Swap textbooks for a novel this summer


Nyxia, by Scott Reintgen, is one of the many books U-High librarians Susan Augustine and Shirley Volk have compiled for students to read this summer.

Amy Ren, Assistant Editor

As the school year spills into summer, students have the opportunity to swap their textbooks for a novel that sweeps them to another world. U-High librarians Susan Augustine and Shirley Volk have also compiled a list of summer reading books.


Historical fiction:

Cloud Cuckoo Land” by Anthony Doerr. Through 15th century Constantinople, present-day Idaho and a starship hundreds of years in the future, Doerr weaves together stories about children crossing into adulthood, according to the librarians and Goodreads. “Cloud Cuckoo Land” explores how humans are interconnected with other species, with each other and with those from the past and future.


“Orphan Monster Spy” by Matt Killeen. After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, Sarah is on the run from the Nazi government, according to Goodreads. Then, she meets a spy who recruits her to become one as well. He has a mission for her: infiltrate a boarding school that the daughters of Nazi officers attend, befriend the daughter of a certain scientist and steal the blueprints for a bomb powerful enough to destroy Europe’s cities. Sarah’s actress mother taught her how to impersonate others, so Sarah thinks she’s ready. But is she?



I Kissed Shara Wheeler” by Casey McQuiston. Seventeen-year-olds Chloe and Shara are rivals for valedictorian, according to the librarians and Goodreads. After Shara kisses Chloe a month before graduation, Shara vanishes, leaving Chloe with two boys to follow the trail of clues she left. As they search parties, break-ins and puzzles, however, Chloe starts to suspect that Shara and her Alabama town are not what she thought.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by Maurene Goo. Desi Lee has planned her way through life. She’s planned her way to becoming class president, varsity soccer star and how she’ll get into Stanford. But she’s a disaster in romance; her fails at flirting are legendary with her friends. When Luca Drakos walks into her life, Desi follows guidance from the Korean dramas her father watches. Her schemes include boat rescues, love triangles and car crashes, but along her wacky journey, Desi discovers that real love isn’t just drama.



The Violin Conspiracy” by Brendan Slocumb. According Goodreads and the librarians, Ray McMillian chases his dream of becoming a professional violinist, and he won’t let anyone stop him — not his mother, who wants him to get a stable job, not his lack of a high-caliber violin, not the racism in the classical music world. Then, he discovers that great-grandfather’s fiddle is a priceless Stradivarius, but as the prestigious international Tchaikovsky Competition looms, the heirloom is stolen and Ray’s family and the descendants of the man who once enslaved Ray’s great-grandfather both claim the violin as their own. 



Iron Widow” by Xiran Jay Zhao. According to Goodreads and the librarians, boys in Huaxia pilot giant transforming robots — Chrysalises — to battle the aliens beyond the Great Wall of China. But piloting Chrysalises can drain the life forces of the girls who power the machines. Wu Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot to kill the male pilot who killed her sister, but when she succeeds, she is labeled an Iron Widow, a rare female pilot who uses males to power Chrysalises instead.

Nyxia” by Scott Reintgen. Emmett Atwater doesn’t know why the Babel Corporation recruited him to leave Earth, but he needs the money offered to take care of his family. As one of 10 recruits, Emmett must earn the right to travel to Eden, a planet Babel has kept secret, to mine a material with mysterious properties — nyxia. In a tale reminiscent of “The Hunger Games,” Emmett discovers secrets on Babel’s ship and grapples with the ultimate choice: is winning worth sacrificing his humanity?