45 Amazing Books Your Middle Schooler Needs to Read

45 books for middle schoolers

Whether your middle schooler loves to read or hates to read, there’s a good chance there’s something for them on this list of great books for middle schoolers!

Middle school is often viewed as a tough time for many tweens. Bo Burnham, director of the movie Eighth Grade, says middle school feels like

“You’re trying to build a parachute as you’re falling.”

There are hormonal changes going on, new and changing relationships to navigate, and plenty of changes in levels of responsibility.

This is why we believe this list of 45 amazing books for middle schoolers is so important:

Hopefully, in these books, your middle schooler will find a character or situation to identify with and to help them feel not so alone!

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List of great books for middle schoolers

For this article, we’ve defined middle school as grades 6-8, which roughly equates to ages 11-14. 

Our list is divided by grade level for your convenience. Just remember that based on your child’s reading and maturity levels, this could vary a bit.

6th grade

1.Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Young video gamer, Kyle Keeley, feels like he doesn’t quite measure up to his older brothers. But when he earns the chance to compete in an amazing puzzle-packed lock-in at the coolest library in the world, he learns a lot about himself in the process!

2. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

In the first of a 3-part series, Miri, an out-of-place, small-village mountain girl finds herself in a contest to become the next princess. Not only does she learn lessons about friendship and family, but she also discovers her own strength as well.

3. Holes by Louis Sachar

This Newbury Medal-winning book tells the story of Stanley Yelnats, a slightly overweight boy who is wrongly sentenced to spend a summer at Camp Green Lake, where he realizes there is a lot more going on at this camp than delinquent boys digging holes.

4. The Giver by Lois Lowry

In another Newbury Medal-winning classic, twelve-year-old Jonas receives a life assignment as the Receiver of Memory. Called “one of the most influential novels of our time,” this book is a middle-school must-read!

5. Redwall by Brian Jacques

If you have a fantasy lover in the house, the 22-book Redwall series would make an awesome addition to their library! In this book, a band of gentle mice in Mossflower Wood strive to defeat the one-eyed rat named Cluny and his despicable followers, while one young mouse finds his inspiration from the legend of Martin the Warrior.

6. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

What if you could live forever? After learning her family’s big secret, Winnie Foster must decide whether she will keep the secret and join them on their eternal journey.

7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engel

Winner of the 1963 Newbury Medal, A Wrinkle in Time is still completely relevant for teens today! Meg Murry, who struggles with her appearance and in school, joins her unusual younger brother, the cute boy in high school, and three extraordinary helpers to find her missing father.

8. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

This review says it perfectly:

“A glorious account of a magnificent adventure, filled with suspense and seasoned with a quiet humor that is irresistible . . . All those, young or old, who love a fine adventurous tale, beautifully told, will take The Hobbit to their hearts.” – New York Times Book Review

9. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

This series is so great that it really is worth buying the whole 5-book set! Percy Jackson is not just a troubled boy of a divorced mom, he’s actually a demigod. Not only are his adventures a blast for middle-schoolers to read, they’ll also learn a ton about Greek gods and goddesses as well!

10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Poor, hungry Charlie Bucket has lived near Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory as long as he can remember. When a contest is offered inviting five lucky children into the factory, Charlie wants nothing more than to win one of the five golden tickets. This heartwarming story has been a favorite book for young middle-schoolers since 1964.

11. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

In one of America’s Top 100 Most-Loved Novels, the four Pevensie siblings walk through an enchanted wardrobe into the land of Narnia, where they battle the White Witch alongside the majestic lion, Aslan.

12. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

This delightful Cinderella-esque story tells of a young girl named Ella who is blessed/cursed with the gift of obedience. This is a fun Newbury Honor book that many tween girls will love!

13. Theodore Boone by John Grisham

This awesome boxed set of six books are typical John Grisham: kids will be left on the edge of their seats until the very last page! If your middle-schoolers have expressed interest in John Grisham, there is no better way dive in than with these fun books.

14. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Inspired by a true story, this Newbery Medal award-winning novel is told by a gorilla named Ivan. Tweens will resonate with the beautiful message about the power of friendship.

15. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This 100th anniversary edition of The Secret Garden contains a 150-word glossary and historic context articles to help young readers understand what they’re reading. In this story, privileged Mary Lennox travels to England, where she learns how to care about others besides herself.

Related article: 15 Awesome History Books Series Your Kids Will Love

7th grade

16. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Set in Nazi Germany, this incredible story about a young teen girl named Liesel focuses on the power of the written word to change a life. Interestingly enough, this is one of those books that can do that too!

17. Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science by Jeanine Atkins

This book is particularly wonderful for middle-school girls, although boys can definitely appreciate it too! Written in simple poetry, this book illustrates the power of an idea and the joy of discovery.

18. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

This action-packed novel tells the story of Thomas, a boy who wakes up with no memories and is surrounded by other boys. When a girl arrives with a surprising message, Thomas has to find his way out of the ever-changing maze – something no one else has ever done before.

19. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

There’s no way we could recommend one Harry Potter book over another, so let your middle-schoolers go all in! An enduring seven-part story about an orphan boy named Harry, who learns to grow into his magical power and become the hero everyone knows he is destined to become.

20. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Lauded and loved by authors such as Ernest Hemingway and T.S. Eliot, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a fantastic book for middle-schoolers. Set along the Mississippi River in the late 1800s, readers follow the wild experiences of Huckleberry Finn, an incredibly loveable tween boy who makes some crazy decisions!

21. The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

Similar to the fantastic Percy Jackson series, Rick Riordan uses the same overall technique of modernizing ancient gods and goddesses to tell an incredible story! In this series, Apollo has greatly angered his father, Zeus, who sends Apollo down to earth in human form.

22. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Definitely one of the stand-out books for middle-schoolers in the 2010s, this book tells the story of Auggie Pearlman and his experiences with severe facial deformities. Promoting the power of kindness, this book is a must-read!

23. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

More than one hundred years since its publication, Anne of Green Gables is still reaching the hearts of young tween girls! Eleven-year-old orphan Anne Shirley is sent to her aunt and uncle, who were expecting to adopt a boy to help them on their farm. Anne’s adventures are endearing and well-worth the read!

24. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

This fabulous book for middle-schoolers tells the story of four abandoned children who happen to have extremely unique gifts. Recruited by the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, the four band together and search for a way to save their town in a way that only they can.

25. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

This incredible witty and clever novel tells the story of Milo, a boy who is bored with everything. When Milo walks through a mysterious tollbooth that appears in his room, he’s transported to a land where the citizens are desperately awaiting the return of two princesses, Rhyme and Reason.

26. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Based on her own life story, Little House on the Prairie is actually the third book in this lovely nine-part series. In this book, Laura and her family move from Wisconsin to Kansas to build their home on the prairie as true American pioneers.

27. The Guardians series by William Joyce

These incredible books tell the origin stories of all of the wonderful characters we’re influenced by in childhood: Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Sandman, and more. The intricate story over all five books makes reading the whole set absolutely worth it!

28. Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland

This fun dragon series tells the story of five dragons who were kidnapped at birth by the Talons of Peace, who “rescued” them to fulfill a prophecy that could finally end the wars plaguing their kingdom of Pyrrhia.

29. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

This Newbury Honor book tells the story of 13-year-old Brian Robeson, who is dealing with the trauma of his parents’ recent divorce. When the airplane he’s flying in crashes in the wilderness of Canada, Brian has to overcome his insecurities and find the strength within himself to survive.

30. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

In this heart-wrenching story, Jess Aaron has to come to terms with the death of his friend, Leslie. As he struggles, he realizes that he can work through his grief largely because of the lessons he learned from his friend.

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8th grade

31. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

One of the most famous fantasy series ever written, these books tell the story of Frodo Baggins and his traveling companions as they endure an epic hero’s journey to destroy the One Ring that could rule them all.

32. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Another incredible blockbuster series, The Hunger Games tells the story of Katniss Everdeen and her overwhelming experiences in the Hunger Games and leading the fight for justice in her country of Panem.

33. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Set in the Netherlands during the Nazi German occupation, this is the real diary of a young Jewish teenager who was forced into hiding during the Holocaust. This incredible book has allowed the world to catch a glimpse of the sufferings endured during this terrible time.

34. Animal Farm by George Orwell

This political satire tells the story of a farm where “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” This allegorical book can encourage middle-schoolers to think critically about freedom and totalitarianism.

35. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Recruited for the infamous Battle School as a child, Ender Wiggins leaves his family behind on earth to train in outer space. Battling in zero gravity, Ender deals with his own internal enemies as well. If your middle-schooler is interested in science fiction, this is a great introduction!

36. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel tells the story of Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the deep South of the USA, who decides to defend a black man accused of a serious crime.

37. Divergent by Veronica Roth

The first is a series of breakout books by Veronica Roth, Divergent tells the story of Beatrice Prior, who lives in post-apocalyptic Chicago. Society has been divided into five different factions, and for those who don’t truly belong in any of the factions, life is not only difficult; it’s dangerous.

38. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

This beloved story is set during the American Civil War and tells the story of the four March sisters as they find adventure, joy, and struggle as they await their father’s return home from the war.

39. The Selection by Keira Cass

This entertaining book tells the story of America Singer, a teen girl chosen to be part of the royal Selection, something every other girl would love. Being included in this fairy-tale version of The Bachelor teaches her a lot about herself and the life she’d once envisioned.

40. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

If you’re surprised by a Shakespeare selection on this list of books for middle-schoolers, this No Fear version is what makes it do-able! With the Shakespearean version written next to modern prose, readers can easily understand what’s happening. A delightful comedy with a story inside a story, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the perfect way to introduce your middle-schooler to Shakespeare!

41. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

This classic holiday story of Ebenezer Scrooge is well-known in many modern versions and screenplays. However, there is nothing like reading the original prose from Charles Dickens. Because middle-schoolers are probably familiar with the story, this is a great way to introduce them to the elevated language of the mid-19th century.

42. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Known as one of the earliest true young-adult fiction books, The Outsiders tells the story of Ponyboy, a teen boy who is always on the fringe of society. Many older middle-schoolers may identify with feeling excluded and unsure of their place in the world.

43. The Little Prince by Antoine St. Exupery

Teenagers leaving their childhood behind may find great insights as they read the timeless story of the Little Prince and his thought-provoking outlook on adulthood.

44. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

Your middle-schooer may be amazed and inspired by the the incredible true story of Malala Yousafzai and her bravery in defying the Taliban in Pakistan.

45. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

This young adult version of a celebrated story is another great non-fiction book for middle-schoolers! Young teens will be inspired by the power of one boy and his determination to make a better life for his family and village.

Final thoughts about books for middle-schoolers

We absolutely loved preparing this list for you! It’s full of lots old favorites and a few new stories we can’t wait for our middle-schoolers to read too!

(If I had to choose a few favorites, it’d be Harry Potter first, followed by the Guardians series, and the Phantom Toolbooth …. and Anne of Green Gables …Okay, I’ll stop!)

Please let us know which of these books for middle-schoolers you’re most excited about in the comments below!

Related articles about great books for homeschooling:

25 Fantastic Read-Aloud Books for Kindergarten

How to Create an Amazing Homeschool Library for Your Kids

What are some of your favorite books for middle-schoolers?

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45 Amazing Books Your Middle Schooler Needs to Read45 Amazing Books Your Middle Schooler Needs to Read45 Amazing Books Your Middle Schooler Needs to Read45 Amazing Books Your Middle Schooler Needs to Read

Hi there! I’m so glad you’re here! I’m Jen, a former reluctant homeschool mom who is ready to help you actually enjoy homeschooling too. Read more here…

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