Summer Reading List: High School

Updated: Jul 6

This July, the Mission Society is excited to launch our first summer reading list for high school students. Educator Brett Conrad, along with his colleagues Valerie Mattessich, Kate Overgaard, and Amy Maniscalco, have put together a selection of books, spanning different genres, topics, and author backgrounds that reflect the diversity of our communities.

We look forward to sharing our love of literature and learning each summer, and are thrilled to provide this resource for our high school students seeking out their next favorite read.


Take a look at the list below to find a new book to enjoy this summer!



All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson


Genre: Memoir, LGBTQIA+


Why You Should Read: Ranging from his childhood to his young adulthood, this memoir powerfully details the author’s joy and struggles as a gay, African American man.


American Street by Ibi Zoboi


Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Realistic Fiction


Why You Should Read: This story is both gritty and relatable as the protagonist immigrates from Haiti to Detroit and tries to adapt to American culture and attain the American dream A Pho Love Story by Loan Le


Genre: Romance, Young Adult


Why You Should Read: This love story is both compelling and incredibly sweet as the reader experiences “pho-bidden” romance between two feuding families and their restaurants. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo


Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Novel in Verse


Why You Should Read: This moving narrative is about family, loss, and forgiveness as two sisters — one in New York City, the other in the Dominican Republic — discover a long held secret about their father.


Dear Martin by Nic Stone


Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Social Justice


Why You Should Read: The efforts of the protagonist, Justyce, to achieve social justice and to determine his identity are incredibly powerful and captivating. Once you start reading it, this book is impossible to put down!

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley


Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller


Why You Should Read: This book is both a murder mystery and story about a young woman trying to inhabit two cultures. Readers get swept up by this thriller.

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley


Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller


Why You Should Read: This book is both a murder mystery and story about a young woman trying to inhabit two cultures. Readers get swept up by this thriller.

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka


Genre: Graphic Novel, Memoir


Why You Should Read: This book is a page-turner that invites the reader into the author’s life and shares vivid and relatable experiences about growing up. House Arrest by K.A. Holt


Genre: Realistic Fiction, Young Adult, Novel in Verse


Why You Should Read: This book is both easy to read and beautifully written, detailing the struggles of an older brother who would do anything to ensure his younger brother survives.

In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner


Genre: Coming of Age, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary


Why You Should Read: The characters in this book are extremely likable, and the descriptions of the settings in both Tennessee and Connecticut are gorgeous. Me (Moth) by Amber McBride


Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


Why You Should Read: This book is a modern ghost story where the characters embark on a road trip to understand their personal histories and to discover a brighter future. The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason


Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance


Why You Should Read: This story is incredibly moving as the characters struggle with both trauma, addiction, and family.


The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline


Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia


Why You Should Read: This futuristic and dystopian narrative is captivating as the characters try to escape from scientists who literally want to suck the marrow from their bones. They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker


Genre: Graphic Novel, Memoir, Historic


Why You Should Read: This graphic novel offers a different first-person account of the Japanese internment camps and helps readers to understand America’s actions during World War II in a deeper way.



Thank you to Brett Conrad, Valerie Mattessich, Kate Overgaard, and Amy Maniscalco for sharing this diverse, thoughtful summer reading list with our students. For more literacy learning resources, be sure to read Angela Shanté's article on our blog about combatting summer slide - she shares many amazing tips on incorporating a reading routine into your summer and year-round. If you have a K-8th grade student in your life, take a look at our summer reading list curated by Scholastic.

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