Stories of Conformity and Disobedience

The titles below are from the 9th grade CP Outside Reading List 2 - Stories of Conformity and Disobedience. 

Characters in these stories either struggle for acceptance or for individuality.  They bring to light interesting observations about social pressures and pose questions about why they exist.  They give voice to those quiet concerns that every one knows about.

Click on the title or book type (HC = Hard Cover, pb = paperback)  to check for availability or to place a reservation.  Titles in italics are popular choices.

The body of Christopher Creed / Carol Plum-Ucci; available in pb or pb

This is a very suspenseful and interesting book about the disappearance of a high school aged boy, Chris Creed.  Chris is constantly teased by his peers and always pretends that it does not bother him.  However, he leaves a note before disappearing that reveals how he really feels and names some peers who have been especially rude to him.  The story is actually about one boy on the list, Torey, who feels really guilty and ends up with a lot of new friends and deeper perspectives about people by the end of the book.

Speak / Laurie Halse Anderson; available in HC or pb

Protagonist Melinda Sordino is always a very loved character, despite her sarcasm.  Melinda had many friends until something happens just before the start of high school that costs her all her friendships.  Without friends, Melinda HATES school (except for art class), but the book manages to be funny while it is also sad.  Fortunately, the story ends on a positive note and all involved have learned more truth.  Every one loves this book!

Twisted / Laurie Halse Anderson; available in HC or pb

This novel tells the story of Tyler Miller, who goes from being relatively unnoticed at his high school to attracting the attention of the most popular girl in school when he returns in great shape after a summer of working outdoors as punishment for vandalizing the school.  Tyler has to make difficult choices about where he fits in at school and in his family in this exciting new novel.

Stargirl / Jerry Spinelli; available in HC, pb or pb

This is a really interesting story dealing with the issue of individuality vs. conformity.  Leo, the 16 year old narrator of the novel, is Stargirl’s girlfriend.  Stargirl is an unusual dresser who has been homeschooled her whole life until high school.  She is a wonderful character but ends up being somehow threatening to her peers who end up rejecting her.  Leo, in the end, must make a decision:  Stargirl or his friends

Slam! / Walter Dean Myers; available in HC or pb

If you are a basketball player or like basketball, then this book is for you.  Seventeen year old “Slam” is a confident athlete but struggles with his classes at the new school he attends.  He misses his friends and feels guilty about letting his mother down when she is repeatedly called to speak with the principal about his grades.

Whale talk / Chris Crutcher; available in HC or pb

T.J. Jones is a multiracial (black, Japanese, and white) senior who has frequent conflicts with the athletes at his school but is an exceptional athlete (and student) himself.  T.J. forms an alternative swim team comprised of the most extreme ‘misfits’ in the school who end up growing in confidence as they share stories with each other about living with small town prejudice.  This is a really interesting story told by a very strong character.

Dancing on the edge / Han Nolan

Protagonist Miracle McCloy may seem strange at first because she believes in a mystical world that no one else can see but she is a wonderful character because she is so real.  This is a humorous book about serious ideas:  not feeling loved, dishonesty in relationships, being teased at school, etc.

Nightjohn / Gary Paulsen

Sarny, the protagonist, faces the consequences when she decides to accept a newly-arrived slave’s offer to teach her to read.  This text should prompt students to research the history of slavery, or, at least, question what consequences Sarny faces.

Charms for the easy life / Kaye Gibbons; available in HC or pb

This novel is set in North Carolina in the 1940’s and tells the story of an all-woman family.  These independent women find strength in each other and support themselves without the assistance of men.

Dreamland / Sarah Dessen; available in HC or pb

This is a really great book full of highly developed, interesting characters.  High school student, Caitlin, has always felt second best to her “perfect” older sister but the story begins when Caitlin’s family found out that the older sister has run away with a boyfriend and will not be attending Yale.  Caitlin is easily led into a normal life of cheerleading and a boyfriend until she falls for a very troubled boy.  As the relationship progresses, Caitlin slips further away from her friends and family and no longer knows how to ask for help.  In the end she learns a lot about herself and what a relationship should be.

Someday this pain will be useful to you / Peter Cameron

is the story of James Sveck, a sophisticated, vulnerable young man with a deep appreciation for the world and no idea how to live in it. Articulate, sensitive, and cynical, he rejects all of the assumptions that govern the adult world around him – including the expectation that he will go to college in the fall. He confides in his sympathetic grandmother, stymies his canny therapist, deplores his pretentious sister, and devises a fake online identity in order to pursue his crush on a much older coworker. Nothing turns out how he’d expected.

The things a brother knows / Dana Reinhardt; available in HC or ebook

Levi's older brother Boaz returns from fighting with the Marines in the Middle East. He's safe. Levi's family has waited three long years for this. But Boaz is no longer the brother Levi thought he knew. Even if nobody else wants to see it, Levi can tell that Boaz has changed; something's wrong. When Boaz announces he's off to hike the Appalachian Trail, Levi knows he's lying. He's heading somewhere else. So Levi follows, determined to understand who his brother was, what he's been through, and how to bring him home again.

Staying fat for Sarah Byrnes / Chris Crutcher.

Byrnes and Eric have been friends for years. When they were children, his fat and her terrible scars made them both outcasts. Later, although swimming slimmed Eric, she stayed his closest friend. Now Sarah Byrnes -- the smartest, toughest person Eric has ever known -- sits silent in a hospital. Eric must uncover the terrible secret she's hiding, before its dark currents pull them both under.

Legend / Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem. From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths--until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Looking for Alaska / John Green*; available in HC or pb

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson* / by John Green and David Levithan; available in HC or ebook

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, Will Grayson crosses paths with . . . Will Grayson. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, and culminating in epic turns-of-heart and the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high school stage.

* Parent permission required for books containing sensitive content.