Students Entering Grade 8: Summer Reading List

Choose one title and complete the required Notes for September Book Discussion worksheet! 

if none of the recommended titles below appeal to your child, your child may choose any grade-level book that better matches their interests. Click here for the Notes for September Book Discussion worksheet.

  • Angel of Greenwood by Randi Pink               
    Isaiah Wilson is, on the surface, a town troublemaker, but is hiding that he is an avid reader and secret poet, never leaving home without his journal. Angel Hill is a loner, mostly disregarded by her peers as a goody-goody. Her father is dying, and her family’s financial situation is in turmoil.  Though they’ve attended the same schools, Isaiah never noticed Angel as anything but a dorky, Bible toting church girl. Then their English teacher offers them a job on her mobile library, a three-wheel, two-seater bike. Angel can’t turn down the money and Isaiah is soon eager to be in such close quarters with Angel every afternoon. But life changes on May 31, 1921 when a vicious white mob storms the Black community of Greenwood, leaving the town destroyed and thousands of residents displaced. Only then, Isaiah, Angel, and their peers realize who their real enemies are.

  • Blood Will Tell by April Henry                                       
    When a woman's body is found in a Portland park, suspicion falls on an awkward kid who lives only a few blocks away, a teen who collects knives, loves first-person shooter video games, and obsessively doodles violent scenes in his school notebooks. Nick Walker goes from being a member of Portland's Search and Rescue team to the prime suspect in a murder, his very interest in SAR seen as proof of his fascination with violence. How is this even possible? And can Alexis and Ruby find a way to help clear Nick's name before it's too late? 

  • The Burning by Tim Madigan, adapted by Hilary Beard                                                                                                                                                                                                          The Burning recreates Greenwood at the height of its prosperity, explores the currents of hatred, racism, and mistrust between its Black residents and Tulsa's White population, narrates events leading up to and including Greenwood's devastation, and documents the subsequent silence that surrounded this tragedy.   Delving into history that's long been pushed aside, this is the true story of Black Wall Street and the Tulsa Race Massacre, with updates that connect the historical significance of the massacre to the ongoing struggle for racial justice in America.
  • Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo                                 
    Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…  In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.  Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.  And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other. 
  • Code of Honor by Alan Gratz                                                       
    Kamran Smith has it all. He's the star of the football team, dates the most popular girl in school, and can't wait to join the Army like his big brother, Darius. Although Kamran's family hails from Iran, Kamran has always felt 100% American. Accepted. And then everything implodes. Darius is accused of being a terrorist. Kamran refuses to believe it, but the evidence is there― Darius has been filmed making threats against his country, hinting at an upcoming deadly attack. Kamran's friends turn on him―suddenly, in their eyes, he's a terrorist, too. Kamran knows it's up to him to clear his brother's name. In a race against time, Kamran must piece together a series of clues and codes that will lead him to Darius―and the truth. But is it a truth Kamran is ready to face? And is he putting his own life at risk? 
  • Discovering Wes Moore (Young Adult version) or The Other Wes Moore (Adult version) by Wes Moore 
    Two kids named Wes Moore were born blocks apart within a year of each other. Both grew up fatherless in similar Baltimore neighborhoods and had difficult childhoods; both hung out on street corners with their crews; both ran into trouble with the police. How, then, did one grow up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader, while the other ended up a convicted murderer serving a life sentence? Wes Moore, the author of this fascinating book, sets out to answer this profound question. In alternating narratives that take readers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of surprising redemption, Discovering Wes Moore/The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a generation of boys trying to find their way in a hostile world.
     
  • Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Gene understands stories―comic book stories, in particular. Big action. Bigger thrills. And the hero always wins.  But Gene doesn’t get sports. As a kid, his friends called him “Stick” and every basketball game he played ended in pain. He lost interest in basketball long ago, but at the high school where he now teaches, it's all anyone can talk about. The men’s varsity team, the Dragons, is having a phenomenal season. Each victory brings them closer to their ultimate goal: the California State Championships.  Once Gene gets to know these young all-stars, he realizes that their story is just as thrilling as anything he’s seen on a comic book page. He knows he has to follow this epic to its end. What he doesn’t know yet is that this season is not only going to change the Dragons’s lives, but his own life as well.
  • The Grand Escape by Neal Bascomb                                                         
    At the height of World War I, as battles raged in the trenches and in the air, another struggle for survival was being waged in the most notorious POW camp in all of Germany: Holzminden. A land-locked Alcatraz of sorts, it was home to the most troublesome Allied prisoners―and the most talented at escape. The Grand Escape tells the remarkable tale of a band of pilots who pulled off an ingenious plan and made it out of enemy territory in the biggest breakout of WWI, inspiring their countrymen in the darkest hours of the war.
  • Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann 
    In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma, thanks to the oil that was discovered beneath their land. Then, one by one, the Osage began to die under mysterious circumstances, and anyone who tried to investigate met the same end.  As the death toll surpassed more than 24 Osage, the newly created Bureau of Investigation, which became the FBI, took up the case, one of the organization's first major homicide investigations. An undercover team, including one of the only Native American agents in the bureau, infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest modern techniques of detection. Working with the Osage, they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Graphic Novel or Novel-in-Verse)                                         

    A cannon. A strap.
    A piece. A biscuit.
    A burner. A heater.
    A chopper. A gat.
    A hammer.
    A tool
    for RULE

    Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what 15-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

  • Nyxia by Scott Reintgen                           
    What would you be willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune? Emmett Atwater isn't just leaving Detroit; he's leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family. Forever. Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.  But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human. 
  • One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt 
    Carley uses humor and street smarts to keep her emotional walls high and thick. But the day she becomes a foster child, and moves in with the Murphys, she's blindsided. This loving, bustling family shows Carley the stable family life she never thought existed, and she feels like an alien in their cookie-cutter-perfect household. Despite her resistance, the Murphys eventually show her what it feels like to belong—until her mother wants her back and Carley has to decide where and how to live. She's not really a Murphy, but the gifts they've given her have opened up a new future.
     
  • Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt 
    The two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt delivers the shattering story of Joseph, a father at 13, who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter. After spending time in a juvenile facility, he’s placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. Here Joseph, damaged and withdrawn, meets 12-year-old Jack, who narrates the account of the troubled, passionate teen who wants to find his baby at any cost. In this riveting novel, two boys discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires.
     
  • Pride by Ibi Zoboi
    Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.
     
  • Slay by Brittney Morris 
    By day, 17-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.” But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”
     
  • A Song Only I Can Hear by Barry Jonsberg                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
    Rob Fitzgerald is determined to impress Destry Camberwick, the perfect new girl who he’s devastatingly in love with. But that’s a difficult task for a painfully shy wallflower who’s prone to panic attacks and would rather hang out with his granddad all day.  That is, until he starts getting mysterious text messages from an unknown number with challenges designed to encourage him to venture outside his comfort zone. Is Rob Fitzgerald on the road to getting the girl? Or will fear keep him out of the spotlight forever?  Powerful, moving, and full of heart and humor, A Song Only I Can Hear is a delightful novel about dreaming big, being brave, and marching to the beat of your own drum.
  • You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
    Liz Lighty has always believed she's too black, too poor, too awkward to shine in her small, rich, prom-obsessed midwestern town. But it's okay -- Liz has a plan that will get her out of Campbell, Indiana, forever: attend the uber-elite Pennington College, play in their famous orchestra, and become a doctor. But when the financial aid she was counting on unexpectedly falls through, Liz's plans come crashing down . . . until she's reminded of her school's scholarship for prom king and queen. There's nothing Liz wants to do less, but despite her devastating fear of the spotlight she's willing to do whatever it takes to get to Pennington.The only thing that makes it halfway bearable is the new girl in school, Mack. She's smart, funny, and just as much of an outsider as Liz. But Mack is also in the running for queen. Will falling for the competition keep Liz from her dreams . . . or make them come true?
     

Click here for the Notes for September Book Discussion worksheet.

If you are having difficulty finding and acquiring a text for summer reading, please click here to email Nancy Aiken in the Curriculum Department.