Books for Mature Teens and Adults

Theme: Great Escapes

Copper Sun - (ISBN: 978-1416953487)

by Sharon Draper

Amari’s experience as a captured slave includes being raped and used as alligator bait, but her strong determination to escape and find a life for herself propels the action in this telling story of historical slavery. Although her owner Mr. Derby is brutal and punishing, his wife is sympathetic to the lives of the blacks, witnessed by her secretly giving birth to a baby fathered by an African. Amari also finds a friend and helpmate in the family doctor who, along with other kind people, assists in an overdue escape.

Fever - (ISBN: 978-1451693416)

by Mary Beth Keane

Enjoy this fictionalized account of Typhoid Mary, a cook who continued to infect patrons with typhoid fever. Mary Mallon escapes from a hospital after serving several years in isolated, prison-like conditions, her only crime that of being an invisible carrier of the dread disease. In her case, escape was not a positive achievement, since she eventually got another job cooking and began to infect more eaters. Why was she imprisoned for the rest of her life when many other patients with inactive cases of typhoid were allowed to live freely?

Not Without My Daughter - (ISBN: 978-0312925888)

by Betty Mahmoody

Betty’s husband, her former therapist in the U.S., takes her to his homeland of Iran, and her life becomes a nightmare in captivity. Betty and her daughter Mahtob suffer under the regime of Islamic fundamentalism, and her husband becomes a creature she cannot recognize. Hold your breath while you read the true story of her brave attempts to escape through Turkey. Compare this book to the movie version. Which do you prefer?

Papillion - (ISBN: 978-0061120664)

by Henri Charriere

After being sent to a penal colony for the rest of his life, French thief Henri Charriere made multiple escape attempts to get off the South American island where he was imprisoned. Finally, after building a raft from coconut husks, he was able to float to freedom. He eventually made his way to South America and lived there for many years without being recaptured. Why is this book stranger than fiction? Compare the book to the movie version.

The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - (ISBN: 978-0345453747)

by Douglas Adams

In this first in the Hitchhiker series, Arthur barely escapes from Earth just before it blows up when a friend comes to his assistance. If you enjoy humor, science fiction, and satire, try this book. You will be anxious to begin the next book as well, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

The Unemployed Millionaire: Escape the Rat Race, Fire Your Boss and Live Life on Your Terms! - (ISBN: 9780470479810 )

by Matt Morris

This non-fictional account written by a self-made millionaire answers everyone’s dreams of escaping from the humdrum existence of the 40-hour workweek. Follow his advice and model and make millions! Reviews ensure that you will change your life after this read!

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency - (ISBN: 978-0671746728)

by Douglas Adams

From Behind the Iron Curtain to the NHL - (ISBN: 978-1118095003)

by Tal Pinchevsky

The Longest Tunnel: The True Story of WWII’s Great Escape - (ISBN: 978-1555840334)

by Alan Burgess

Activities for this Theme

Enjoy the movie “Night Crossing” based on the true story of two East German families who sewed their own hot air balloon and rode it into freedom.


Visit Alcatraz or other historical prisons near your home. Write a play based on escaping prisoners.


Read about the 12 craziest prison escapes of all time