Summer Reading Program

Titles for the 2021 Summer Reading Program are:

You are expected to procure your own copy of the book and have it read and annotated by the start of the school year – no later thanAugust 16. If you’re enrolled in an honors English class for 2021-22, you will receive an email announcing the title of the second book you are required to read. If you have any questions about the program, please email your English teacher or English Department Chair Susie Sisson.

Freshmen: Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson. Reading guide here.

Sophomores: Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman. Reading guide here.

Juniors: A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti. Reading guide here.

Seniors: Educated by Tara Westover. Reading guide here.

Summer Reading Program FAQs

What is the purpose of the Summer Reading Program?

Reading great literature is the cornerstone of a Marian education. It is the goal of the Marian English Department to provide a plethora of opportunities for our students to engage actively with classical and contemporary works of literature, both during the school year and during summer break. In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald: “That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” Through the Summer Reading Program, Marian students will read popular and engaging works of literature. By participating in classroom discussions and other projects, they will develop the skills necessary for lifelong learning, and they will become part of Marian’s community of readers.

Besides reading the book, what else do I have to do this summer?

All summer reading must be completed by the start of the school year.

While reading the book, you should annotate the text: write down questions or comments you have about the book and mark the pages of interesting passages. This fall, you’ll be required to complete a writing assignment related to the books.

Over the summer, be sure to check Marian’s website for a reading guide for each book. Please review the questions on the reading guide, and be ready to discuss the book with your classmates and teacher in August.

What will happen in August when we return to school?
When you come back to school this fall, we will have a special schedule on August 20. Each class will get its own block devoted to the Summer Reading Program. For example, each class will have an assigned time to meet in the PAC auditorium where they will listen to a guest speaker talk about the book. After that, the entire class will move to the cafeteria for a free breakfast or snacks. You’ll hang out, eat some good food, and talk about books. Every class will have the chance to do this.

In addition, you will discuss the book in your English class and receive a writing assignment related to it. You’ll be expected to cite specific passages from the text, so please be sure to annotate carefully as you read the book this summer. Students enrolled in honors English classes should do the same: read the book, annotate the text, and be prepared to discuss the book. In addition, honors students may be assigned a quiz, test, or other assessment in August.

If I have any other questions, who should I contact?

Please contact Ms. Susie Sisson, chair of the English Department, at if you have additional questions.

Why are we reading four different books?
Choosing four titles allowed us to pick books that we think will really resonate with our students. We’re also confident that many students will want to read more than just the book they’ve been assigned.
If I’m enrolled in an honors English class for next year, what else do I have to read?

Students enrolled in a college prep English class will be required to read one book over the summer. Students enrolled in an honors English class will be required to read two books over the summer.

What if I’m not sure how to annotate a book?

The English Department put together this handy guide for you. Click here to view it. We’ve also included a list of common literary devices. These terms constitute the language of literature. When we talk about books, we use these words.

Where do I get a copy of the book?

The Summer Reading Program books will be included on the list of required textbooks for 2021-22. You can purchase any version of the book (print or electronic, used or new) from the seller of your choice. The Bookworm (90th & Center) is offering a 20% discount to all Marian students on the four titles in the Summer Reading Program. When you purchase one of these books at the Bookworm, just tell them you’re a Marian student, and they’ll give you the discount. You can also find all of these titles in Marian’s library or at your local public library.

How can I use social media to tell my friends about this?

Please use #MarianReads this summer across all platforms. Post pictures, ask questions, make comments about your book. There’s something wonderful about reading the same book as your friends and then getting together to talk about it. Don’t wait until this fall to have those conversations!

That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.


-F. Scott Fitzgerald