•  9th Grade Book List: Coming of Age

    All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque *wartime violence

    Paul Baumer enlisted with his classmates in the German army of World War I. Youthful, enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they break into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches. And as horrible war plods on year after year, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principles of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against each other--if only he can come out of the war alive. From Barnes and Noble

    The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo

    Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams. From Barnes and Noble

    The Chosen by Chaim Potok

    The Jewish enclaves of Brooklyn, NY, form the backdrop for Chaim Potok's classic novel (Fawcett, 1975) that begins just before D-Day and traces the unlikely friendship of two Jewish teens as they watch World War II draw to a close and the new state of Israel emerge. The story revolves around the evolving, and sometimes painful, relationships between these boys and their fathers, and the conflicts the young men must face as they come of age. Jonathan Davis narrates with a gentle touch that warmly conveys the book's serious, and occasionally playful, text. From School Library Journal

    David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

    Dickens’s favorite of all his novels, David Copperfield is the story of a boy who loses both parents at an early age, and who escapes the torture of working for his pitiless stepfather to make something of himself and, with any luck, find true happiness. David Copperfield features an unforgettable gallery of characters, including David’s cruel stepfather Mr. Murdstone, the unctuous Uriah Heep, the amiable Mr. Micawber, whom Dickens based on his father, and Dora Spenglow, whom David marries and calls his “child-wife.” Written in the first person, David Copperfield is perhaps the most autobiographical of Dickens’s fictions. From Barnes and Noble

    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

    Death himself narrates the story of Liesel, a German girl left with foster parents just before the outbreak of World War II. Along the way to her new home with her younger brother, he dies; after the funeral, Liesel steals The Gravedigger's Handbook, though she cannot yet read. It's only the first of what will become a series of book thefts. As she settles in with her harsh but caring foster mother, Rosa, and kind foster father, Hans, Liesel gets to know her poor neighborhood and learns to read. Her obsession with books grows as the war closes in, rationing is put in place, air raids begin, and Hans hides a Jewish man in the basement. Through it all, Death travels the Earth, taking in more and more souls every day. From Common Sense Media

    Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson *date rape

    High school should be the best time of Melinda's life. Instead, freshman year is a nightmare as Melinda finds herself rejected by her friends, cut off from her parents, and unable to reveal a terrible secret. In fact, she isn't speaking at all. Melinda's slow healing process is a realistic and compelling one, and readers will cheer for her when she finally does use her voice. From Common Sense Media

    Solo by Kwame Alexander *written in verse (poetry); *contains drug references

    Blade Morrison has one parent who is dead, another who's a rock legend and legendary screw up, a girlfriend who has to keep their relationship secret, and a sister who straddles the line between super annoying and somewhat supportive. He lives under the Morrison family cloud of fame, excess, and celebrity that shelters and imprisons him. There's also a big family secret looming that will rock his world -- and not in a good way. When Blade's dad's addiction screws up the biggest day of Blade's life, he makes a decision to cut loose from the family and the fame, and looks to a future with his girl, Chapel. Will Blade break free of the notoriety of being a Morrison? Will Chapel get free of her family? And is there any hope that Blade's dad will break free from his addiction? Family, secrets, fame, and music drive Blade to places he never imagined, including a little village in Ghana. * Written in Verse (poetry) * From Common Sense Media

    * Indicates the book contains some mature content or serious subject matter.