Catching Up on High School Summer Reading

Maybe memories of high school aren't too far in your distant past, or maybe your son or daughter is enjoying the remaining days of summer before high school starts, or maybe you know a high schooler who is dreading their assigned summer reading. Or, more realistically, you're like me and blew off those high school summer reading assignments until just days before school started and then just read the CliffsNotes. It's OK, I won't tell. I am guilty as charged. But if you're ever curious at what you might have missed, here is a roundup of some of the titles finding their way onto summer 2015 reading lists for some high schools in Chicagoland.

The Catcher in the Rye: Narrated by 16-year-old Holden Caufield, this classic tells the story of a boy who left prep school in Pennsylvania and goes to underground New York for three days. Complex and eloquent, this novel is an old standby on high school summer reading lists.

The Red Badge of Courage: A Civil War novel about a Union Army private, Henry Fleming, who flees the battlefield, this book is noted for its realism despite the fact that author Stephen Crane never experienced battle firsthand and was actually born after the Civil War.

Things Fall Apart is the complex and emotional story of Okonkwo, a warrior of the Umuofia clan, a lower Nigerian tribe. His father, Unoka, was cowardly and spendthrift and left many village debts unsettled at the time of his death. Okonkwo is haunted by the actions of his father and in response became a clansmen, a warrior and respectable family man.

In Cold Blood is Truman Capote's reconstruction of the murder of four members of the Clutter family. On November, 15, 1959, in the town of Holcomb, Kansas, Herbert Clutter, his wife and two of his four children were murdered. Capote investigates the murder as well as the capture, investigation and execution of the killers in this true crime story.

Rebecca: Taking place on the Cornish Coast, Rebecca is a novel of romantic suspense about the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter. She marries Maxim de Winter, an enigmatic man who she barely knows. The young bride finds the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, unnaturally devoted to Maxim's first wife and thus sets out to uncover the first Mrs. Maxim de Winter's dark secrets and shattering truths.

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