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First Year Summer Reading Program

All incoming students at Penn State New Kensington participate in the First Year Summer Reading Program.  Students are given a free copy of the book at Orientation, then asked to read it over the summer and come prepared to discuss it during Pride Days.  In addition to these book discussions, there is a colloquium event related to the book during the Fall semester.


The goals of the First Year Summer Reading Program are to:

  • encourage you to read and think critically. 
  • give you a taste of what skills will be required of you in college.
  • provide a shared experience for new students on the campus.
  • enhance a sense of community between students, faculty, and staff by giving us something in common to discuss.

The 2013 book selection is:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskyPerks of Being a Wallflower Book Cover

Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique persepective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.  This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction.

This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school.  More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating.  We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing.  All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory.  The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends.  The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror PIcture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

Handout for Perks of Being a Wallflower (PDF)


Past reading selections include:
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich  (2005)
Strapped by Tamara Draut (2006)

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie (2007)

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi  (200
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch  (2008)
Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland  (2010)
My Maasai Life: From Suburbia to Savannah by Robin Wiszowaty  (2011)
Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks (2012)