9th Grade Reading List

Instructor: Cara Rogers
Ninth grade marks the beginning of high school for most students and remains a great time to introduce deeply thematic literary works. This list offers a few examples of challenging books for ninth-graders that are also immensely fun to read.

Top Literature for 9th Grade English Classes

For most ninth graders, this is their first year of high school and everything is new, including the expectations in literature class. When considering what books you might include in your curriculum, you should first take a look at your students. Think about what they enjoy and what their reading levels are to best cater to these young readers. To get a few ideas, look at the list of popular ninth-grade literature books that each vary in both subject matter and reading level.

1. ''The Catcher in the Rye'' by J.D. Salinger

The timeless classic The Catcher in the Rye, written in 1951, revolves around the candid Holden Caulfield, a young boy searching for a place to belong. Since his brother's death, he has had a hard time finding the good in people and can't understand why the innocent get hurt. He explores New York to avoid confronting his parents about his poor grades, searching for a semblance of hope.

2. ''Fahrenheit 451'' by Ray Bradbury

Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian tale of Guy Montag, a fireman; however, instead of putting out fires, Montag's professional duty is to set flame to books, which are forbidden. It is when he meets young Clarisse that his life begins to change. This intense novel challenges current societal issues like surveillance, media, censorship, and conformity.

3. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

First published in 1999, this more recent award-winner follows a young girl hiding a heavy secret. After calling the police on a big party, she faces brutal rejection from her peers. The haunted protagonist, Melinda, struggles to bury her dark past, but sometimes the past demands to be recognized.

4. ''The Odyssey'' by Homer

Homer's ancient classic follows Odysseus from the tale end of the Iliad and on his epic journey home. Throughout the tale, Odysseus confronts many challenges including a Cyclops, sirens, a sea beast, and a goddess, but clever Odysseus won't be stopped until he finds his way back home to his family.

5. Black Swan Green by David Mitchell

Black Swan Green, written in 2006, is an award-winning novel that takes place in England in 1982 and follows the aspiring poet, Jason Taylor. The thirteen-year-old protagonist is caught in the turmoil of youth and upcoming adulthood during the Falklands War. Meanwhile, he internally combats with himself about his stammer, his social world, and the person he wants to be.

6. ''Romeo and Juliet'' by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's tragic play of Romeo and Juliet follows two lovers from opposing families. Romeo from the Montague family falls in love with Juliet from the Capulet family, but they will never be allowed to be together because of the conflicts between their families. This remarkable play tells the tale of needless hatred and the toll it can take on the innocent.

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