Read for a Lifetime 2023-2024

Registration is now open for the “2023-2024 Read for a Lifetime” program through Beanstack.

About the Program

Read For A Lifetime is a state wide reading program that targets high school students. This initiative promotes the enjoyment of reading by encouraging students to read both classic and contemporary literature, and rewards them for their efforts. By participating in the program, students develop a love of books and reading that will last a lifetime.
For more information please check out the website at: https://www.ilsos.gov/departments/library/center_for_the_book/rfl.html
Or visit the Teen Reference Desk at the library.

How and why you should participate

  • Sign up for the challenge on the Beanstack App.
  • Read at least 4 books off of the official 2023-2024 list to finish and earn a drawing ticket for gift cards.
  • Read 4 books off of the official 2023-2024 list to earn a certificate of achievement signed by the Secretary of State and State Librarian.
  • Read all 25 books off of the official 2023-2024 list for even more state recognition.
  • This program is sponsored by the state and looks great on college applications!

Important Dates

  • Sign up anytime between now and April 1, 2024!
  • Last day to report books is April 2, 2024
  • Certificates will be given to finishers once we receive them from the state.
  • Gift Cards will be awarded to drawing winners the same time as the certificates.
The Official 2023-2024 booklist

Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed

Hollow Fires

by Samira Ahmed

Safiya Mirza dreams of becoming a journalist. And one thing she’s learned as editor of her school newspaper is that a journalist’s job is to find the facts and not let personal biases affect the story. But all that changes the day she finds the body of a murdered boy.Jawad Ali was fourteen years old when he built a cosplay jetpack that a teacher mistook for a bomb. A jetpack that got him arrested, labeled a terrorist—and eventually killed. But he’s more than a dead body, and more than “Bomb Boy.” He was a person with a life worth remembering.Driven by Jawad’s haunting voice guiding her throughout her investigation, Safiya seeks to tell the whole truth about the murdered boy and those who killed him because of their hate-based beliefs.


Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Beartown

by Fredrik Backman

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded town. And that rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior hockey team is about to compete in the national championships, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of the town now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. A victory would send star player Kevin onto a brilliant professional future in the NHL. It would mean everything to Amat, a scrawny fifteen-year-old treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice. And it would justify the choice that Peter, the team’s general manager, and his wife, Kira, made to return to his hometown and raise their children in this beautiful but isolated place. Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semifinal match is the catalyst for a violent act that leaves a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Hers is a story no one wants to believe since the truth would mean the end of the dream. Accusations are made, and like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.


After Dark with Roxie Clark by Brooke Lauren Davis

After Dark with Roxie Clark

by Brooke Lauren Davis

Roxie Clark has seen more dead bodies than your average seventeen-year-old. As a member of the supposedly-cursed Clark family, most of her ancestors have met tragic ends, including her own mother. Instead of fearing the curse, however, Roxie has combined her flair for performance and her gruesome family history into a successful ghost tour. But her tour never covers the most recent body she’s seen-her sister Skylar’s boyfriend, Colin Riley, found murdered in a cornfield.A year after the murder, Roxie’s desperate to help Skylar find closure and start to heal. Instead, Skylar becomes fixated on finding the killer. As the sisters dig into what really happened, they discover that more than one person has been lying about that night. And the closer they get to the truth, the more Roxie starts to wonder if some scary stories might be better left untold.


Promise Boys by Nick Brooks

Promise Boys

by Nick Brooks

The prestigious Urban Promise Prep school might look pristine on the outside, but deadly secrets lurk within. When the principal ends up murdered on school premises and the cops come sniffing around, a trio of students—J.B., Ramón, and Trey—emerge as the prime suspects. They had the means, they had the motive—and they may have had the murder weapon. But with all three maintaining their innocence, they must band together to track down the real killer before they are arrested. Or is the true culprit hiding among them?


Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao

Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American

by Laura Gao

After spending her early years in Wuhan, China, riding water buffalos and devouring stinky tofu, Laura immigrates to Texas, where her hometown is as foreign as Mars–at least until 2020, when COVID-19 makes Wuhan a household name. In Messy Roots, Laura illustrates her coming-of-age as the girl who simply wants to make the basketball team, escape Chinese school, and figure out why girls make her heart flutter. Insightful, original, and hilarious, toggling seamlessly between past and present, China and America, Gao’s debut is a tour de force of graphic storytelling.


The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow

The Agathas

by Kathleen Glasgow

Welcome to Castle Cove — a town cursed with missing girls, bad boyfriends, family secrets, and some very steep cliffs. Last summer, Alice Ogilvie’s basketball-star boyfriend, Steve, dumped her. Then she disappeared for five days. Where she went and what happened to her is the biggest mystery in Castle Cove. Or at least it was. Because now, another one of Steve’s girlfriends has vanished: Brooke Donovan, Alice’s ex-best friend. And it doesn’t look like Brooke will be coming back …Enter Iris Adams, Alice’s tutor. Iris has her own reasons for wanting to disappear, though unlike Alice, she doesn’t have the money or the means. That could be changed by the hefty reward Brooke’s family is offering. The police are convinced Steve is the culprit, but Alice isn’t so sure, and with Iris on her side, she just might be able to prove her theory. Luckily, Alice has exactly what they need to crack the case — the complete works of Agatha Christie. If there’s anyone who can teach the girls how to solve a mystery, it’s the master herself. But the town of Castle Cove holds many secrets, and Alice and Iris have no idea how much danger they’re about to walk into …


They’ll Never Catch Us by Jessica Goodman

They’ll Never Catch Us

by Jessica Goodman

Stella and Ellie Steckler are only a year apart, but their different personalities make their relationship complicated. Stella is single-minded, driven, and keeps to herself. Cross-country running is her life, and she won’t let anything get in the way of being the best. Her sister Ellie is a talented runner too, but she also lets herself have fun. She has friends. She goes to parties. She has a life off the course. The sisters do have one thing in common, though: the new girl, Mila Keene. Both Stecklers’ lives are upended when Mila comes to town. Mila was the top runner on her team back home and at first, Ellie and Stella view her as a threat. But soon Ellie can’t help but be drawn to her warm, charming personality. After her best friend moved away and her first boyfriend betrayed her, Ellie’s been looking for a friend. In a moment of weakness, she even shares her darkest secret with Mila. For her part, Stella finds herself noticing the ways she and Mila are similar. Mila is smart and strong–she’s someone Stella can finally connect with. As the two get closer, Stella becomes something she vowed she’d never be: distracted. With regionals approaching and college scouts taking notice, the pressure is on. Each girl has their future on the line and they won’t let friendships get in their way. But then, suddenly, Mila goes out on a training run and never returns. No one knows what happened, but all eyes are on the Steckler sisters.


The Davenports by Krystal Marquis

The Davenports

by Krystal Marquis

In 1910, the Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in a changing United States, their fortune made through the entrepreneurship of William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who founded the Davenport Carriage Company years ago. Now the Davenports live surrounded by servants, crystal chandeliers, and endless parties, finding their way and finding love—even where they’re not supposed to.There is Olivia, the beautiful elder Davenport daughter, ready to do her duty by getting married. . . until she meets the charismatic civil rights leader Washington DeWight and sparks fly. The younger daughter, Helen, is more interested in fixing cars than falling in love—unless it’s with her sister’s suitor. Amy-Rose, the childhood friend turned maid to the Davenport sisters, dreams of opening her own business—and marrying the one man she could never be with, Olivia and Helen’s brother, John. But Olivia’s best friend, Ruby, also has her sights set on John Davenport, though she can’t seem to keep his interest . . . until family pressure has her scheming to win his heart, just as someone else wins hers.The first book in a breathless new series, The Davenports offers a glimpse into a period of African American history often overlooked, while delivering a totally escapist, swoon-worthy read. Inspired by the real-life story of C.R. Patterson and his family, it’s the tale of four determined and passionate young Black women discovering the courage to steer their own path in life—and love.


We Are All So Good at Smiling by Amber McBride

We Are All So Good at Smiling

by Amber McBride

Whimsy is back in the hospital for treatment of clinical depression. When she meets a boy named Faerry, she recognizes they both have magic in the marrow of their bones. And when Faerry and his family move to the same street, the two start to realize that their lifelines may have twined and untwined many times before. They are both terrified of the forest at the end of Marsh Creek Lane. The Forest whispers to Whimsy. The Forest might hold the answers to the part of Faerry he feels is missing. They discover the Forest holds monsters, fairy tales, and pain that they have both been running from for 11 years.


Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus

Nothing More to Tell

by Karen M. McManus

Four years ago, Brynn left Saint Ambrose School following the shocking murder of her favorite teacher—a story that made headlines after the teacher’s body was found by three Saint Ambrose students in the woods behind their school. The case was never solved. Now that Brynn is moving home and starting her dream internship at a true-crime show, she’s determined to find out what really happened. The kids who found Mr. Larkin are her way in, and her ex–best friend, Tripp Talbot, was one of them. Without his account of events, the other two kids might have gone down for Mr. Larkin’s murder. They’ve never forgotten what Tripp did for them that day. Just like he hasn’t forgotten that everything he told the police was a lie. Digging into the past is bound to shake up the present, and as Brynn begins to investigate what happened in the woods that day, she begins to uncover secrets that might change everything—about Saint Ambrose, about Mr. Larkin, and about her ex-best friend, Tripp Talbot. Four years ago someone got away with murder. The most terrifying part is that they never left.


I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

I Kissed Shara Wheeler

by Casey McQuiston

Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny. But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes. On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square. Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too. Fierce, funny, and frank, Casey McQuiston’s I Kissed Shara Wheeler is about breaking the rules, getting messy, and finding love in unexpected places.


Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds

Ain’t Burned All the Bright

by Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds and his best bud, Jason Griffin had a mind-meld. And they decided to tackle it, in one fell swoop, in about ten sentences, and 300 pages of art, this piece, this contemplation-manifesto-fierce-vulnerable-gorgeous-terrifying-WhatIsWrongWithHumans-hope-filled-hopeful-searing-Eye-Poppingly-Illustrated-tender-heartbreaking-how-The-HECK-did-They-Come-UP-with-This project about oxygen. And all of the symbolism attached to that word, especially NOW. And so for anyone who didn’t really know what it means to not be able to breathe, REALLY breathe, for generations, now you know. And those who already do, you’ll be nodding yep yep, that is exactly how it is.


Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards

Five Total Strangers

by Natalie D. Richards

A hitched ride home in a snow storm turns sinister when one of the passengers is plotting for the ride to end in disaster. When Mira flies home to spend Christmas with her mother in Pittsburgh, a record-breaking blizzard results in a cancelled layover. Desperate to get to her grief-ridden mother in the wake of a family death, Mira hitches a ride with a group of friendly college kids who were on her initial flight. As the drive progresses and weather conditions become more treacherous, Mira realizes that the four other passengers she’s stuck in the car with don’t actually know one another. Soon, they’re not just dealing with heavy snowfall and ice-slick roads, but the fact that somebody will stop at nothing to ensure their trip ends in a deadly disaster.


Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan

Daughter of the Deep

by Rick Riordan

Ana Dakkar is a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy, a five-year high school that graduates the best marine scientists, naval warriors, navigators, and underwater explorers in the world. Ana’s parents died while on a scientific expedition two years ago, and the only family she’s got left is her older brother, Dev, also a student at HP. Ana’s freshman year culminates with the class’s weekend trial at sea, the details of which have been kept secret. She only hopes she has what it’ll take to succeed. All her worries are blown out of the water when, on the bus ride to the ship, Ana and her schoolmates witness a terrible tragedy that will change the trajectory of their lives. But wait, there’s more. The professor accompanying them informs Ana that their rival school, Land Institute, and Harding-Pencroft have been fighting a cold war for a hundred and fifty years. Now that cold war has been turned up to a full broil, and the freshmen are in danger of becoming fish food. In a race against deadly enemies, Ana will make amazing friends and astounding discoveries about her heritage as she puts her leadership skills to the test for the first time.


Manmade Monsters by Andrea Rogers

Manmade Monsters

by Andrea Rogers

Horror fans will get their thrills in this collection – from werewolves to vampires to zombies – all the time-worn horror baddies are there. But so are predators of a distinctly American variety – the horrors of empire, of intimate partner violence, of dispossession. And so too the monsters of Rogers’ imagination, that draw upon long-told Cherokee stories – of Deer Woman, fantastical sea creatures, and more. Following one extended Cherokee family across the centuries, from the tribe’s homelands in Georgia in the 1830s to World War I, the Vietnam War, our own present, and well into the future, each story delivers a slice of a particular time period that will leave readers longing for more. Alongside each story, Cherokee artist and language technologist Jeff Edwards delivers haunting illustrations that incorporate Cherokee syllabary. But don’t just take it from us – award-winning writer of The Only Good Indians and Mongrels Stephen Graham Jones says that “Andrea Rogers writes like the house is on fire and her words are the only thing that can put it out.” Man Made Monsters is a masterful, heartfelt, haunting collection ripe for crossover appeal – just don’t blame us if you start hearing things that go bump in the night.


Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Asylum

by Madeleine Roux

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane. As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried. Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux’s teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.


Roxy by Neal Shusterman

Roxy

by Neal Shusterman

The freeway is coming. It will cut the neighborhood in two. Construction has already started, pushing toward this corridor of condemned houses and cracked concrete with the momentum of the inevitable. Yet there you are, in the fifth house on the left, fighting for your life. Ramey, I. The victim of the bet between two manufactured gods: the seductive and lethal Roxy (Oxycontin), who is at the top of her game, and the smart, high-achieving Addison (Adderall), who is tired of being the helpful one, and longs for a more dangerous, less wholesome image. The wager—a contest to see who can bring their mark to “the Party” first—is a race to the bottom of a rave that has raged since the beginning of time. And you are only human, dazzled by the lights and music. Drawn by what the drugs offer—tempted to take that step past helpful to harmful…and the troubled places that lie beyond. But there are two I. Rameys—Isaac, a soccer player thrown into Roxy’s orbit by a bad fall and a bad doctor and Ivy, his older sister, whose increasing frustration with her untreated ADHD leads her to renew her acquaintance with Addy. Which one are you?


Victory. Stand! Raising My fist for Justice by Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes, Dawud Anyabwile

Victory. Stand! Raising My fist for Justice

by Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes, Dawud Anyabwile

On October 16, 1968, during the medal ceremony at the Mexico City Olympics, Tommie Smith, the gold medal winner in the 200-meter sprint, and John Carlos, the bronze medal winner, stood on the podium in black socks and raised their black-gloved fists to protest racial injustice inflicted upon African Americans. Both men were forced to leave the Olympics, received death threats, and faced ostracism and continuing economic hardships. In his first-ever memoir for young readers, Tommie Smith looks back on his childhood growing up in rural Texas through to his stellar athletic career, culminating in his historic victory and Olympic podium protest.


Chaos Theory by Nic Stone

Chaos Theory

by Nic Stone

Scars exist to remind us of what we’ve survived.
DETACHED
Since Shelbi enrolled at Windward Academy as a senior and won’t be there very long, she hasn’t bothered making friends. What her classmates don’t know about her can’t be used to hurt her–you know, like it did at her last school.
WASTED
Andy Criddle is not okay. At all. He’s had far too much to drink. Again. Which is bad. And things are about to get worse. When Shelbi sees Andy at his lowest, she can relate. So she doesn’t resist reaching out. And there’s no doubt their connection has them both seeing stars . . . but the closer they get, the more the past threatens to pull their universes apart.


All My Rage by Sabaa Tair

All My Rage

by Sabaa Tair

Lahore, Pakistan. Then.
Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Cloud’s Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start.
Juniper, California. Now.
Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding. Now, Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah’s health fails and his grieving father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor, meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle’s liquor store while hiding the fact that she’s applying to college so she can escape him—and Juniper—forever. When Sal’s attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor must ask themselves what friendship is worth—and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst.


Three Girls from Bronzeville by Dawn Turner

Three Girls from Bronzeville

by Dawn Turner

They were three Black girls. Dawn, tall and studious; her sister, Kim, younger by three years and headstrong; and her best friend, Debra, already prom-queen pretty by third grade. They bonded as they roamed the concrete landscape of Bronzeville, a historic neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, the destination of hundreds of thousands of Black folks who fled the ravages of the Jim Crow South. These third-generation daughters of the Great Migration come of age in the 1970s, in the warm glow of the recent civil rights movement. It has offered them a promise that they will have more opportunities, rights, and freedoms than any generation of Black Americans in history. But the girls have much more immediate concerns: hiding under the dining room table and eavesdropping on grown folks’ business; collecting secret treasures; and daydreaming about their futures. And then fate intervenes, sending them careening in wildly different directions. There’s heartbreak, loss, displacement, and even murder. Three Girls from Bronzeville is a memoir that chronicles Dawn’s attempt to find answers. It’s a celebration of sisterhood, a testimony to the unique struggles of Black women, and a tour-de-force about the complex interplay of race, class, and opportunity, and how those forces shape our lives and our capacity for resilience and redemption.


Hide by Kiersten White

Hide

by Kiersten White

The challenge: spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don’t get caught. The prize: enough money to change everything. Even though everyone is desperate to win–to seize their dream futures or escape their haunting pasts–Mack feels sure that she can beat her competitors. All she has to do is hide, and she’s an expert at that. It’s the reason she’s alive, and her family isn’t. But as the people around her begin disappearing one by one, Mack realizes this competition is more sinister than even she imagined, and that together might be the only way to survive. Fourteen competitors. Seven days. Everywhere to hide, but nowhere to run. Come out, come out, wherever you are.


Parachutes by Kelly Yang

Parachutes

by Kelly Yang

Speak enters the world of Gossip Girl in this modern immigrant story from New York Times bestselling author Kelly Yang about two girls navigating wealth, power, friendship, and trauma. They’re called parachutes: teenagers dropped off to live in private homes and study in the US while their wealthy parents remain in Asia. Claire Wang never thought she’d be one of them, until her parents pluck her from her privileged life in Shanghai and enroll her at a high school in California. Suddenly she finds herself living in a stranger’s house, with no one to tell her what to do for the first time in her life. She soon embraces her newfound freedom, especially when the hottest and most eligible parachute, Jay, asks her out. Dani De La Cruz, Claire’s new host sister, couldn’t be less thrilled that her mom rented out a room to Claire. An academic and debate-team star, Dani is determined to earn her way into Yale, even if it means competing with privileged kids who are buying their way to the top. When her debate coach starts working with her privately, Dani’s game plan veers unexpectedly off course. Desperately trying to avoid each other under the same roof, Dani and Claire find themselves on a collision course, intertwining in deeper and more complicated ways, as they grapple with life-altering experiences. Award-winning author Kelly Yang weaves together an unforgettable modern immigrant story about love, trauma, family, corruption, and the power of speaking out.


Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Instructions for Dancing

by Nicola Yoon

Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually. As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything–including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he’s only just met. Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it’s that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk? In this romantic page-turner from the author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star, Evie has the power to see other people’s romantic fates–what will happen when she finally sees her own?


Solito by Javier Zamora

Solito

by Javier Zamora

Trip. My parents started using that word about a year ago–“one day, you’ll take a trip to be with us. Like an adventure.” Javier’s adventure is a three-thousand-mile journey from his small town in El Salvador, through Guatemala and Mexico, and across the U.S. border. He will leave behind his beloved aunt and grandparents to reunite with a mother who left four years ago and a father he barely remembers. Traveling alone except for a group of strangers and a coyote hired to lead them to safety, Javier’s trip is supposed to last two short weeks. At nine years old, all Javier can imagine is rushing into his parents’ arms, snuggling in bed between them, living under the same roof again. He does not see the perilous boat trips, relentless desert treks, pointed guns, arrests and deceptions that await him; nor can he know that those two weeks will expand into two life-altering months alongside a group of strangers who will come to encircle him like an unexpected family.