RFH Summer Reading Reviews

by Ellie Halfacre


Death and the Maiden by Ariel Dorfman

"In a democracy, the midnight knock on the door can be friendly."

Assigned to: All incoming seniors

Death and the Maiden is a powerful play about a woman out for revenge, her reproachful husband, and a helpful stranger who may or may not have been the woman’s rapist.  Set in a newly democratic country, Gerardo Escobar and his wife Paulina Salas are still trying to repair a relationship that was torn apart years before by the former military regime’s kidnapping and torturing of Paulina. The play begins with Gerardo arriving home after gaining a government position, but on the way, his tire pops.  A nice stranger, Dr. Roberto Miranda, helps Gerardo by driving him home.  Later, in the voice of Roberto Miranda, Paulina hears the voice of the doctor who raped and tortured her all those years ago.

What comes next is a spontaneous hostage situation, the revealing of dark and unsaid secrets, and a struggle between vigilante justice and political righteousness.  The ending will both baffle and thrill you, and it is hard to put down.  Don’t bother with the movie (directed by a convicted rapist – there is some type of ironic message hidden in there…), for reading the book in one sitting takes as long as watching it.  You can finish it during the last couple days of study hall, or the night before school starts. I couldn’t put the book down and sped threw it in an hour due to its intensity.


"...a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Assigned to: Incoming English III students

This isn’t your grandma’s Jane Austen novel.  A delightfully horrific revision of one of English literature’s greatest classics, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is an exiting clash between the classes and the undead.

If you aren’t familiar with the plot of the original, it stars the fierce Elizabeth Bennet and the arrogant yet wealthy Mr. Darcy in a romance for the ages.

I found this rendition exciting, romantic and awesomely gory.  The title represents exactly what it is – the story Pride and Prejudice with a lethal amount of extra guts, blood, swordfights and the walking dead.  There are also some great illistrations of Regency-era buttkicking.  It makes reading classics fun for those who’d rather be playing COD.

Enjoy…and don’t forget to read it with the lights on!


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

"I was one of the few guests who had actually been invited. People were not invited--they went there."

Assigned to: Incoming English II Honors students

This celebrated classic is a pleasure for some to read, yet a total pain for others.  If you liked the books you read in English I Honors, you will probably like The Great Gatsby. I loved the morals that the book presented, and I was interested by the differences between our decade and the characters’ 1920s lifestyle.  It is an analytical goldmine for those you who like to debate hidden themes and symbols.

This book is known as one of the greatest novels of all time, and rightfully so.  Set in the roaring ‘20s, it chronicles the story of Nick Carroway, the doomed romance between his cousin Daisy and his neighbor Jay Gatsby, and reveals the emptiness of upper class society.  It can get a little slow at times, but it is one of those books you need to read at least once in your life.  Turns out this summer is your chance to experience The Great Gatsby!


Don’t forget your summer reading!  You can find each class list on the RFH website.  Happy reading!

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