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Good Books for 10th Graders

Updated: Jun 6

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Terry Anders is a fourteen-year-old boy from Cleveland, Ohio. When both of his parents abandon him, he finds a car sitting in the garage for years and decides to rebuild it. When he finished the car, he decides to go on a cross-country adventure from Cleveland to Portland, to search for his uncle, whom he barely knows. Along the journey, he meets Waylon, a wise Vietnam vet, who turns the road trip into a learning experience.

The book tells the story of Bruno, an 8-year-old German boy growing up during World War II. Bruno and his family leave Berlin to live near the concentration camp where his father is appointed commander. Lonely and bored, Bruno wanders out behind his house and finds Shmuel, a Jewish boy of his age. Despite the barbed-wire fence surrounding the camp, the two boys become friends, unaware of the reality of their surroundings.

When Jessica's dreams were shattered after losing her leg in an accident, she decided not to give up and put herself back together. However, Jessica is scared of how people will look at her now, as she struggles to cope with crutches and wheelchairs. While she tries to rebuild her life, she meets Rosa--a girl with cerebral palsy who she and her friends have always overlooked. Rosa not only helps Jessica with Math but also teaches her an important lesson in life.

As World War II ravages the Pacific, Navajo marines are using their native language to develop a secret code that is unbreakable by the enemy forces. They have braved the heaviest fighting during the war and saved countless lives. Told through the perspective of a 16-year-old Navajo boy named Ned Begay, readers will gain insights into the Navajo Code Talkers and their courage amidst the war. It is highly recommended by many for its moving and powerful story.

The summer before her senior year, Anise can't wait to spend time at the beach with her friends and surf. But when her aunt who is a single mother of three, met an accident and left her with broken legs, Anise must leave Santa Cruz and spend her entire summer in Nebraska to take care of her three young cousins. She thought this summer would be miserable, but after meeting new friends and experiencing this different side of her life, Anise realized it might not be so bad after all. Girl Out of Water is a fun, heartfelt summer read.

This book is about two teens finding their place in the world. David, who is autistic and just trying to survive high school, and Kit, a popular girl who is grieving the recent death of her father. Despite their differences, the two teens form an unlikely friendship, which eventually blossoms into romance. When Kit asks David's help to find out the truth about her dad's tragic car accident, David is willing to help, but neither of them knows what they will discover.

Hannah and Emory have been best friends for years and are next-door neighbors. They are inseparable, until one hurtful exchange severed their friendship. Now, it's senior year, and they haven't spoken in months. One fateful night, Emory's boyfriend Luke had a car accident, and Hannah is the one that finds him. In the aftermath of the accident, Hannah, Emory, and Luke struggle to understand what happened in their own ways. When a devastating secret about Hannah and Emory's argument is revealed, they will be forced to reexamine their values and beliefs.

11 years ago, six kindergartners went missing without a trace. Now, five of those kids return. They are now 16 years old but have no memory of who took them or where they've been. They also have no memory of Max, the sixth child who was kidnapped and the only one who didn't come back. Full of twists and mystery, The Leaving will keep readers intrigued from start to finish.

This internationally acclaimed classic novel is set in a bleak, dystopian future. Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to destroy printed books as books have become illegal. Guy carries out the book burnings without a second thought and never questions his actions until one day, he meets an eccentric young girl who changes his life forever.

A group of jealous conspirators convinces Brutus to participate in their assassination plot against Caesar. Brutus and the conspirators kill Caesar on the Ides of March in order to prevent him from becoming a tyrant. The conspirators are driven out of Rome by Mark Antony, who fights them in a battle.

Katniss Everdeen has emerged as a victor in the annual Hunger Games with her fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. However, this victory was won in defiance of the game and the Capitol. The Capitol is angry, and now President Snow, the leader of Panem, is paying a visit to Katniss. Catching Fire is the second book in the worldwide bestselling Hunger Games trilogy.

National Book Award Winner for Young People's Literature, Far From The Tree is a realistic, deeply moving novel about three teens who are raised in different homes and later on reconnect and discover that they are siblings. As they get to know each other, the siblings begin to realize how they share similarities, how they differ, and what family truly means. It is a novel about love, loss, and self-discovery, as well as about how family comes in all forms.

An aging salesman named Willy Loman has spent his life traveling from state to state selling and following his dream of being successful and wealthy. A 63-year-old man, Willy lives in a world of elaborate excuses and daydreams, trying to make sense of himself and the world that once held so much promise. His past failures and disappointments now haunt him as he contemplates his life choices.

16-year-old Nick Andreas is pretty much perfect--on the outside--at least. He is intelligent, handsome, and popular--but no one knows, not even his best friend, of his abusive father and the anger and terror Nick faces every time he is with him. Nick soon finds himself following in his father's footsteps when he physically abuses his girlfriend, Caitlin. When Caitlin’s parents file a restraining order against him, Nick is forced into an anger management class to confront his inner demons. Now Nick realizes that the pattern of violence must stop.

A Yellow Raft in Blue Water weaves a moving story of three generations of Native American women, each told from their own perspectives--15-year-old Rayona, still finding her place in the world. Her mother, Christine, who raises Rayona despite being a single mother and who has gone through difficult times herself. And lastly, Ida, the seemingly stoic matriarch of the family, whose haunting secrets and struggles echo through the years.

16-year-old Steve Harmon is on trial for his alleged participation in a murder during a botched robbery. Steve, an average high school student suddenly becomes someone facing a possible life sentence in prison. As a way of coping, Steve began to write in his journal. A budding filmmaker, his journal is written like a screenplay, each journal entries documenting the trial, his life and his time in prison. Monster is a riveting and thought-provoking book that is worth reading even if you are a reluctant reader.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration during the 1930s and tells the story of the Joads, a farming family from Oklahoma. They are evicted from their home and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. After arriving in California, which had been a promise of prosperity, they are faced with hardships and discrimination, struggling and being looked down on by locals.

A vicious witch hunt and hysteria engulf a community in The Crucible. Based on the Salem witch trials of 1692, this is a gripping story that shows the danger of superstition, ignorance, fear, and corruption.

The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of determination and resilience, in which the author recounts her unconventional and nomadic childhood. She and her siblings were forced to survive in extreme poverty and fend for themselves while growing up in rural Appalachia with neglectful and dysfunctional parents.

The Round House follows the story of Joe Coutts, a 13-year-old boy living on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. One afternoon, Joe's mother was brutally attacked. In frustration over the poor investigation into the crime, Joe sets out with his best friends in search of the perpetrator. Suspenseful and deeply moving, this coming-of-age story gives insight into the traditions and daily life on an Indian reservation and the love of family and friends.

Told in the first-person perspective by Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old with Asperger's syndrome and a math genius, who one evening, discovers the dead body of a dog in his neighbor's yard. Christopher, who loves animals, is determined to find who did it and sets out to investigate, and while at it, he decides to write a book about his investigation.

Matt Cruse is a cabin boy working on a huge airship that sails above the ocean. One night, he rescues a dying and injured balloonist. As the man dies, he speaks of seeing beautiful winged creatures drifting through the skies. When Matt meets the balloonist's granddaughter, Kate, he realizes that the man's words may, in fact, have been true. He also realizes later that the creatures are indeed real after all. Airborn is an adventure story that is full of suspense and twists that will keep readers engaged and leave them wanting more.

Widge is an orphan who has a remarkable talent for shorthand. There is only one demand from his master: steal the script of Shakespeare's play "Hamlet" or he'll be in trouble. Forced to follow the orders, Widge attended a performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet at the Globe Theatre, to copy the text of the play. It is a fast-paced historical fiction novel full of twists and turns and is a must-read for fans of action, comedy, and suspense.

Prince Hamlet returns home to Elsinore Castle only to find his uncle Claudius already proclaimed himself king. Even more convinced that his uncle killed his father after seeing his father's ghost, Hamlet vows to avenge his father's death. Consumed with his obsession for revenge, this only brought overwhelming rage, death and grief, as he descends into madness. Throughout the centuries, Shakespeare's compelling family tragedy has captivated generations, making it one of the greatest plays of all time.

Avery Grambs just wants to finish high school. She plans on going to college and create a better future for herself. Until one fateful day when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne-a man she never met-dies and leaves Avery almost his entire fortune. The catch? Avery must move into his mansion, filled with puzzles, riddles, and secret passages. Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also home to the family that Tobias Hawthorne just disowned. The Inheritance Games is a book filled with exciting twists and juicy secrets that keep readers guessing until the very end.

Violet Larkin can't stop partying with the wrong people. But when her beloved younger brother Sam tries to take his own life, she returns to the small town of Lyric, Maine, to stay with her uncle for the summer. Her family has a long history there. Violet's great-great-great-grandmother founded Lyric after surviving a shipwreck off the coast of Maine. Violet has been haunted by her family's past--the lost shipwreck she and her brother dream of discovering one day. During her stay, she also embarks on a daring mission--to locate the shipwreck, lost to the sea for a century, while making new friends along the way. This book is about family, friendship, surviving trauma, and discovering one's self.

After her freshman year of high school, protagonist Emoni Santiago has a baby and her life has been about making tough decisions ever since--doing everything for her daughter and her grandmother. Nevertheless, Emoni's strong support network gives her a shot at a bright future for herself and her daughter.


YA fantasy The Beast Player is about a young girl with the ability to communicate with magical beasts. A very important responsibility falls to Elin and her family: caring for the fearsome water serpents that form their kingdom's army. However, when some of the creatures under her mother's care mysteriously die, her mother is sentenced to death as punishment...and Elin is sent away.

Juan and his best friend JD have big dreams. Juan dreams of getting out of El Paso, Texas, playing collegiate basketball, and making something of himself. JD, filled with passion and a camera, wants to be a filmmaker one day. When Juan and JD run from the police at a friend's party, their lives seem to get worse and worse--with Juan's sprained ankle and failing algebra grade, Juan's chances for a basketball scholarship are in jeopardy. Meanwhile, JD faces his own problems with this family on the brink of falling apart with lackluster grades giving him slim chances of getting accepted into any colleges. Will they ever find a way out?

The story follows an awkward teenage boy named Pup Flanagan. The youngest of eight, he is often overlooked. The only one who gave him a sense of importance and that he could be something more was his older brother, Patrick. Until Patrick's untimely passing, which left Pup drowning in his grief. His family, however, refuses to speak about Patrick's passing, and even well-meaning friends are unable to say much more than "sorry for your loss." Presented with a camera by his art teacher to help him earn a passing grade in art class, Pup learns a whole new perspective and maybe even the chance to help his broken family heal. Beautifully written with realistic characters and a relatable protagonist, this book shares the heartache of loss and grief with warmth and humor, which older teen readers will love.

Happy reading!

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