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50-Best Books for Middle School

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It is summer break! An exciting time that allows for teachers and students alike to take a bit of a break, right?

I have realized that my students are similar to me-breaking is hard. We have gotten into this great rhythm over the last 185 days of reading and writing. While our year has come to an end, routines were established and enthusiasm for reading continues into these summer months.

The fact that our time together has come to an end, doesn’t mean my students’ love of reading has. Over the last few days I have had about five parents stop me at sporting events or send a quick text to inquire about summer reading. The text simply says, “Can you recommend some good books?” I know these readers, so I can fire off 5-10 book recommendations that I know their 8th grade reader will love.

In hindsight, I should have generated a list of books for my students beforethe end of the school year. The hustle bustle of the last days had my focus elsewhere, and sending my students off with book ideas went by the wayside.  I will plan to do this each year from here on out because I know I have students that want book ideas to keep in mind on days when they might head to the library to find a great book to tackle for summer reading.  For any middle school teacher or parent that is looking, here is a list of “best fit books” that my students or I have read, shared about, or recommended during the course of our year together:


  • The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony and Graham Spence
  • Obsessed: A Memoir of My Life with OCD by Allison Britz
  • Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland
  • Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern Day Child Slave by Shyima Hall and Lisa Wysocky
  • I Got This: To Gold and Beyond by Laurie Hernandez
  • Chasing Space by Leland Melvin
  • No Summit Out of Sight by Jordan Romero and Linda LeBlanc
  • Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI by Ryan Smithson
  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb


  • Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different: True Tales of Amazing Boys Who Changed the World without Killing Dragons by Ben Brooks
  • She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton
  • Herstory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World by Katherine Halligan


  • Internment by Samira Ahmed
  • Rebound by Kwame Alexander
  • Booked by Kwame Alexander
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
  • Posted by John David Anderson
  • Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
  • The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker
  • Red Kayak by Priscilla Cummings
  • The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  • Focused by Alyson Gerber
  • Space Case by Stuart Gibb
  • Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz
  • Refugee by Alan Gratz
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
  • House Arrest by K.A. Holt
  • Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
  • Restart by Gordon Korman
  • The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
  • Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
  • Max the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
  • Ghost by Jason Reynolds
  • Patina by Jason Reynolds
  • Sunny by Jason Reynolds
  • Lu by Jason Reynolds
  • I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez
  • Downsiders by Neal Schusterman
  • The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  • Smile by Raina Telgemeier
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
  • The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draane
  • Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks
  • Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

This list was generated from my conferencing notes based on what my students have read during the course of our year together.  I find that my students are really thoughtful “recommenders” of texts, so I used their enthusiasm for these books to develop this growing list, which I can now post and share with students on Schoology or parents that contact me.  Grab the printable list below…

A list of 50 books that will inspire and encourage your middle school students to continue to read throughout the summer months.

50 Best Books for Middle School Readers

I hope you find some titles you have yet to read-here is my Amazon affiliate link if you are looking to purchase any of the titles listed above.  I would love to hear about any books your middle school students LOVED this year, so I can add to my classroom library, and begin working on my list for next summer. Enjoy the coming months!

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