Fourteen-year-old Ponyboy is a greaser, a social outcast locked in an endless struggle with the Socs, wealthier kids from the other side of town. He is fairly content with his life, however, because he has his brothers and his friends, a close-knit group who would do anything for each other. Then one night the fight between the greasers and the Socs goes too far and Ponyboy’s life is changed forever.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
At Hailsham, their boarding school, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy live a nearly idyllic life, though they are denied most knowledge about the outside world. But Hailsham is hiding a secret. Why are the students really there? A modern classic with a mystery sure to grip readers.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs
This autobiographical account of one woman’s life in slavery and subsequent escape North is a a valuable addition to the tradition of the slave narrative as it focuses on the unique experiences of being a slave and a woman. Jacobs’ story
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Set in a New England boarding school during WWII, A Separate Peace chronicles the friendship between two boys: Gene, an introvert, and Phineas, an outgoing athlete. Gene’s jealousy of his best friend ultimately results in his fighting the real war inside.
Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paula Marshall
The daughter of Barbadian immigrants, Selina Boyce grows up in the 1930s and 1940s in Brooklyn, torn between her mother’s dream of educating her family and her father’s dream of returning to Barbados. A powerful coming-of-age story.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
An overworked group of farm animals rebels against their human masters to create a utopian society. However, their ideals of equality are quickly abandoned.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
When his pilot suffers a heart attack, crashing their small plane into the Canadian wilderness, Brian is left on his own. Equipped only with a hatchet, he must find a way to survive and, eventually, make his way home.
The Chosen by Chaim Potok
Set in 1940s Brooklyn, The Chosen follows the friendship of two boys–one, an Orthodox Jew, and the other a Hasidic Jew, raised in silence by his father, who desires him to become a rebbe. A modern classic about navigating faith, friendship, and family.
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
Many years ago, the Dark Lord Sauron created the One Ring to subjugate the peoples of Middle-Earth. He was defeated and the Ring lost, until an unlikely Hobbit discovered it. Now, along with eight companions, the Hobbit Frodo is on a journey to destroy the Ring once and for all.