Tuesday, December 16, 2008


by Laurie Halse Anderson

Tyler Miller was the kind of kid who didn't stand out; that is, until he got busted for tagging the school. After a summer of working outside, Tyler returns to school and finds that he is getting kind of popular and that he has attracted the attention of the super-popular Bethany Milbury. Things go well for awhile, until a series of events upsets everything.

--Sasha B., Student

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story

by Christopher Moore

Tommy Flood, a budding teenaged writer from Indiana, moved to San Francisco for some inspiration and adventure. Everything changes for Tommy one night while working at Safeway when a beautiful, undead, redheaded woman walks in.

--Philip S., Student

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Hour I First Believed

by Wally Lamb

This story is about a middle-aged high school English teacher named Caelum who is desperately trying to keep his third marriage together. When Caelum discovers that his wife is having an adulterous affair, he attacks her lover with pipe wrench. After Caelum's prosecution for assault, the couple moves to Colorado hoping to make a new start. Both get jobs at Columbine High School just prior to the Harris and Klebold attack. The story follows the couple as they attempt to put their life back together after wittnessing such a life altering event.

--Jeana Khalaf Cheetany, Faculty

Teacher Man

by Frank McCourt

A brilliant book about a high school teaching experience. McCourt, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angela's Ashes and Tis, has written a memoir of his 30-year career in the New York City Public Schools. The writing is original and witty, and his anecdotes of his experiences in and out of the classroom are often hilarious. Underlying it all, however, is McCourt's love for the profession and what it, ironically, has taught him.

--Josh Curnett, Faculty

The Work of Wolves

by Kent Meyers

The story takes place in South Dakota where four lives are intimately connected in the unfolding drama: Carson Fielding, Earl Walks Alone, Ted Kills Many, and Will Schubert, a German exchange student with a love of all things Lakota. The four attempt to save horses from being starved by Magnus Fielding. Fielding bears the immediate consequences and has the most to lose in facing the wrath of Yarborough, but the four young men are ultimately linked by their actions, their friendship deepening with the desperation of their endeavor.

--Sharon Cobb, Faculty


by Geraldine Brooks

Brooks takes the character of the father, Mr. March, from Little Women and tells his story. Mr. March serves with the Union army first as a minister, then as a teacher to ex-slaves on a Southern plantation.

--Christine Avery, Faculty

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Afghan Campaign: A Novel

by Steven Pressfield

2,300 years ago, an unbeaten army from the West, led by Alexander the Great, invaded the tribal homeland of the fierce Afghan people. This is the story of Matthias, an 18 year old Macedonian foot soldier in Alexander's army. Once again, Steven Pressfield has written a harrowing and thought-provoking historical novel that closely parallels the experiences of the Romans, British, Soviets and Americans, and demonstrates his understanding of the realities that continue to influence our world today.

--Joe Geisendorfer, Faculty

Thursday, November 20, 2008


by Christopher Paolini

The third installment of the Inheritance cycle continues Eragon and Saphira's adventures as they gallantly fight Galbatroix and the evil empire. Slaying the Ra'zac, fighting Thorn and journeying to places not seen since previous books will keep you on the edge of your seat franticly awaiting book #4.

--Melanie Price, Faculty

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


by Louis Sachar

I have read this book many times, and every time I read it I'm amazed.
This book has a lot of drama and a lot of great moments too. I think that this book is one of the best of its kind!

--Chris G., Student

Monday, October 20, 2008


by Judy Blume

Deenie is a very pretty girl who wants to be a model. Her whole world is turned upside down when she finds out that she has scoliosis and has to wear a back brace for four years or more. Deenie is not sure that she can face her classmates and disappointing her mom if she has to stop modeling.

--Sasha B., Student


by P.C. & Kristin Cast

Read the whole Twilight series? Twice? Searching for the next teen vampire series? Look no further--The House of Night series ( Marked, Betrayed, and Chosen) takes a boarding school like Hogwarts, mixes it with the super-coolness of vampires, and throws in a little Mean Girls for good measure.

--Kristin McKeown, Faculty

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Sister's Keeper

by Jodi Picoult

Kate has a rare form of leukemia. Her sister Anna was conceived by her parents to become a perfect donor in a effort to prolong Kate's life. Anna decides to sue her parents because of how her body is being used. I liked the story because it was very intense.

--Oksana L., Student

The Lovely Bones

by Alice Sebold

Susie Salmon has been murdered. She now looks down upon her friends, her family, and her killer, wondering if he will ever be caught. I really enjoyed this book because it had many suprises and cool twists.

--Heather F., Student

The Giver

by Lois Lowry

The Giver is about a life with no color, no feelings, the same birthdays, and jobs which are chosen for us. One boy, Jonas, is chosen to receive all of the memories. I loved this book. It shows what our life would be like without all of these feelings.

--Bryce F., Student

Built To Grind

by Bob Denike

This book is about the birth and growth of Independant Truck Company, from basic prototypes to the modern skateboard trucks that everyone will remember. It also explores the history of the company, the founders, and the riders for Independant.

--Tyler R., Student

To Kill A Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird is amazingly written. It's intense and mysterious because it is slow to give away information about some of the main characters. It definitely kept me interested until the very last page.

--Kathleen L., Student

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Go Ask Alice

by Anonymous

Go Ask Alice is about a young girl's accidental introduction into the world of drugs. The book follows her downward journey from a comfortable home and life into the darkness of the streets.

--Jennifer H., Student

The Teenage Guy's Survival Guide

by Jeremy Daldry

This book talks about growing up. It deals with what happens to guys when they hit adolescence, and gives advice on everything else ranging from pimples to girls.

--Philip S., Student

Bloody Jack

by L.A. Meyer

Mary "Jacky" Faber is an orphan living on the streets of London with a gang. When she disguises herself as "Jack Faber" and lands a spot on a ship in the Royal Majesty's Navy, she takes to the high seas. Living her life as a ship's boy she has to devise plans to help keep her femininity a secret from the rest of the ship.

--Javiera P., Student


by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

This is the saddest book that I have ever read. Donnie and Karen live in a very dysfunctional family. Their parents are constantly raging at each other. Donnie is an outcast at school and becomes invisible, while Karen becomes anorexic and starves herself to death.

--Cynthia C., Student

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch

by Joseph Delaney

The first book in the series introduces us to Thomas Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son. Thomas's parents arrange for him to become the apprentice of the Spook. Whenever scary things like witches or boggarts cause trouble in the county, Thomas gets sent to sort it all out.

--David E., Student

The Sledding Hill

by Chris Crutcher

Eddie and Billy are best friends. They still help each other out and they still meet on top of the sledding hill. Why should the accidental death of Billy change anything? I thought that the story helps teach about how some people deal with the loss of a loved one.

--Samuel K., Student


by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak is about a girl named Melinda who has been shunned and scapegoated since the first day of high school. Everyone knows that she called the cops at a summer party, but she won't tell anyone why. In fact, since the party, she barely speaks at all.

--Ashley N., Student

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Catcher in the Rye

by J.D. Salinger

The book was about a kid named Holden who gets expelled from prep school and goes on some adventures in New York City. I liked the story because at some points it was funny and at others it wasn't, so it had a whole range of emotions.

--Kyle R., Student

Of Mice and Men

by John Steinbeck

The story is about two migrant workers; George and his friend Lennie who is mentally disabled. I liked the story because it tells the truth about the reality of the "American Dream."

--Nicholas H., Student

The Lord of the RIngs: The Fellowship of the Ring

by J.R.R. Tolkien

The first book of the trilogy is about a hobbit named Frodo who inherits his uncle's magical ring. Frodo's friend and mentor Gandalf, alerts him to the evil powers of the ring and tells him that it must be destroyed. Frodo gangs up with a wizard, an elf, a dwarf, a man and other companions to set out to destroy the ring. I liked the book because of the suspense and action.

--Nick J., Student

Nostradamus: The Man Who Saw Through Time.

by Lee McCann

This is the biography of Nostradamus, an astrologer and physician, and the author of books of prophecy.

--Emmanuel G., Student

Bless Me, Ultima

by Rudolfo Anaya

This story is about a young Spanish boy named Antonio and his adventures growing up with a curandera named Ultima.

--Amanda W., Student

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Titan's Curse

by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson, the half-blood son of Poseidon, teams up with his new friend Thalia and the Hunters of Artemis to search for the kidnapped goddess. This is another epic quest to help save the gods and fend off the ever stronger Titans.

--Michael S., Student

The First Part Last

by Angela Johnson

Bobby finds out on his 16th birthday that his girlfriend Nia is pregnant. The young parents were going to put the baby up for adoption. However, when Nia gets sick and ends up in a nursing home, Bobby decides to keep the baby and his whole life changes.

--Gloria E., Student

One For The Money

by Janet Evanovich

This first novel in the series introduces Stephanie Plum and her fabulously chaotic, bounty hunter lifestyle. I loved the story because Janet Evanovich has such a light, fun, and enjoyable style of writing. Never a dull moment!

--Kaitlin E, Student

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


by Ellen Hopkins

Glass continues the downward spiral story of Kristina Snow, a meth addicted 17 -year-old. It's one year later and Kristina after having her baby, still battles "the monster." Although Glass is more depressing than Crank, the story is still fast paced and full of suspense.

--Katherine Q, Student

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Sea of Monsters

by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson, the half-blood son of Poseidon, battles mythical monsters and a Cyclops named Polyphemus in a modern day setting to help save his Satyr friend Grover and Camp Half-Blood from destruction. I liked the story because the author blends Greek mythology with modern civilization.

--Michael S, Student

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Those Who Walk In Darkness

by John Ridley

The plot centers around Officer Soledad "Bullet" O'Roark who works for a special branch of the LAPD. Her job is to hunt and kill mutants. During a mission she uses an experimental gun and accidentally kills a woman who may be an angel. The writing is fantastic, and is full of action and surprises.

--Parker J, Student

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Breaking Dawn

by Stephenie Meyer

Fans of the Twilight series will not be disappointed by this final installment, where much of what readers have been waiting for comes to pass: the wedding, the honeymoon, the "change." What readers won't expect, however, is the surprising twists surrounding Jacob's true love, Bella's power, and those pesky Volturi.

-- Kristin McKeown, Faculty

To The White Sea

by James Dickey

To The White Sea is a meditation (you might say) on manhood. Men take responsibility, are prepared, and act (often brutally) as the situation requires. The hero of this book is an Alaskan hunter, and through the eyes of a hunter we see him trying to survive as an American airman shot down over Japan during WWII. His instincts tell him to go north, to the cold. His journey is about survival, but it is also a journey of a man's life and the evolution of his soul.
--Ed Klein, Faculty

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr

by Nancy Isenberg

Aaron Burr may not have been the "American Judas" that history books have made him out to be, according to Nancy Isenberg, who tells the other side of the story. Surely Alexander Hamilton, the father of the American government, was fatally wounded in a duel at the hands of Burr, the Vice President of the U.S., but were the events that brought these two antagonists to Weehawken on the western shore of the Hudson River really all Burr's fault? What if history had it wrong?

--Erich Gott, Faculty

The Coldest Winter

by David Halberstam

The Coldest Winter is a masterful narrative which traces the political decision making and miscalculations of both sides involved in the Korean War. Halberstam provides vivid portraits of all of the major figures: MacArthur, Eisenhower, Truman, Kim and Mao, in addition to exploring the stories of individual soldiers who were on the front lines. This is a great read for history buffs.

--Matt Williams, Faculty

The Thirteenth Tale

by Diane Setterfield

Reclusive English author Vida Winter has spent six decades falsifying her life story and identity; however, with her health failing and imminent death, she has finally decided to reveal the truth about her life story. She calls upon Margaret Lea, an amateur biographer, to write her life story. At first, Margaret finds it difficult to trust Miss Winter, but she (like the reader) quickly becomes mesmerized by Miss Winter's gothic tale, complete with an old English estate, a devastating fire, a governess and a ghost. A tribute to Brontë and du Maurier, The Thirteenth Tale is an original work told in the vein of all the best gothic novels.

--Michelyne Gray, Faculty

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Art of Power

by Thich Nhat Hanh

World-renowned Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh reframes the conventional ideas of what true power, happiness, ambition and success are. Hanh includes exercises which help promote focus, meaningful meditation, simplicity and mindfulness in daily life.

--Joe Geisendorfer, Faculty

Monday, May 5, 2008


by Craig Thompson

This is one LONG graphic novel, but well worth it. Even though it weighs in at over 580 pages, this autobiographical story is so well-crafted and engaging, and the illustrations are so poignantly expressive, that I couldn't believe it was over as soon as it was.

The story follows Thompson from a very strict upbringing, through a personal, spiritual crisis, and to his first love and beyond. Geared toward more mature readers, this award-winning graphic memoir is truly a work of art.

-- Kristin McKeown, Faculty

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Muhammad: A Prophet For Our Time

by Karen Armstrong

This is Armstrong's second biography of Islam's prophet, Muhammad. This work is well researched, never condescending, and enables the reader to understand the spirituality and origins of a faith that, in the West, is often portrayed as inherently violent and cruel.
-- Joe Geisendorfer, Faculty

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You

by Ally Carter

If you are looking for a book that is intense and that keeps you wondering what is going to happen next, then this is the book for you. This story is about Cammie Morgan, who attends a top-secret boarding school for girls who are spies-in-training. Cammie's troubles begin when she falls for a normal boy named Josh, who has no idea of the double life that she leads. This is a fantastic book.

--Cassandra G, Senior

Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment

by Deepak Chopra

This is a novelized version of the life story of Buddha as he progresssed through the three main stages of his life as Prince Siddhartha, the monk, and finally as Buddha. Chopra deftly portrays ancient Indian culture, and how it helped shape the internal struggle and developement of a person seeking spiritual wisdom, transformation and enlightenment.
--Joe Geisendorfer, Faculty

Perfect: A Novel

by Natasha Friend

Everthing is fine, when in fact nothing really is for 8th grader Isabelle Lee. As a result of the death of her father, Isabelle develops an eating disorder. I like this book because alot of teenagers my age have eating disorders and this has had a big effect on my life.

--Amanda M, Freshman

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Northern Light

by Jennifer Donnelly

This work of historical fiction is set in the Adirondacks of 1906, where the famous Gilette murder case took place. The focus is not on the subject of murder itself, however. This story centers on the character of 16-year-old Mattie Gokey, a gifted student who works at the hotel where the victim and perpetrator were guests. We learn that Mattie collects words from her treasured dictionary, and while she feels pressured to stay at home, take care of her siblings, and eventually get married to a local farm boy, Mattie yearns to realize her dream of going to college and becoming a writer.

--Kristin McKeown, Faculty

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


by Tamora Pierce

Her best book in years. The main heroine gets herself into situations that are dangerous and heroic at the same time. The narrative journal style of the writing completely captured me, and the voice of Cooper, the main character, is exactly the type of person I want telling me a story- with a mix of humor, seriousness, and street-wise innocence. This was one of the few books in recent years that I was not able to put down or stop thinking about.

--Zack Varvel, Faculty

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

American Born Chinese

by Gene Luen Yang

Many teenagers struggle with finding their identity, but as the author so clearly coveys, finding your identity as a minority can be an even greater challenge. All-American high school student Danny is haunted by regular visits from his embarassing cousin, Chin-Kee, Jin Wang feels like an outcast among his mostly white classmates, and even the legendary Monkey King feels estranged from his fellow gods when he tries to join their dinner party. In this entertaining and insightful graphic novel, Yang cleverly inter-weaves the stories of these three characters toward a satisfying conclusion.

-- Kristin McKeown, Faculty

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Les Miserables

by Victor Hugo

This book, while admittedly very long, is an incredible novel which follows the struggles and harsh existence of the several characters. The story helps reveal some of the dark underbelly of France during the Revolution while leading you through the darkness into the goodness of humanity.

--Benjamin B, Senior

The Gravedigger's Daughter

by Joyce Carol Oates

It's an engrossing book about a Jewish girl whose family flees from Nazi Germany at the beginning of World War II. She grows up American while her family struggles to fit into the new life there, denying their roots. Her dad, who was a math teacher at a prestigious school in Germany, now can only get the menial job of digging graves to support his family. It's a story of identity and how our pasts shape our lives.
--Bridgett Bird, Faculty