  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

    A powerful evocation of James Baldwin's early life in Harlem and a disturbing examination of the consequences of racial injustice, the book is an intensely personal and provocative document. It consists of two "letters," written on the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, that exhort Americans, both black and white, to attack the terrible legacy of racism.
  • The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma

    Told from the point of view of nine-year-old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the Cain and Abel-esque story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria. When their father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the forbidden nearby river, they encounter a madman who predicts that one of the brothers will kill another. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact -- both tragic and redemptive -- will transcend the lives and imaginations of The Fishermen's characters and its readers.
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

    Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to share in an adventure from which he may never return.
  • The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

    When his Indian immigrant parents give him an odd name, a boy must struggle towards manhood suffering the burdens of this name as well as the conflicting loyalties of his heritage.
  • The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

    Three brothers struggle to stay together after their parents' deaths, as they search for an identity among the conflicting values of their adolescent society, in which they find themselves "outsiders."
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman

    This is a tale of true love, high adventure, pirates, princesses, giants, miracles, fencing, and a frightening assortment of wild beasts.
  • The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

    An intellectually superior race from Mars invades Earth with plans to take over the planet.
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

    In 1687, Kit Tyler moves from the Caribbean to Connecticut Colony. Her friendship for a strange, old woman leads to her trial for witchcraft.
     
  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

    First published in 1958, this novel tells the story of Okonkwo, the leader of an Igbo community who is banished for accidentally killing a clansman. The novel covers the seven years of his exile to his return, providing an inside view of the intrusion of white missionaries and colonial government into tribal Igbo society in the 1890s.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    Pulitzer Prize, 1961. 

    A young girl growing up in an Alabama town in the 1930s learns of injustice and violence when her father, a lawyer, defends a black man accused of raping a white girl.
  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

    A young boy living in the Ozarks achieves his heart's desire when he becomes the owner of two redbone hounds and teaches them to be champion hunters.