2011’s Summer Reading Theme is You Are Here.  The reading lists for all grade levels can be found at this link:

New York State’s 2011 Reading Lists

If you are watching “Gossip Girl” or “Vampire Diaries” on the CW, you should read the books that they are based on. They are still being published!

Gossip Girl is written by Cecily von Ziegesar, and The Vampire Diaries are written by P.C. Cast.  The Gossip Girl series has a spin off called The Carlyles.

More teen book reviews can be founf at the Plattekill B.O.A.T. site; click here.


Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman

From the Book :

“Julie and Ashleigh, high school sophomores and Jane Austen fans, seem to fall for the same Mr. Darcy-like boy and struggle to hide their true feelings from one another while rehearsing for a school musical.”

I really enjoyed this book.  It had humor, it had drama, and a little romance; but not enough so that it was too sappy. Highly recommended for Jane Austen fans. 

Cool Site

A recent site that I found lists series books and their order.  Very helpful!!

Hot Books for a Cool Summer 

Thanks to Debra Golden at the John G. Borden Middle School Library in Wallkill for providing these summer reading lists.  These books are recommended (NOT REQUIRED) to get you ready for the upcoming school year, and for fun.

6th-7th Grade

Here are some recommended series books :

  • Dear America

“You are probablt already familiar with these wonderful diaries of girls around your age who have seen hardship and accomplishment in another time and place.  Exciting settings include aboard the Titanic, a slave plantation, the gold rush, and more.”

  • My Name is America

“Just like the Dear America books, except these journals are written from a boy’s point-of-view.  Many of these are great for kids interested in military history.”

  • My America

“This series provides easier to read books than the series listed above, but contains the same thrills.”


Story time : a grim fairy tale by Edward Bloor

“Imagine going to a school in which you spend every moment taking tests.  Add to that a diet of health shakes and the terror of a demon on the loose; it’s a fun and wild ride.”


Scajawea by Joseph Bruchac

“Learn more about the amazing teen who was a wife and mother as well as Lewis and Clark’s guide on the dangerous and thrilling journey of a lifetime.”


Stealing Freedom by Elisa Carbone

“This is the exciting true story of an adolescent girl who hides in plain sight in her escape from slavery in the mid-nineteenth century…a chilling adventure.”

(By the same author…Last Dance on Holladay Street is a very good historical fiction book about frontier life in the 1870’s.)


The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman

“It is 1849, and Gold Fever has struck.  Lucy is not happy when mom packs up her kids and heads west to run a tent/boarding house in a dirty, small California town.”


The Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo

“A deserving Newbery Award winner, this novel tells of a brave mouse, bent on chivalry and winning the heart of a princess.”

(If you like this, you may also like the Redwall series by Brian Jacques.)


The Sacrifice by Kathleen Benner Duble

“The phenomenal novel places the reader in 1692 Massachusetts where the witch hunts and trials are tearing families and communities apart.  Powerful read.”


Joey Pigza Loses Control by Jack Gantos

“Joey suffers from ADD, and unless he takes his meds, Joey is out of control.  A summer with his dad proves disastrous as Dad tries to improve Joey’s ball playing and allow him to feel ‘normal’ by taking away his medicine in this funny and touching novel.”


Running out of time by Margaret Peterson Haddix

“It is 1996, but Jessie only knows life in the 1840’s as her family lives in a reconstructed village of that time, until she is thrust into the present on a mission to save her friends from a horrific disease.”

The trouble with lemons by Daniel Hayes

“Tyler and Lymie are best friends who always find trouble.  Their adventures begin in an off-limits quarry when they are suddenly attacked by a dead body.”


Stowaway by Karen Hesse

“This novel is based on the true story of an adolescent boy who in 1768 escaped abuse by hiding out on a ship, only to discover that it would be circling the globe captained by legendary explorer, James Cook.  This is a great adventure tale.”

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Jason’s Gold by Will Hobbs

“This thrilling adventure takes place during the Yukon Gold Rush, as 17 year old Jason must battle freezing weather, wild rivers, steep mountains, and more in his quest to reach his brothers and obtain the ultimate prize…gold.”

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James Printer : a novel of rebellion by Paul Samuel Jacobs

“Raised by Englishmen in Connecticut, James Printer feels little connection to his Indian community, but as war breaks out between the colonists and Native Americans in 1675, he is torn between the two worlds, neither one of which he truly belongs to.”

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The color of my words by Lynn Joseph

“Ana Rosa loves life in the beautiful Dominican Republic until the government tries to take her family’s land away in this sweet and touching novel.”

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The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

“The princesses who reign over the kingdoms of Digitopolous and Dictionopolous have been kidnapped.  Only Milo, with the help of some truly zany characters, can return them to their thrones in this very ‘punny’ book.”

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin

“The first in a trilogy, this book introduces the reader to Ged, a young man who is studying to be a wizard.  He opens a door and releases a demon who will haunt him on his worldwide travels until his name is spoken.  This is a brilliant, clever fantasy.”

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Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo

“This novel is the first in a series about Charlie Bone, a descendent of a powerful king.  Charlie is away at boarding school when he discovers his odd magical powers.  He is drawn into a dangerous mystery surrounding a missing girl.  Great for Harry Potter fans.”

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Jip, his story by Katherine Paterson

“Found on a dirt road as a toddler, Jip is forced to grow up on a poor farm.  Only his friendship with a lunatic and his relationship to a mysterious stranger can open up Jip’s eyes to his real identity.”

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Lyddie by Katherine Paterson

“Lyddie goes to work in a Lowell, Massachusetts mill in the mid-1800’s to save her family farm.  She discovers the key to escaping horrific working conditions and sheer exhaustion is through knowledge and education.”

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The rifle by Gary Paulsen

“Paulsen traces the history of one of the most perfect guns ever crafted, from its involvement in the Revolutionary War to the war being fought for ‘freedom’ by today’s militia members.  This short novel packs a powerful punch.”

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I was a rat by Philip Pullman

“In this hilarious Cinderella’ish story, a lad has all of England convinced that he ‘was a rat’.  His transformation and the involvement of a princess makes for an exciting tale.”

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Rimshots : Basketball Pix, Rolls, and Rhythms by Charles R. Smith

“This awesome collection of basketball-related poetry and photography is exciting and fun to read.”

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The case of the missing marquess by Nancy Springer

“Enola Holmes, the teenage sister of supersleuth Sherlock proves that crime fighting runs in the family as she searches for a runaway royal who is later kidnapped.”

 7th-8th Grade: 

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Peter and the starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

“This is the exciting story of how an orphan named Peter had many adventures on land and on sea, which lead him to discover Neverland and become the original lost boy, Peter Pan.”

Out now : the second prequel to Peter Pan, “Peter and the Shadow Thieves”.

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Tangerine by Edward Bloor

“All Paul wants out of life is to play soccer and survive his teenage years.  However, being legally blind and having a menacing brother makes things tough for the 7th grader, who eventually proves that hsi vision is clearer than anyone else’s in Tangerine Co., Florida.”

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Al Capone does my shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

“Imagine living on Alcatraz Island with the toughest criminals as neighbors.  Moose has many adventures with the warden’s wayward daughter in this funny and sad story.”

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Code Orange by Caroline Cooney

“Mitty is a real slacker in school.  However, a project on infectious diseases come to life for him as he comes in contact with ancient small pox scabs, and he becomes part of a terrorist plot to obtain the deadly virus.”

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Jump Ball : a basketball season in poems by Mel Glenn

“From our 2005 Guest Author comes a collection of poetry written from the perspective of high school students celebrating an exciting year of basketball glory as well as showing us the toughest issues of teenagers today.”

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Among the hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

“A population crisis has caused the world government to enforce a law in which each family may have no more than 2 children.  Once the ‘thirds’ or hidden children make contact with each other, they seek to find strength in numbers to merely survive.”

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Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Once Cinderella marries Prince Charming, she realizes life in the castle is not so ‘happily ever after’.  Ella must seize the opportunity to free herself from the suffocating life of royalty.

Eye of the beholder by Daniel Hayes

“Tyler and Lymie set the world on fire as they recreate famous sculptures in their garage, and an innocent joke gets very much out of control in this cosmic tale.”

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Seeing the blue between by Paul Janeczko

“My favorite poetry anthology for young adults, this collection blends great poems along with great advice from the poets on how to untap your potential as a writer.”

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Oh those Harper Girls by Kathleen Karr

“Lily Harper is the youngest of six sweeet and spirited sisters who are first led into a life of crime and then thrust upon the stage of this 1869 adventure.”

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Silent to the bone by E.L. Konisburg

“A boy’s sister dies a tragic death.  As long as he refuses to speak, he will not be able to profess his innocence.  It is up to his best friend and a creative game of cards to uncover the truth.”

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Son of the mob by Gordon Korman

“Vince Luca has everything money can buy or anything that his mobster family can steal.  In this hilarious novel, a teen realizes hoow tough it is to hide who you are when you are the son of a mob king and your new girlfriend’s dad is an FBI agent.”

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Can of worms by Kathy Mackel

“Mike cannot possibly belong to his perfect parents in his perfect home.  He feels so ‘alien’ that he decides to send a message out to the galaxy and is utterly amazed by the creatures that show up to claim him as their own.”

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Bull’s Eye by Sue Macy

“One of the best sharp-shooters in American history, Annie Oakley toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in addition to so many other unladylike accomplishments.”

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A boy at war : a novel of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer

“The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor has great significance to Adam, whose father is stationed on a ship there.  This short novel captures the chaos and impact of the time.”

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Private Peaceful by Michael Morpogo

“Thomas Peaceful, an English teen, lies about his age to join his brother on the front lines in World War I.  Experience the trauma of trench warfare in this horrific war novel.”

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Stones in water by Donna Jo Napoli

“This novel deals with an aspect of the holocaust unknown to most; the abduction of Italian teenagers and their enslavement in Nazi labor camps.  Two boys effectively illustrate the meaning of friendship and kindness under the most dire circumstances.”

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 In my hands : memories of a Holocaust Rescuer by Irene Gut Opdyke

“In this true story, 17 year old Irene works as a maid in Poland for a Nazi officer.  Once he discovers that she has been hiding Jews in his posh villa, Irene must make intensely difficult sacrifices to save them all.”

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Eragon by Christopher Paolini

“Written by a teenager, this novel of dragons, wizards, and witchcraft makes an excellent choice for Harry Potter fans looking for something of a higher level.”

Also: the sequel “Eldest”, and look for the Eragon movie coming out this winter.

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Brian’s return by Gary Paulsen

“In this gripping [entry in] the series that began with Hatchet, Brian must come full circle and return to the woods to relive the most significant adventure of his life.”

Read the rest of the series:

  • Hatchet
  • The River
  • Brian’s Winter
  • Brian’s Return
  • Brian’s Hunt

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Freak the mighty by Rodman Philbrick

“Max is an extraordinarily large boy with an even larger heart, as he saves one of his classmates, Worm, from a frightening home life.  The pair set out on a fantastic adventure across the country in search of her father.”

Also one of our 2006 Battle of the Book books.

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Clockwork, or all wound up by Phillip Pullman

“This tiny book is exceptionally frightening, as it tells the classic tale of a man whose heart was torn from his body and replaced with a clock…he haunts others all the time…like clockwork.”

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Esperanza rising by Pamela Munoz Ryan

“Esperanza is ripped from her comfortable life in Mexico as the daughter of a wealthy rancher and forced to migrate to the US and endure the tough reality of farmwork.”

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Neighborhood odes by Gary Soto

“One of the greatest poets of today, Soto writes of the excitement and simplicity of living in a Hispanic neighborhood with this collection of poems.”

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Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood mummy by Wendelin Van Draanan

“Sammy Keyes is a sleuth extraordinaire as she travels to Hollywood to solve her latest mystery.  If you like this one, try the other Sammy Keyes books as well.”

  • Sammy Keyes and the hotel thief
  • Sammy Keyes and the skeleton man
  • Sammy Keyes and the sisters of mercy
  • Sammy Keyes and the runaway elf
  • Sammy Keyes and the curse of Moustache Mary
  • Sammy Keyes and the search for Snake Eyes
  • Sammy Keyes and the art of deception
  • Sammy Keyes and the psycho kitty queen
  • Sammy Keyes and the dead giveaway

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Miracle’s boys by Jacqueline Woodson

“The lives of three brothers are torn apart after their mother dies, and 18 year old Ty’ree must give up his chance to go to college to care for his brothers, one of whom is just returning from a juvenile detention center.”

8th-9th grade:

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Before we were free by Julie Alvarez

“Anita De La Torre enters her teen years feeling safe in her homeland, the Dominican Republic, until her uncle goes missing, her father starts receiving strange calls and visitors, and eventually the nation’s leader turns up at her home…dead.”

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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

“Freshman year is difficult, especially when you begin the year as a social outcast.  The police busted up a huge summer party, thanks to Melinda.  No one will ever know the real story behind her call to the police until Melinda learns to find her voice again and speak.”

Also check out the movie!

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The complete collected poems of Maya Angelou by Maya Angelou

“Enjoy this collection of soulful poetry from one of America’s best contemporary poets.”

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Hope was here by Joan Bauer

“Hope is starting all over, as her aunt moves her once more, this time from NYC to sleepy Wisconsin.  The move proves to be more exciting than Hope expected as she gets a job, adjusts to a new school, finds a father, and meets a guy in this sweet romantic comedy.”

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Wandering warrior by Da Chen

“Prophesied to be the future king of China, orphaned Luka must keep his identity a secret as he trains to be a Kung Fu warrior.  Well written by a local author.”

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The house on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

“Growing up as a Latino city girl, Cisneros uses her own experiences in the great collection of stories of a young teen dealing with life in the Latino section of Chicago.”

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Roughnecks by Thomas Cochran

“This is THE football book to read.  Travis is a high school senior in a southern town where football is the only way of life.  Roughnecks chronicles the day leading up to the most important game of Travis’s life.  See if he will meet the challenge.”

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Athletic shorts by Chris Crutcher

“This collection of six sports-themed stories powerfully illustrates some real teen issues including racism, bullying, relationships, etc.  The characters, borrowed from Crutcher’s novels, are wacky, frightening, and some are downright hilarious.”

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Keeping the moon by Sarah Dessen

When Colie’s mom transforms herself from poor and obese to a wealthy, healthy fitness guru, Colie’s life does not necessarily improve.  A summer trip to North Carolina along with a little romance helps her shed her Goth fashion sense and poor attitude.”

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Keesha’s house by Helen Frost

“Written in verse from different character’s points of view, this novel tells the story of teens facing different crises in their lives and having different results overcoming them.”

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On the Fringe edited by Donald Gallo

“This is the greatest collection of short stories by wonderful writers assembled for those kids who feel that they do not fit in with the ‘in crowd’.  It really should be read by all students, however, to see how silly high school cliques really are.”

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Fat kid rules the world by K.L. Going

“Combine a seriously huge HS Student and a homeless, rocker just barely out of school and you will experience adventures both funny and frightening in this novel written by a Wallkill graduate.”

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Turnabout by Pargaret Peterson Haddix

“In a wild science experiment gone wrong, two elderly ladies begin to unage.  As every year passes, they get younger.  In the year 2085, the girls, now 16 years old, must find a way to survive and maintain their privacy in this science fiction thriller.”

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You don’t know me by David Klass

“John has a tough enough time dealing with math class, the tuba, and his desire for ‘glory Hallelujah’, the hottest girl in school.  This does not compare to the trauma he suffers at the hands of ‘the man who is not his father’ in this amazing dark comedy.”

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The realm of possibility by David Levithan

“This fabulous collection of poems introduces us to a variety of teens dealing with love for the first time from the strong athlete and his anorexic girlfriend to the two boys looking to each other for romance, and so much more.”

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Slot machine by Chris Lynch

“Elwin has 2 weeks of sports camp in which he will be matched up with the best sport for him to play in high school.  His attempts at athleticism are hysterical as he tries to find the one activity that will cause the least amount of broken bones and damaged ego.”

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145th Street : short stories by Walter Dean Myers

“Every emotion is represented in this wonderful collectionof short stories.  NYC sets the scene for the sad and funny and bittersweet tales this neighborhood experiences.”

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Ties that bind, ties that break by Lesley Namioka

“Imagine growing up in a welathy, turn-of-the-century China, where all decisions are made for you by your family.  You must even bind your feet to ensure a good marriage.  One girl heroically challenges the ritual, her family, and all of society.”

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Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa

“With her Quincenera coming up, tomboy Violet Paz is forced into discovering the feminine side of her as well as coming to appreciate her Cuban heritage.”

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The body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci

“Chris Creed is missing.  He might be dead, but one of his classmates is desperate to know what really happened to the loner, Creed, as he creates a website to collect clues in this clever and chilling mystery.”

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Angus, thongs, and full-frontal snogging by Louise Rennison

“This export from Britain is the wild diary of 15 year old Georgia, who is desperately trying to get the attention of the SG (sex god), learns how to kiss, and survive girlhood.”

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Finding our way by Rene Saldana

“This wonderful short story collection features Hispanic characters each with a distinct voice and life experience to share.”

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Stuck in neutral by Terry Trueman

“Imagine what your life would be like if you were stricken with a terrible disease that prevented you from any communication or having any control over your body.  It gets worse when you discover that your dad wants you dead.  From your 2005 guest author.”

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So yesterday by Scott Westerfeld

“Hunter is a ‘cool hunter’ in NYC as he looks for the latest fads to market to kids.  When his boss is kidnapped and a prototype of sneakers that will rock the industry is discovered in an empty warehouse, a real great suspense thriller ensues.”

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Hard love by Ellen Wittlinger

“John and Marisol would make the perfect couple, if not for the fact that he is definitely not like the other people she dates.  This hip duo shares some interesting experiences.”

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If you come softly by Jacqueline Woodson

“This beautifully written novel, set in Manhattan, realistically portrays true romance between a black teen and his white girlfriend.”

Again, thanks to Debra Golden for providing these lists.  Happy reading.