Summer Break Brings a Thrilling Adventure: Ms. Ruppert's Summer Reading List


By Christine Erntson, Director of Communication and Community Engagement and Christal Ruppert, Secondary Language Arts Teacher
June 17, 2024 | 3 p.m.


Anyone who has taken any of Ms. Ruppert’s secondary language arts classes knows she could talk about books all day. As summer break kicks off, Ms. Ruppert, a Secondary Language Arts Teacher, has curated a summer reading list designed to captivate and inspire her students throughout the summer. With an emphasis on diverse interests, this carefully curated collection of books transforms the typical summer reading assignment into an enticing journey.

Ms. Ruppert's selection spans various genres, ensuring every student can find something they love. From fantasy epics and fiction thrillers to gripping mysteries and thought-provoking social issues, the list offers an eclectic mix that promises to engage even the most reluctant readers.

Among the top picks are titles like "Give Me a Sign" by Anna Sortino, "Thieves' Gambit" by Kayvion Lewis, and "The Getaway List" by Emma Lord. These selections ensure that there's something for every reader, including a few choices that adults will enjoy, too!

"This isn't just about improving reading skills," Ms. Ruppert explains. "It's about fostering a lifelong love of reading and demonstrating that literature can be both educational and immensely enjoyable."

She adds, “The list is centered around typical summer experiences while covering a lot of ground, genre- and theme-wise. It’s not exhaustive – use it as a launch-point to find more books you love – but it’s intended for a diverse reading experience while maintaining maximum summer vibes.”

As students dive into their summer break, Ms. Ruppert wants to turn summer reading into a thrilling adventure. As George R. R. Martin said, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives only one.” She hopes students will return in the fall with tales of the incredible journeys they experienced through the pages of their books.



Summer Camp

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan | Magical Realism | Ages 10+ 

Honestly, what summer camp could beat Camp Half Blood? If you haven’t read the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series, they’re adventure- and mythology-packed with a relatable, lovable character — and with the new series on Disney+, you could have some fun book-to-screen comparisons! 

#dyslexia #adhd #mythology 


Give Me A Sign by Anna Sortino | Contemporary Fiction | Ages 13+

Lilah and her brother, Max, are both on the brink of some big decisions about their hearing loss when they head to summer camp for the Deaf and blind, Lilah as a counselor and Max as a camper. Lilah leaves for camp to improve her ASL and comes home with a community. 

#disabilityrep #deafculture


Long Story Short by Serena Kaylor | Contemporary Fiction | Ages 13+

Numbers? Beatrice Quinn is great at numbers. People? That’s a different story. In order to prove to her parents that she can handle the challenge of studying in Oxford, England, she first has to conquer… Shakespeare summer camp and a bunch of theater kids. No problem for the homeschooled genius, right? 

#comingofage #theatercamp


The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord | Contemporary Fiction | Ages 13+

Lucy Hansson is no stranger to working at summer camp, but when her mom’s cancer reappears, her parents send her from their church camp across the lake to a camp for kids who have been through tough times. Fair warning, this is a super sweet book about summer camp, but it might make you cry. 

#mentalhealth #grief #family


Unscripted by Nicole Kronzer | Contemporary Fiction | Ages 14+

From local author (seriously, she teaches English at Champlin Park!) Nicole Kronzer comes a story combining the best of improv theater, summer camp, and girl power. As the only girl on the varsity team at improv camp, Zelda finds herself the punchline of too many jokes. With scouts coming to see her perform, Zelda can’t give up her spot. She learns to fight for her voice as a woman and performer in a world not built for her. 

#improv #feminism 

Beach Vacation

This Might Get Awkward by Kara McDowell | Contemporary Fiction | Ages 13+

Only child Gemma has spent most of her life on a boat with her quiet dad. Social situations stress her out, and she decides this is the summer she’s going to tackle her social anxiety. But first, she finds herself in the awkward situation of saving the life of the most popular boy in school and being rumored to be his girlfriend. Think While You Were Sleeping but summertime in Arizona with some major character growth. 

#mentalhealth #socialanxiety


The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan | Contemporary Fiction | Ages 15+

While the weather phenomenon itself may refer to snow and air currents from Canada, recent high school graduate Briggs Henry is hoping for the effect of Lake Michigan to help him leave behind his hometown and worries. But his job as a personal assistant isn’t anything like he expected. 

#chronsdisease #humor


We Were Liars by E. Lockhart | Mystery/Thriller | Ages 14+

Cadence Sinclair Eastman spends every summer on her grandfather’s private island around Martha’s Vineyard — the whole family does — or at least she does until Summer Sixteen. When she returns for Summer Seventeen, Cadence has to grapple with the changes to Clairmont and put the pieces of the puzzle back together. If you’ve read the ending, don’t spoil it! 

#mystery #grief


Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer | Magical Realism | Ages 14+

The last thing Prudence Barnett wants to do over her summer vacation is redo a biology project with her slacker partner, Quint Erickson. But in order to save her GPA, she finds herself volunteering at the local rescue center for sea animals and, by some twist and a knock on the head, exercising karmic justice on the people around her. Bonus: Beatles songs!

#enemiestofriends #animalrescue #ecotourism


Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch | Contemporary Fiction | Ages 14+

When Liv Varanakis’s dad left years ago, she stopped going by Olive and started going by Liv. She put away her maps and obsession with Atlantis and her feelings about her dad. But when she gets a postcard from her dad inviting her to Greece for the summer to help with a National Geographic documentary, all of that comes rushing back. A sweet and poignant story about reconnection and discovery, this one might make you cry. (Or maybe that’s just me.) 

#reconciliation #forgiveness


Jetsetting Abroad

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys | Historical Fiction | Ages 15+

In 1957, Spain is back open for tourism and business, and Daniel Matheson and his parents are happy to oblige, respectively. Daniel’s father is an oil tycoon, but Daniel has more interest in capturing Spain through his camera. His ventures show him much more of Spain — and its sinister secrets under a fascist government — than he anticipates. 

#post-warspain #fascism 


A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey | Contemporary Fiction | Ages 14+

For a Miami girl like Lila Reyes, England is not the summer vacation destination of her dreams. For one thing, there’s no sun. For another, being away from home doesn’t make her worries disappear. But as Lila gets to know her English neighborhood — and neighbors — she finds her way back to herself. 

#baking #family #mentalhealth


Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed | Contemporary/Historical | Ages 14+

August in Paris seems like a dream for Khayyam Maquet. Her professor parents have given her cultural identities of American, French, Indian, and Muslim, and academic pursuits of art history. As she dives into research with the help of a new friend, she starts to uncover the story of a 19th-century Muslim woman. The story unfolds in alternating perspectives as both girls navigate crossroad decisions and cultural identities. 

#arthistory #research #diaspora


Thieves’ Gambit by Kayvion Lewis | Mystery/Thriller | Ages 14+

It’s so inconvenient when your summer camp plans turn into international travel. Ross Quest is all set to sneak off to cheerleading camp when her mother, a legendary thief, is kidnapped. The only way to get her back is to win the Thieves’ Gambit, an international heist competition for the world’s most renowned thieves. (P.S. Book 2, Heist Royale, comes out in November!) 

#adventure #heist


Well, That Was Unexpected by Jesse Q. Sutanto | Contemporary Fiction | Ages 14+

Sharlot Citra has always known her Indonesian mom is a little on the dramatic side — for starters, her mom misspelled Charlotte — but she never anticipated that her first trip to visit Indonesia would include her mom catfishing the only son of a tech giant. But then again, George Clooney Tanuwijaya didn’t expect his father to do the same thing. In this comical, insightful look at societal double-standards, Sharlot and George Clooney navigate Indonesia and Bali, fake dating, and the loving mess of their families. 

#aapi #humor #fakedating


Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo | Poetry | Ages 15+

Camino Rios doesn’t spend her summers traveling, her dad does. Every summer, he visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this summer, when his plane crashes, Camino is not the only person who has lost her father — in NYC, Yahaira has, too. Told in poetry and dual perspectives, Clap When You Land is the story of two sisters, separated by secrets and distance but connected by their father. 

#novelinverse #dualperspective


Road Tripping

Something Close to Magic by Emma Mills | Fantasy | Ages 13+

Bakers apprentice Aurelie was learning seeking skills before coming to Basil’s Bakery. When a bounty hunter comes asking for Aurelie’s help finding a missing person, it leads to an adventure to save Prince Hapless and the greater good. 

#cozymystery #adventure #highfantasy


What the River Knows by Isabel Ibanez | Historical Fantasy | Ages 14+ 

Technically this one starts with a transatlantic passage, not a road trip, but once Inez Olivera gets to Egypt, nothing can stop her. Things Inez knows: 1) her parents love Egypt, 2) the world is steeped in old magic, and 3) her parents wouldn’t have just disappeared the way she’s been told. In order to find her parents, Inez has to find what they were searching for — but to do that, she has to deal with her guardian’s annoying assistant and learn the rules of the underlying game afoot. 

#magicalrealism #egyptology #mystery


Mosquitoland by David Arnold | Contemporary Fiction | Ages 14+

Mississippi = Mosquitoland and Mary Iris Malone = Mim. Some heavy news from her dad and step-mother sends Mim fleeing back to her ill mother and her hometown in Ohio as fast as a Greyhound bus can take her, untangling fact and fiction and mental illness with every mile. She makes friends and discoveries along the way, because isn’t that the real treasure in a road trip plot? 

#mentalhealth #family


Suddenly, a Murder by Lauren Munoz | Mystery/Thriller | Ages 14+ 

What happens when you bring a knife to a theme party? This one has big Glass Onion vibes: To celebrate their high school graduation, Izzy Morales joins a group of friends on Sparrow Island, where her best friend Kassidy has planned a week-long 1920’s party at the historic Ashwood Manor, complete with 1920’s costumes and sensibilities — i.e. no phones. But everything gets upended when Kassidy’s boyfriend is found stabbed with a knife… that Izzy brought. 

#locked-roommystery #


Four for the Road by K.J. Reilly | Contemporary Fiction | Ages 14+

Though this is not technically a summer road trip, it happens around prom, so… close enough? It’s one of my favorite reads of this spring, and it’s funny, so I’m recommending it anyway. Asher Hunting is dealing with a lot of anger and guilt after his mom is killed by a drunk driver. He ends up in a bereavement group (or two or three) where he makes some unlikely friends, whom he invites on a road trip to Graceland with a detour through grief. 



Summer Jobs

Love From Scratch by Kaitlyn Hill | Contemporary Fiction | Ages 15+ 

Reese Camden is thrilled to land a social media/marketing internship with her favorite online food network, Friends of Flavor. She is less thrilled to end up in a cooking show competition with the kitchen intern, Benny, and even less thrilled to be the subject of the internet’s scrutiny. One dish at a time, Reese navigates her way through all three.

#baking #foodnetwork 


Revolution by Deborah Wiles | Historical Fiction | Ages 13+ 

It’s 1964 and Sunny’s life is already upside-down without all of the Northerners coming to Greenwood, Mississippi, to help people register to vote. Sunny finds herself in the middle of Freedom Summer, and while it may not be her summer job, it leaves a lasting impression. 



The Peach Rebellion by Wendelin van Draanen | Historical Fiction | Ages 13+

When Ginny Rose and Penny became friends, they were seven years old. The world was different. It wasn’t such a big deal that Ginny Rose’s family was pushed out of Oklahoma by the dust bowl to help on Penny’s family’s peach farm, at least not to them. But it’s now 1947 and the girls are 17, and the social lines that separate them are much clearer. 

#migrantfarmers #classism 


Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock | Contemporary Fiction | Ages 15+

With her dad injured, her mom working two jobs, and her two older brothers away at college, D.J. Schwenk has pretty much accepted her fate running the family dairy farm over the summer, and the way her family doesn’t talk about anything that matters – like why her older brothers don’t call home anymore. But what she doesn’t see coming? Working with and training the rival town’s quarterback, and learning how to speak up for herself. 

#football #farming


The Getaway List by Emma Lord | Contemporary Fiction | Ages 15+

This one is the best of both worlds with 1) a road trip to see Riley’s best friend, Tom, in NYC, and 2) a summer bucket list that includes dabbling in Tom’s job, couriering for Dear Love. As Riley explores the city with new and old friends and makes deliveries on behalf of anonymous senders, she reignites her sense of adventure. This book is the epitome of summer vibes. 

#bucketlist #adventure


For Adults

A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin | Historical Fiction | Family and faith

Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center | Contemporary Fiction | Hiking and New Beginnings

The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise by Colleen Oakley | Contemporary Fiction | Unlikely duo

Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto | Mystery/Comedy | Generational comedy of errors

Assistant to the Villain by Hannah Nicole Maehrer | Fantasy | Grumpy-sunshine

We Came, We Saw, We Left by Charles Wheelan | Nonfiction/Memoir | Family World Travels

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PACT Charter School | District Office
7729 - 161st Avenue Northwest
Ramsey, MN 55303

PACT Charter School | Elementary Campus
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Ramsey, MN 55303 

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7729 - 161st Avenue Northwest
Ramsey, MN 55303 

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