Summer Reading 11th

Galileo Suggested Summer Reading for 11thGraders


Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card, Sara Saedi/280 p./Memoir/2018

At thirteen, Sara Saedi uncovered a terrible family secret: she was breaking the law simply by living in the United States. Only two years old when her parents fled Iran, she didn’t learn of her undocumented status until her older sister wanted to apply for an after-school job, but couldn’t because she didn’t have a Social Security number. From discovering that her parents secretly divorced to facilitate her mother’s green card application to learning how to tame her unibrow, Sara pivots gracefully from the terrifying prospect that she might be kicked out of the country to the almost-as-terrifying possibility that she might be the only one without a date to the prom. This moving, often hilarious story is for anyone who has ever shared either fear.


The Fifth Season,N.K. Jemison/498 p./Fantasy/2015

This is the way the world ends…for the last time.A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.


†Fresh Off the Boat, Eddie Huang/276 p./Memoir/2013

This is the story of a Chinese-American kid in a could-be-anywhere cul-de-sac blazing his way through America’s deviant subcultures, trying to find himself, ten thousand miles from his legacy and anchored only by his conflicted love for his family and his passion for food. Funny, moving, and stylistically inventive, Fresh Off the Boat is more than a radical reimagining of the immigrant memoir—it’s the exhilarating story of every American outsider who finds his destiny in the margins.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot/369 p./Non-Fiction/2010

This book examines the experiences of the family of Henrietta Lacks, who, twenty years after her death in 1951, learned researchers took cells from her cervix without consent, which were used to create the immortal cell line known as the HeLa cell.


Kindred, Octavia Butler/287 p./Science Fiction/1979

Dana, a young black writer living in Los Angeles in 1976, undertakes a series of unexpected and dangerous trips into the year 1819 to rescue Rufus, the young son of a Maryland slaveholder.


*†The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold/328 p./Fiction/2002

In the weeks following her death, Susie watches life continuing without her–her school friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her family holding out hope that she’ll be found, her killer trying to cover his tracks.


*Murder on the Orient Express, Agatha Christie/263 p./Mystery/1934

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer. Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again . . .


Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro/288 p./Fiction/2005

Thirty-one-year-old Kathy, along with old friends from Hailsham, a private school in England, are forced to face the truth about their childhood when they all come together again.


Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Damian Duffy/240 p./Graphic Novel Version of Butler’s book (see above)/2017


Willful Machines, Tim Floreen/356 p./Science-Fiction/2015

In a near-future America, a sentient computer program named Charlotte has turned terrorist, but Lee Fisher, the closeted son of an ultraconservative President, is more concerned with keeping his Secret Service detail from finding out about his developing romance with Nico, the new guy at school, but when the spider-like robots that roam the school halls begin acting even stranger than usual, Lee realizes he is Charlotte’s next target.


*Free online version available.

†Contains mature language and themes.




Summer Reading FAQ


Why do summer reading?

Reading a book (or several books!) over summer will keep your brain active, which will mean you will be more prepared for the tough academic year ahead.


How do I choose a book?

Read the descriptions of the books on the opposite side of this page. What topics, descriptions, and genres spark your interest? If you can, visit the library or bookstore and actually look at the books in person – check out the covers, read a few pages, and read the extended summaries on the inside flap in order to help you make a decision. Sometimes, reading online reviews will give you an idea if you will like the book – try


Where can I find these books?

All of these books are available at the San Francisco Public Library. Their website ( has information about which books are available at the branches most convenient for you. If you would prefer to buy the book, many of these titles can be found at various bookstores – including used bookstores – in San Francisco and online retailers such as


What if I want to read a book that’s not on this list?

Go ahead! This list contains only a few suggestions – if there’s a different book that you’ve been interested in reading, please feel free.