Gutsy Girl Reads
St. Clare’s School for Girls is San Francisco’s most prestigious finishing school, a place where younger generations of the rich and powerful come to train for a life of luxury. It’s also Mercy Wong’s best chance to break from the poverty of Chinatown and secure a safe, happy future for herself and her younger brother. But can a 15-year-old launderer’s daughter rise above her circumstances—especially in 1906, when nearly insurmountable racial and economic barriers stand in the way?
Whether sinking Spanish warships off the coast of the Carolinas or seeking out Confederate spies at a Washington, D.C. ball, American girls have always had adventures to tell.
Your children worked hard this school year, so don’t let them lose ground! Reading throughout the summer helps students prevent summer learning loss, and the public library offers incentive-based programs, making summer reading easy and fun. This year’s themes, “On Your Mark, Get Set...Read!” and “Get in the Game—Read,” promote being active, whether through playing a sport, going for a swim, taking a walk in the park or having an adventure. There’s no required list, so any book counts; after all, any reading is good reading! Here are a few suggestions to kick off your summer.
Amani Al’Hiza isn’t exactly up to no good. Sure, she snuck out of her house disguised as a boy and riding a stolen horse in order to enter a sharpshooter contest at the most notorious pistol pit in town. But Amani needs the prize money to get out of Dustwalk. She has to escape before she winds up dead—or worse, married.
Zayele, a lovely and strong-minded girl, did not wish to be on her way to Baghdad to marry a prince she had never met. She certainly did not wish to be separated from her blind brother who relied on her to help him.
So, when a girl jinni appears—a girl who looks surprisingly like Zayele—the unwilling bride-to-be Wishes, as one does with jinnis, that they can change places, and that she, Zayele, can go home. But Zayele doesn’t go back to her village and her family. Instead, she is transported to the magical cavern-city that is home to all the jinni. Sworn enemies of humanity after decades of living as their slaves, the jinni hate humankind even as they are intrigued by them. Trying to pass for a jinni girl is both harder and easier than Zayele expects.
If you go to high school in Sticks, Louisiana, you’re not just off the beaten track from mainstream America. It’s a long way to the interstate, and you’re surrounded by something else entirely—the Swamp. They’ve tried to fence it off to keep people safe for decades. Yes, there are alligators, but there’s something else out there that’s far worse. It’s a wise move to Beware the Wild.
When Princess Adrienne’s parents lock her in a tower guarded by the fiercest dragon in the kingdom, they expect her to wait patiently for rescue by a handsome prince. But Adrienne would rather be Princeless than helpless . . . and she can save herself, thank you very much.
Finley Jayne, The Girl in the Steel Corset, could not have known that her wretched night, indeed her wretched life, was about to take a turn for the better. Whilst fleeing the scene of an assault—which she did not start but did finish—she encounters a gentleman of a very different caliber. She discovers Griffin, the young Duke of Greythorne, is a person to be trusted. Like Finley, he has secrets, though, which will either draw them together or rip them apart—perhaps literally.
Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity starts with something different and unexpected, a story’s protagonist, or hero, not being very heroic. Our protagonist, a young female British spy, is being held hostage in an aristocratic hotel in Nazi-occupied France. While other spies would withstand any amount of torture in order to protect their friends, family, and country, Code Name Verity’s protagonist, whose name and identity are a secret, begins by making a deal with the Gestapo. She will give them anything and everything they want to know, including writing the story of how she arrived in Nazi-occupied France, and, in return, they will feed her, clothe her, stop torturing her, and they will not kill her—for now.
“Shallow graves always give up their dead.” -- These Shallow Graves
In the 1890s, there was only one acceptable job for a heiress and socialite like Josephine Montford—leveraging her beauty and breeding to marry well and young. None of the teens at Miss Sparkwell’s School for Young Ladies have any goals beyond that—except Jo. She longs to be a gutsy investigative journalist like Nellie Bly. (True fact: In a day when daring careers were only for men, Nellie Bly faked mental illness to be admitted to the Women’s Lunatic Asylum, and the exposé she wrote about it changed mental health care forever.) It’s hard to imagine a dream that could be further outside the seemingly impermeable box of restrictions that Jo’s family and society have constructed for her.