Popular Miramonte Books: Uncovered

Miramonte English classes concentrate on a diverse collection of literature. Freshmen begin their adventure with epic poems, classics, and graphic novels. Students read, explore and indulge themselves in a wealth of assigned reading as their high school careers progress. Over four years of English, students analyze themes and symbols within the literature. After exploring dozens of novels in many genres, students know the studs from the duds. Which ones left an impression? Mirador has delved into the minds of the student body to uncover the true winners that stole Miramonte’s heart.

Freshman Year

Maus by Art Spiegelman:
This graphic novel focuses on the personal story of a Jewish Holocaust survivor and his son, a cartoonist who faces realities of history and his own past.

“It has a bigger impact on you because you can actually see the images. The symbolism is really cool with the mice, cats and dogs.”
– Sophomore Julia Ting

“It was about something that actually happened, and it was almost like reading a primary source. It also paralleled our history course at the time.”
– Sophomore Tyler Hanson

“I like the picture book. It’s much chiller to read because it’s easier to know what’s going on.”
– Sophomore Patrick Fabian

Sophomore Year

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger:
Holden Caulfield drops out of prep school and wanders in New York for three days as he comes to terms with loss, regret and pain. Displaying maturity at only 16 years old, he explores his inner self amidst the harshness of society.

“It relates to a lot of teens who are searching for identities and so they have something in common with the protagonist. I like it because of that and also because it’s easy to read and connect to.”
– Junior Julia Withers

“It’s popular because it kind of relates to teenage lifestyle. The stories of someone our age living alone in New York makes me think about how in a few years we are all going to be in college and on our own and what it’s like to do that.”
– Junior David Laughton

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley:
Your place in society is determined before you are born in Huxley’s cautionary story set in a futuristic and dystopian world.

“Although it was strange, I liked it. It takes place in a completely different world than the one we live in so it’s unique and brings up the idea of whether or not ‘ignorance is bliss.”
– Junior Nick Chaconas

A Separate Peace by John Knowles:
Told from the perspective of one of the characters 15 years after graduating boarding school during World War II, this is a coming of age story about two friends.

“It shows the mind of a follower and a leader so both kinds of readers can connect. I kind of feel like everyone has both qualities and I find myself in both of the characters.”
– Junior Melanie Jones

“It talks about the strength of friendship between the two boys and overcoming the hardships of friendhsips.”
–Junior Mary Doyle

Junior Year

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald:
Set in Long Island during the jazz age of the 1920’s, this novel follows Jay Gatsby’s mysterious lifestyle. Starting over and self-redemption are highlighted in a way that emphasizes the decline of the American dream.

“I liked The Great Gatsby because it explored the tragic downfall of a well-to-do gentleman and revealed the inner workings of high society in the 1920’s.”
– Senior Scott Kelly

“I enjoyed reading Fitzgerald’s hollow impression of the middle class and how he says that money doesn’t bring you happiness.”
– Senior Tom Howells

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey:
This is a trippy interpretation of what can go wrong behind the closed doors of a mental institution. The institutionalized face oppression within the hospital, which represents society.

“It was a compelling story that was a welcome break from some of the monotonous literature that we were forced to read. It was a page turner that also held up to closer scrutiny and forced me to stop and think about the deeper philosophical implications of the story, despite my need to continue reading.”
– Senior Daniel Johnston

“It didn’t have that many ‘symbolic symbols’ that I can never find or understand but had plain and simple secret messages that were really meaningful.”
– Senior Ashraf Mathkour

In Cold Blood by Tuman Capote:
Capote’s non-fiction novel investigates the murder of the Clutter family. Without apparent clues or motives for the crime, Capote recreates the capture, trial and execution of the killers with suspense and empathy.

“It was so different from the regular curriculum and offered a good balance to the array of books we read.”
– Senior Kirby Schulz

Senior Year

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer:
A young man changes his name, abandons his possessions and hitchhikes to Alaska where he lives alone in the wilderness. Krakauer tells the true story of Chris McCandless in this obsessively detailed, compelling account of his adventure.

“Into the Wild was great, in part, because it was a true story. Anyone can relate to Chris McCandless because he was just doing what he wanted to do regardless of societal influence. Much like a second semester senior, he doesn’t really care what he should be doing, he just does what makes him happy.”
– College freshman Chris Hatfield

“It was an interesting way of perceiving life. He did not conform to normal society but acted as a free individual. [Many] of us unknowingly do as we are expected because we are in a sense brainwashed, but Chris McCandless opens our eyes to other possibilities.”
– College freshman Troy Akin