This list was made in conjunction with the Senior School English Department. For more new and recommended books, follow SHBlibrary on Pinterest. The list is also available as a Google Doc.

Note on borrowing or buying these books: All of these books are available in the library and/or Overdrive (our ebook library) and can be borrowed for the summer. You can check the catalog here to see if the books are in: If you wish to purchase them and cannot find them locally, Book Depository ( has a wide selection of books and offers free international shipping.


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (available on Overdrive)

The hilarious journey of Arthur Dent and his friend Ford Prefect, who escape from Earth seconds before it is demolished and travel to a variety of galactic civilizations while gathering information for a hitchhiker’s guidebook. Read the entire trilogy! The next installment is The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (available on Overdrive)

Classic novel of 19th-century family life during and after the Civil War, in a household with four sisters. Alcott based the March family largely on her own real-life family.

Skellig by David Almond (available on Overdrive)

Unhappy about his baby sister’s illness and the chaos of moving into a dilapidated old house, Michael retreats to the garage and finds a mysterious stranger who is something like a bird and something like an angel…

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (available on Overdrive)

Margaret Simon, almost twelve, has just moved from New York City to the suburbs, and she’s anxious to fit in with her new friends. When she’s asked to join a secret club she jumps at the chance. But there are some things about growing up that are hard for her to talk about, even with her friends. Lucky for Margaret, she’s got someone else to confide in… someone who always listens.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (available on Overdrive)

Berlin, 1942: When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people in the distance.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (available on Overdrive)

In this gripping psychological thriller, ten formerly unconnected “guests” in a mansion on an isolated island must face their just punishments for crimes they had committed long time ago.  One by one, they are dealt with in ominous ways by an unknown force. Also recommended by this author: Murder on the Orient Express.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (available on Overdrive)

Katniss, a resourceful 16-year-old, narrates her own exciting and chilling story in a futuristic world where the country is divided into 12 districts — from the Über wealthy to the barely surviving. She is among the 24 teenagers pitched against each other in the annual battle-to-the-death TV reality show: The Hunger Games. All the actions, including the gruesome deaths and surprising twists of events, are caught on camera.  The sequels are Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

Over Sea, Under Stone (The Dark is Rising series #1) by Susan Cooper (available on Overdrive)

On holiday in Cornwall, the three Drew children discover an ancient map in the attic of the house that they are staying in. They know immediately that it is special. It is even more than that — the key to finding a grail, a source of power to fight the forces of evil known as the Dark. And in searching for it themselves, the Drews put their very lives in peril. The next installment is The Dark is Rising. Also recommended by the same author: Ghost Hawk.

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (available on Overdrive)

A powerful and suspenseful novel about high school politics, cruelty, and conformity.

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd (available on Overdrive)

Ted and his sister Kat watched their cousin Salim get on the British Airways observation device, The London Eye, but they never saw him getting off. No one knew what happened to Salim. The police do not have much information to go by. But, perhaps, one of Ted’s many theories could be the key in solving this mystery.

House of the Scorpion (Matteo Alacran #1) by Nancy Farmer

In a future world, young Matt is a perfect clone of the elderly (140 years old) Matteo Alacran, the “ruler” of a country called Opium. Once Matt’s vital organs are harvested to prolong Alacran’s life, he’s done for. Matt must escape. In this breathtaking and fascinating tale of survival, readers will see the strength of friendship and loyalty.

Vango: Between Sky and Earth by Timothee Fombelle (available on Overdrive)

A mysterious and athletic young man who, after surviving a shipwreck as an infant, lived on a small island until his home was invaded and his loved ones threatened. Vango’s heart-pounding adventures (around the time when World War II was about to begin,) took him to the many places, including an airship, a hidden monastery, and a posh hotel in New York City.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (available on Overdrive)

What happens when a baby is adopted by a graveyard full of (mostly) friendly ghosts? He learns all the ghostly knowledge and skills: fading, haunting, sliding from human sights. He also encounters strange and (often) frightening creatures: ghouls, sleers, hell hounds, and murderers. This is the 2009 Newbery Award winning title. Also recommended by the same author: Coraline

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner (available on Overdrive)

Set in a ruthless regime, an unlikely teenager risks all to expose the truth about a heralded moon landing. Also recommended by the same author: Tinder.

Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin

A sweeping saga eighteenth-century saga of growing-up, struggle, tradition and corruption. From an acorn of an idea about a real-life good Samaritan of yesteryear, the author has crafted a satisfying, if occasionally painful, novel that spans the lives of several fortunate and unfortunate young people of the day. Also recommended by the same author: The Wheel of Surya.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Teenagers Hazel and Augustus met at a support group for terminally ill cancer patients and their connection via witty and sophisticated dialogues and heart warming love for each other changed both of their lives (and death).

Looking for Alaska by John Green (available on Overdrive)

Sixteen-year-old Miles’ first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks. Miles goes there to look for the “great perhaps.” But what fills his year with both ecstasy and despair is Alaska, the girl who seems so alive and vivacious and yet so vulnerable. Also recommended by the same author: An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns

Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows that something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry; her sister seems scared of her and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out. Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself.

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm (available on Overdrive)

Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer. Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far? Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?

Stormbreaker (Alex Rider #1) by Anthony Horowitz (available on Overdrive)

They told him his uncle died in an accident. He wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, they said. But when fourteen-year-old Alex finds his uncle’s windshield riddled with bullet holes, he knows it was no accident. What he doesn’t know yet is that his uncle was killed while on a top-secret mission. But he is about to, and once he does, there is no turning back. The next installment is Point Blank.

The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

A forgotten door on an abandoned railway platform is the entrance to a magical kingdom–an island where humans live happily with feys, mermaids, ogres, and other wonderful creatures. Carefully hidden from the world, the Island is only accessible when the door opens for nine days every nine years. A lot can go wrong in nine days. Also recommended by the same author: Journey to the River Sea.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (available on Overdrive)

When a witch turns 17-year-old Sophie into an old woman, Sophie goes to live with the feared wizard Howl in his castle and becomes embroiled in the zany events that eventually lead to her happiness. This book is now a feature length animation by the Japanese animator, Miyazaki.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (available on Overdrive)

The Sinclair Family is tightly knit and loving. Or is it? Their wealth is so vast that they own a private island near Martha’s Vineyard and they all share. Or do they? The teenage cousins and family friends will never hurt one another. Or will they? What really happened on that fatal summer day? Will the readers ever really know?

The Call of the Wild by Jack London (available on Overdrive)

Buck, a sturdy crossbreed canine (half St. Bernard, half Shepard), is a dog born to luxury and raised in a sheltered Californian home. But then he is kidnapped and sold to be a sled dog in the harsh and frozen Yukon Territory. Passed from master to master, Buck embarks on an extraordinary journey, proving his unbreakable spirit.

The Giver (The Giver Quartet #1) by Lois Lowry (available on Overdrive)

Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back. The next installment is Gathering Blue.

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, the infamous fifteen-year-old public enemy by the name of Day is on the government’s most-wanted list for his alleged murder of a security personnel.  June, a prodigy soldier in the most prestigious school one can attend under the new testing system is hired to capture Day.  She soon discovered that perhaps Day wasn’t the public enemy and might not even be her personal enemy as she had presumed, and that maybe she should not have trusted the government or its guard dogs the way she had done for so long.  The sequels are Prodigy and Champion, rounding out an outstanding trilogy.

The Middle of Nowhere by Geraldine McCaughrean (available on Overdrive)

When her mother dies from a snake bite, Comity Pinny’s life in the middle of the Australian outback changes forever. Her father, Herbert, retreats into his work transmitting telegrams, abandoning Comity when she needs him most. Comity turns to Fred, the young Aboriginal yard boy and he becomes her only friend. But then a new assistant arrives who delights in playing cruel games. Soon Comity struggles to hold things together as events begin to spiral dangerously out of control.

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (available on Overdrive)

With an unusual narrator (the ghost of Jacob Grimm, the German folklorist), a small town that is subtly unsettling, and a villain that is truly creepy, this memorable story loosely based on the tale of Hansel & Gretel and that enticing but menacing gingerbread house gives readers two courageous teen protagonists and their life-or-death struggles against the inexplicable force of evil.

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (available on Overdrive)

In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey’s courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer’s son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?

A Step From Heaven by An Na

This story traces the life of Korean-born Young Ju from the age of four through her teenage years, from Korea to the States. Young Ju’s steady growth in language and understanding of the new culture presents a sharp contrast of her father’s inability to adapt to the new environment. Frustrated, her father becomes abusive. The not-all-happy ending is convincing and promises an uplifting path for the main character.

More Than This by Patrick Ness (available on Overdrive)

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies. Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive. How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place? As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife? Also recommended by the same author: A Monster Calls, The Chaos Walking trilogy

Wonder by RJ Palacio (available on Overdrive)

When home-schooled Auggie goes to school for the first time (in fifth grade) he has a lot to adjust to.  First, there are the stares and shocked faces all around him due to his facial deformity. Then, there are other unexpected disappointments and delights with new friends and altered relationships at home. Authentically told from many different perspectives, Wonder gives us a brave and funny young hero who faces life’s obstacles with gusto and with support from those who love him.

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

In 1985, 11-year-old Sudanese boy Salva ran away and left his entire family after an explosion that presumably wiped out his village.  He embarked on a long, cruel and treacherous walk, with many other lost boys, to safety and freedom. Salva’s true story is heart-wrenching and also inspirational.  A great short read!

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (available on Overdrive)

Jess meets a neighbor girl named Leslie who leads him to the magical world of imagination. This power of imagination also helps him get through one of the most terrible things that will happen to him. Also recommended by the same author: Jacob Have I Loved (available on Overdrive).

Wolf Brother (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #1) by Michelle Paver

Set six thousand years ago, when evil stalks the land. Only twelve-year-old Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat it. Their journey together takes them through deep forests, across giant glaciers, and into dangers they never imagined. The second installment is Spirit Walker.

Wee Free Men (a Discworld story) by Terry Pratchett (available on Overdrive)

When Tiffany Aching sets out to become a witch, she faces ominous foes and gains unexpected allies. As she confronts the Queen of Fairies and battles an ancient, bodiless evil, she is aided (and most ably abetted) by the six-inch-high, fightin’, stealin’, drinkin’ Wee Free Men. Laugh-out-loud humor and breathtaking action combine in the books that launched the unforgettable adventures of a determined young witch and her tiny but fierce blue friends. The next installment is A Hat Full of Sky.

West of the Moon by Margi Preus (available on Overdrive)

Astri is a young Norwegian girl desperate to join her father in America. After being separated from her sister and sold to a cruel goat farmer, Astri makes a daring escape. She quickly retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, they set off for America. With a mysterious companion in tow and the malevolent “goatman” in pursuit, the girls head over the Norwegian mountains, through field and forest, and in and out of folktales and dreams as they steadily make their way east of the sun and west of the moon.

Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman (available on Overdrive)

Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford’s Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however. Also called The Golden Compass. The sequels are The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Sam Westing has died. 16 people came to hear his will. It turns out that they are all related. The will says that someone has murdered Westing and the heirs have to solve a puzzle game in order to inherit the huge amount of money left by him. This is a fun-filled mystery.

Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve

What if everything we knew about King Arthur and his legendary feats is simply untrue? What are the real stories beneath all the bravery, generosity, wisdom, and romance? Prepare to be surprised and impressed by Philip Reeves’ fresh re-imagining of this famed leader.

Mortal Engines (Hungry City Chronicles #1) by Philip Reeve

“It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town across the dried-out bed of the old North Sea.” The great traction city London has been skulking in the hills to avoid the bigger, faster, hungrier cities loose in the Great Hunting Ground. But now, the sinister plans of Lord Mayor Mangus Crome can finally unfold. The next installment is Predator’s Gold.

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (available on Overdrive)

Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. Also recommended by the same author: The Percy Jackson Series.

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell (available on Overdrive)

As a baby, Sophie was found drifting on the English Channel after a shipwreck in a cello case.  She doesn’t believe that she’s an orphan even if everyone says so.  When the Welfare Agency threatens to send Sophie to an orphanage, she flees to Paris to look for her mother.

Holes by Louis Sachar (available on Overdrive)

“If you take a bad boy and make him dig a hole every day in the hot sun, it will turn him into a good boy.” is motto for Camp Greenlake. Stanley runs away to find pal Zero. Their journey to freedom becomes a battle with hunger, thirst and heat in the shadow of Big Thumb. The mountain is entwined in the Yelnats’ unlucky history. To get there means salvation.

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (available on Overdrive)

Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar, even though you’ve never been there before, or felt that you know someone well, even though you are meeting them for the first time? It happens.

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead (available on Overdrive)

When seventh grader Georges (the S is silent) moves into a Brooklyn apartment building, he meets Safer, a twelve-year-old coffee-drinking loner and self-appointed spy. Georges becomes Safer’s first spy recruit. His assignment? Tracking the mysterious Mr. X, who lives in the apartment upstairs. But as Safer becomes more demanding, Georges starts to wonder: how far is too far to go for your only friend?

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” A mysterious ad attracts dozens for mind-bending tests readers may try. Only two boys and two girls succeed for a secret mission, undercover and underground into hidden tunnels. At the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, the only rule is – there are no rules.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (available on Overdrive)

This introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent. Also recommended by the same author: The Lord of the Rings trilogy

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton (available on Overdrive)

Born with bird wings into a family cursed to be foolish in love, sixteen-year-old Ava delves into her family’s past hoping to understand her unusual nature and learn to fit in with her peers.  Is she prepared for the brutal and harsh realities that she must confront in the end?


Graphic Novels and Manga

Reborn by Akira Amano

Tsunayoshi Sawada (Tsuna for short) is a cowardly junior high student who doesn’t excel at academics or sports. He only attends school so he can stare at his beautiful classmate Kyoko from afar. But Tsuna’s life takes a dramatic turn when Reborn, a suit-wearing, gun-toting baby who claims to be an Italian hit man, shows up at his house.

Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama

Ghastly beheadings, bloody murders, and cold-hearted child abduction cases: precocious high school student Shin’ichi Kudo uses his keen powers of observation and astute intuition to solve mysteries that have left law enforcement officials baffled. Hot on the trail of a suspect, Shin’ichi is accosted from behind and fed a strange chemical which physically transforms him into a grade schooler!

El Deafo by Cece Bell (available on Overdrive)

Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece’s class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Then Cece makes a startling discovery. With the Phonic Ear she can hear her teacher not just in the classroom, but anywhere her teacher is in school–in the hallway…in the teacher’s lounge…in the bathroom! This is power. Maybe even superpower!

Preludes and Nocturnes (The Sandman #1) by Neil Gaiman

In 1916, Dream is captured and encased in a glass globe in a failed attempt by a fictional Edwardian magician (very much in the vein of Aleister Crowley) named Roderick Burgess to bind Death and attain immortality. Dream bides his time for decades until Burgess dies. Afterwards, his son Alexander becomes Dream’s new captor. Finally, in 1988, Alex’s guards grow careless and the guards watching him fall asleep in his presence, allowing Dream to use the sand from their dream to his benefit. When the guards awake and break the seal Dream was in, he is then able to escape. Dream punishes Alex by cursing him to experience an unending series of nightmares. The next installment is The Doll’s House.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

In a heartbreaking parting, a man gives his wife and daughter a last kiss and boards a steamship to cross the ocean. He’s embarking on the most painful yet important journey of his life- he’s leaving home to build a better future for his family.

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang

Readers are challenged to consider the meaning or the senselessness of armed conflicts by following two main characters and their stories. Little Bao and Four-Girl (Vibiana) are on two opposing sides of one historical event: the Boxers Rebellion in turn-of-20th-century China. Whose cause should the readers root for? Little Bao’s, in his fight against foreigners? Or Four-Girl/Vibiana’s, in her attempts to remain faithful to her new found religion and extend the reach of Christianity? Is there a third side?



The Family Romanov by Candace Fleming (available on Overdrive)

The fascinating life of Czar Nicholas II, his wife, Alexandra, and their children, their ostentatiously privileged upbringing, and their tragic deaths in the dramatic fall of the Russian Empire are captured in this moving and insightful biography.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (available on Overdrive)

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s remarkable diary has since become a world classic—a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit.In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death.

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill

A detailed visual narrative of Shackleton’s journey to Antarctica. This book takes the academic and historical information behind the expedition and reinterprets it for a young audience.

Treasury of Greek Mythology by Donna Jo Napoli

The tales of gods and goddesses such as Zeus, Aphrodite, Apollo, and Athena and heroes and monsters such as Helen of Troy, Perseus, and Medusa will fascinate and engage the imagination.

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin (available on Overdrive)

The stage is World War II; the characters are scientists, government officials, and spies; the drama is one of scientific triumphs, international espionage, and the race to win the war.  The stakes couldn’t have been higher and the storytelling couldn’t have been more compelling in this stellar, award-winning nonfiction.


Poetry and Short Stories

Jabberwocky and Other Nonsense by Lewis Carroll

34 of Carroll’s most appealing verses — nonsense verse, parodies, burlesques, more — including such unforgettable pieces as “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” “The Mock Turtle’s Song,” and “Father William,” as well as such lesser-known gems as “My Fancy,” “A Sea Dirge,” and many others.

Complete Poems by EE Cummings

Read and look at this unique poet’s work. You will constantly be pleasantly surprised.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (available on Overdrive)

You and Dr. Watson can attempt to figure out all the clues which Sherlock Holmes finds so simple.

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by TS Eliot (available on Overdrive)

These playful cat poems have delighted readers and cat lovers around the world ever since they were first published in 1939. They were originally composed for his godchildren, with Eliot posing as Old Possum himself, and later inspired the legendary musical Cats.

Nonsense Songs and Stories by Edward Lear (available on Overdrive)

Some of Lear’s best known poetry about real and imagined creatures, each characterized by the author’s irreverent view of the world and timeless, whimsical vision.

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Meet Backward Bill, Sour Face Ann, the Meehoo With an Exactlywatt, and the Polar Bear in the Frigidaire. You will talk with the Broiled Face, and find out what happens when someone steals your knees, you get caught by the Quick-Digesting Gink, and a mountain snores.

The Happy Prince and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde (available on Overdrive)

Wilde explores the human psyche and misery through these often melancholy, at times humorous and highly poetic literary fairy tales.