Reading List for 11th Graders
Updated: Oct 5, 2022
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1. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead started to rise and walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania--which halted the Civil War and changed the nation forever. In this alternate version of history, Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in etiquette and weaponry to protect the wealthy families from the zombies, or "shamblers." The shamblers seem to be the least of her problems when Jane finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy. Now, she must need all her resourcefulness and strength to fight for her life against some powerful enemies.
2. The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown
An uplifting and astonishing story of the University of Washington's eight rowing team and their quest for gold at the 1936 Olympics. With the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers on the team, winning the Olympics seemed impossible against the elite crew of the East Coast and Great Britain. A rower named Joe Rantz narrates the emotional story and shows how determination, optimism, and trust led to their success.
3. Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Lazlo Strange is an orphan who grew up to be a junior librarian. Ever since he was a boy, he's been obsessed with fairy tales and legends--especially the mythic, gilded faraway city of Weep. Lazlo dreamed his entire life of a chance to visit this lost city, so when Lazlo encountered a troop of warriors led by the so-called Godslayer who are from the lost city of Weep, looking for experts and scholars to help solve a problem, Lazlo seized the opportunity to join them. Now, Lazlo finally has a chance to come face to face with his wildest dream and to finally find out and unravel the secrets and mysteries surrounding Weep and its inhabitants.
4. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Justyce McAllister is on top of his class, a good kid, and an honor student. As he is seen more for his skin color than for his character, and because of a violent incident in which he is handcuffed and thrown to the ground, Justyce begins to reflect on what it means to be a young black man today and begins to write letters to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his journal. Parents and students alike will find Dear Martin a powerful, timely, and important read.
5. The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion And The Fall Of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming
This book offers a close and intimate look into the lives of Russia's last royal family and the fall of imperial Russia. The book also includes captivating pictures and powerful first-person accounts which contrast the extravagant lives of the royals with the poverty and struggles of the poor masses. A fascinating and hard-to-put-down non-fiction book about the Russian revolution and history is a must-read for everyone.
6. Midnight At The Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
In Midnight at the Electric, three stories are told through letters from three generations, spanning three different places and eras. A book about friendships, love, grief, secrets, and betrayals. Their lives intertwined in unexpected ways, spanning generations. This quiet yet powerful book will have the readers thoroughly engrossed from beginning to end.
7. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
Raybearer follows a young girl named Tarisai. She was raised by an absent and distant mother who she only knows as "The Lady" and was sent to the capital to compete and to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince's Council of 11. However, she was bound by a curse and compelled to obey her mother's command and kill the Crown Prince. Strong-willed and kind-hearted, Tarisai is determined to find a way to break the curse and forge a different path for herself.
8. Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis
Set in the future where water is scarce and worth more than gold, 16-year-old Lynn and her mother guard their pond against thirsty scavengers, with rifles in hand. Encountering nighttime threats, mysterious footsteps near their pond, animal attacks, and gunshots, Lynn, with the abilities her mother taught her, must defend their pond until her last dying breath.
9. The Radium Girls by Kate Moore
The Radium Girls is the story of the women who worked in radium-dial factories across the US during the early 20th century. Radium, which covers the women from head to toe, is used to paint the numbers on watch dial faces, making them sparkle and glow. This new and exciting job opportunity draws girls as young as 14--until they are suddenly afflicted by a mysterious illness.
10. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
This story follows 14-year-old Susie Salmon as she narrates her story from heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected. As life continues without her, she sees her family struggle and grieves for her unsolved murder case. Despite unspeakable loss and tragedy, The Lovely Bones builds a story filled with hope, humor, suspense, and even joy.
11. Hidden Figures (Young Readers’ Edition) by Margot Lee Shetterly
Hidden Figures is the amazing true story of four dedicated African-American mathematicians--Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden. Known as "human computers," they use pencils and adding machines to calculate numbers that help launch rockets and help astronauts get into space. As a result of their work, NASA was forever changed as they helped achieve some of the key milestones in aviation and space technology. This uplifting and inspiring story is a must-read and an excellent book for all ages.
12. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Every November, the Scorpio Races take place in which the riders must keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. In the race, some riders survive while others die, and only one winner is determined. The story centers around Sean and Puck, their stories told in alternating chapters. 19-year-old Sean is a returning champion and a young man of few words. Puck Connolly is never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races and is the first girl to ever enter the competition. Action-packed, magical, and fierce, The Scorpio Races will take the readers on a wild ride.
13. Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young
17-year-old Eelyn was born and raised to be a warrior for the Aska clan. Their clan has an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. She fought alongside her Aska clansman, until that one fateful day when she lost her brother. Now, this fighting season, Eelyn sees the impossible on the battlefield--her brother, alive, and fighting with the enemy.
14. Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter
Maddie and Logan are best friends and inseparable. Logan's father is POTUS, and Maddie's father is the head of the president's security. Suddenly, before a dinner with some dignitaries, they were torn apart after a kidnapping attempt. Maddie was taken to a remote cabin in Alaska with her father for safety. After a few years, Maddie finds herself hoping to hear from Logan again--until Logan is sent to join them as an assassin closes in. This witty and fast-paced thriller will keep the reader on the edge of their seat.
15. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
As a teenager in Florida in the 1960s, Elwood Curtis was unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory school called the Nickel Academy. An optimistic and bright young black man, Elwood finds that the school is not as it appears from the outside. The school is a chamber of horrors, rife with physical and emotional abuse, and Elwood is trapped in it. Until he meets Turner, who took him under his wing. The Nickel Boys is a powerful and an important book about two young men living under Jim Crow law in the 1960s and the suffering they had to endure inside the hellish reform school.
16. Heroine by Mindy McGinnis
High school senior and a competitive softball player, Mickey Catalan is confident that she will have a successful softball season. In order to receive college scholarships, she needs to play well. But a car crash leaves Mickey severely injured just before the start of the season. But Mickey is determined to recover quickly to hold on to her spot as the catcher for her team. As physical therapy alone won't help her, she turned to painkillers. While Mickey faces the pressure of the softball season, a destructive habit is slowly developing that could spiral out of control.
17. Jackpot by Nic Stone
Rico is a high school senior and works in the local gas station in the afternoon to help her mom with the bills. It seems Rico's fortune has changed when she sells a jackpot-winning lottery ticket, and the prize money goes unclaimed. As Rico hopes to get a share of the winnings, he enlists the help of Zan, a wealthy friend, to embark on a quest to find the winning ticket.
18. SLAY by Brittney Morris
During the day, Kiera Johnson tutors math and is an honors student at Jefferson Academy. At night, she joins hundreds of thousands of black gamers who duel online in a secret role-playing card game called SLAY. No one knows that Kiera is the game developer, not even her boyfriend. When a teen is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, the news about the game reached mainstream media. SLAY is all over the news and is accused of being "discriminatory" and "racist." Because of this, Kiera is determined to protect the only space where black gamers can be themselves and cultivate a safe community. But how can she protect her game while maintaining her anonymity?
19. The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Henrietta Lacks is a poor Southern tobacco farmer who succumbed after a long battle with cervical cancer in the 1950s. Her cells became one of the most valuable medical tools. She is known to scientists as HeLa. For decades, Henrietta's family had no idea that doctors had taken her cells and that some of her cells were still alive many years after her death. A fascinating and thought-provoking non-fiction tale that sheds light on a piece of history that is largely forgotten, The Immortal Tale of Henrietta Lacks will stay with readers for a long time.
20. The Paper Girl Of Paris by Jordyn Taylor
16-year-old Alice arrives in France, but she is not there for vacation. When Alice's grandmother passed away, she inherited an apartment in Paris she didn't know existed, which has remained locked for many years. When Alice explores the apartment, she discovers her great-aunt Adalyn's diary containing information that raises more questions than answers. A secret past in her family awaits Alice as she uncovers more about her great aunt, whom her grandmother never mentioned.
21. Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer
Into the Wild tells the true story of a young man named Christopher McCandless. In 1992, he hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness. He left his family and friends and abandoned most of his material possessions to live in the wild. In his final months, he lived on berries and hunted game until meeting his tragic end.
22. Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Brothers Finn and Sean O'Sullivan live in a strange, little town called Bone Gap. Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps. Gaps that can trip you and gaps you can slip through that you may never find your way out. People in Bone Gap were not surprised when Roza, a beautiful girl who lives with Finn and Sean, mysteriously disappeared. After all, it wasn't the first time someone had vanished. Finn, however, knows what really happened to Roza. A man whose face he cannot remember kidnapped Roza.
23. Rules For Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall
This documentary-style tale uses found footage, video transcripts, and text messages to tell the story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and a girl determined to find her sister. Sara's sister, Becca, disappeared last year while searching for Lucy Gallows, the girl haunting the woods. It is said that every year, a path appears leading into another world, where the ghost of Lucy Gallows awaits--and Sara is determined to walk this mythical path in the hopes of finding her missing sister--no matter the cost.
24. Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel by Val Emmich
Evan Hansen is an anxious and timid high school student. He has trouble making friends at school because of his anxiety. He sees a therapist and takes medication to manage it, and as a way of sorting out his feelings and building his confidence, he also writes letters to himself. His life suddenly changed when one of his letters was stolen and found with Connor, a troubled student who took his life. Evan then finds himself in the middle of a family's grief over the loss of their son, who mistakenly believes Evan was their son's best friend. Dear Evan Hansen is an emotional and compelling story about grief, belonging, and hope.
25. A Land Of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi
The story follows a Syrian teenager named Tareq and his family as they escape from war-torn Syria while facing dangers at every turn. The harrowing plight of refugees is brought to life in this gripping and unforgettable story of one family's survival and the tragic consequences of violence and war.
26. Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys
This beautiful and riveting historical fiction novel follows four young refugees during WW2 as they desperately flee from the advancing Soviet forces. Thousands of refugees flock to the coast to board the ill-fated ship, Wilhelm Gustloff, that promises safety. As freedom seems within their grasp, tragedy strikes and brings the four lives together in the most unexpected ways.
27. Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys
17-year-old Josie Moraine wants more from life than she can find in New Orleans. The daughter of a brothel prostitute, she dreams of leaving the Big Easy for college and a fresh start. As she devises a plan to escape, she suddenly finds herself caught up in a murder mystery that will test her loyalty, courage, and determination.
28. Deep Water by Watt Key
When her father, a seasoned divemaster became ill, 12-year-old Julie must take over and lead her father's customers on a dive off the coast of Alabama. As her father stays behind on the boat, she led the customers on the deep sea dive. Julie quickly realizes that the customers are refusing to follow her instructions. And to make matters worse, their dive boat is nowhere to be found as they resurfaced. One of the customers is in serious condition and needs to get to the hospital fast. It's only a matter of time, and it's up to Julie to save them all.
29. The Light In Hidden Places by Sharon Cameron
The Light in Hidden Places follows the story of a Polish teenager Stefania Podgorska, who successfully hide 13 Jewish people in her attic in Przemysl, Poland during the Holocaust. She looks after her younger sister in addition to feeding and caring for the hidden Jews, illustrating the tension and challenges of daily life in a Nazi-occupied city. Based on the true story of Stefania Podgorska and her young sister, Helena, this is an extraordinary story of survival, bravery, and heroism.
30. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
Told from the first-person perspective of 17-year-old Cullen Witter, whose younger brother has suddenly vanished. There is an obsession with woodpeckers in the tiny town of Lily, Arkansas, where Cullen lives. His family is gradually falling apart since people are more concerned with finding woodpeckers than they are with finding his brother. On the other side of the world, in Ethiopia, 18-year-old Benton Sage works as a missionary searching for his true calling and his place in the world. These seemingly unrelated storylines will eventually come together in a stunning conclusion in this unique story of hope and second chances.