Book Start! 2014 Summer Reading The original list of 22 books has been trimmed to 13 due to a student choices. The books remain on this description as a reference for those who may want to read them in addition to what they have chosen for Book Start! The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein “If you've ever wondered what your dog is thinking, (this title) offers an answer. Enzo is a lab terrier mix plucked from a farm outside Seattle to ride shotgun with race car driver Denny Swift”… Denny, determined to make it on the professional racing circuit risks everything to succeed. “Enzo, frustrated by his inability to speak and his lack of opposable thumbs, watches Denny's old racing videos, coins koanlike aphorisms that apply to both driving and life, and hopes for the day when his life as a dog will be over and he can be reborn a man. When Denny hits an extended rough patch, Enzo remains his most steadfast if silent supporter. From Publishers Weekly (May) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --Titlewave MFS reader: Do you like dogs? Enzo is so recognizable you will wonder what your dog is thinking. I couldn’t put it down. Assassination Vacation by Sara Vowell What do you get when a woman who’s obsessed with death and U.S. history goes on vacation? This wacky, weirdly enthralling exploration of the first three presidential assassinations… Vowell, the voice of …Violet Parr in ‘The Incredibles’, takes readers on a pilgrimage of sorts to the sites and monuments that pay homage to Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley. …An expert tour guide, Vowell brings into sharp focus not only the figures involved in the assassinations, but the social and political circumstances that led to each and she does so in the witty, sometimes irreverent manner that her fans have come to expect. This is history at its most morbid and most fascinating and, fortunately, one needn’t share Vowell’s interest in the macabre to thoroughly enjoy this unusual tour. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. MFS reader: For someone who never really liked history, I thought this was a great book. It is both funny and informative.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys “Lina is just like any other 15-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives. ... Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously-and at great risk-documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. … Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart." --Follett Titlewave. MFS reader says: “Historical fiction. Anyone who likes World War II era”. Another MFS reader says: Warning: … “it is a realistic story of what happened to people deported by Stalin from the Baltic states to Siberia in the beginning of World War II, and has shocking, brutal violence, sexual exploitation and depicts systematic cruelty and extreme deprivation. But, a quick read with short chapters and a teen romance.” Boy 21 by Matthew Quick “Basketball has always been an escape for Finley. He lives in broken-down Bellmont, a town ruled by the Irish mob, drugs, violence, and racially charged rivalries. At home, his dad works nights, and Finley is left to take care of his disabled grandfather alone. He's always dreamed of getting out someday, but until he can, putting on that number 21 jersey makes everything seem okay. Russ has just moved to the neighborhood, and the life of this teen basketball phenom has been turned upside down by tragedy. Cut off from everyone he knows, he won't pick up a basketball, but answers only to the name Boy21--taken from his former jersey number. As their final year of high school brings these two boys together, a unique friendship may turn out to be the answer they both need. MFS reader: “If you liked Silver Linings Playbook you’ll like this one.”
The Boy who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
CANCELED …The remarkable story of an African teenager who, by courage, ingenuity, and determination, defeated the odds. Born in 1987 in a drought-ravaged Malawi where hope and opportunity were hard to find, Kamkwamba read about windmills in a library book and dreamed of building one that would bring electricity to his village and improve the lives of his family. At the age of 14, Kamkwamba had to drop out of school and help his family forage for food, but he never let go of his dream. Over a period of several months, using scrap metal, tractor, and bicycle parts, the resourceful young man built a …. windmill that eventually powered four lights. … Demonstrating the power of imagination, libraries, and books, Kamkwamba's heartwarming memoir... is sure to inspire all readers." (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals. --Follett Titlewave. MFS reader: “Awesome book. Read it.” Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell This beautifully written story is told in alternating chapters by Eleanor and Park. Park "is getting through high school by lying low, listening to music, reading Watchmen comics, never raising his hand in class, and avoiding the kids he grew up with. Then new girl Eleanor gets on the bus. Tall, with bright red hair and a dress code all her own, she's an instant target. Too nice not to let her sit next to him, Park is alternately resentful and guilty for not being kinder to her. When he realizes she's reading his comics over his shoulder, a silent friendship is born. And slowly, tantalizingly, something more. ..." From Publishers Weekly. (Mar.) Follett Titlewave. MFS student: "Eleanor and Park is a story about a high school boy and girl, told in their two voices. It is funny, realistic, romantic, and beautifully written. Anyone who likes the books by John Green or Laurie Halse Anderson will enjoy this funny, surprising, interesting book by Rainbow Rowell."
Endangered by Eliot Schrefer
“The compelling tale of a girl who must save a group of bonobos -- and herself -- from a violent coup. Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good. When Sophie has to visit her mother at her sanctuary for bonobos, she's not thrilled ... Then Otto, an infant bonobo, comes into her life, and for the first time she feels responsible for another creature. But peace does not last long for Sophie and Otto. When an armed revolution breaks out in the country, the sanctuary is attacked, and the two of them must escape unprepared into the jungle. Caught in the crosshairs of a lethal conflict, they must struggle to keep safe, to eat, and to live. In ENDANGERED, Eliot Schrefer plunges us into a heart-stopping exploration of the things we do to survive, the sacrifices we make to help others, and the tangled geography that ties us all, human and animal, together. MFS reader: “I couldn’t put it down.” Every Day by David Levithan What would you do if every day you woke up in a different person’s body? One day you are rich, another day you are homeless. Some days you are a boy, some days you are a girl, sometimes gay, sometimes straight. This is the story of 16 year old A who has always been 16 and has always inhabited other bodies. And then A falls in love. How is he/she going to manage this? MFS Reader: This story grabs your attention in the first chapter and is a real page turner. I stayed up too late to finish it! Everything Matters! By Ron Currie In infancy, Junior Thibodeaux is encoded with a prophesy: a comet will obliterate life on Earth in thirty-six years. Alone in this knowledge, he grows up grappling with the question: Does anything I do matter? While the voice that has accompanied him since conception appraises his choices, Junior's loved ones emerge with parallel stories-his anxious mother; his brother, a cocaine addict turned pro-baseball phenomenon; his exalted father, whose own mortality summons Junior's best and worst instincts; and Amy, the love of Junior's life and a North Star to his journey through romance and heartbreak, drug-addled despair, and superheroic feats that could save humanity. While our recognizable world is transformed into a bizarre nation at endgame, where government agents conspire in subterranean bunkers, preparing citizens for emigration from a doomed planet, Junior's final triumph confounds all expectation, building to an astonishing and deeply moving resolution….” MFS reader: "This book centers around a young character who has/is growing up just as many other UpperSchool students do. This book is sarcastic, hyperbolic and action packed with plenty of poignant humor. Themes addressed include: baseball, cocaine addiction, lost love and the inevitable apocalypse. Good, QUICK read. "
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal CANCELED "Jeremy Johnson hears voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the ghost of Jacob Grimm, … of The Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But Jacob can't protect Jeremy from everything. When copper-haired Ginger … takes a bite of a cake so delicious it's rumored to be bewitched, she falls in love with the first person she sees: Jeremy. In any other place, this would be a turn for the better for Jeremy, but not in Never Better, where the Finder of Occasions--whose identity and evil intentions nobody knows--is watching and waiting, waiting and watching. . . And as anyone familiar with the Brothers Grimm know, not all fairy tales have happy endings. " Publishers Weekly, -Follett Titlewave.
I am Malala the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. … I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world. MFS reader: The story behind the news story of the 15 year old girl who was shot because she wanted to go to school. Kosher Chinese by Mike Levy CANCELED “An irreverent tale of an American Jew serving in the Peace Corps in rural China, which reveals the absurdities, joys, and pathos of a traditional society in flux. In September of 2005, the Peace Corps sent Michael Levy (former teacher at MFS) to teach English in the heart of China's heartland. … His account of overcoming vast cultural differences to befriend his students and fellow teachers is by turns poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. … Kosher Chinese is an illuminating account of the lives of the residents of Guiyang, particularly the young people who will soon control the fate of the world.” --Follett Titlewave MFS reader: Very entertaining and informative.
Maus by Art Spiegleman A compelling and complex memoir told in comic book format about Vladek Spiegelman. a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe, and about his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father, his story, and with history itself. The cartoon format portrays Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. This more than a suspenseful tale of surviving the Holocaust. Follett Titlewave. MFS Reader: This is THE classic graphic book that other graphic writers/artists attempt to emulate. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes (*11th & 12th Grade Only) Before Louisa met Will, her plans didn't reach beyond their tiny English town. Will, when he wasn't closing multimillion-dollar deals, blew off steam scaling mountains, leaping from planes, and enjoying exquisite women--until an accident left him paralyzed and seriously depressed. When his mother hires Lou to keep his spirits up, he meets her awkward overtures with caustic contempt, but she's tenacious and oddly endearing. Their fondness grows into something deeper, gaining urgency when she realizes his determination to end his life, and her efforts to convince him of its value throw her own bland ambitions into question. Plumbing morally complex depths with comedy and compassion, Jojo Moyes elevates the story of Lou and Will from what could have been a maudlin weepie into a tragic love story, with a catharsis that will wring out your heart and leave you feeling fearless.” --Mari Malcolm --Amazon.com MFS reader: “One of my all-time favorite books!” The Ocean at the End of the Road by Neil Gaiman CANCELED “An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2013: ….Our narrator, who was then a sevenyear-old boy, unwittingly discovered a neighboring family’s supernatural secret. What happens next is an imaginative romp through otherworldly adventure that could only come from Gaiman's magical mind. Childhood innocence is tested and transcended as we see what getting between ancient, mystic forces can cost, as well as what can be gained from the power of true friendship. The result is a captivating tale that is equal parts sweet, sad, and spooky.” --Robin A. Rothman. –Follett Titlewave. MFS reader: A good book for anyone who likes a bit of magic and terror mixed up in beautiful writing! Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan “Hogan is back on track in this moody, resonant thriller that cleverly begins and ends in the same place. Doug, Dez, Jem, and Gloansy have been tight since childhood, growing up tough and street-smart in a rough, working-class Irish enclave where "bringing home the bacon" means stealing it from a local bank. Like his father, Doug is a thief, planning ever more sophisticated gigs for his buddies--as much for the high as for the money. The
local bank should have been a piece of cake, but Doug's falling in love with bank manager Claire Keesey wasn't part of the plan. Nor did Doug expect a romantic adversary in the person of robbery investigator Adam Frawley. ...There's no doubt about Hogan's ability to blend weighty emotions with riveting shoot-outs as he depicts a complicated man, noble and villainous by turns, trapped in a life he desperately wants to change." -- Stephanie Zvirin, Copyright American Library Association MFS Reader: “"I think anyone would like this book because it has elements of all different genres and a really interesting hero that you still root for, despite his shortcomings. I picked it because I loved the book and would love to discuss it with other people." Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater A small group of close friends at the all-boys snobby Virginia prep school delve deep into a quest to locate ancient mystical ley lines. They befriend a local girl who comes from a family of clairvoyants, whose only gift seems to be that she makes other people’s talents stronger. Together their adventure twists into strange and sinister places as their relationships grow more complicated. This is the first of a planned quartet series. MFS reader: “Weird and wonderful”
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
One of Time magazine's 100 all-time best English-language novels. Only once in a great while does a writer come along who defies comparison--a writer so original he redefines the way we look at the world. Neal Stephenson is such a writer and Snow Crash is such a novel, weaving virtual reality, Sumerian myth, and just about everything in between with a cool, hip cybersensibility to bring us the gigathriller of the information age. In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo's CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he's a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that's striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous...you'll recognize it immediately. –Follett Titlewave MFS Reader: “Good book, with much of today's online world that kids will recognize.”
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley CANCELED Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is more delighted than scared when a dead bird is found on the doorstep of her family's decaying mansion with a postage stamp pinned to its beak, and a short time later she comes across a man in the cucumber patch just as he is taking his dying breath. The first mystery of a series. MFS reader: This is a funny fresh mystery. The British setting is delightful. Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan
‘…the story of Tim Macbeth, a seventeen-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend.” A friend is the last thing Tim expects or wants—he just hopes to get through his senior year unnoticed. Yet, despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential 'It' girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim's surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, but she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone ever finds out. Tim and Vanessa begin a clandestine romance, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher. Jumping between viewpoints of the love-struck Tim and Duncan, a current senior about to uncover the truth of Tim and Vanessa, The Tragedy Paper is a compelling tale of forbidden love and the lengths people will go to keep their secrets." --Follett Titlewave MFS Reader: Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Looking for Alaska.
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background: average student, average looks, average dysfunctional family. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn't believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just so happens to be his father's boss's daughter, the sister of his biggest enem,; and Tyler's secret crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in the school, in his family, and in the world. The narrative is both funny and thoughtful and takes a surprise turn in the end. From Follett Titlewave. MFS reader: “For any high school student.”
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers CANCELED Eggers chronicles, as nonfiction, the tribulations of Abdulrahman Zeitoun, a Syrian American painting contractor who decides to ride out Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Although his wife, Kathy, leaves town with their four children, Abdulrahman (known as Zeitoun because few locals can pronounce his first name) stays behind, hoping to protect their home… After the storm, he paddles the flooded streets in a canoe, rescuing stranded people, feeding trapped dogs, and marveling at the sometimes surreal beauty of the devastation. … Then people in uniforms take him at gunpoint and incarcerate him. There are no charges, only the guards' insistence that he is al Qaeda and Taliban. (The story) is exceptionally well told: … Eggers employs a poetic, declarative style, shaping the narrative with subtlety and grace. …Heartbreaking and haunting.--Graff, Keir Copyright 2010 Booklist. From Follett Titlewave. MFS Reader: Zeitoun is a nonfiction book that describes how quickly human rights can be set aside in a time of emergency. It is the true story, set in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, of a Syrian-American who is arrested by the US National Guard….It is a deeply disturbing and thought-provoking book, and an animated movie based on it and directed by Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) is in the works.