Victoria’s 9th Grade Reading List

We’ve finished up our 9th grade suggested reading list for Victoria for next year, with input from various friends online, web sites, my own suggestions and Victoria’s requests.

She does not plan to read all of these, just a good portion.  We’ll discuss them as she goes and she may write reviews for sites like and write a few essays throughout the year comparing one to another, analyzing the meanings, etc.  I’m sure she’ll read many more besides the list and she’s got a log started to keep track.  These are the ones that seemed like good ones to focus on, though.

9th Grade American Literature Reading List:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Angelou)

Farenheit 451 (Bradbury)

The Red Badge of Courage (Crane)

Nineteen Eighty Four (Orwell)

The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)

Animal Farm (Orwell)

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Franklin)

The Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne)

Carrie (King)

To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee)

Something Wicked This Way Comes (Bradbury)

Main Street (Lewis)

On the Road (Kerouac)

Lord of the Flies (Golding)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Stowe)

The Catcher in the Rye (Salinger)

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain)

The Joy Luck Club (Tan)

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Twain)

The Secret Life of Bees

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Douglass)

Little Women (Alcott)

The Help (Stockett)

The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway)

The Giver (Lowry)

Slaughterhouse Five (Vonnegut)

The Handmaid’s Tale (Atwood)

Short stories and poems by: Edgar Allen Poe, Steven King, Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Ezra Pound, Gwendolyn Brooks, Anne Sexton, Langston Hughes, e. e. cummings, Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Nikky Giovanni, James Wright, Ogden Nash, Walt Whitman, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Bishop, Phillis Wheatley

Short stories: The Yellow Wallpaper The Lottery The Telltale Heart Gift of the Magi Flowers for Algernon

I also suggested anything by Steven King if Carrie wasn’t available and we found a book in the library that she’s already devoured — The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.  As an added plus, it had random pen marks about every third page after (or sometimes in) certain words, so we spent some time trying to crack the code and figure out what some library patron was trying to communicate.  🙂

She also already read Farenheit 451 (in less than a day, she was so caught up in it) and absolutely fell in love with the book.  She now wants a copy of her own and has dubbed it one of the best books ever.


6 thoughts on “Victoria’s 9th Grade Reading List

  1. If “Lord of the Flies” is on the list, I recommend “Battle Royale” as an alternative- it covers similar ground with a group of high school boys and girls in a dystopian Japan. The book, though there was a film and manga.

    .. and, if manga is on the table, “Death Note” could demonstrate some interesting discussions around the dinner table.


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  5. My DD13’s question, and mine, upon reading this list, is “why is all the recommended literature so disturbing?” (Biographies aside). She will be a ninth-grader next year and is very concerned about meeting high-school expectations as an independent homeschooler. We are both avid readers, but I hated so many of these books when I read them in school and can’t see why they’re still being recommended. How many tales of prejudice, abuse, and dystopia do we need? Any insights? I’m going to poll secular homeschoolers on Yahoo too.


    • LOL I guess that’s a good point and I never really thought about it. I made up our list after looking through many lists online and narrowing it down to these that were most frequently recommended and seemed to have the most to ponder (about society, the future, human rights, civil rights, democracy, psychology, etc.).

      Victoria has now read a large number of the books. She stopped reading some that she didn’t like, such as Animal Farm. Some of the books on the list became instant favorites that she really loved, though. Farenheit 451 was one of those. She absolutely adored it. I remember she liked Lord of the Flies, too, even though I didn’t even want to read it because I thought it would bother me so much. 🙂 She also really liked the Great Gatsby and enjoyed comparing it to the film and talking about hidden plot lines she’d found on the web. LOL

      I suppose in part, it depends on the teen, too. Victoria is really committed to human rights issues and already is exposed to some pretty dark realities from researching those issues. She’s also a cancer survivor and lost one of her best friends to cancer at age 8, so she has experience with some pretty sad realities and loss.

      I think what a lot of these books do is to make us think. To Kill a Mockingbird covers some pretty awful stuff, but it’s still quoted so often all of these years later and is the favorite book of many of my grown friends to this day. The Catcher in the Rye was a book that took me in all sorts of exciting new directions when I read it as a teenager, and some of these give a perspective on history that you just can’t get from a textbook.

      I guess I’d say reality is sometimes dark? 🙂 I’d encourage your daughter to pick the books that appeal to her, but also to give some of the others a try and just see if any pull her in. And if they are just dreary and awful, dump them. I completely faked reading Heart of Darkness and The Bluest Eye in college because they were so unbelievably dull (HOD) and unbearable (TBE).


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