Sotomayor Hero

Summer reading lists

Reading is one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for the challenges of the upcoming school year. Enjoying a good book will help expand your vocabulary, deepen critical thinking, and enhance focus and imagination. Equally important, reading is the very best way to strengthen your writing skills!

As part of your enrollment in an Advanced English class, we ask that you read at least ONE novel of your choice this summer. There is no other assignment than to read, annotate and be ready to academically engage with your book when school starts.

Some ways to annotate:

  • Highlight any important lines/scenes that show:
    • Characterization
    • Symbolism
    • Theme
    • Tone
  • Use sticky notes to take notes on and stick to corresponding pages
  • Take notes in a journal on key passages
  • Or any other way that helps you decipher a longer text

While you are free to choose ANY book, we’ve included some titles that are popular in the library, award winners, or recommended by teachers in order to provide you with an idea about the rich and varied texts you can read. We do, however, ask that you (and your parents) take care in selecting your novel, and vet it for language/content before committing to a title. The novels marked by an asterisk indicate those on the Northside approved book list.

Because you will use your book for the first few weeks of school, we encourage you to have access to your own copy. This is particularly important if you know that you read more easily with a hard copy and/or your process includes marking the text as you read. If you prefer, however, you can check out digital books on Sora, Libby, and Overdrive through your school library.

If you have any questions about English I and II Advanced summer reading, please contact: Ms. Candace Olivares at

There Might Be Kissing: Romance

  1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  2. The Great Gatsby* by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  3. A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende
  4. One Day by David Nicholls
  5. Pride and Prejudice* by Jane Austen
  6. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  7. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  8. There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon
  9. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There: Sci Fi, Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic

  1. Anthem* by Ayn Rand
  2. Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany
  3. The Circle by Dave Eggers
  4. Ender’s Game* by Orson Scott Card
  5. The Illustrated Man* by Ray Bradbury
  6. Scythe by Neal Shusterman
  7. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  8. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
  9. Vox by Christina Dalcher
  10. Warcross by Marie Lu

Everybody Has Secrets: Mystery

  1. Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
  2. Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia
  3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime* by Mark Haddon
  4. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  5. Mercy Rule by Tom Leveen
  6. Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
  7. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  8. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
  9. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  10. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Creepy and We Like it: Horror/Thriller

  1. Blue Moon by Lee Child
  2. Frankenstein* by Mary Shelly
  3. The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
  4. Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar
  5. A Headful of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
  6. In the Woods by Tana French
  7. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
  8. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  9. The Poet by Michael Connelly
  10. The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters

Remembering Wars and Other Larger-Than-Life Events: Historical Fiction

  1. 11/23/63 by Stephen King
  2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  3. The Book Thief* by Markus Zusak
  4. The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys
  5. The Lovely War by Julie Berry
  6. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez
  7. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  8. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  9. The Water Dancer by Ta-Nahisi Coates
  10. The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

What? You Thought only Boys could be Tough?: Books with Strong Female Protagonists

  1. The Book Thief*by Markus Zusak
  2. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
  3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  4. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
  5. Internment by Samira Ahmed
  6. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  7. Pride and Prejudice* by Jane Austin
  8. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  9. Stepsister by Jennifer Donnely
  10. A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

So, You Think You’re a Tough Guy?: Books with Strong Male Protagonists

  1. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
  2. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
  3. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
  4. City of Thieves by David Benioff
  5. Gutless by Carl Deuker
  6. Here to Stay by Sara Farizan
  7. I Am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina
  8. News of the World by Paulette Jiles
  9. Things Fall Apart* by Chinua Achebe
  10. What Is the What by Dave Eggers

Teen Angst: Relatable Stories of High School Drama

  1. Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
  2. Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
  3. A Separate Peace* by John Knowles
  4. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
  5. Us Against You by Fredrick Backman

This Is My Life: Coming of Age

  1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Saenz
  2. Bless Me, Ultima* by Rudolfo Anaya
  3. The Boy Kings of Texas by Domingo Martinez
  4. The Catcher in the Rye* by J.D. Salinger
  5. Darius The Great is Not Okay by Adbi Khorram
  6. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  7. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez
  8. Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird* by Harper Lee
  10. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

* Indicates vetted, approved titles from the NISD English I-IV Approved Reading List

Reading is one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for the challenges of the upcoming school year and beyond. Now more than ever, it is important to sharpen your critical reading skills, expand your vocabulary and enhance your focus - all in the comfort of your own home. There’s no better way to accomplish this than by sitting down with a good book. 

We are asking that you, as an AP Language student, read at least one nonfiction book of your choice this summer. There is no other assignment than to read and be ready to discuss your book when school starts.

Remember, you can choose whichever nonfiction book you wish to read - it does not have to be on the list below. The following titles are included just to give you some ideas. Some titles may contain adult content, so we encourage you to do some research before selecting a title. 

You can check out digital books on Sora, Libby, and Overdrive through your school library. Happy Reading! 


  1. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother* by Amy Chua 
  2. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 
  3. Braveface by Shaun David Hutchinson 
  4. Every Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea by Sungju Lee 
  5. My Underground American Dream by Julissa Arce 
  6. The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore 
  7. Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina by Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince 
  8. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Science & Technology

  1. A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel 
  2. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer 
  3. The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben 
  4. The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus* by Richard Preston 
  5. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains by Nicholas Carr 6. Slime by Ruth Kassinger 
  6. The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

Understanding Ourselves

  1. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin 
  2. The Book of Eating by Adam Platt 
  3. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa 
  4. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg 
  5. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb 
  6. Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World by Adam Grant 
  7. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi 
  8. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell 
  9. Why We Love Star Wars: The Great Moments That Built A Galaxy Far, Far Away by Ken Napzok

Current Events

  1. All the Agents and Saints by Stephanie Elizondo Griest 
  2. Amity and Prosperity by Eliza Griswold 
  3. Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy edited by Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll 
  4. Barrio America by A. K. Sandoval-Strausz 
  5. Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe by Mario Livio 6. The Far Away Brothers by Lauren Markham 
  6. The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America Edited by Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman 
  7. Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great 
  8. Mexican-American Migration by Alfredo Corchado 
  9. Parkland: Birth of a Movement by Dave Cullen 
  10. The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio 
  11. The Writings On The Wall by Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Sports & Games

  1. Chasing the Rodeo by W.K. Stratton 
  2. Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court by Kareem Abdul Jabbar 
  3. The Frailty Myth by Collette Downing 
  4. The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey 
  5. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis 
  6. Muck City: Winning and Losing in Football’s Forgotten Town by Bryan Mealer 7. Seabiscuit, An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand


  1. Aloha Rodeo by David Wolman and Julian Smith 
  2. Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach 
  3. The Long Walk by Brian Castner 
  4. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari 
  5. Sweet Taste of Liberty:A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America by Caleb McDaniel 
  6. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption* by Laura Hillenbrand 
  7. Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler’s Army* by Georg Rauch 
  8. War by Sebastian Junger 
  9. Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way) by Sue Macy 
  10. Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer 

* Indicates vetted, approved titles from the NISD English I-IV Approved Reading List

English III AP/DC Sotomayor HS students are encouraged to participate in a one-two page thinking page and annotation strategy (student login required) using the questions and sentence stems inspired by Thomas C. Foster’s book, How to Read Nonfiction Like a Professor (Please Note: You are NOT required to read or purchase a copy of Foster’s book).

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