What Are Ninth Grade English Classes Reading?


Amina Menfi, Staff Writer

How would you like to be able to choose your own book to read in English class? Ninth grade students have been given the opportunity to choose one of ten book options. An English teacher at CHS, Audrey Blecha, explained, “when picking these books we were trying to coordinate as much as we could with the ninth grade history classes. So we were trying to have a Latin American theme for the books.” The following are the book options:

The first book choice is “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” by Erika Sánchez. This book is about a rebellious teen, Julia Reyes, who is seen as a disappointment by her mother. It’s not long after the death of her “perfect” sister, Olga, when Julia discovers Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. 

The second book choice is “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo. This book is about a young girl, Xiomara Batista, who discovers slam poetry. She uses it as a way to understand her mother’s religion and discovers her own relationship with the world along the way. 

The third book choice is “Dreaming in Cuban” by Cristina García. This book is about the main character, Celia del Pino, and her family as they cope with the Cuban Revolution. This novel represents the magical realism of Cuba, by showing both its beauty and corruption. 

The fourth book choice is “Gabi, a Girl in Pieces” by Isabel Quintero. This book is about a Latina teen, Gabi Hernandez, and her senior year in high school. In her diary, she discusses timely events occurring in her life. 

The fifth book choice is an autobiography, “Down These Mean Streets”, by Piri Thomas. It is about a Puerto Rican black man who finds his way through discrimination and racial prejudice in the United States. This novel represents the difficulty of navigating through different racial identities in the 1940’s and 50’s. 

The sixth book choice is “Yaquia Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass” by Meg Medina. This book is about a Latina teen, Piedad Sánchez, who’s targeted at her new school. She must discover resources she never knew existed and learn how to use them. This novel represents the unjust and cruel consequences of bullying and shows how much it can affect one’s life. 

The seventh book choice is “How the García Girls Lost Their Accents” by Julia Alvarez. This book is about a wealthy family from the Dominican Republic that is forced to move to New York City in 1960. The four Garcia sisters, Sandra, Carla, Sofia, and Yolanda, have to learn how to adjust to their new surroundings. 

The eighth book choice is “All the Crooked Saints” by Maggie Stiefvater. This book’s genre is magical realism from the 1960’s period. It’s about a Mexican-American family of saints and the pilgrims they transform with miracles. 

The ninth book choice is “Patron Saints of Nothing” by Randy Ribay. This book is about a Filipino-American teen, Jay Reguero, who tries to uncover the truth behind his cousin’s death. 

Lastly, the tenth book choice is “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya. This book is about a Mexican-American boy, Antonio Marez, and a curandera, which is someone who heals people using folk remedies. Her name was Ultima and she came to live with his family in New Mexico during the 1940’s. Ultima takes care of him and watches over him as he transitions into manhood. 

Below are a couple of students’ viewpoints on the book they chose and why. 

A ninth grader, Kevohn Rush, shared, “I chose Down These Mean Streets because I found the title intriguing and I wanted to learn how the book got its title. Another ninth grader, Mya Carter, shared, “I chose The Poet X because I was interested in learning more about slam poetry and how it could be interpreted into a book.” If any of these books sparked your interest, you can find them at our school or public library. Happy reading!