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My daughter needs to read a book over the summer for senior year.

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Initial post: Jul 6, 2010 11:08:03 AM PDT
this book needs to be school appropriate and age appropriate. She will most likely have to write and essay about it and make a project about it and present it to the class. She really likes mystery books and books that are based on true stories. Any suggestions would be very helpful. Please and Thank you for helping my daughter =]

Posted on Jul 6, 2010 1:15:17 PM PDT
Helen Smith says:
I have just recommended a book on another thread called The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective which is based on the true story of a murder in an English country house in 1860 but was written a few years ago and is written as brilliantly as though it is a fictional detective story. But I'm not sure how old your daughter is. If she's 17 or 18 I'd recommend it but suggest you read up on it a bit from the reviews - as it's about a child murder, that in itself is pretty unsavoury. But I'm squeamish and, though I don't remember the exact details of what's in the book, there wasn't anything to stop me recommending it. However there are no drug/sex references or anything like that.

Or how about The Remains of the Day - not a mystery and no true stories but it's beautifully written, again by a contemporary writer but set in the past. But maybe it wouldn't appeal to a young woman. I read it recently and loved it but it's about middle-aged people.

I always recommend The Great Gatsby to everyone - it's so beautifully written and would appeal to anyone 16-18 and above, I would think.

Another classic book that's good to read at about 17/18 is Brighton Rock (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition). If you haven't read it, it's a really gripping story about a young small-time gangster in post-war England - he's really not a very nice person - and how he tries to cover up a murder. But there's nothing disturbing in it for a young woman.

It will be interesting to see what other people suggest. There's quite a difference in suitabililty depending on whether she's 16 or 18 as I'm not clear what age she'd be for her senior year.

Posted on Jul 6, 2010 3:02:25 PM PDT
Helen Smith says:
I knew there was another one I ought to recommend! In Cold Blood is extraordinary. It's by Truman Capote and it's the story of two real-life murderers. It's brilliant. More for an 18 year old than a 16 year old, maybe.

I'm sure there are teachers here who will be able to swoop in and recommend age appropriate literary books. I could recommend any amount of non-mystery books e.g. I Capture the Castle which is about two sisters in England. Or Breakfast at Tiffany's (Essential Penguin), for example.

Posted on Jul 6, 2010 3:41:28 PM PDT
Scotsqueen says:
Summer reading choices from my child's school:

Rising ninth graders: Elie Wiesel, Night OR Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street

Rising tenth graders: Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 OR Charles Dickens, Great Expectations OR John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany OR Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

Rising eleventh graders: Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights OR Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns OR Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air OR Richard Wright, Black Boy

Rising twelfth graders: Philip Roth, The Plot Against America OR Kathryn Stockett, The Help OR Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club OR John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

Posted on Jul 6, 2010 4:05:36 PM PDT
Helen Smith says:
Aha! So if someone's going into their senior year does it mean they would be about to go into twelfth grade, Scotsqueen? I always forget how sophisticated young people are when they study literature - that Philip Roth book is the sort that's discussed on very high-brow arts programmes on TV over here. I haven't read it yet myself.

Posted on Jul 6, 2010 6:29:50 PM PDT
A. Boleyn says:
I agree that In Cold Blood would be an excellent choice and should hold a teenage girls interest

Posted on Jul 7, 2010 4:58:39 AM PDT
Before senior year in high school, my son read some books for AP English class - he read Atlas Shrugged, Snow Falling on Cedars. I would say that In Cold Blood is a great book, but rather scary for a young girl. Peace Like a River is a good choice and The Book Thief was excellent. If she wants to read of other cultures, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (China), or Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood are really good.

Posted on Jul 7, 2010 5:05:16 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 6, 2011 2:46:34 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2010 5:52:23 AM PDT
What about "My Antonia" by Willa Cather? My daugther, who the same age, read it this year and enjoyed it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2010 12:41:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 7, 2010 12:56:26 PM PDT
Aviva Lynne says:
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiel Hammett
The Skull Mantra by Eliot Pattison
Rebecca by Daphne Du Marier
The Orchid thief by Susan Orlean
the Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede
The Great Deluge by douglas brinkley
Endurance by Alfred Lansing
Tender is the Night by f. Scott Fitzgerald
The Chosen by Chaim Potok
The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson
John Adams by david McCullough
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin
Anna Karenina by Tolstoy
Jane Eyre by C. Bronte
Space by James Michener
Is Paris Burning by Larry Collins & Dominique Lapierre

Posted on Jul 10, 2010 2:15:48 PM PDT
janebbooks says:
The Thirty-Nine Steps (Oxford World's Classics) by John Buchan

I can think of no more "fun" than reading this spy classic and enjoying the literary trivia in the notes in this edition of the book. And more "fun" by viewing the films made from the book by Alfred Hitchcock and the latest and greatest
one on PBS Masterpiece Classics last fall.
An entertaining focus in examining Buchan's classic story and films is the lack of women in the book...and the
addition of female characters in the films/screenplay.
Read my review at the book site by clicking the blue title.

Jane, former bookseller
Jacksonville, Florida

Posted on Jul 10, 2010 2:36:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 10, 2010 2:42:28 PM PDT
I would recommend one of the numerous Arthur Upfield Mysteries (he died in 1964) because his works are totally unique to those of other mystery authors.

1. His historical backdrop is typically outback Australia, early 20th Century, up to about WW II -- anyone who wishes to get a real sense of Australian life during that period can glean it from his books.

2. Upfield's detective character is Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte, a man of mixed race (unusual in the period in which he wrote!), half Caucasian, half Aborigine.

3. Upfield worked as a farm hand for many years in Australia, (He was English but left home early on) all over the country so his writing reflects many actualities as background, such as the huge plague of rabbits and how those critters were dealt with (endless rabbit fence, government rabbit bureaus, etc.)

So, what I'm saying is that your daughter will go back to school with something very different and unique to what the other students have likely read. Specifically, I'd start with Murder Down Under, a.k.a., Mr. Jelly's Business [British original title]. I will also tell you that she will be immediately addicted to Upfield as is everyone who gives his books a try.

I would honestly have recommended something different than a mystery [cozy murder] but if that's what she likes then so be it. My second choice [mystery genre] would be one from the famous female author M.M. Kaye who penned Death in the Andamans (an excellent mystery about *two young gals* who encounter murder (not gory) during a summer vacation. Kaye wrote great historical wallpaper.

Non-mystery recommendation: Peyton Place. I put this into my own daughter's hand at age 14 and she loved it so much that (one her own) she went to the library and acquired Peyton PlaceReturn to Peyton Place which she loved even more. It was risque in the 1950s when Grace wrote it but it's *very* mild stuff now. It's a good book to launch a discussion on women breaking out of the home in the 1950s.

Best regards to your daughter.


In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2010 4:46:30 PM PDT
Mr. Medvedich, I am a social studies teacher and am always asked about books to read for getting ready for the AP US History test and for college. That being said, I would recommend O'Pioneers by Willa Cather, great book for a young lady to read as its about a strong women over coming hardship. I also like to have students read books by the author Sinclair Lewis, Mainstreet comes to mind as it deals with a city woman who marries a doctor from a small town and moves there with him. The clash of city culture vs. rural American culture is part of this story.

I noticed that Brave New World by Aldus Huxley wasn't on anybody's list. This book is amazing and my favorite book of all time. Very telling about the future when one considers when it was written. The issues in the book are still issues being debated today. 1984 by George Orwell is another classic that is a must read.

In terms of something related to mystery, I like the contemporary author Nevada Barr, her mysterys take place in National Parks. The author is a national park ranger who became a writer. Reading her books will hold her attention, will give her a window into a national park and would be easy for her to open that door for a report for down the road. A history of the park, a history of the writer and how she became interested in working in the park system etc. would be a direction she could head. Any of the books I've listed could have various angles that could be written about in an essay and a class report because they all have a relationship to events or lives in the present.

Hope that helps, if she is college bound, she needs to read some of the classics. I think a mix is a good way to go, read two books :) then pick one that would hold enough interest to turn into a report.

Good luck.

Posted on Jul 11, 2010 8:32:00 PM PDT
Thank you all so much. My Daughter is 17, she is reading up on all of the requests. We appreciate your help and once my daughter decides on which book I will be more than happy to tell all of you! Thank You again we really appreciate it!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 12, 2010 2:04:10 AM PDT
Helen Smith says:
Thanks, it will be really interesting to see which one she chooses - and whether or not she likes it!

Posted on Jul 14, 2010 6:39:49 AM PDT
I would recommend In Cold Blood or Crossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda. Crossing is a mystery/thriller, but it's set in high school, and is a great mix of literary, ethnic, and Young Adult fiction.

Author of Twenty-Somewhere - writing dreams into reality

Posted on Jul 14, 2010 4:06:54 PM PDT
I remember reading Blue is for nightmare, and its a series but its a great one. There is def mystery and its very very well written. It does target a young adult audience so it is rather 'clean' but great story line overall.

Posted on Jul 15, 2010 8:12:29 AM PDT
What about THE BOOK THIEF?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2010 9:03:46 AM PDT
The book The Help by Kathryn Stockett is on the best seller's list and is excellent! It is about what it was like being a black maid in high society white households in the early 1960s. Normally I read murder mysteries but this book was highly recommended so I decided to give it a try. It is very suspenseful. My college-aged daughter also couldn't put it down. It gives an intimate feel of what life was like for everyone during that time and what it took to change. The audiobook version is excellent as diction and southern accents of the readers are excellent. It would be easy to follow up with an essay and project for school.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2010 8:05:44 AM PDT
Patsarts says:
One of my all-time favorites that I shared with my daughter when she was about 17 was "Green Mansions" . . . it's about a young girl and her father, a botonist (can't remember for sure) who live in the rain forest. My daughter is in her 40's and still has two copies of this book and said it's still her favorite. Another is "Mrs. Mike" but it has a very sad, sad bit at the end and she said she'd never read another book until she knew it wouldn't make her cry like that again.

I'm a painter and "Rima" the "Bird Girl" from Green Mansions shows up in my art work a lot. Audrey Hepburn played Rima in the 50's movie version of the novel. I hope this helps!

Posted on Jul 17, 2010 5:14:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2010 8:17:13 PM PDT
Lark Spurr says:
Some of the older books are ones that I remember with fondness. e.g., How Green Was My Valley--takes place in Wales, has romance, miners' strike, conflict, insight--all aspects of life that any young adult could identify with and appreciate. Searching for Caleb, by Ann Tyler, is an all-time favorite and I think anyone would like it. Dicken's Great Expectation is fun to read at your daughter's age. Who wouldn't appreciate Mrs. Haversham still in her wedding dress after having been jilted at the alter many years ago. I liked the suggeston of someone re: Ray Bradbury--his science fiction is wonderful. And maybe Stranger in a Strange Land, just for fun. This is a topic of so many books, so little time, and I may come back with books I remember that MUST be on my list.

Posted on Jul 17, 2010 5:22:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 19, 2010 8:18:09 PM PDT
Lark Spurr says:
I'm back! How could I forget A Tree Grows in Brooklyn! Hope your daughter has a delightful experience with some of the books recommended.

Posted on Jul 17, 2010 7:17:17 PM PDT
Nineteen Minutes was amazing!! Seriously consider it!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2010 11:25:39 PM PDT
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a fantastic idea...I loved that book.

Posted on Jul 18, 2010 2:02:10 AM PDT
The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston- I read my senior year and wrote a paper on it. And I still have the book.. I find many of my friends have kept it on their book shelves all these years... very readable. Fugitive Pieces: A Novel is beautifully written and deals with the Holocaust- but is less widely read than something like Elie Wiesel's books. I would strongly second The Book Thief based on your explanation of what she likes to read... notably while it is marketed as YA in the US it was originally published and as adult fiction in Australia and was a best seller there. Also look at Isabel Allende's books- Eva Luna, The House of the Spirits are both on many school's required reading lists and many of her books are written with great historical detail especially in relationship to Latin America. They are also a great introduction to magical realism. If she wants something more mainstream -most the big bookstores have a summer reading table or two with all the traditional summer "required reads" on them- she could go browse! Hope she finds something she enjoys!
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Discussion in:  Literary Fiction forum
Participants:  35
Total posts:  42
Initial post:  Jul 6, 2010
Latest post:  Sep 2, 2010

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