"Poole"-side Reading List

“Poole”-side Reading List  for Summer 2018  

A selection of titles generated by Mrs. Poole, members of the MHS Book Club, and winning titles from the 2018 “MHS Drop Everything And Read Day.”


Baker, Chandler. Alive.

Stella Cross's heart is poisoned. After years on the transplant waiting list, she's running out of hope that she'll ever see her eighteenth birthday. Then, miraculously, Stella receives the transplant she needs to survive. Determined to embrace everything she came so close to losing, Stella throws herself into her new life. But her recovery is marred with strange side effects: Nightmares. Hallucinations. A recurring pain that flares every day at the exact same moment. Then Stella meets Levi Zin, the new boy on everyone's radar at her Seattle prep school. Stella has never felt more drawn to anyone in her life, and soon she and Levi can barely stand to be apart. Stella is convinced that Levi is her soul mate.  After all, the heart never lies...does it?

Cline, Ernest. Ready Player One. In the year 2044, Wade Watts, like the rest of humanity, chooses to escape reality and spends his waking hours in the limitless, utopian virtual world of the OASIS, but when Wade stumbles upon the first of the fiendish puzzles set up by OASIS creator James Halliday he finds he must compete with thousands of others--including those willing to commit murder--in order to claim a prize of massive fortune.

Davis, Lane. I Swear.

After years of abuse from her classmates, and thinking she had no other options, Leslie took her own life. Now her abusers are dealing with the fallout. In the eyes of the accused girls, they are not to blame: Leslie chose to take her life. She chose to be the coward they always knew she was. As criminal proceedings examine the systematic cyber bullying and harassment that occurred, the girls vow to keep their stories straight and make Leslie seem weak. But as the events leading up to her death unfold, it becomes clear that although Leslie took her own life, her bullies took everything else.

De La Cruz, Melissa.  Alex & Eliza.

Based on the imagined courtship of two historical figures, the story seamlessly weaves together fact with fiction, resulting in a tale that is interesting and engaging, that sparks curiosity about the lives of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, and that gives these two real-life characters personality and voice.

Doerr, Anthony. All the Light We Cannot See. (2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.)

Shifting among multiple viewpoints but focusing mostly on blind French teenager Marie-Laure and Werner, a brilliant German soldier just a few years older than she, this novel has the physical and emotional heft of a masterpiece. The main protagonists are brave, sensitive, and intellectually curious, and in another time they might have been a couple. But they are on opposite sides of the horrors of World War II, and their fates ultimately collide in connection with the radio-a means of resistance for the Allies and just one more avenue of annihilation for the Nazis.

Dumas, Alexandre. Count of Monte Cristo. (Abridged version recommended!)  

Set against the turbulent years of the Napoleonic era, Alexandre Dumas's thrilling adventure story  is one of the most widely read romantic novels of all time. In it the dashing young hero, Edmond Dantès, is betrayed by his enemies and thrown  into a secret dungeon -- doomed to spend his life in a dank prison cell. The story of his long years in captivity, his miraculous escape, and his revenge creates a dramatic tale of mystery and intrigue and paints a vision of France that has become immortal.

Hawkins, Paula. Into the Water.

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged. Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother's sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from--a place to which she vowed she'd never return.

Holder, Nancy and Debbie Viguie. The Rules.

High school junior Robin Brissett accompanies her best friend, Beth, to the hottest party of the year knowing there will be alcohol, drugs, sex, and a scavenger hunt designed to scare and thrill, but this year the school's elite are not the hunters but the hunted.

Larson, Susan B. Defy.

Seventeen-year-old Alexa's parents were killed by a sorcerer during a raid, so she has disguised herself as a boy, joined Antion's army, and earned a place on Prince Damian's guard--but Antion is ruled by an evil king, and "Alex" must find a way to defeat him and protect her prince.

Leviathan, David. Every Day.

Every morning A wakes up in a different person's body, in a different person's life, learning over the years to never get too attached, until he wakes up in the body of Justin and falls in love with Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon.  How do you stay with the one you love when every day you are someone else?

Lyga, Barry.  I Hunt Killers.

Seventeen-year-old Jazz learned all about being a serial killer from his notorious "Dear Old Dad." Believing he can fight his own urges and right some of his father's wrongs, Jazz helps the police catch the town's newest murderer, "The Impressionist," but, in doing so, he discovers he may have more in common with his father than he thought.

McManus, Karen M. One of Us is Lying.

Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive.  Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule. Sports star Cooper only knows what he's doing in the baseball diamond. Bad boy Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life. And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won't ever talk about any of them again. He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it's no accident. All of them are suspects. Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you'll go to protect them.

Nijkamp, Marieke. Before I Let Go.

Corey and her family left Lost Creek seven months ago, and it's been hard to leave behind her best friend, Kyra. Both girls grew up in Lost Creek, but Kyra's mental illness drove a wedge between her and other residents, with Corey caught in the middle. Just before Corey's planned trip back to Lost Creek, Kyra is found dead, leaving Corey just five days to uncover what happened and say goodbye to her friend. Told through a combination of flashbacks and present-day passages, this complex coming-of-age tale focuses on Corey's thoughts and feelings and lets readers immerse themselves in her pain and her drive for answers.

Niven, Jennifer.  All the Bright Places.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death. Every day he thinks of ways he might kill himself, but every day he also searches for—and manages to find—something to keep him here, and alive, and awake.  Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her small Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school—six stories above the ground— it’s unclear who saves whom. Soon it’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. . . .

Schindler, Holly. A Blue So Dark.

Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura's dad left them. Convinced that ""creative"" equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked and together may offer an escape from her fears.

Tolkien, J.R.R. Lord of the Rings.

The classic telling of the great quest undertaken by the hobbit Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring, to journey across Middle-earth and cast the One Ring, filled with the power of the Dark Lord Sauron, into the Cracks of Doom.  Much more mysterious and rich than just watching the movie.

Yoon, Nicola. Everything, Everything.

The story of a teenage girl who's literally allergic to the outside world. When a new family moves in next door, she begins a complicated romance that challenges everything she's ever known. The narrative unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, texts, charts, lists, illustrations, and more.  

Zoboi, Ibi Aanu. American Street.

After her mother is detained by immigration officials, Fabiola Toussaint has to finish her move from Port-au-Prince to Detroit alone. The tough cousins and exhausted aunt who greet her in Michigan bear little resemblance to the warm family she had dreamed of when she was in Haiti. Left with a mother-sized hole in her life, Fabiola begins the unsteady process of assimilation. A sweet romance and her cousins' fierce and complex support ease the teen into a halfway space between worlds, but her eyes remain on the prize of reuniting with her mother. When Fabiola is approached by the police to inform on her cousin's volatile boyfriend in exchange for information about her mother, she must work around the gaps in her understanding to make some explosive decisions.


Fleming, Candace.  The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, & the Fall of Imperial Russia.

History comes to vivid life in Fleming’s sweeping story of the dramatic decline and fall of the House of Romanov. Her account provides not only intimate portraits of Tsar Nicholas; his wife, Alexandra; and the five Romanov children, but it also offers a beautifully realized examination of the context of their lives—Russia in a state of increasing social unrest and turmoil. This story is complemented with generous excerpts from letters, diaries, memoirs, and more that are seamlessly interspersed throughout the narrative. All underscore the incredible disparity between the glittering lives of the Romanovs and the desperately impoverished ones of the peasant population. Strongly recommended for those who think reading history is dull  - this is fascinating and well-written.

Gaiman, Neil. Norse Mythology.

A retelling the classic stories of Norse mythology, filled with adventures and misadventures of the Norse gods and goddesses.  The myths are transformed into short stories that lead the reader onward to Ragnarök, the twilight of the gods. Giants, ogres, dwarves, fantastic beasts, and the occasional human freely mingle with Thor, Odin, Loki, Freya, and other, less well-known gods and goddesses, all of whom are passionate, flawed, weird, and divinely entertaining. A spectacularly entertaining and elucidating collection of stories with wide crossover appeal.

Hawking, Stephen and Leonard Mlodinow. The Grand Design. Stephen Hawking and Caltech physicist Mlodinow Leonard explain the cosmos according to quantum theory; provide answers to whether there is something rather than nothing, why people exist, and why a particular set of laws exist rather than not or some other; and describe how scientists use the "M-theory.”

Lamy, Matt.  Dead Strange.

This amazing collection contains entries on everything from the bizarre to the horrific, and from the spooky to the just plain confounding. The book gives essential background information on the events and the people involved, discusses the impact of particular myths and beliefs, and provides updates on the latest investigations being undertaken in an attempt to find answers to these baffling phenomena.

McDonough, Brendan. My Lost Brothers.

This is a harrowing story of heroism in the face of natural disaster. It perfectly illustrates the kind of teamwork and camaraderie that informed the legendary squad of hotshots working to save their hometown from utter destruction by fire. As the least likely guy ever to become a hotshot, Brendan McDonough more than lives up to his role after having been taken underwing by Granite Mountain leader Eric Marsh. That he has been able to keep on even keel as the Yarnell Hill Fire's lone survivor, having lost his mentor and his best friends, speaks volumes about his character and is a lasting testimony to the strength of his lost brothers.

Perry, Tyler.  Higher is Waiting.

This is a spiritual guidebook, a collection of teachings culled from the experiences of a lifetime, meant to inspire readers to climb higher in their own lives and pull themselves up to a better, more fulfilling place. In this intimate book, Tyler Perry writes of how his faith has sustained him in hard times, centered him in good times, and enriched his life.

Shakur, Tupac. The Rose that Grew from Concrete.  

A collection of poetry written by the rapper between 1989 and 1991, before he became famous. The poems are passionate, sometimes angry, and often compelling. Selections are reproduced from the originals in Shakur's handwriting, personalized by distinctive spelling and the use of ideographs (a drawing of an eye for I, etc.), and complete with scratch outs and corrections.

Skloot, Rebecca.  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Examines the experiences of the children and husband of Henrietta Lacks, who, twenty years after her death from cervical cancer in 1951, learned doctors and researchers took cells from her cervix without consent which were used to create the immortal cell line known as the HeLa cell; provides an overview of Henrietta's life; and explores issues of experimentation on African-Americans and bioethics.

Tenzer, Debbie. Do One Nice Thing: Little Things You Can Do to Make the World a Lot Nicer.

This book is filled with thoughtful ideas on how to make life a little better for everyone. The stories are so moving - and so many people have been motivated to help children, animals, families, students, and US soldiers serving here and abroad. This is a great, easy, and moving read which makes me want to make the world a better place - with small acts every day.

Westover, Tara. Educated.

Westover was raised in an alternative Mormon home in rural Idaho.  Formal schooling wasn't a priority because her parents believed that public education was government indoctrination and that Westover's future role would be to support her husband. But her older brother's violence and their family's refusal to acknowledge problems at home resulted in the teen contemplating escape through education. Admittance to Brigham Young University was difficult. Westover taught herself enough to receive a decent score on the ACT, but because of her upbringing, she didn't understand rudimentary concepts of sanitation and etiquette, and her learning curve was steep.  Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention, a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes, and the will to change it.