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High School Summer Reading Lists for 2013

20 books today's students are diving into — and why you may want to read them, too

All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy (1992)

The first novel in McCarthy's Border Trilogy follows a young Texas cowboy who drifts across the Mexican border after his father's death.

Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissinger (1990)

A year in the life of the Permian Panthers high school football team illuminates the lives of residents in a tiny, football-obsessed Texas town.

Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser (2003)

An unflinching piece of long-form investigative journalism examines the practices and proliferation of the American fast food industry.

Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson (2009)

A teenage girl comes to terms with her eating disorder and the resulting strained relationships with family and friends after her best friend dies of bulimia.

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett (2009)

Racial fissures of the early 1960s in the Deep South are revealed and explored in this story of African American maids in Mississippi and the privileged white women for whom they work.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan (2010)

This novel of two identically named teenagers living parallel, briefly intertwining lives explores themes of identity, sexuality and friendship.

Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer (1996)

The true story of Christopher McCandless, an idealistic young college grad who hiked on his own into the frozen Alaskan wilderness, with deadly consequences.

Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen (2006)

An elderly man living out his days in a nursing home recalls his life as a veterinarian for a traveling circus in a story about the human heart, and the bond it can develop with animals and people alike.

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel (2001)

After a cargo ship full of zoo animals sinks at sea, an Indian boy is trapped on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger — or is he? A meditation on, among other things, religion and spirituality and how they fit into modern life. Winner of the 2002 Booker Prize.

The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd (2002)

During the civil rights movement of the mid-'60s, a young white Southern girl goes on the lam with her family's African American housekeeper, hoping to solve the mystery of the mother who abandoned her.

Room, by Emma Donoghue (2010)

A woman and her 5-year-old son are held captive in a tiny room in which young Jack, who narrates the story, has lived his entire life.

Next page: The books you read in high school — or were supposed to have read. »

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