2022 Reading List: 100 Book Recommendations From Vis Readers

Ella Sukup, Arts, Culture, and Style Editor

As a holiday gift to you all, here is a list of 100 recommendations collected from 20 different readers in the Vis community.  I am so excited to share this list with you, and I hope that you can find at least one book on this list that sparks your interest!  Happy reading!


Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

“Frankl was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII. Through this novel, Frankl describes events that happened in the camps and how his mindset led him to survival.” -Elizabeth McCarr ’22


Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

“This is one of my comfort books and I read it probably every other month. The simple joys and tribulations of an adopted orphan on Prince Edward Island are more interesting than one might think. Everyone should read it at least once; it fills my heart with happiness.” -Ava Kirr ’23

Emma by Jane Austen

“My favorite Jane Austen book because the main character is the most realistic. There are times when you’re super annoyed but overall a really good story. Plus the most recent movie is really good and accurate to the book.” -Cady Pagel ’22

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

“This is one of Jane Austen’s lesser-known novels, but I think it’s one of the best!  She satirizes the gothic novels that were popular at the time but also makes fun of people who look down on those who read them for entertainment.  Her heroine Catherine is so compelling- funny and smart.” -Mrs. Miller

Collection of Essays

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliott

“Alicia Elliott seems to be documenting the important new and next generation’s indigenous voice in her profound autobiographical essays.  She is a young writer whose words and experiences of growing up half white, half indigenous on “The Res” in Canada are piercing and help us understand the centuries of abuse of indigenous peoples.  A really insightful and important read to understand Native culture and history.” -Señora Rosas


A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

“I myself love a good fairy tale retelling, especially Beauty and the beast. Mrs. Kemmerer has created a masterpiece with twists and turns to die for. While reading this book I never once got bored as the dialogue was enough to keep me awake for days.” -Lulu Oxford ’25

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

“The Alchemist taught me a lot about focusing on the journey of life and not the outcome.” -Ava Kirr ’23

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

“I love Jasper Fforde’s novels.  The more classic lit you read, the more fun his novels are, although you can enjoy them on their own terms.  He has created a world where what happens in books is real, and you can enter a book, meet the characters, and even accidentally alter the plot.  They are funny, and great escapism.” -Mrs. Miller

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

“This book was incredible because it portrayed an amazing message, unlike any other book I have read. I loved the philosophical quips and sentimental stories that filled this novel. There was so much packed into under 300 pages. I loved following Nora (the protagonist) on her journey because Haig wrote her as such a vulnerable and real person. Although this novel reads like a fantasy/science fiction novel, the ideas portrayed appeared completely believable to me. Haig has so much to say about the details of the space between life and death, and his writing about this space specifically for Nora Seed is impeccable.” -Ella Sukup ’22

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

This book shows a separation of one nation, one silver and one red. Red Queen is a striking story about a teenage girl who wants to know who she truly is and protect who she cares about. The plot twists had my head spinning and I absolutely loved it. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a book they won’t be able to put down for quite some time with also a spark of complicated romance. -Lulu Oxford ’25

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

“The story follows the Owens siblings who are direct descendants of the witch accused in the Salem Witchcraft Trials named Maria Owens. They have magic in their blood, and this comes as a blessing and a curse. They learn about the loss and struggle caused by the burden of magical abilities. This book ties together real American history and mythical tales to make a perfectly believable work of historical fiction and fantasy. I would HIGHLY recommend this book.  It was probably my favorite book I read in 2020.” -Ella Sukup ’22

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nahesi Coates

“This is a very well-written story of American slavery, the corruption, and abuse on plantations, escape for freedom, and forbidden love.  The Water Dancer is mostly historical fiction, but there are some fantastical aspects like the powers which Hiram learns to use for his benefit and the benefit of his allies.  Hiram was born a slave, and he was separated from his mother soon after birth.  When he nearly dies at the beginning of the novel, he realizes that he needs to escape the plantation to get the freedom he deserves.” -Ella Sukup ’22

Fiction, General

Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver

“If books were a comfort food, this would be mine. I revisit this book every so often when I need to feel warm and home again. Something about the book just feeds my soul. Taylor, the main character, moves back home to take care of her father, and she begins teaching at the local high school. All sorts of memories flood her mind and she faces the proverbial demons of her past.  It’s a spectacular and homecoming kind of read.” -Señora Rosas

Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

“This is the book that made 14 year old Señora Rosas fall in love with literature.  When I read about the little girl, Turtle, in the story, I kept picturing myself as a little brown toddler.  It was the first time I ever remember literally seeing a child that looked like me in a book. It was so powerful to see a little girl like me represented in a book. I felt my stories could be seen and heard, too. The story is excellent, and Kingsolver creates the most amazing female characters that we all want to be when we grow up ;)” -Señora Rosas

Before We Were Strangers by Renée Carlino

“Classmates who turned in a relationship at NYU are separated due to life experiences. Written in the point of view of both the male and female protagonists, this story portrays the romance of two individuals as students and later when they are reconnected.” -Elizabeth McCarr ’22

Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman

“A teenage boy becomes infatuated with the man staying at his home during the summer. This coming-of-age novel shows a friendship/romance between a surprising pair.” -Elizabeth McCarr ’22

Confess by Colleen Hover

“The protagonist, Auburn, stumbles upon an interesting job urgent for help. For two hours, she is a hostess for an art event. The artist paints pictures of people’s confessions. A person writes their confession on a slip of paper unanimously and the artist, Owen, paints the confession or his interpretation of it. Owen and Auburn grow a strong connection, but Auburn is unaware of the connection they shared in the past.” -Elizabeth McCarr ’22

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

“This book is hilarious! I especially enjoyed seeing the main character’s relationship with her boss and how she evolved in balancing her work with her relationships outside of her job. There is also a movie version, which is fun to watch too!” -Maura McMahon ’24

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

“Eleanor is a woman satisfied with a fine life but everything changes when she meets the IT guy at work, Raymond. He accepts her for who she is, her fine and not so fine parts!  This is a gentle story about mental illness.” -Mrs. Miley

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

“This was a coming of age story of three reunited siblings: Grace, Maya, and Joaquin. They overcome each of their personal and relationship problems together, protecting and supporting one another along the way. This is a perfect novel to read during the holiday season as a reminder to us of the importance of family and surrounding yourself with people who support you.” -Ella Sukup ’22

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

“This book follows the lives of two girls, Tully and Kate, as well as their families throughout their lives. The books relay a story of true friendship, love, and hardship. Hannah does an amazing job of allowing readers to appeal to each character at some point within the story.  This is easily my favorite book I have ever read.” -Ella Sukup ’22

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

“This book is everything: the plot contains countless twists, but there is also romance, family drama, and fascinating background on Ojibwe traditions and culture. I could not put it down!” -Grace Loonan ’24

“Daunis Fontaine is a biracial Native American teen whose life has been defined by tragedy. Through this, she has learned to balance the various roles she plays in her life, but all of this is disrupted when more and more people begin dying of mysterious causes in her tribal community. The bright spot in all of this is that she meets Jamie, a young and talented hockey star, but is he who he says he really is? This book has a very unique perspective of an Indigenous author writing about an Indigenous protagonist, and the combination of romance and mystery make it impossible to put down.” -Caroline Schlehuber ’22

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

“My favorite thing about this novel was the countless strong female characters. This was a hard book to read from an emotional perspective because there are so many very real struggles which the characters face. This novel is incredibly sad, but I believe that Adunni’s story is a must-read.” -Ella Sukup ’22

“[This book f]ollows Adunni, a teenage girl in rural Nigeria and her quest to receive an education and break free from the cycle of poverty. Adunni is denied the opportunity to attend school when she is placed in an arranged marriage at the age of fourteen.  This book is one of hope and resiliency, promoting the importance of education in order to find your voice.” -Emily Wollan ’22

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

“This book was a polished and descriptive telling of a story of a young boy who was in a museum bombing. The whole novel depicts how one event early in life can shape a person, and it also explains how a person can live on in the lives of those who surrounded them. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a well-written book which reveals the mental effects of tragedy, loss, and well-kept secrets.” -Ella Sukup ’22

The Guncle by Steven Rowley

“This was such a heartwarming and lovely book about two kids and their GUP (Gay Uncle Patrick) facing grief and finding family. Although the set-up is sad–the kids have to stay with Patrick for the summer because their mom dies of cancer and their dad goes to rehab–the book is mostly very funny. I loved it, I loved Patrick’s voice, and Rowley writes kids very well.” -Mrs. West

Heard It In A Love Song by Tracey Garcia Graves

“Layla is recently divorced and has newfound independence but he’s feeling lonely. Can she find love with a single dad at the school where she teaches or is that only just for love songs?” -Mrs. Miley

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

“I couldn’t put this book down!  This novel explores fate, the meaning of love, and friendship in a modern, face-paced world.  I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a book they can read in one sitting.” -Ella Sukup ’22

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

“I absolutely loved this book with my whole mystery-loving heart. I am a person who would die for a good mystery and this book just about sent me to the grave. Let me just say that if you are trying to get into reading and the only way you can is to just sit down and keep on reading, then you better pick this book. I recently just finished it and I have now started gabbing about it to my friends hoping they will read it.” -Lulu Oxford ’25

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hover

“The protagonist in this story grew up with an abusive father. She saw her mother be beaten by him. To help her through this hard time, she fell in love with a homeless boy. They are reconnected years later but the protagonist is conflicted because she’s found a new, handsome, and smart man. She faces obstacles but refuses to stay in the repeating cycle she experienced as a child.” -Elizabeth McCarr ’22

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

“And orphaned Irish immigrant girl is put to work with the slaves in the kitchen house. The story shows how she learns how to straddle both worlds of the big house up the hill and the kitchen house.” -Mrs. Miley

Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes by Kathleen West

“Well-intentioned helicopter parents get Uber involved in their children’s academic life. This is a story about adults behaving badly… Very badly! So happy to have the author as a teacher at Vis…she is so good!!!” -Mrs. Miley

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

“Daphne and Jackson Parrish appear to have the perfect life it’s a life that Amber envies and creates a plan to have Jackson for herself with Jackson. Watch how this plan reveals itself.” -Mrs. Miley

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

I loved this book because it demonstrated how knowing you only have a short time with someone makes the time you have with them even more special.” -Ava Kirr ’23

Unscripted by Nicole Kronzer

“One of just a few girls at a prestigious improv comedy camp, Zelda faces pressure on the top squad to both represent all women and to prove her worth. Kronzer writes with warmth and humor, and this is a quick affecting read.” -Mrs. West

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

“Desiree and Stella are twins that live in a peculiar town in Louisiana. Though they are African American, everyone in their town has an extraordinary light complexion. At age 16, the twins decide to run away. The story follows each of the twins and the separate lives they chose to live, ultimately bringing them back to the town they once ran away from.” -Elizabeth McCarr ’22

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

“This book tells the story of Kya, the ‘Marsh Girl’, and her joys and struggles in her isolated life on a marsh along the coast of North Carolina. This book is unique, in my opinion, because of the vivid imagery used to describe the natural world around Kya. The novel, written by a wildlife scientist, includes descriptions of nature and individual species which could only be written by someone who has spent much time researching this North Carolina marsh ecosystem. I really enjoyed reading this novel because of the perspective of the author and the intense plot.” -Ella Sukup ’22

Historical Fiction

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

“The narrator of this book was Ana, a fictional character written as the wife of Jesus. She is a scribe who shares the stories of women in a time when the lives and desires of women are not typically recorded.  As a Catholic woman, it is very interesting to see a female perspective (although fictional) of the biblical stories we have heard so many times.” -Ella Sukup ’22

The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak

“This book is one that I have read over and over again, it started as being assigned summer reading for 8th grade English but after that it is one that I have always come back to. Personally, this book is a great representation of the power of kindness and words even in a time when those were not valued, as it covers the adolescence of a young girl who befriends a Jewish man in Nazi Germany.” -Grace Keeley ‘24

Chocolate Cake with Hitler by Emma Craigie

Chocolate Cake with Hitler is about Helga Goebbels’ life which is a girl whose father had worked for Hitler. Her life was mostly behind doors but in the book, we are given an insight of what life was like during WWII.” -Kayla Vo ’25

Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat

“[This book n]arrates the disappearance of seven-year-old Claire Limyè Lanmè Faustin within the small Haitian town of Ville Rose. The perspective changes throughout the novel from the different townspeople and their various connections to Claire and the town’s history. Painstakingly reflective, this book highlights the interconnectedness of us all, including our desire for connection.” -Emily Wollan ’22

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

“It was full of suspense, heartbreak, friendship, adventure (and more!) in addition to being incredibly well written. I loved being able to reread it multiple times, finding a new exciting detail each time; I never get bored of this book and it’s one I can always turn to when I need a good read.” -RJ Jones ’24

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“This novel is in a interview format. “The Six,” a band, takes on a new member: Daisy Jones. This story tackles issues like drug abuse, infidelity, and rock n’ roll.” -Elizabeth McCarr ’22

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

“This may be my favorite work of historical fiction by Kristin Hannah that I have read yet, topping the infamous, The Nightingale.  The novel revealed the true hardship of women living in the Great Depression. The main character Elsa was absolutely amazing, and I love how she developed and found herself throughout the novel.  I hope that you can enjoy this book just as much as I did!” -Ella Sukup ’22

“Texas, 1934 in the great plains during depression. You can taste the dirt in your mouth during the time of the dust bowl in Texas. Elsa is fighting for the lives of her family. She is trying to make something grow from nothing and eventually has to consider the move from Texas to California for their own survival. A story of great sacrifice!” -Mrs. Miley

Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

“Hannake is tasked with seeking, buying, and selling black-market goods in Amsterdam during WWII. One her clients secretly asks her if she’ll help finding a Jewish girl who she was hiding who disappeared. The ending of this story left me in shock…” -Elizabeth McCarr ’22

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

“Ernt, A former POW, moved his family to Alaska to live off the grid. He is unable to provide so his wife and daughter show their fight for survival in the story Of love loss and courage. An incredible connection to the land of Alaska!” -Mrs. Miley

“Set in 1974, this novel follows thirteen-year-old Leni Allbright, the daughter of Ernt Allbright, a former Prisoner of War during the Vietnam War who is deeply disturbed from the war. Feeling dissatisfied with their life in Seattle, Ernt rashly moves the family to a remote town in Alaska called Kaneq. The novel intensifies with family dynamics shifting quickly due to the fragile mental state of Ernt and the Alaskan wilderness. Leni and her mother are struck with harsh winter conditions as they struggle to survive and learn about the importance of asking for help. This novel is bitterly beautiful and draws you in right from the start.” -Emily Wollan ’22

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows

“Do not let the crazy title of this novel distract you from adding it to your reading list! What’s really unique about this novel is that it is written in letter format, so instead of chapters, it’s just letters exchanged between characters. Reading this feels like those cozy rainy days where you’re curled up with blankets and hot cups of tea. An added bonus is that there is a Netflix movie adaptation, and the movie is almost as good as the book! My favorite quote from the novel is on the very last page, and it reads, “Obsession with dignity can ruin your life if you let it”. Go read this book, enjoy a light romance novel, but also let yourself learn something from it too.” -Caroline Schlehuber ’22

Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship by L.M. Elliott

“As a big fan of the broadway musical, Hamilton, this was a great way to learn more about Peggy Schuyler, who is barely given any focus in the show. It was also interesting to see her role in the revolution as a woman as well as what her relationship with Hamilton looked like.” -Maura McMahon ’24

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

“2 half-sisters from Ghana west Africa are born without knowing about the other. One is given in marriage to a ruler while the other is involved in the slave trade. Follow alone how this fate impacts the lives of the next seven generations. A gripping story!” -Mrs. Miley

The Lost Girls Of Paris by Pam Jenoff

“Based in WWII, this book talks about the lives of three different female protagonists, in it, chapters switch off being narrated by each of the protagonists. Because this book comes from the perspective of three different women living extremely different lives, yet in the same time period readers get the opportunity to learn about three different situations and experience the connections between them as they slowly begin to collide. I particularly love this book because it highlights the power of feminism and strength in difficult conditions.” -Grace Keeley ‘24

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale tells the story of two sisters in France during the German occupation of Paris in World War II. The first, Vianne, is a mother whose husband is called off to war. She spends the entire book trying to keep her head down and get through the war– following the rules for rations, refusing to say anything against the German occupation, and even housing a German soldier when forced to. Her sister, Isabelle, is exactly the opposite. She openly opposes German occupation and spends the entire book working to become a spy for the Allies. However, both women reach their breaking point and everything they’ve spent their lives trying to build crumbles in an instant. What happens next? You’ll have to read to find out!  Perfect for fans of complex female characters, World War II books, historical fiction, and war novels.” -Erin McQuillan ’22

“Two sisters sheer their time during occupied France. One fights for the resistance and the other is married with a child trying to hold down some kind of life while her husband fights in the war. Both show incredible fight and resilience themselves!” -Mrs. Miley

“This book is quite possibly one of my favorite books of all time. I’ve read it three times and it seems as though it becomes even more profound with each read. Set in 1939 France, this World War II novel follows two sisters, Isabelle and Vianne, in their experiences within the Resistance against the Nazis. This heartbreaking yet earnest novel is a must-read, highlighting female strength and raw human nature. I find that this single quote encapsulates the message of this powerful read; ​​’But love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us.'” -Emily Wollan ’22

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

“Through the voice of Dinah, learn the lives and struggles of women in the old testament, Leah, Rachel along with the wives of Jacob. This is an intimate connection to the past.” -Mrs. Miley

The Round House by Louise Erdrich

“Louise Erdrich was one of my favorite authors to read when I was younger, as I loved The Birchbark House series. This book is set in the ‘80s on a reservation in North Dakota. The main character is a 13 year old named Joe. When his mother is kidnapped and attacked, his whole life changes. His mother remains silent and will not share who attacked her or where it happened. The story follows the unraveling of the truth and the reconstruction of Joe’s life after his mother was attacked. This book tells the story of family and deep connections.” -Ella Sukup ’22

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

“This is a shorter read that is simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking. The story is told from four different perspectives that all intertwine and make you want to keep reading!” -Grace Loonan ’24

“This book is written by one of my favorite authors! “Salt to the Sea” is a historical fiction set at the end of World War II in Prussia and East Germany which follows the lives of four teenage narrators- Emilia, Florian, Jana, and Alfred. All the characters are very different- among other differences, one is a Nazi soldier and one is a polish orphan. However, all of the narrators end up boarding the doomed Nazi vessel, the Wilhelm Gustloff, a shipwreck that killed over 9,000 people (six times the number of people killed in the titanic). It’s a beautiful story that has love, secrets, spying, and so much more!” -Erin McQuillan ’22

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

“If you are a fan of Greek mythology and heartfelt romance I recommend this book to you. You may want some kleenex around you when you read it but I promise it will be worth it 110%. It is an adaptation of Homer’s Iliad told from Patroclus’ perspective. This heart-wrenching tale is told with love, innocence, and boldness. There is no reason to not read this book unless you don’t want to shed a tear on a beautiful book.” -Lulu Oxford ’25

The Song of Achilles is a touching narrative that explores a classic myth, Achilles and Patroclus, and retells it in the form of an LGBTQ+ love story. This book is perfect for people who are fans of Percy Jackson, stories with LGBTQ+ protagonists, or just amazing books in general. I could not recommend this book more. Be prepared to sob!” -Erin McQuillan ’22

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

“This story follows the path of the tattooist, Lale, at the concentration, Auschwitz. His job is to tattoo prisoners as they enter the camp. Through his job, Lale receives special treatment and benefits. Inside the camp, Lale sees horror, experiences love, and build connections with unlikely people.” -Elizabeth McCarr ’22

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

“This book is an incredible narrative of two Afghan women during the 1970s and 80s. The first, Mariam, was born in the 1950s to a poor family with unmarried parents. Because of this, she is an outcast and eventually forced to marry a cruel and disgusting man. The other, Laila, is much younger. Laila is known for her beauty and expects a happy future from her life. But after her brother is killed in the war, her life changes dramatically. When she ends up pregnant and unmarried, she is forced into marriage and becomes a sister wife of Mariam. The rest of the story follows Mariam and Laila’s lives as they navigate the realities of life as an Afghan woman under Taliban rule. This is truly the most impactful and incredible book I have ever read.” -Erin McQuillan ’22

Juvenile Fiction

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juan Martínez-Neal

“I was recently invited to read a book to my daughter’s two-year-old toddler class for Hispanic Heritage Month. And it was the most wonderful storytime I’ve ever participated in.  Alma was the perfect book! This story is short and lovely and reminds us to honor where we come from, but also that we are here to write and leave our own mark with our unique life story. It teaches us to embrace our names and the ancestral past they hold.” -Señora Rosas


The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs

“I read this over the summer and I laughed and had my heart broken over and over with the honest and tragic words of Nina Riggs. A woman in her 30s dying of cancer has left this book as her legacy to her children, to her life well lived.  It will inspire anyone to live their life to its fullest.  I highly recommend it!” -Señora Rosas

The Glass Castle by Janette Walls

“[This] is my favorite memoir because of its sense of honest tone.  The author displays her struggles and takes readers through a journey of growing up through her life.  Definitely a worthwhile read!” -Camden Wright ’22

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

“This is the memoir of a young man who lost his parents at a fairly young age and ended up having to raise his younger brother. They form an unconventional family of two as he tries to cope with grief and being thrust into adult responsibility before he’s really ready for it.  He uses a lot of humor in how he describes his own thoughts and experiences, and the title was what really drew me in.” -Mrs. Miller

Maid; Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land

“This is a contemporary memoir of a young mother leaving an abusive relationship, and the complex system she has to navigate to meet her own and her daughter’s basic needs.  She depicts food and housing insecurity in very real terms.” -Mrs. Miller


City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

“A really interesting murder mystery from the perspective of Tina, a low-status gang member and a refugee from Congo. This kind of point of view isn’t typical in a murder mystery and added to the overall suspense of the book.” -Catherine Wollan ’22

Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell

“Frozen Charlotte invites the belief of haunted dolls into your mind, and the book left me looking behind myself while reading. It is filled with mystery and excitement, and the perfect book to read for the spooky season.” -Kayla Vo ’25

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

“A really great mystery that makes it hard to find the killer. Literally any of Agatha Christie’s books would be great as well!” -Cady Pagel ’22

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

“This is one of the many chapter books I have read entirely aloud (over the course of several weeks) to my oldest 2 daughters before bedtime.  This book had me laughing so hard, I was crying.  My daughters were rolling with laughter, too.  The protagonist is Aven, a red-headed spunky girl with no arms!  She is delightful and so are the friends she makes along the way.  I recommend reading this book aloud with a friend if you have the patience and time! You will laugh so hard!” -Señora Rosas

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

“This is a story about 5 teenagers, not all of them alive but all of them present. I liked how the author focused on how secrets can tear people apart and how a teenager’s social circle is a dangerously amusing thing. One simple thing can rock the boat and we see how this plays into our characters’ lives. I love how we see so much about our characters and can come to understand and appreciate them.” -Lulu Oxford ’25

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

“This book has one of the most interesting twists I have ever read. I actually figured out who the murderer was before they told us though ;)” -Cady Pagel ’22

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

“Agatha Christie is one of my favorite authors because of her intricate plots and well-developed characters, and this book is no exception. It’s one of my favorites because the plot is very well developed and suspenseful. It is also purely mystery rather than horror, so it’s the perfect book for someone, like myself, who wants to get in the Halloween spirit but still wants to sleep at night.” -Grace Keeley ‘24

The One by John Marrs

“Literally couldn’t put it down. This story is about a DNA matching test that determines who your ‘genetically perfect’ partner is. It follows 5 different people and how this test changes their lives– some people move across the world to be with their match, some people refuse to get the test taken, and some people ruin their previous relationships by finding out their match is someone else. There’s even a thriller aspect with murderers on the loose.” -Cady Pagel ‘22

Nonfiction, General

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

“You may know author Barbara Kingsolver for her highly acclaimed novels, but this autobiographical nonfiction work is nothing like those. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle tells the story of how Kingsolver and her family lived completely off the land for one year, only consuming what they grew in their own backyard. It also discusses the harsh effects that the industrial-food pipeline has on our planet, and how we can live more sustainable and healthier lives by gardening. As we all know, you really are what you eat.” -Caroline Schlehuber ’22

Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott

“Because I love to write, this book spoke deeply to me! I learned so much from it, not only about what it takes to be a writer, but what it takes to live your life and find happiness.  It’s a relatively short read and so worth reading at night before you go to sleep for the night.” -Señora Rosas

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

“This book tells the amazingly TRUE story about the Tarahumara/Raramuri people, a tribe in the Copper Canyons in Mexico that are some of the best ultramarathon runners in the world! It also features other ultrarunners, their lifestyles, and different philosophies about running. I love running, and so I loved this book, but I also think it tells a lot of really interesting stories that people might enjoy even if they don’t like to run :)” -Grace Loonan ’24

Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario

“This is my favorite book to read with Spanish IV-V Honors. We read it towards the end of the year, and I believe it has a transformative effect on all of us.  We begin to unpack the complexity of immigration between Central and North America.  It is an eye opening book, to say the least, and it helps us all understand the difficulties and the impossible situations surrounding the decision to immigrate.  This book seeks to humanize the migrant experience and restore the inherent dignity of the often traumatized children, women and men that seek a better life  and the American Dream in the USA.” -Señora Rosas

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

“It’s told in the form of a story but is the true account of teenage girls who took jobs painting watch dials with radioactive radium in the 1910s and 1920s.  They were not informed of how dangerous working with radioactive material was.  It’s a tragic but really interesting historical story.” -Mrs. Miller

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

“This book tackles two issues associated with relationships and communication between strangers. The two puzzles are how people have such a difficult time telling whether someone is lying and why you can sometimes get a better read of a person without actually meeting them than you would if you met them. I could not put this book down. Gladwell used examples from around the world and across time to explain the difficulties humans have had in interactions with strangers, and he does a fantastic job of tying his evidence together in his final argument.” -Ella Sukup ’22

Tattoos on the Heart by Fr. Gregory Boyle

“Fr. Greg Boyle is a master storyteller who humanizes and makes us understand and fall in love with the most marginalized and despised people of our society.  This book will give you hope in your times of despair for years to come.” -Señora Rosas

1000 Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

“This is the most beautifully, most poetically written book.  I bathed in the sheer beauty of Voskamp’s words.  She is a mother and quite frankly an extremely talented writer that can make the mundane seem heavenly.  She strongly reminds us that the most faithful and fullest way to live is by offering gratitude for each and every small thing we have: sunsets, our children’s smiles, the iridescence of dish soap bubbles.  It is such a gorgeous read.” -Señora Rosas


Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón 

“Ada Limón is one of my most favorite and beloved poets. Her poetry speaks to the human condition and what it means to be Latina, and it helps me gain hope when the heart just doesn’t feel it.  These are the poems and words that keep me feeling there is infinitesimal value in believing in change and living this one life to its fullest.” -Señora Rosas

Devotions by Mary Oliver

“Another of my most favorite poets of all times. My soul would never be full nor buoyant without Mary Oliver’s divine, beautiful poetry.  Her words uplift, make me cry with heartfelt delight and inspire me to aspire for a better future for nature, but more importantly, for my beautiful children and students.” -Señora Rosas

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

“What I love about this book is that it is written entirely in verse! Each chapter is a poem, long or short and it manages to tell the coming of age story of a young Afro-Latina growing up in New York. So different and so stunning.  A quick but powerful read for all ages and especially for women and girls of color.” -Señora Rosas

Science Fiction/Dystopian Fiction

Divergent by Veronica Roth

“If you love a dystopian novel as much as I do then I highly recommend this book. This book allowed my imagination to fly free. The characters and story are easy to relate to and you can put the characters’ choices in perspective.” -Lulu Oxford ’25

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

“[It has a r]eally interesting plot that I’ve never seen before.” -Cady Pagel ‘22

“You get to see the perspective of both the ‘villain’ and the ‘hero’.” -Catherine Wollan ’22

The Selection by Kiera Cass

“I absolutely love this book! I have probably read this book over 7 times and I am going to read it even more in the future. When I read this book for the first time I finished it in one sitting. I loved the romance and the pull of it so much that I just could not physically stop reading. The Selection series in general is one of my favorites and that will be true forever. Just know that Kiera Cass has written a masterpiece that has melted my heart many times and will continue to do so.” -Lulu Oxford ’25

The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee

“A good guilty pleasure.” -Cady Pagel ‘22

Zodiac by Romina Russell

“Each of the Zodiac signs is represented by a planet and its citizens, so it’s really cool to see the personality traits of the zodiac signs become personified.” -Catherine Wollan ’22

11/22/63 by Stephen King

“A really interesting story that has so many layers.” -Cady Pagel ‘22

Short Stories

Sabrina and Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

“These short stories are amazing. Fajardo-Anstine manages to establish a very unique narrative voice that is thoroughly haunting, moving and so relatable.  I love these short stories so much. Every young reader should read one or two of them!  I think some will in Mrs. Sutton’s English class! :)” -Señora Rosas


The Guest List by Lucy Foley

“If you like Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, then you will LOVE this modern take on it. This book takes place on an island off of Ireland where a wedding will be held. Everyone in this story has their own secrets, and all of them are revealed as masks are removed and people’s true identities are shown. I promise you will be on the very edge of your seat by the end of the book.” -Caroline Schlehuber ’22

Nightmare At 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories by Richard Matheson

“He is one of my favorite authors, especially in the horror genre. He provides an interesting insight into the minds of his characters and their motivations and does an incredible job building an entire world in just a few sentences. The twist at the end is definitely the best part of his writing; they are constantly unexpected, genius, and have more to do with the human mind than the supernatural. I can understand why many were made into Twilight Zone Episodes!” -Grace Bettenburg ’22

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

“The weight of silence was a book that showed growth even under circumstances that are unimaginable. A unique feature of the book is that it is written in different points of view from characters in the book.” -Kayla Vo ’25

The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

“This story, a modern rendition of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, was so well-written with twists and turns that veered off from the original story of Jane Eyre just enough that I never knew what would happen next. I would highly recommend The Wife Upstairs to anyone looking for a book that you just can’t put down (especially if you loved Jane Eyre).” -Ella Sukup ’22