AJ Tutoring Blog

Connecting you to news, advice and academic resources

Summer Reading Recommendations for High School – AJ Tutoring


“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

With summer approaching, it’s time to put together a reading list. We asked the AJ leadership team for recommendations. 

Here are the ground rules: the only requirements were that the books be appropriate for high-school-aged readers, and that they not be books that regularly show up on high school reading lists. Fiction and nonfiction, memoir and sci-fi—it’s all here.

Happy summer, and happy reading!

Best Interests of the Student by Jacqueline A. Stefkovich

Recommended by Stephen Horabin

Best Interests of the Student explores case studies relating to ethics and laws that affect teachers, students, and parents. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who falls into those categories! While technically an educational text, the review of the case studies was eye-opening for me with regard to how little the court system intervenes in school policy, for better or worse.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Recommended by Sheena Tsang

This book changed my life! Cleaning and organizing are most definitely chores that many dread, but after reading this book and actually engaging in Marie Kondo’s process of “tidying up,” I managed to actually enjoy the process. I focused on keeping the items that sparked joy for me as opposed to focusing on throwing out items. I ended up making a few hundred extra dollars selling items I no longer used: a bonus in addition to a newly-organized space! I also learned about the deception of a “clean house,” where everything on the onset “looks” organized, but the actual content in drawers can still be in disarray. I thought I was a semi-organized person before, but I really learned how to be organized with Marie Kondo inside and out.

Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks

Recommended by Dipti Dedhia

Oliver Sacks is brilliant, and reading the way he writes makes you think about how you think and how you perceive the world. People who learn music have visually different brains than people who don’t, which I find fascinating.

The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho

Recommended by Nieka Bright

A friend recently read The Alchemist and commented that it would have been great to have read this book in high school, during the near beginning of his current journey into adulthood.

The Power Broker by Robert Caro

Recommended by Sebastian von Zerneck

Caro tells the story of Robert Moses, known as “master builder” of the New York metropolitan area in the mid-20th century. Caro, one of the great biographers of all time, shows how a man who was never elected to public office came to wield extraordinary power, shaping New York with massive bridges, buildings, highways, and housing projects. What was behind this superhuman effort? According to Caro’s biography, Moses was driven by a diabolical desire for power and a racist worldview. 

The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan

Recommended by Lee Miller

A must-read for those interested in classical, military, or political history. While Kagan’s erudition shines through, this book is highly readable and a real page turner.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Recommended by Noah Larson

John Ames, a preacher in 1950’s Iowa, is dying of heart failure and so writes a long letter to his young son. The goal is to recount aspects of John Ames’ life as a preacher in a small town. The book is compelling because of John Ames’ reverent and awe-struck appreciation for the world.


Let's discuss your student's academic tutoring, test prep, or college counseling needs!

Our test prep, academic tutoring, and college admissions counseling professionals are here to help you navigate the test taking maze, share our experience with your local school, and inspire your student.

Talk to a Director
Peninsula Main Phone Number (650) 331-3251
Free Consultation