Grade 9 Summer Reading

Students should read TWO BOOKS from the list below. It is expected that students come to class on the first day with one of their books. They should be ready to discuss literary techniques and devices in their text. New international students may opt to read just one book from the list, if appropriate to their language level.

Level of Challenge:

Harder ★★★★★
Easier ☆☆☆☆☆

Download a PDF version

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Venture back in time to Victorian London to join literature's greatest detective team as they investigate a dozen of their best-known cases. Originally published in 1892, this is the first and best collection of stories about the legendary sleuth. ★★★★★

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
One of the most celebrated and enduringly popular animal stories, originally written as an appeal for the humane treatment of horses. This suspenseful and deeply moving account of a horse's experiences at the hands of many owners is told in this classic tale. ★★★★☆

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life by electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker. This chilling gothic tale was begun when Mary Shelley was just 19 years old. ★★★★★

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
An orphan living with his older sister and her kindly husband, Pip is hired by wealthy and embittered Miss Havisham as a companion for her beautiful adopted daughter, Estella. Thrust into London’s high-society circles, Pip learns the identity of his patron: a revelation that shatters his very soul. Mr. Thorau’s favourite classic. ★★★★★

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre finds herself a position as a governess in the household of Edward Rochester. She and Rochester fall passionately in love, in one of the great literary love stories. But a dark secret in his house will tear them apart and send her alone into the wilderness before she can find her way back to him. ★★★★★

Animal Farm by George Orwell
George Orwell’s famous satire of the Soviet Union, in which “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” ★★★★☆

The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Buck does not read the newspapers. If he had, he’d have known that for good strong dogs like himself trouble is brewing. Man has found gold and because of that Buck is kidnapped and dragged away from his sunny home to become a sledge dog in the harsh and freezing North. With strength, imagination and cunning on his side, Buck must fight for survival. But will he ever trust people again? ★★★☆☆

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Set in a World War II American bomber squadron off the coast of Italy, this is the story of John Yossarian, who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. Yossarian is also trying to decode the meaning of Catch-22, a mysterious regulation that proves that insane people are really the sanest, while the supposedly sensible people are the true madmen. Mr. M. says, “You’d be crazy not to read this book… but, then, you’d be crazy if you did.” ★★★★☆

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Celie has grown up poor in rural Georgia, despised by the society around her and abused by her own family. In an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear, Celie writes letters to God, recording a journey of self-discovery and empowerment, guided by the light of a few strong women. ★★★☆☆

Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard
The tale of a young boy's struggle to survive World War II in China. Jim is separated from his parents in a world at war. To survive, he must find a strength greater than all the events that surround him. This is an enduring tale of war and deprivation, internment camps and death marches, and starvation and survival. Also a movie by Steven Spielberg. Mr. Burnett’s all-time favourite book! ★★★★☆

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
A plane crashes on a desert island and the only survivors, a group of schoolboys, assemble on the beach and wait to be rescued. By day they inhabit a land of bright fantastic birds and dark blue seas, but at night their dreams are haunted by the image of a terrifying beast. As the boys' delicate sense of order fades, so their childish dreams are transformed into something more primitive, and their behaviour starts to take on a murderous, savage significance. Mr. West says, “This is a classic every teenager should read. Just don’t get any ideas.” ★★★★☆

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Ms. Jackson’s pick! ★★☆☆☆

Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over. ★★★☆☆

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
A funny, poignant and fascinating novel. 15-year-old Christopher lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and Christopher’s carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. ★★☆☆☆

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
Three teens connected by a birth mother, meet for the first time. This is a story of love, belonging, and different definitions of family, through a delicate network of connections—platonic and romantic, blood and otherwise—as the three work up the courage to seek out the mother who cut off all contact when she gave them away. ★★★☆☆

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
16-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. ★★★☆☆

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek forms a partnership with Deryn, who is disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service and fly genetically-engineered animals. ★★★☆☆

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Miles Halter’s whole life has been one big non-event until he starts at anything-but-boring Culver Creek Boarding School and meets Alaska Young. Gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, screwed up and utterly fascinating she pulls Miles into her world. Nothing will ever be the same. Poignant, funny, heartbreaking and compelling, this novel will stay with you forever. Ms. Nielson’s pick! ★★★☆☆

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
The story of two friends growing up in the 1950s on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets, the girls learn to rely on each other. Life happens, and the two remain friends, whose destinies are reflected in each other. ★★★☆☆

My Grandmother Sends Her Regards… by Fredrik Backman
Some might call Elsa’s granny ‘eccentric’, or even ‘crazy’. Elsa calls her a superhero. And granny’s stories, of knights and princesses and dragons and castles, are her superpower. Because, as Elsa is starting to learn, heroes and villains don’t always exist in imaginary kingdoms; they could live just down the hallway. ★★☆☆☆

Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Taking on a challenge by his social studies teacher, 12-year old Trevor comes up with an idea to change the world—‘Pay it forward.’ He began by helping three people in need, and from there, the idea spread. Movie tie-in. A feel-good read! ★★☆☆☆

A Perfect Spy by John le Carre
A high-level secret agent mysteriously disappears after his father’s funeral. From the man who founded many of our conceptions about spy novels comes a tale of suspense and betrayal. ★★☆☆☆

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia. Part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging magicians battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed. Now a Steven Spielberg movie. Ms. Wells loves this book! ★★★★☆

Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Humanity has conquered all things—there are no diseases, no hunger, no misery, and no death, at least naturally. The only people who can end life are scythes. It is their job to keep population under control. What would you do if you were chosen to be a scythe? It is a job that nobody wants. ★★★☆☆

The Secret History by Donna Tartt
A small group of friends at an elite American college, and one is murdered in cold blood. Who is the murderer? Tartt will tell you right away. Why and how will take a little longer. ★★★★☆

Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel
Set in the collapse of civilization – this is a story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes regions, risking everything for art and humanity. ★★★☆☆

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
A tender story about learning to cope when the world feels out of control. Sixteen-year-old Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. A brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship. ★★★★☆

The Usual Rules by Joyce Maynard
A coming of age story, set against the backdrop of the global and personal tragedy of 9/11. Written in a style alternately wry and heartbreaking, it is an unexpectedly hopeful story of healing and forgiveness that will offer readers, young and old alike, a picture of how, out of the rubble, a family rebuilds its life. Ms. Burnett loved this book! ★★★★☆

Who Will Tell My Brother? by Marlene Carvell
Determined to sway high school officials to remove disparaging Native American mascots, Evan assumes a struggle that spirals him onto a soul-searching journey and exposes him to violence. Based on a true story of a mixed-race teen caught up in an exploration of his past, his culture, and his identity. ★★★☆☆