Sophomore Honors English 2

Honors English 2 – Summer reading Assignment 2016

Mr. Boeker

Students entering Honors English 2 must complete a summer book assignment as a condition for remaining in the class.  Students will choose one of these four books.  Detailed descriptions of the books follow.  These instructions are also posted on Mr. Boeker’s Honors English 2 web page.


1. Chose and read one of the four books below.

2. In a minimum of 500 words, write a response to your book.  Several options are listed below, but you may also use your own ideas.

3. This is due Monday, August 15, 2016.  Your assignment needs to be printed and brought to class.

Emailed book reports or reports shared through Google docs will not be accepted.

4. Put you name in a header, right-aligned.

5. The report should be typed, double-spaced, size 12 font.  Write using standard writing conventions regarding paragraphs, grammar, spelling, etc.

Ideas for responding to your book.  Do not simply go down the list and answer all of the questions.  I am looking for a detailed, well-developed response to one of the questions below.

1. Discuss a character or characters.  How did the author develop this character?  What did the characters add to the book?

2. What skills did the people featured in the book demonstrate that you would like to have? (This works best for the two non-fiction choices.)

3. Compare and/or contrast two characters/people from your book.

4. Write an epilogue that tells what happened to one of the characters from your book after the book ended.

(This works best for one of the fiction choices.)

5. Choose your favorite/most climactic/most important scene from the book.  Describe the scene and tell why it was so crucial to the book.  I am not looking for a plot summary.  I want your detailed analysis explaining the scene.  Make frequent references to the book.

6. Explain life lessons your book offered.  If you were applying the lessons to your own life, what might you do?

7. Write a scene or section of the book from the perspective of another character.  Explain the original way the author wrote it, and how you chose to write it.

8. You own idea.  Email Mr. Boeker if you are not sure about your idea:

Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter Alone in the Wilderness by Pete Fromm (non-fiction, memoir)

Absolutely American by David Lipsky (non-fiction)

The Last Juror by John Grisham (fiction)

The Smoke Jumper by Nicholas Evans (fiction)


Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter Alone in the Wilderness by Pete Fromm (non-fiction, memoir)

From  Winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award, Indian Creek Chronicles is Pete Fromm’s account of seven winter months spent alone in a tent in Idaho guarding salmon eggs and coming face to face with the blunt realities of life as a contemporary mountain man. A gripping story of adventure and a modern-day Walden, this contemporary classic established Fromm as one of the West’s premier voices.

Mr. Boeker’s comments:  This is a terrific book and will appeal to those who love the outdoors.  Reading of Fromm’s adventures is thrilling for anyone who appreciates nature and people who like solving problems on their own.  Considering the ubiquitous nature of smart phones today, I’d be interested in how kids would feel about spending seven months cut off from friends and family.


Absolutely American by David Lipsky (non-fiction)

From  As David Lipsky follows a future generation of army officers from their proving grounds to their barracks, he reveals the range of emotions and desires that propels these men and women forward. From the cadet who struggles with every facet of West Point life to those who are decidedly huah, Lipsky shows people facing challenges so daunting and responsibilities so heavy that their transformations are fascinating to watch. Absolutely American is a thrilling portrait of a unique institution and those who make up its ranks.

Mr. Boeker’s comments: I enjoy “behind-the-scenes” books that explain the inner workings of businesses, institutions, and the like.  This writer was granted access to West Point to follow a class for all four years.  These young men and women came to West Point post-9/11, so they know they may soon be thrown into combat.  It’s a very interesting book, and showed me that life as a student at West Point is an extremely demanding challenge for a young person.


The Last Juror by John Grisham (fiction)

From  In 1970, Willie Traynor comes to Clanton, Mississippi, in a Triumph Spitfire and a fog of vague ambitions. Within a year, the twenty-three-year-old finds himself the owner of Ford County’s only newspaper, famous for its well-crafted obituaries. While the rest of America is in the grips of turmoil, Clanton lives on the edge of another age—until the brutal murder of a young mother rocks the town and thrusts Willie into the center of a storm. Daring to report the true horrors of the crime, Willie makes as many friends as enemies in Clanton, and over the next decade he sometimes wonders how he got there in the first place. But he can never escape the crime that shattered his innocence or the criminal whose evil left an indelible stain. Because as the ghosts of the South’s past gather around Willie, as tension swirls around Clanton, men and women who served on a jury nine years ago are starting to die one by one—as a killer exacts the ultimate revenge.

Mr. Boeker’s comments:  I have read every John Grisham book, and this one is my favorite.  When outsider Willie comes to Clanton, he is thrown into a different world.  The plot is thrilling; the characters are wonderful (the best is the “last” juror).  It’s an epic tale (with some aspects of a coming-of-age story) of a man building a life from scratch and earning friendship and respect from those in his new town.  Great book.


The Smoke Jumper by Nicholas Evans (fiction)

From   His name is Connor Ford and he falls like an angel of mercy from the sky, braving the flames to save the woman he loves but knows he cannot have. For Julia Bishop is the partner of his best friend and fellow “smoke jumper,” Ed Tully. Julia loves them both–until a fiery tragedy on Montana’s Snake Mountain forces her to choose between them, and burns a brand on all their hearts. In the wake of the fire, Connor embarks on a harrowing journey to the edge of human experience, traveling the world’s worst wars and disasters to take photographs that find him fame but never happiness. Reckless of a life he no longer wants, again and again he dares death to take him, until another fateful day on another continent, he must walk through fire once more…

Mr. Boeker’s comments:  This book will appeal to boys and girls.  It is at the same time an action book and a romance story.  Connor is a likeable character, and readers will be rooting for a happy ending as the book progresses.