Reading List                           Belmont High School                                Summer 2018

English Department

All students are to read over the summer in preparation for the start of the new school year.  Teachers selected these books to interest students and to enrich their literary background.  The Belmont Public Library will receive copies of this list.  If at all possible, students should purchase copies of their summer reading books so that they can mark them up and use them at the start of school.  Summaries below are excerpted from

Entering Freshmen

Entering freshmen taking honors English (9H) should read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

Entering freshmen taking college preparatory English (9CP) should choose one book to read from a choice of three novels, listed below with publisher’s summaries.

Pop, by Gordon Korman

New to town, Marcus spends the summer before his junior year practicing football alone at a local park hoping to meet someone from the high school team. Instead, he meets an eccentric middle-aged man named Charlie who teaches Marcus more about football, tackling, and the art of the "pop" than he could have imagined, and the two strike up an unusual friendship. Marcus tries out and makes the team, but learns that they are not a welcoming group, fearful that the newcomer will upset their perfect record. To make matters worse, the star quarterback, Troy, is Charlie's son, and his ex-girlfriend, Alyssa, has the hots for Marcus. Gradually, Marcus figures out that Charlie is an ex-NFL star hiding a secret.  Despite the obstacles, he is determined to help his friend.

This might be the book for you if you like football, characters who are great athletes, and themes of persistence, overcoming obstacles, and friendship.

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.  But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

This might be the book for you if you like current events, drama, strong female role models, and themes of resilience, social justice, and perspective-taking.

Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

Divided into the four marking periods of an academic year, the novel, narrated by Melinda Sordino, begins on her first day as a high school freshman. No one will sit with Melinda on the bus. At school, students call her names and harass her; her best friends from junior high scatter to different cliques and abandon her. Yet Anderson infuses the narrative with a wit that sustains the heroine through her pain and holds readers' empathy. A girl at a school pep rally offers an explanation of the heroine's pariah status when she confronts Melinda about calling the police at a summer party, resulting in several arrests. But readers do not learn why Melinda made the call until much later… Only through her work in art class, and with the support of a compassionate teacher there, does she begin to reach out to others and eventually find her voice.

This might be the book for you if you like art, characters who face real-life teenage issues like bullying, and themes of fear, courage, identity, friendship, and trust.


Entering Sophomores

Entering sophomores taking English 10CP should read The Sun Is Also a Star, a novel by Nicola Yoon.  

Students taking English 10H should read one novel from the list of global authors below.

Khaled Hosseini: Kite Runner or And the Mountains Echoed

Amy Tan: Joy Luck Club or Kitchen God's Wife

Jhumpa Lahiri: Interpreter of Maladies or Unaccustomed Earth

Julia Alvarez: In the Time of the Butterflies or How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accent

Chimamanda Adichie: Americanah or The Purple Hibiscus

Isabel Allende: House of the Spirits or Daughter of Fortune

Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis

Entering Juniors

All entering juniors should read at least one book about the American Dream and/or American identities from the American Literature Summer Reading list (distributed in class and posted on the Portal and the district summer reading website).  Students entering 11H must read one contemporary AND one classic work from the list.

Entering Seniors

All entering seniors should read the The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.

As part of an activity in junior English classes, all students entering 12 CP selected at least one book, and all students entering 12H or 12AP selected at least two books, to read over the summer as preparation for the senior English thesis.  Each senior also identified a back-up book to read if the first book proves uninteresting.  A record of these titles is on file with the English Department.

Those seniors entering regular English 12CP, 12H, or 12AP  should read and annotate (in the margins or on sticky notes) at least those selected books for their senior thesis by the start of school in the fall; many graduates have suggested that entering seniors read as many thesis books as possible over the summer before the start of senior year.  Annotations are required for CP English students; they are recommended for AP/H English students to support additional essays they will have to write during the year.   Please see additional information on annotation requirements for CP English posted on our summer reading website.

Those seniors entering the senior capstone pilot sections of 12CP or 12H must listen to two Radiolab podcasts, “Limits of the Mind” and “Memory and Forgetting.”  They must also complete a summer assignment for The Things They Carried and the podcasts.  More information was sent home to parents and students in the capstone via email, and shared in a meeting with capstone students before the close of school.

All summer reading information is also available at