Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Literature and Language Arts
These titles are located throughout the library; please find the location in the catalog by clicking on the title.
Allison, Dorothy. Bastard out of Carolina. Bone confronts illegitimacy, poverty, the troubled marriage of her mother and stepfather, and the stigma of being considered “white trash” as she comes of age in South Carolina.
Alvarez, Julia. In the Time of the Butterflies. The four Mirabel sisters were called the Mariposas, or butterflies. Dede, the only survivor, tells the story of courage that helps liberate the Dominican Republic from the dictator Trujillo.
Anderson, Laurie Halse. Speak. Calling the police to a party is a tough choice, but what made Melinda call is the devastating secret that keeps her locked in silence.
Anderson, M.T. Feed. In this society your brain cyberfeed provides an endless stream of information, entertainment and advertising. When Violet’s feed is disrupted, she’s cast adrift and everyone is forced to examine the power of the feed in his/her life.
Bagdasarian, Adam. Forgotten Fire. Based on a true story from the Armenian holocaust, this is an eloquent, touching and heart-wrenching portrait of pain and triumph during a time of tragedy.
Butler, Octavia. Parable of the Sower. Lauren Olamina, who suffers from a hereditary trait called “hyperempathy” that causes her to feel others pain physically, journeys north along the dangerous highways of 21st century California.
Chambers, Aidan. Postcards from No Man’s Land. Seventeen is an age of self-discovery, and Jacob has gone to Amsterdam to explore his life. His quest strangely parallels discoveries about his grandfather’s life there during World War II.
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening. Edna Pontellier, an unhappy wife and mother, discovers new qualities in herself when she visits Grande Isle, a resort for the Creole elite of New Orleans.
Cisneros, Sandra. Caramelo. LaLa learns the stories of her Awful Grandmother and weaves them into a colorful family history. The “caramelo”, a striped shawl begun by her Great-Grandmother, symbolizes their traditions.
Crutcher, Chris. Whale Talk. What does a guy do when he has all the talents to be a star athlete, but hates his high school athletic program?
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. Crime and Punishment. A sensitive intellectual is driven by poverty to believe himself exempt from moral law.
Freymann-Weyr, Garret. My Heartbeat. Can Ellen get the boy who loves her brother?
Gibbons, Kaye. Ellen Foster. Casting an unflinching yet humorous eye on her situation, eleven-year-old Ellen survives her mother’s death, an abusive father and uncaring relatives to find for herself a loving home and a new mama.
Heller, Joseph. Catch-22. In this satirical novel, Captain Yossarian confronts the hypocrisy of war and bureaucracy as he frantically attempts to survive.
Kaplow, Robert. Me and Orson Welles. What would it be like to spend a week with the great Orson Welles, even sleeping in his pajamas? Richard Samuels, a budding teenaged actor, gets the opportunity to see what life on stage and behind the stage is really like on Broadway in 1937.
Kingsolver, Barbara. The Bean Trees. Taylor Greer leaves Kentucky and heads west to find a new life. When a baby is abandoned in her car, she learns that responsibilities and independence are not mutually exclusive in this story of family and community.
Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Advice to the fledgling writer: “Just take it bird by bird.” A gentle, anecdotal guide for beginning authors.
McCullers, Carson. The Member of the Wedding. A young southern girl is determined to be the third party on a honeymoon despite all advice.
Mah, Adeline. Chinese Cinderella: the True Story of an Unwanted Daughter. Wu Mei, also called Adeline, is the Fifth Younger Sister of her family, and the one who bears the blame for all their bad fortune. In her inspirational tale of survival in 1940’s China, she triumphs against all odds.
Malamud, Bernard. The Fixer. Victim of a vicious anti-Semitic conspiracy, Yakov Bok is in a Russian prison with only his indomitable will to sustain him.
Markandaya, Kamala. Nectar in a Sieve. Natural disasters, an arranged marriage and the industrialization of her village are the challenges Rukmani must face as the bride of a peasant farmer in southern India.
Mason, Bobbie Ann. In Country. After her father is killed in the Vietnam War, Sam Hughes lives with an uncle whom she suspects suffers from the effects of Agent Orange, and struggles to come to terms with the impact of the war on her family.
Myers, Walter Dean. Monster. Steve Harmon is accused of being an accomplice to murder. He creates a screenplay of his wrenching experiences at the crime scene, in jail and on trial.
Nye, Naomi Shihab. 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East. Another world, another culture – poems that personalize the conflicts and people, deepening understanding of the impact of September 11th.
O’Conner, Patricia. Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. When there’s something important to say, how you say it counts. Pronouns, antecedents, and more grammar-ology made fun and painless.
Power, Susan. The Grass Dancer. Ending in 1980 with the love story of Charlene Thunder and Harley Wind Soldier, this multigenerational tale of a Sioux family is told in the voices of the living and the dead.
Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass. Lyra Belacqua, a young girl living in an alternate Oxford, and her daimon, Pantalaimon, set out to find her kidnapped playmate and uncover a sinister plot. Now Lyra must use her special powers to thwart evil and redeem the world.
Reynolds, Sheri. A Gracious Plenty. What happens to us when we die? Finch Nobles, a cemetery keeper with horrible burn scars, talks to the dead and helps them examine what keeps them tied to the earth.
Satrapi. Marjane. Persepolis. Growing up in Iran wasn’t all that bad, or all that different, except that Marjane wanted to be a prophet when she grew up. Dramatic black-and-white illustrations tell her story.
Sebold, Alice. Lucky. “You save yourself or you remain unsaved.” With these words, Sebold recounts the brutal rape that she was “lucky” to survive. Tragedy and hope combine as she makes her way through a survivor’s maze of emotions.
Yolen, Jane. Briar Rose. Disturbed by her grandmother’s version of Sleeping Beauty, Rebecca seeks the truth behind the fairy tale.
List adapted from www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists/obcb for Glendale Public Library
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