Grade 11 Reading Recommendations

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Washington Black is an eleven-year-old field slave who knows no other life than the Barbados sugar plantation where he was born. When his master's eccentric brother chooses him to be his manservant, Wash is terrified of the cruelties he is certain await him. But Christopher Wilde, or "Titch," is a naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor, and abolitionist. He initiates Wash into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky; where two people, separated by an impossible divide, might begin to see each other as human; and where a boy born in chains can embrace a life of dignity and meaning. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash's head, Titch abandons everything to save him. What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic, where Wash, left on his own, must invent another new life

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Never Let Me Go by  Kazuo Ishiguro

Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.

Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is (Penguin Random House).

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Little Fires Everywhere by  Celeste Ng

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren—an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs (Penguin Random House).

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Life After Life by  Kate Atkinson

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula’s apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny? And if she can — will she? (Hachette Book Group).

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Station Eleven by  Emily St. John Mandel

A novel about art, fame and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse. One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies on-stage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time, this novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor's first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Travelling Symphony, caught in the cross-hairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet (Ottawa Public Library).

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They Both Die At The End by  Adam Silvera

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day (HarperCollins).

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The Inconvenient Indian by  Thomas King

Rich with dark and light, pain and magic, The Inconvenient Indian distills the insights gleaned from Thomas King's critical and personal meditation on what it means to be "Indian" in North America, weaving the curiously circular tale of the relationship between non-Natives and Natives in the centuries since the two first encountered each other. In the process, King refashions old stories about historical events and figures, takes a sideways look at film and pop culture, relates his own complex experiences with activism, and articulates a deep and revolutionary understanding of the cumulative effects of ever-shifting laws and treaties on Native peoples and lands (Penguin Random House).

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The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered (Simon & Schuster).

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Trahie par Martine Latulippe

« Noémie est en train de terminer le secondaire et tout va pour le mieux pour elle: elle est toujours aussi proche d'Olivia, sa meilleure amie, elle fréquente Lucas depuis huit mois, le beau garçon pour qui elle pince depuis toujours, et elle est très confiante face à son avenir. Tout bascule cependant le 7 juin. Le jour C pour Cauchemar. Alors que la journée commence normalement pour l'adolescente de 17 ans, les autres élèves, même ceux qu'elle ne connaît pas, la dévisagent et la traitent de "bitch" et de "traînée". Ne comprenant pas ce qui suscite une telle réaction, elle apprend d'Olivia qu'une photo d'elle a été publiée sur la page Spotted de l'école. Une photo très révélatrice, qu'une seule personne avait en sa possession: Lucas. (...) [SDM] » -Bibliothèque publique d’Ottawa

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Cœur de perdrix par  Michel Noël

« Shipun et son fils, Nipishish, sont inséparables. Quand ils partent à la chasse à la perdrix, Nipishish observe son père avec attention. Il apprend à chasser pour manger, pas pour tuer. La chasse donne un sens à sa vie d'enfant amérindien. Shipun adresse une prière à l'oiseau. Il arrête de respirer et appuie sur la détente. Le cœur de Nipishish cesse de battre. » -Bibliothèque publique d’Ottawa

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