Great Books for Middle School Readers
I just killed someone. I killed Nina. So begins a terrifying phone call that Andy receives the day he moves into his new apartment. The caller’s voice chills him to the core and the conversation seems deadly serious and very real. But Andy cannot convince his dad, the police, or his teachers to take him seriously. Who is right? Did Andy just make it up to get attention, or is there a killer on the loose waiting to strike?
Sixteen year old Ellie has two goals in life: raise the biggest pumpkin in town; and lose twenty pounds. To meet her goals, however, Ellie has to face drought, insects and pumpkin thieves. She also has to convince her widowed father that growing an award winning pumpkin is, in fact, a worthy goal. Squashed is equal parts touching and humorous - an excellent choice!
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
During their first summer apart, four teenage girls, best friends since earliest childhood, stay in touch through a shared pair of secondhand jeans that magically adapts to each of their figures and affects their attitudes to their different summer experiences.
The Princess Diaries
Mia is a girl just trying to fit in and whose life becomes extremely complicated when she discovers she’s a real-life princess.
Card, Orson Scott
Aliens have attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed the human species. To prevent extinction, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses. Their early training takes the form of games, and Ender Wiggin, genius among the geniuses, wins all the games. But can he save the planet?
Al Capone Does My Shirts
Things just aren't going Moose Flanagan’s way. He has to leave his friends and winning baseball team behind. He never sees his Dad because he’s always working on his new job, and his Mom is acting just plain weird. Mom tries to make everyone believe Moose’s sister Natalie is ten, when she's really fifteen, going on sixteen. But Natalie is a little different. She has autism and sometimes her strange behavior gets Moose into trouble, especially now that he’s watching her. What’s a twelve-year-old guy to do? Having to move with your family isn't that unusual, unless you're moving to the “Rock”…Devil’s Island…ALCATRAZ.
Things Things Not Seen
Explores the many facets of invisibility in a humorous story that has multiple ethical issues to discuss and debate.
Felix lives for baseball. His Dad was a famous baseball star in Cuba. His mother used to like baseball because that’s how she met his dad. But now that it just the two of them in the US, all she does is work - day and night. Felix wants to find out more about his dad and whether he is still playing. His curiosity leads him to be mistaken for a bat boy on a minor league team. This is a dream come true for Felix, being surrounded by baseball morning, noon & night, but is it too good to be true? Will Felix live happily ever after, or will the truth about his dad be too hard to take?
Absolutely Normal Chaos
Mary Lou Finney grudgingly begins writing a journal as a summer project for school. Then her cousin Carl Ray comes to stay, and what started as a dull assignment quickly becomes an amazing record of first love and family intrigue. Mary Lou’s hilarious observations on love, death, and the confusing mechanics of holding hands will delight fans of Walk Two Moons.
City of Ember
When the lights in Ember begin to flicker, twelve-year-old messenger Lina struggles to find out what's happening to her city. The secrets she discovers have the power to either save or destroy her world. What will happen when the lights go out?
House of the Scorpion
In a future where humans despise clones, Matt enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patron, the 142-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States.
Meggie's father used to read to her, but when she was five her mother went away, and he stopped. It's not until she's twelve that Meggie learns the reason why: when Mo reads aloud, he can read characters out of books. And when he reads a character out, someone or something from the real world goes in. Now Meggie and Mo are on the run from an evil character from a book called Inkheart, who is trying to force Mo to read out a horrible monster. Can Meggie and her father escape from Capricorn? Or will Capricorn force them to do his bidding?
Haddix, Margaret Peterson
Thirteen year old Bethany is frightened and bewildered. Her parents have dropped her off at her aunt’s house, with no explanation, no promise of return, and no way to contact them. She never even knew she had an aunt. Now she is finding out that there is a lot about her family and her past that he parent’s had kept secret from her. As Bethany seeks to unravel the mystery of what has happened, the truth changes her perception of her parents, her past, and her very identity.
The Goose Girl
A magical retelling of a Grimm brothers’ fairy tale that will grab fans of high fantasy with its plot twists, believable characters, beautiful writing, and happy ending.
The first time Roy sees the barefoot boy running down the street, he's on the school bus being strangled by a bully. He makes finding out the identity of the barefoot boy his first priority. When he discovers that the boy, Mullet Fingers, is waging a war against the contractors who are destroying the habitat of the wild burrowing owls, he has to make a decision: should he join Mullet Fingers in his war against the small South Florida town? Hoot is an excellent environmental escapade.
Fourteen year old Alex is a junior James Bond, whose wild adventures outwitting bad guys are full of fun and action.
A marvelous story of friendship, The Misfits chronicles the efforts made by a group of outcasts to elect one of their own as student council president. Their goal is to force the teachers at their school and their peers to recognize them as worthy individuals. Throughout the tale the kids evolve as they take their protest against labeling and name-calling to a whole new level.
No More Dead Dogs
Wallace Wallace can’t tell a lie. When asked to write a book review about “Old Shep, My Pup” he had to admit that it “couldn’t be any lousier than if it came with a letter bomb”, and he “wouldn’t recommend it to his worst enemy.” For his honesty, Wallace is rewarded with a detention that keeps him at school every afternoon rehearsing the play version of ” Old Shep” with the drama nerds, instead of playing football with his team. His team mates are getting annoyed, in fact the whole school is upset that Wallace is off the team, but will Wallace decide to end his detention in time to save the team? Find out in the hilarious conclusion.
Levine, Gail Carson
A retelling of the classic fairytale Cinderella, Ella Enchanted tells the story of a young woman who has been cursed with obedience. When her father marries a shrew of a woman with two horrible daughters and then leaves on a long trip, Ella must battle against her stepfamily and various other terrors … while always doing exactly what she's told to do.
Twelve-year-old Danny Walker is an average kid who loves basketball. Despite his small stature he hopes to someday play on the same travel team as his dad, Richie Walker, who led the team to the national championship when he was Danny's age. Danny's hopes are dashed, however, when he is deemed "too small" to play on the travel team by his dad's childhood adversary, Mr. Ross, who seems to want a winning team based mostly on physical strength rather than wit.
Reluctant hero Bobby Pendragon discovers his special talent forcing him to battle evil by entering different parallel worlds. Bobby’s resourcefulness and nobility continue to draw readers back to the series.
This gripping, fictionalized account of the 1914 Shackleton expedition is seen through the eyes of eighteen-year-old stowaway, Perce Blackborow. Thrilling, informative, and inspiring all at the same time.
This book combines a thrilling hunt for a serial killer with humor in the unique setting of the Lost and Found of the Toronto subway system.
Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy
Mary’s entire family is wiped out by the plague in London. Mary is forced to live on the street, under the protection of her friend Charlie and his gang. When Charlie is murdered, Mary makes a life changing decision. It is far easier to live as a boy, and her chance of survival in the 1800 is much greater than if she were to live alone as a girl. So, she chops off her hair, puts on Charlie’s clothes, changes her name to Jack and joins a British Naval Ship as a Ship’s Boy. Will she survive the tumultuous seas, the battles with pirates, and just as importantly, will she be able to keep her true identity a secret?
Unlike his most famous character, Brian, Gary Paulsen never had to live by himself in the wilderness for months. However, he did base many of Brian's adventures on incidents in his own life: plane crashes he has seen; making and using his own arrows and bows; and many more events that help make Brian's story seem so real.
First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover
Maybe you think politics is boring, or maybe you follow every twist and turn in the race. But what if your Dad was running for President? Sameera is in that situation and at first she is exited to be given the celebrity treatment – a total fashion makeover! But, as her father’s campaign for President heats up, his political team has decided to change her from brown-skinned, foreign born, straight talking Sameera into a giggly, carefree, all-American girl named “Sammy”. Changing her look is one thing, but how much of a personality makeover is Sameera willing to make, for the sake of her father’s campaign?
A fast-paced and often humorous high-fantasy tale of a girl who runs away and winds up as the leader of a rebellion. Book one in the Daughter of the Lioness series.
This action-packed, futuristic story of cities on treads devouring smaller cities and the resurrection of an ancient atomic weapon capable of mass destruction will mesmerize readers.
The True Meaning of Smekday
If your Mom was abducted by aliens named Boov during a worldwide invasion what would you do? Twelve year old Gratuity (Tip) Tucci, takes her cat named Pig, teams up with a rogue Boov named J. Lo (who by the way turns her car into a hovercraft named Slushious )and together they travel to the Happy Mouse Kingdom in Florida to search for her Mom and then on to Arizona to fight the invasion of the Gorg. Can Tip find her Mom and save the world? Can you read this book without laughing out loud?
Ryan, Pam Munoz
Beautifully written story of the struggles Esperanza must survive when she must flee her rich Mexican home and work in the California fields during the Depression.
Schmidt, Gary D.
The Wednesday Wars
During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker's classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik
Hugo can’t let anyone know that his uncle has disappeared. He lives alone in the train station, trying to survive. He keeps the station’s clocks wound and running all by himself. Hugo has only 2 things of his own. One is his father’s notebook which is filled with drawings of a mechanical man. The other is the damaged remains of the mechanical man that was almost destroyed in the fire that killed his father. The old man at the toy booth is also interested in the notebook, but why does he seem so threatened by it? What is he so afraid of? What will happen if Hugo can get the mechanical man to work? There are many, many secrets in Hugo’s world.
The Schwa Was Here
A Brooklyn eighth-grader nicknamed Antsy befriends the Schwa, an "invisible-ish" boy who is tired of blending into his surroundings and going unnoticed by nearly everyone.
It’s all about being accepted for who you are and not conforming to boys’ expectations—themes middle school girls will talk about at length. (RW) This is one of the great books about how rotten kids can be to each other, and even though it is set in high school, it is a perfect encapsulation of the emotional turmoil of middle school.
The Amulet of Samarkand
This first book of the Bartimaeus Trilogy offers nail-biting scenes certain to please fantasy fans of both genders. Stroud is the best YA fantasy writer of the early twenty-first century. Danger, action, mystery, evil, and humor (and occasionally a lot of rain) make these books fantastic fantasy.