Full independent reading list valhalla high school english department



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Wojnarowski, Adrian. The Miracle of St. Anthony (2): In a city mired in endless decay where the

youth suffer through all the horrors of urban blight, hope comes in a most unassuming form: a tiny

brick schoolhouse run by two Felician nuns where a singular basketball genius takes teenagers

from the mean streets of Jersey City and turns them into champions on the hard court.


Thrillers/Suspense/Mystery
Brown, Dan. Angels and Demons. (2): Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is shocked to find proof that the legendary secret society, the Illuminati--dedicated since the time of Galileo to promoting the interests of science and condemning the blind faith of Catholicism--is alive, well, and murderously active.
The Lost Symbol. (2): When Robert Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon -- a prominent Mason and philanthropist -- is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations -- all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.
The DaVinci Code (2): Investigating the murder of a Louvre curator, Robert Langdon and

French cryptologist find clues painted into a DaVinci work, inadvertently uncovering a plot involving the Holy Grail and the secret society known as the Priory of Scion.


Caldwell, Ian and Dustin Thomason. The Rule of Four (2): Four Princeton University students confront murder, romance, danger and detection in their race to solve a puzzle in Rome.
Carr, Caleb. The Alienist (2): The year is 1896. The city is New York. The hunt is on for a baffling

new kind of criminal--a serial killer.


Chandler, Raymond. The Big Sleep (2): Philip Marlowe, a private detective in Los Angeles in the

1930s, takes a case involving a paralyzed California millionaire, two psychotic daughters,

blackmail and murder.
Christie, Agatha. And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express (2): Spirited inspector Hercule Poirot must use his prodigious talent—once again—to foil a killer.


Clark, Mary Higgins. Where Are You Now? (2): It has been ten years since twenty-one-year-old Charles MacKenzie Jr. ("Mack") went missing. Mack's sister, Carolyn, is now twenty-six, a law school graduate, and has just finished her clerkship for a civil court judge in Manhattan. One morning, her uncle, Monsignor Devon MacKenzie, receives a scrawled message left in the collection basket: "Uncle Devon, tell Carolyn she must not look for me." Carolyn's passionate search for the truth about her brother — and for her brother himself — leads her into a deadly confrontation with someone close to her whose secret he cannot allow her to reveal.
Coben, Harlan. Drop Shot (2): Tennis has been very good to agent Myron Bolitar. He represents two of the hottest young stars in the game. But when his female player is murdered in broad daylight at the U.S. Open and his male player becomes the prime suspect, Myron's got a whole new match to win. His investigation leads to an old murder, the mob, and someone who's determined to shut down his search for good.
Connelly, Michael. City of Bones (2): Bosch and his well-dressed partner Jerry Edgar are working to

identify a child's skeleton, buried for twenty years in the forest off Hollywood's Wonderland

Drive, and to bring the killer to belated justice.
Dekker, Ted. Adam (2): In this supernatural horror story, prolific novelist Dekker explores themes of good and evil through a demon-possessed serial killer. FBI special agent Daniel Clark's obsession with his job has cost him his marriage, but he's determined to find the serial killer known as "Eve." He's murdered 15 young women, each during a new moon, and is about to murder another. Daniel briefly sees the killer, but his memory glitches when he almost dies at the scene.
Kiss (2): When a tragic auto accident leaves Shauna McAllister's brother brain-damaged and erases her recent memories, she discovers she has a paranormal ability to steal memories from others, a capability that will either get her killed or unveil hidden sides of the very people she thought she could trust. (Written with Erin Healy)
Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Hound of the Baskervilles (2): Sherlock Holmes is asked to investigate the

tale of a hound that haunts the lonely moors around the Baskervilles' ancestral home.


Ferguson, Alane. The Christopher Killer (1) and The Angel of Death (1): Cameryn Mahoney, the

teenaged forensic detective, continues her adventures as assistant to her father, the county coroner

of Silverton, CO. (Series)
Follett, Ken. Eye of the Needle (2): A German spy discovers D-Day plans and tries to alert his government in time.
Grafton, Sue. A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar and other books in the series (2): These works are a

chronological series of mystery novels set in and around the fictional town of Santa Teresa,

California. All novels of the series are written from the perspective of a private investigator named

Kinsey Millhone.



Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon. (2) Sam Spade, a private eye with his own solitary code of ethics, stars in Hammett's glittering gem of detective fiction. Spade's partner is murdered on a stakeout; the cops blame him for the killing; a beautiful redhead with a heartbreaking story appears and disappears; villains demand a payoff he can't provide; and everyone wants a fabulously valuable gold statuette of a falcon. Who has it? And what will it take to get it back? Spade's solution is as complicated as the motives of the seekers assembled in his hotel room, but the truth can be a cold comfort indeed.
Red Harvest. (3) When the last honest citizen of Poisonville was murdered, the Continental Op stayed on to punish the guilty—even if that meant taking on an entire town. Red Harvest is more than a superb crime novel: it is a classic exploration of corruption and violence in the American grain. Warning: the shifting loyalties and double crosses can make this narrative confusing.
Harris, Thomas. Hannibal (2): The sequel to Silence of the Lambs marks the return of Dr. Hannibal Lecter. One of Hannibal's victims, the influential and rich Mason Verger - a paraplegic confined to a respirator thanks to Hannibal - is bent on revenge and FBI agent Clarice Starling provides the perfect bait. (MATURE CONTENT)
Red Dragon (2): Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter makes his debut in this novel in which a hypersensitive FBI sleuth consults psycho psychiatrist Lecter for clues to catching a killer on the loose. (MATURE CONTENT)
Silence of the Lambs (2): The infamous Hannibal Lecter strikes fear in FBI trainee, Clarice Starling. (MATURE CONTENT)
Hartnett, Sonya. Surrender (2): As he is dying, a twenty-year-old man known as Gabriel recounts his troubled childhood and his strange relationship with a dangerous counterpart named Finnigan. A psychological thriller.
Higgins-Clark, Mary. Where are the Children? (2): Nancy Harmon long ago fled the heartbreak of her first marriage, the macabre deaths of her two little children, and the shocking charges against her. Now remarried, she has two more beloved children, and the terrible pain has begun to heal -- until the morning when she looks in the backyard and finds only one red mitten. She knows that the nightmare is beginning again.

King, Stephen. Carrie (2): Presents the unnerving story of a terribly ostracized young girl with the

supernatural power of telekinesis. (MATURE CONTENT)


Misery (2): A bestselling author is held captive in a wheelchair, made drug-dependent, and locked in his room by an angry nurse who demands he bring her favorite character back to life. (MATURE CONTENT)
Pet Sematary (2): One of King's darkest works, as it deals not simply with supernatural terror, but real terror – the realization that people can be cruel and evil with little provocation and the guilt that comes with hiding things. (MATURE CONTENT)
The Stand (2): It's 1985 and a deadly “super-flu” practically wipes out the population of the U.S. Gradually survivors trail across a wasteland of horror and death to congregate in two zones, one the embodiment of good, the other the embodiment of evil. (MATURE CONTENT)
Koontz, Dean. Phantoms (2) The lights are on in Snowfield, California, a cozy ski village nestled in the

Sierra Madres, but nobody seems to be home. When Dr. Jenny Paige returns to the small town, she

finds tables set for dinner, meals being prepared, and music playing in living rooms, but there's no

trace of the people who put the water on to boil or set an extra place for company at the dinner

table.
Le Carrè, John. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (2): The quintessential Cold War spy novel.
Ludlum, Robert. The Bourne Identity (2): A man has been shot and as a result, has no memory; as he searches for his origins he comes to fear he may have been an international assassin.
O'Flynn, Catherine. What Was Lost (2): This award winning book accounts how the repercussions of

a girl's disappearance can last for decades. In 1984, Kate Meaney is a ten-year-old loner who

solves imaginary mysteries and guesses the dark secrets of the shoppers she observes at the Green

Oaks mall. Fast forward to 2003, where it's revealed that Kate disappeared nearly twenty years

ago. The person blamed in her disappearance has also vanished.
Patterson, James. Kiss the Girls (2): Detective Alex Cross is called away from kids and his jazz piano

when two murderers, operating on opposite sides of the country, strike at the same time, and one



of them has abducted his niece, Naomi. (MATURE CONTENT)
Ruff, Matt. Bad Monkeys (2): In a holding cell in the psychiatric wing of a prison, a psychologist is interviewing inmate Jane Charlotte. She's been charged with homicide. Although she does not deny it, she weaves an outrageous story about the circumstances surrounding the murder.

Spillane, Mickey. I, the Jury. (2) Hammer is a foul-mouthed, violent vigilante and a sucker for beautiful damsels in distress, some of whom pull the wool over his eyes. With his trusty, sexy assistant Velda keeping him honest (sort of), he exacts revenge on racketeers, cheats and murderers. I, the Jury is a tough-guy mystery to please even the most bloodthirsty of fans! This is the first of thirteen novels featuring the savage justice of Mike Hammer. (MATURE CONTENT)

Contemporary Fiction
Allende, Isabel. Daughter of Fortune (3): The heroine of this sprawling historical novel encounters the 1849 California Gold Rush.
Alvarez, Julia. In the Time of the Butterflies (1): This novel gives a fictionalized account of four sisters in the Dominican Republic under the dictatorship of General Trujillo.
Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale (2): Set in the near future, America has become a puritanical theocracy and Offred tells her story as a Handmaid under the new social order.
Auster, Paul. New York Trilogy (3): Three stories of mystery and depth.
Benioff, David. City of Thieves (2): This novel is based on the author’s grandfather's stories about surviving WWII in Russia. Having elected to stay in Leningrad during the siege, 17-year-old Lev Beniov is caught looting a German paratrooper's corpse. The penalty for this infraction (and many others) is execution. Benioff blends tense adventure, a bittersweet coming-of-age and an oddly touching buddy narrative to craft a smart crowd-pleaser.
Bohjalian, Christopher. Midwives (2): Cut off from the hospital and rescue squad by an ice storm, midwife Sibyl Danforth makes the decision to perform a cesarean section on a patient she believes has died of a stroke during labor, but when her assistant tells police the mother was alive during the surgery, Sibyl and the entire community are drawn into a gripping trial. (MATURE CONTENT)
Chevalier, Tracy. Girl With a Pearl Earring (2): A tale of a serving girl whose eye for color and composition attracts the attention of her employer, Johannes Vermeer, 17th century Dutch master, and leads to a life-altering event.
Clancy, Tom. Executive Orders (2): Tom Clancy goes to the White House in this thriller of political terror and global disaster. The American political situation takes a disturbing turn as the President, Congress, and Supreme Court are obliterated when a Japanese terrorist lands a 747 on the Capitol. Meanwhile the Iranians are unleashing an Ebola virus threat on the country. Jack Ryan, CIA agent, is cast in the middle of this maelstrom.
Clavell, James. Shogun (2): An explorer in seventeenth-century Japan, ambitious Englishman Blackthorne, encounters the powerful and power-hungry Lord Toranaga and Catholic convert Lady Mariko.
De Rosnay, Tatiana. Sarah’s Key (2): In July 1942, Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah.
Edwards, Kim. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter (2): In 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. When his daughter is born with Down's Syndrome, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever.
Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate (2): Written in the style of magic realism, the novel tells the story of a young girl’s true love, who, when prevented from marrying the protagonist, marries her sister, instead, only to remain close to his love.
Eugenides, Jeffery. Middlesex (3): The troubles of a hermaphrodite whose condition, unknown to her

for some time, is brought on by her Greek grandparents’ genetic history and mysterious past.



(MATURE CONTENT)
Fielding, Helen. Bridget Jones’ Diary (2): A racy tale of a single girl’s adventures in contemporary London. (MATURE CONTENT)
Fitch, Janet. White Oleander (2): A daughter is forced to live with the repercussions of her overbearing mother’s passionate spirit.

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2): A boy, the son of a 9/11 victim,

searches for clues to his lost father’s life. He finds a key hidden in his father's things that doesn't



fit any lock in their New York City apartment; its container is simply labeled "Black."
Fowler, Karen Joy. The Jane Austen Book Club (2): The members of a book club share their life stories over chats about Jane Austen and her characters.
Franzen, Jonathan. The Corrections (3): This family saga is both hilarious and disturbing, as it veers in focus from siblings to parents. (MATURE CONTENT)
Frazier, Charles. Cold Mountain (2): In this Civil War epic, two separated lovers meet a variety of deadly challenges during their odyssey apart.
Frey, James. A Million Little Pieces (3): A recovering drug user recounts the horrific details of his rehabilitation. (MATURE CONTENT)
Goldberg, Myla. Bee Season (2): A champion speller, a young girl, gains sudden attention from her fragmented family in this novel with some unexpected turns. (MATURE CONTENT)
Golden, Arthur. Memoirs of a Geisha (3): A Japanese woman recalls her difficult, yet fascinating life story during the last years of the traditional geisha’s social prominence. (MATURE CONTENT)
Gregory, Philippa.  The Other Boleyn Girl (2): A retelling of the story of Anne Boleyn and the toll her family's ambition takes. (MATURE CONTENT)
Grisham, John. The Client (2): Eleven-year-old Mark Sway accidentally witnesses a murder and becomes the target of relentless prosecutors and the mob; the only person who can save him is Reggie Love, an attorney barely out of law school.
Gruen, Sara.  Water for Elephants (2): A down-on-his-luck orphan has to join the circus in order to survive. (MATURE CONTENT)
Guterson, David. Snow Falling on Cedars (3): A World War II crime drama set in the Northwest, this novel serves as a memorable love story of a young couple separated by bigotry and paranoia. (MATURE CONTENT)
Hornby, Nick. High Fidelity (2): This funny novel is obsessed with music; Hornby's narrator is an early-thirty-something man who runs a London record store. He sells albums recorded the old-fashioned way--on vinyl--and is having a tough time making other transitions as well, specifically adulthood.
Hosseini, Khaled. A Thousand Splendid Suns (3): A novel set against the three decades of Afghanistan's history shaped by Soviet occupation, civil war, and the Taliban, which tells the stories of two women, Mariam and Laila, who grow close despite their nineteen-year age difference and initial rivalry as they suffer at the hand of a common enemy: their abusive husband. (MATURE CONTENT)
Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go (2): All children should believe they are special. But the students of Hailsham, an elite school in the English countryside, are so special that visitors shun them, and only by rumor and the occasional fleeting remark by a teacher do they discover their unconventional origins and strange destiny.

Kingsolver, Barbara. Poisonwood Bible (3): In the Belgian Congo in 1959, Nathan, a Baptist preacher, has come to spread the Word in a remote village reachable only by airplane. He arrives in the middle of political upheaval as the Congolese seek to wrest independence from Belgium.
Lahiiri, Jhumpa. The Namesake (2): A young man born of Indian parents in America struggles with issues of identity from his teens to his thirties. 
Lamb, Wally. She’s Come Undone (2): This book is about the possibly healing effects we can have as friends and the potentially destructive power we have as family. It is about the undeniable value of positive self-image and the brutal consequences of inappropriate guilt. It is about divorce, it is about AIDS, it is about obesity, and it is about rape and abortion. It is about hope, love, and a woman simply trying to survive. (MATURE CONTENT)
Lehane, Dennis. Mystic River (3): The past comes back to haunt three men who shared a friendship as children when Sean Devine, now a policeman, is assigned to investigate the murder of Jimmy Marcus's teenager daughter, a crime the third member of their group, Dave Boyle, is suspected of committing. (MATURE CONTENT)
Lopez, Steve. The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music (2): On the streets of the inner city, Los Angeles Times columnist and novelist Lopez stumbled upon the story that changed his life. Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless African American man, was standing on a corner coaxing memorable music from a two-stringed violin. Turns out, 30 years earlier, Ayers had been at Juilliard studying classical bass when he experienced the first in a series of schizophrenic episodes that turned his musical dreams into a nightmare.
Lott, Brett. Jewel (2): The life of Jewel Hilburn, a mother living with her husband and children in the backwoods of Mississippi in 1943, undergoes a drastic change when her sixth child, Brenda Kay, is born without the gift of common sense.
Martell, Yan. Life of Pi (2): The lone survivor of a shipwrecked family and its zoo is trapped in the middle of an ocean with a tiger as his only company.
McCarthy, Cormac. The Road (3): This work traces the journey of a father and his son as they walk alone after a great fire has consumed the nation and left everything in ashes.
McEwan, Ian. Saturday (2): A London neurosurgeon goes through his normal Saturday activities, including a weekly squash game, but his unease grows as he makes his way through anti-war protesters clogging London's streets, until a minor car accident begins a series of events that erupts into violence.

Atonement (2) Set during the seemingly idyllic summer of 1935 at the country estate of the Tallis family, the first section of this thought-provoking novel ambles through one scorchingly hot day that changes the lives of almost everyone present. (MATURE CONTENT)
Monroe, Mary Alice. The Beach House (2): After losing her high-powered advertising job in Chicago,

Caretta Rutledge grudgingly returns to her low-country roots at her mother's behest. Cara has long

resented her mother, who focused her maternal efforts more on looking after the annual

loggerhead turtle spawn than on protecting herself and her children from their abusive father. But

when Cara learns that her mother is ill, she must lay her bitterness aside and try to make amends.
Moore, Christopher. A Dirty Job (3): Charlie Asher is a normal man with a normal life, married to a

bright and pretty woman who actually loves him for his normalcy. They're even about to have

their first child. Charlie's doing fine—until people start dropping dead around him, and

everywhere he goes a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Charlie Asher, it



seems, has been recruited for a new position: as Death.
O’Nan, Stewart. Last Night at the Lobster (2): Set on the last day of business of a Connecticut Red Lobster, this touching novel tells the story of Manny DeLeon, a conscientious, committed restaurant manager any national chain would want to keep. Instead, corporate has notified Manny that his location is not meeting expectations and will close December 20. Small but not slight, the novel is a concise, poignant portrait of a man on the verge of losing himself.
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