Summer Reading Recommendations

Dear Parents,

Summer is a great time for your child to engage in reading for enjoyment. Not only will your child discover the joy of being lost in a book, it is an opportunity to practice the many skills and strategies learnt during the year.

Bookworms will be keen to get their hands on the top ten fiction books to read this summer. Compiled for you by The Purbeck School English department, here are our recommendations…

  1. The Explorer by Katherine Rundell 

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: After a plane crash hundreds of miles from civilisation in the Amazon rainforest, four friends are utterly alone and in grave danger. Worst of all, it seems like someone has been there before them.


  1. The Longest Night of Charlie Noon by Christopher Edge – calling all science and history nerds! This short read packs a punch, playing with time and history to create an eerie twist.

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: Charlie Noon is lost in the woods, and time is playing strange tricks on her and her friends. Will they find their way home before time runs out for good?


  1. Brave by Svetlana Chmakova

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: Jensen is a daydreamer, but his middle school reality is VERY different–maths is hard and getting along with friends is even harder.


  1. Dry by Neal Shusterman – For fans of dystopian fiction.

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: The world is running out of water and civilization is on the brink of collapsing. What would you do if one day the taps ran completely dry?


  1. Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: When Bailey becomes the target of a homeless man who seems to know more about his friend Indigo than is normal, Bailey is forced to make a choice he should never have to make.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Years 9 & 10.

  1. My Secret Lies With You by Faye Bird – For fans of We Were Liars.

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: Cait is new in town, and a girl has been reported missing. It is up to Cait to uncover the truth. What happened here last summer?

RECOMMENDED FOR: Years 9 & 10.

  1. Toffee by Sarah Crossan – The latest verse book from Sarah Crossan (author of One, The Weight of the Water, Moonrise).

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: After Allison is forced to run away from home she strikes up an unlikely friendship with a mysterious elderly woman whose memories have become muddled.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Years 9, 10 & 11.

  1. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo – Winner of the Carnegie Award 2019.

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: Xiomara keeps a secret notebook of poems, and dreams of joining a slam poetry club, if only her strict parents could understand. Somehow, she must find the courage to stand tall.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Years 10 & 11 and fans of Angie Thomas.

  1. How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. But what is it like to live forever?

RECOMMENDED FOR: Years 11, 12 & 13.

  1. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – Following the success of the adapted Good Omens TV series, try this witty story in its original form.

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: The world is about to end. Can two unlikely friends, one an angel and the other a demon, prevent it from happening?

RECOMMENDED FOR: Years 11, 12 & 13.

Summer reading is meant to be enjoyable and we do not want students to have to struggle; we want reading to be fun and relaxing. Our summer reading list is meant to be guide for students and parents; students can select books from other grade lists or even books that do not appear on a list.  The important thing is that students read, read and read!

Kind regards

Tom McNaughton
Head of English

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