Theme – Ambition, Year 12

Bean trees by Barbara KingsolverTaylor Greer grew up in poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when Taylor heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time she arrives in Tucson, she has acquired a completely unexpected child and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity for putting down roots. Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places. Fury by Shirley MarrEliza Boans has everything. A big house. Rich parents. A great education. A bright future. So, why is she sitting in a police station confessing to murder?
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Pip's life as an ordinary country boy is destined to be unexceptional until a chain of mysterious events lead him away from his humble origins and up the social ladder. His efforts to become a London gentleman bring him into contact not just with the upper classes but also with dangerous criminals. His desire to improve himself is matched only by his longing for the icy-hearted Estella, but secrets from the past.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
A dark, rainy day in Scotland, long ago. Returning from battle, Macbeth and his friend Banquo meet three witches. Macbeth, the king! they say, but Macbeth is not a king, he is just a simple soldier. Macbeth and Banquo cannot forget the witches' words. Soon Macbeth is king, but his wife walks in her sleep at night, and dreams of blood. What lies in the future for Banquo?

Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin


Mr. Pip by Lloyd Jones (about an ambitious young girl)

Mister Pip is set mainly in a small village on Bougainville, where Matilda attends the school set up by the only white man in the village, Mr Watts. By his own admission he's not much of a teacher and educates the children by reading them Great Expectations. Matilda falls in love with the novel and the promise of the next chapter is what keeps her going; Pip's story protects her from the horror of what is happening around her - helicopters menacing the skies above the village and rebel raids on the ground. After several visits to the village by soldiers, the book goes missing and is then destroyed. Mr Watts encourages the children to retell the story from memory. Later, when she has fled the island for Australia, Matilda reaches for a copy of Great Expectations in the school library and realises that Mr Watts was telling them his own version of the story
The other Boleyn girl by Philippa Gregory
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray