8 Books to Read This December

Sarah Clark, Senior Editor

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Since it has only been a few months into the school year, some students are reading articles and such for the first time since the last school year. Some students even had summer reading lists, which do not have to stop in the summer and they can continue to read books on their list. With this knowledge, teachers in the English department and other related departments were asked which book/ book series they would recommend for a student, or anyone for that matter, to read.




Mrs. Ross, the librarian, recommended The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas. The novel portrays the struggle of racism when the protagonist, a girl named Starr, witnesses her best friend who is colored being shot by a police officer one night, while he was unarmed. Only she knows what actually happened that night, but how much she does or does not say could upset her community and even put her own life in danger. She recommended this book because overall it is very eye opening to the difficulties of racism and its existence. However, it is not preachy and the book itself is incredibly moving.





Mrs. McGraw, the 7th grade English teacher, recommended the The Giver quartet written by Lois Lowry. The first book in the series is through the point of view of a young boy named Jonas who lives in a society where all pain, fear, war and hatred have been eradicated. In this world, there are only the existing colors of black, white and gray. The Giver is someone who has “the gift” of knowing the past and because of this they can see the most colors and feel the most emotion. Jonas possesses the gift and goes on to learn about the past and his job as “The Giver.” He learns about what his city is doing, finds it unsettling and tries to run away to a better place where everyone can see the colors and knows about the past. According to her, many people have read The Giver (the first book) but have not read the rest of the series, but she recommends the entire series because “it answers so many questions that [her] students have asked after reading The Giver.” Plus it “is packed with action, happiness and joy, sorrow and disappointment,” and so therefore it would appeal to a wide group of readers. She recommends reading the quartet because it gives more information from the characters in the first book. This series takes place in the same time period as its first novel, The Giver, however each book has a different protagonist and some link together later in the series. Some books do not connect at all though, but all of them are set in a more dystopian society.





Mr. Baron, who teaches a self-contained English class, recommended a book he just finished called The Naturalist written by Andrew Mayne. The book is about a professor named Theo Cray who became a murder suspect when one of his ex-students was found “mauled in the woods.” Theo then goes on in the novel to try and figure out who was responsible for her killing, along with the killings of others when he suspects a serial killer to be behind it. Mr. Baron recommends it because he really enjoyed it due to the fact that problems were handled in unconventional ways and he saw it as more interesting than a crime novel. He also enjoyed it because there were many plot twists that made you “wonder who the killer really is,” plus it is a series and he enjoys reading series.






Mrs. McMahon, the 8th grade English teacher recommended the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio which is coming out as a movie in November. The book is about a young boy named August Pullman who is entering middle school for the first time after being home schooled all his life. However, there is one catch, August has a face abnormality and is quick to be bullied due to this. She recommended this book because it does a great job of teaching both empathy and kindness. She also likes the fact that it is told in different perspectives.





Mrs. Schwab, the 12th grade English teacher, recommended the book Dark Matter written by Blake Crouch. The main character is a man named Jason who quickly becomes kidnapped. When he wakes up in a hospital, his life is completely different. His wife does not know who he is and his child doesn’t exist. She recommends this book due to the fact that its science fiction aspects are easy for people to grasp and understand the concepts of. She also enjoyed the fact that there were three very great plot twists in the book, whereas a lot of novels have about one. She also likes that the main character is flawed and therefore seems like a real person, plus his motivations in the novel “makes sense to anyone who has a family they love.”






Ms. Grillo, the 11th grade English teacher recommended the book The Bad Seed written by William March, even though it was hard for her to only pick one book. The novel is about a little girl named Rhonda Penmark who represents the “poster child” of innocence. However, later in the book when bad things start to happen in the neighborhood, her mother starts to wonder why everything seems to revolve around Rhonda. She enjoys this book because “it explores the issue of nature versus nurture and the effect of each on a child’s development and character,” which she relates to because of her child, Leo, because she jokingly calls him “the bad seed.” She recommends this book because she likes to believe that environment and how a child is raised is one of their strongest influences, however this book is the exact opposite.






Mr. Perillo, the Reading teacher, recommend the Among the Hidden series written by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The first book follows the main character named Luke Gardner, who is a third child. In the dystopian world where the series takes place, each household is only allowed to have two children and the third is supposed to be killed. Due to this, Luke has to stay hidden from the outside world. Even though it is geared towards middle school children, he recommends all people should read it due to the fact that is has aspects of everything such as mystery, action, and fright, therefore it will appeal to a number of readers.






Mr. Stupp, the 10th grade English teacher recommended a novel called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time written by Mark Haddon. It follows a fifteen year old boy named Christopher Boone who has Asperger’s syndrome. In the novel, Christopher discovers a dead dog in his neighbor’s yard, and shortly afterwards goes on a search to figure out who killed it. Mr. Stupp recommends it because the book is written from a perspective that most people do not normally think about. He also likes that the book is able to provide some understanding for people with autism through this point of view.




English teachers are probably one of the most valuable source to finding new books to read, which can be difficult at times. With these eight book recommendations, you have more books to read and more books to discover.

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