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Reading List for 12th Graders

Updated: Jun 6

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After a devastating earthquake, "Shorty", a Haitian boy, was trapped under the collapsed hospital building. There are lifeless bodies around him, and he is alone, terrified, and thirsty. Shorty relives his turbulent childhood in the slums and the heartbreak of losing his sister and father while waiting for rescue. As he lies in the darkness, he somehow begins to experience another life--the life of Toussaint L'Ouverture, the hero of Haiti who freed his country from slavery. Due to their shared spiritual connection, these two characters are interconnected throughout the novel in a fascinating and magical way.

Mikey is a regular high school senior just trying to get through his last year of high school. He just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe work up the courage to ask Henna out. Mikey's best friend, Jared has super powers and part god. While Jared and the so-called "indie kids" fight zombies, ghosts, and vampires, non-"indie" kids like Mikey deal with the typical complexities of growing up. Because Mikey deems himself unaccomplished and without superpowers, he begins to feel depressed. But then, a series of events led him to realize that being ordinary may not be so bad and that there's a lot more to the rest of us than we think. Humorous and thought-provoking, The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a sure hit with readers.

In this book, Stephen Hawking attempts to explain a range of subjects in cosmology, including the Big Bang, black holes, wormholes, and time travel in a simple and approachable way for general readers. Regardless of whether you are a science enthusiast or not, this book will give you an easy-to-understand introduction to modern physics and the strange, mind-boggling wonders of the universe.

After a disastrous party in the woods, Ashley, a former hiker, finds herself alone in the forest and far off the trail after a nasty fall into a ravine. Having nothing but the clothes on her back and an open wound on her foot, Ashley must now find a way to survive. Despite starvation and infection, Ashley isn't about to give up.

The Blossom And The Firefly provides a fascinating view of World War 2 from the Japanese perspective. Taro is a kamikaze pilot and a talented violinist. Hana is a member of a group that cares for the young soldiers stationed at the airbase. Their two, young lives were brought together by music. A powerful story about hope and the power of music in the face of tragedy, this book is both engaging and impactful.

Set in early 19th century Joseon (Korea), 16-year-old Seol is an orphan. She works as a damo or an assistant at the police bureau and assists inspector Han in the investigation of a noblewoman's murder. Seol then begins to find herself in the middle of a murder mystery and political intrigue when inspector Han becomes the prime suspect. Only Seol knows the true events on the night of the murder. However, she lives in a land where she cannot speak for herself and where curiosity can be deadly. Fans of historical fiction and mystery will love The Silence of Bones' beautiful writing and riveting plots.

Set in the dystopian future where aliens called Ilori have invaded the earth, Ellie is a teenager living in an Ilori-controlled center. Books, music, and other forms of artistic expression are outlawed, and even emotional expression is punishable by death, but Ellie runs a secret library. Meanwhile, M0Rr1S (Morris) is an Ilori but isn't like the others. He loves pop music. When Morris discovers Ellie's secret library, he should have arrested her, but he needs more of the forbidden music, and Ellie can get him more. Now, Ellie also needs Morris's help to sabotage Ilori's plans. With books and music in tow, the two embarks on a wild journey that just might save them both.

16-year-old Arrah is heir to powerful witch doctors. But Arrah fears she may never be good enough as she doesn't have her own powers yet. When danger looms over her loved ones and her kingdom, Arrah becomes desperate and begins to perform a dangerous and forbidden ritual. Since she has no magic of her own, she borrows it--in exchange for years of her life.

Elatsoe, or Ellie for short, lives in an alternate America where paranormal beings, magic, and monsters are real. Ellie can summon animal ghosts, a skill passed down to her through the generations from her Lipan Apache family. When her cousin dies under mysterious circumstances, Ellie sets out to seek the truth and uncover the mystery with the help of her best friend, Jay, and her ghost dog, Kirby.

Daunis Fontaine is biracial and never quite fits in with her French Canadian mother's family or her late father's Ojibwe tribe. She has a deep connection with her Native American heritage and loves her community even though she was never enrolled in the tribe. She looks forward to starting college, but when a family tragedy strikes, her college plans are put on hold and she has to stay home. And as Daunis witnesses the drug-fueled murder of her best friend, things seem to worsen. This traumatic turn of events causes her to become an informant for the FBI's meth trafficking investigation. As her new role exposes her to more danger and deception, how far will she go to protect her community?

Catarina Agatta is a talented hacker who can cripple mainframes. Her father is world-renowned geneticist Lachlan Agatta, who is humanity's last hope to defeat a devastating plague that threatens humanity's survival. When a lone soldier arrives with the news of her father's death, all hope seems lost. But then, hidden beneath the soldier's programming is her father's encrypted message that contains the vaccine to save the world. Now, it is up to Catarina to unlock it. Fans of science fiction thrillers will love this fast-paced and action-packed book.

17-year-old Taylor Markham is the leader of the boarding school on Jellicoe road. She leads the boarders in the territory wars with the Townies (kids from the Jellicoe town) and the Cadets (military school cadets who come every year to train in Jellicoe). Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has suddenly vanished. There is only one clue Taylor has: Hannah's manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe many years ago. To find out more, she must confront her own story, make sense of her strange and recurring dreams, and locate her mother, who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

It is 1994 and 16-year-old April Sawicki lives in a motorhome in a small town in New York. Her father, who is barely home, prefers to stay with his girlfriend and child, leaving April fending for herself. April dreams of making it big as a singer-songwriter someday. But after a fight with her father, April has had enough. She packs up and leaves for good, seeking a life of her own and a fresh start. On her travels, she meets both wonderful and dreadful people, which she chronicles in her songs. The People We Keep is a tender and emotional coming-of-age story about finding your path and discovering yourself along the way.

In The Alchemist, Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd, sets out on a quest to seek treasures beneath the Egyptian pyramids after having recurring dreams about it. His journey will eventually lead him to riches more satisfying than he could ever imagine. Through Santiago's journey, we learn how to listen to our hearts, recognize opportunities, and most importantly, follow our dreams. A must-read for young and old alike.

Ida Mae Jones dreams of flying, and just like her father, she wants to be a pilot. During World War II, she decides to help the war effort and joins the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots), and to help her brother stationed in the Pacific. But because of racial tensions at the time, the WASP turns her away as she is a Black woman. Ida Mae now faces the difficult decision of whether to sacrifice her heritage and family or give up her dreams of flying.

Lost In The Never Woods follows Wendy Darling who, five years ago, went missing with her brothers. Wendy is found, but no one knows the fate of her brothers, who are still missing. Wendy and her family are painfully reminded of the brothers when the town's children start to mysteriously disappear. One night, she encounters Peter, a boy she thought to be real only in her stories, and asks for her help to rescue the missing kids. To save them, Wendy must face her fears and recover fragments of her memories from the day they disappeared. Readers who enjoy retellings, fairy tales, and Peter Pan will love this book.

Sammie is a straight A student and has big plans for herself. She plans to graduate at the top of her class and move to NYC to attend NYU. But when she is diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that will slowly affect her memories and proves to be fatal, she bravely faces her fate and comes up with a new plan--the memory book. In the memory book, she records all the important aspects of her life and all the things she wants to remember through heartfelt journal entries and mementos. The Memory Book is a moving, bittersweet memorable read.

In High Exposure, we follow elite mountaineer and acclaimed Everest filmmaker David Breashears as he shares his experiences on breathtaking climbing adventures and filmmaking. His vivid stories about the 1996 Mt. Everest tragedy and the competitive dynamics in the mountains are captivating and will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Iranian American teen, Saaket, or as he prefers, Scott, can't seem to follow through on anything and is unsure what he wants to do for the rest of his life. With college applications looming, his parents are pressuring him to take things seriously and choose a career path like medicine or engineering. When his parents leave to go to Iran to look after his ailing grandfather, Scott quits his internship and sneaks off to Washington DC to see a famous psychologist who claims to know the secret to success. And what happens next is an adventure he never expected.

Present day: June, a young American anthropologist specializing in ancient technologies unknowingly puts herself in danger by uncovering a terrible secret inside a 300-year-old mechanical doll.

Russia, 1725: The Tsar's loyal mechanic brings to life two human-like machines, Peter and Elena. The two possess powers and are destined to serve great empires. The "siblings" then spend the next hundred years fleeing enemies who are automatons just like them. The Clockwork Dynasty seamlessly interweaves the past and the present day, exploring a race of beings designed to live by their ironclad principles, yet constantly searching for meaning and trying to fit into society. With June delving deeper into their world and discovering secrets from the past, her choices will ultimately determine their survival.

Cousins Aubrey, Milly, and Jonah each received an invitation from their grandmother to spend the summer working at their family's island resort. The cousins barely know each other and they never even met their reclusive and wealthy grandmother, Mildred, who mysteriously disinherited their parents many years ago. The cousins found it strange--but they were curious. They accepted the invitation with their parents' approval, as their parents thought this was a chance for them to reconnect with their mother. When the cousins arrive at the island resort, their grandmother clearly has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they'll uncover their family's dark and mysterious past.

15-year-old Will's big brother Shawn has been shot and killed. Will is determined to avenge his brother's death, and with a gun tucked into his pocket, he gets on the elevator from his 8th floor apartment down to the ground floor. The elevator stops at each floor, and people from Will's past get on and share their stories, causing Will to pause and reflect on what he is about to do. Written in free verse, Long Way Down is a quick but powerful and thought-provoking read.

Nora Seed lives a lackluster life trying to please others and has hit rock bottom. Struggling from a lifetime of regrets and failed relationships, losing her job, and losing her cat was the last straw, and Nora decides to check out on life. Nora then finds herself at the Midnight Library, where she saw the different versions of her life and how it might have turned out had she made different choices. As she experiences the different versions of her life, she must look within herself to find out what really makes life worth living.

By midnight, a snowstorm halts the Orient Express. By morning, Samuel Ratchett lay dead in his compartment, stabbed, and his door locked from the inside. Detective Hercule Poirot knows that the murderer is still aboard the train. Trying to find the killer among 12 of the dead man's enemies, the detective must act quickly before the killer strikes again.

In this spine-chilling novel, ten strangers are invited to an isolated island mansion near the Devon coast called Soldier Island by an unknown eccentric millionaire. They are cut off from everything, and their host is nowhere to be found. All of the guests in the mansion have dark and wicked pasts, and in every room, a nursery rhyme appears to predict their fate. As their crimes are revealed, the guests mysteriously die one after another. This thriller will keep readers guessing until the last page. It is an excellent choice for thriller and mystery fans.

Anne Elliot, daughter of snobbish Sir Walter Elliot, is a woman of quiet charm. 19-year-old Anne fell in love and got engaged to a young navy officer, the fearless and headstrong Captain Wentworth. But because of his low social status, Anne's family persuaded her to give him up and break off the engagement. Captain Wentworth, now wealthy and famous for his service in the war, returned to the neighborhood eight years later. Anne and the Captain meet again however, Anne's never-fading love is muffled by her pride, and Captain Wentworth appears cold and unforgiving.

The story follows teen artist Adam Costello, as he and his family try to survive a broken economy after an alien invasion. In the aftermath of the extraterrestrial vuvv's job-destroying technology, Adam, his mother, and his sister now live on little money and cannot afford basic necessities like food, water, or medicine. Adam and his girlfriend Chloe now need to get creative to earn money in order to save their struggling family.

Behind Samantha McAllister's straightened hair and perfectly applied makeup is a secret even her friends would never understand: she suffers from Purely-Obsessional OCD which makes her life unbearable as it haunts her thoughts, words, and movements. She worries about her friends discovering it, too. But when Sam meets Caroline and gets introduced to the kids in Poet's Corner, everything changes for her. She slowly learns to embrace who she truly is and begins to discover a new side to herself. A touching and motivational novel about understanding and accepting your unique self, Every Last Word is a helpful book for teens struggling with mental health issues.

16-year-old Abby Day discovers through a DNA test that she has a secret sister. It turns out her sister is Instagram star, Savannah Tully. The girls feel lied to by their families their entire lives. So they decided to meet up at a summer camp to find out what secrets their parents have been keeping from them. You Have A Match is a fun and heartfelt quick read.

Ambitious and intelligent Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, who secretly works as a dance hall girl to help pay off her mother's mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin plunges into the world of magic and superstitions on a quest to figure out where the souvenir came from. Meanwhile, Ren is an 11-year-old boy on a mission to locate his former master's severed finger so that he can bury it with his body. He has 49 days to find it or else his master's soul will be unable to rest in peace and will roam the earth forever. The countdown to 49 days begins and as a prowling tiger wreaks havoc on the town, Ji Lin and Ren's fates intertwine in ways they never expected.

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