Regular & Honors English

Summer 2021

Grades 9-12

One School, One Theme

Beginning in summer 2020, Southern Guilford High School English Department has expanded summer reading to include all students in a "One School, One Theme" project. Students in all grade levels will select reading materials from the same list organized around a common theme. A new theme will be selected each year.

During the first weeks of school, class activities will incorporate the materials from the summer reading list. Students will be asked to represent how their reading contributes to their understanding of the chosen theme and collaborate with classmates to synthesize multiple sources.

Note: Students taking AP English courses have a different assignment. Please see the 11th Grade AP or 12th Grade AP pages for the AP requirements.

Need help getting the book you want to read? Check out these tips.

Growth, Resilience, and Self-Discovery

Coming of age is the journey from childhood to adulthood that every person experiences at some point in their life. It happens at different times and for different reasons for each person. Sometimes, we grow up because we want more freedom or because we've started to figure out who we are apart from our parents; sometimes, we grow up because life forces us to. We're drawn to coming of age stories--in books, movies, and tv--because they remind us of our own growing pains and give us hope that we will come out on the other end of it just fine.

In a coming of age story, a young character confronts the adult world, faces a challenge, failure, disappointment, or their own limitations, and learns to accept the complexities of the world. The character often experiences a loss of innocence or naivete; they realize that things are not as simple as they once believed. They may lose or gain friends along this journey of growing up. They develop resilience through trials, and they form their own identities and learn how those identities fit (or don't fit) in their own communities.

Book Lists

Select one or more of the following books to read.

Students should choose a book they have not read before. Books may be borrowed from a public library or purchased.

Audiobook versions are acceptable; in fact, we encourage students who struggle with reading independently to use audiobooks paired with the print copy to maintain focus.

Some books may contain strong language or content that may not be suitable for young or sensitive readers. However, each book on this list has been included because we believe that it has educational value and can help students connect with our theme through a variety of perspectives. Students and parents with concerns about content are encouraged to preview the books using websites like Common Sense Media or Storygraph to choose a book that is suitable for them, and students may switch books at any time. Students and parents may request inclusion of a book not already on this list by contacting Ms. Barnes ( for approval.

To help you find a book you'll like, we've created collections based on genre and mood. Click on a category below to see the collection of books.