What are some good books for a middle school student?I mainly enjoy realistic and historical fiction, but other genres are also fine.

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janetlong eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is always helpful to know what books you have read that you particularly liked. Often the things you loved in a piece of one genre are also present in a work of a completely different genre. I began reading The Lord of the Rings in sixth grade and have read it many times since, but nothing else in the fantasy genre has ever floated my boat. Tolkien possessed a vast knowledge of mythologies and literatures from many countries and ages (they crop up everywhere as the breadth of your reading expands), and he was a master of the writing craft--pacing, timing, dialog, suspense, comic relief, imagery, lyricism. Though many of my teachers (even in college) cringed at Tolkien's hold on the literary tastes of students, The Lord of the Rings really cranked up the reading level of a lot of us. I think Harry Potter has played a similar role--I wonder if there has been an uptick in Dickens' readership (from Beedle the Bard to Beadle Bumble). If teachers aren't working that angle, they should be!

Books that you will likely be required to read sooner or later include To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Flies--all gorgeous stories that it doesn't hurt to read for pleasure, plus you'll have a great advantage when you have to read them again with all the baggage of homework attached. Great, but anthologized to death, are The House on Mango Street, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and The Joy Luck Club.

Jerry Spinelli has some great books. Island of the Blue Dolphin is always good, or Julie of the Wolves. Also, A Farewell to Manzanar or The Summer of My German Soldier. You might also try a western (Hondo by L'Amour is good) or scifi (Fahrenheidt 451 by Bradbury) or mystery (And Then There Were None by Christie). If you've never read Tom Sawyer, go for it. The Pandora books, based on the mixed mythology of Pandora and the seven deadly sins, are fun.


wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Hunger Games was pretty good.  As a historical fiction buff myself, I did enjoy that part of it although I found the plot somewhat lacking.  Lord of the Rings (beginning with the Hobbit) is a wonderful series.  It can be a little difficult to follow, but it's great for someone who enjoy history.  Of course, the history here is entirely fake but it is very well thought out.  You might also be interested in the Three Musketeers series.  There's actually several books in this series by Alexandre Dumas.  It's true historical fiction.  The events really did take place in this manner in France but the characters and their interactions with historical figures have been fabricated. 

booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My favorite while teaching 9th grade was To Kill a Mockingbird. However, I also believe, in the same vein, you might enjoy The Help, which takes place in the more recent past than "Mockingbird," but with the same themes. It is an extremely worthwhile book, has an excellent message, and can also be funny at times. My students enjoyed reading the play The Miracle Worker, which is about Helen Keller. It also is very rewarding, and is based on actual events in Ms. Keller's life. 

As mentioned, The Hunger Games are very popular. And not long ago—though certainly "out there," many of my students (and I) read the Twilight series.

shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, my suggestions definitely aren't realistic or historical, but you said other genres were fine, so . . .

The Tolkien Lord of the Rings trilogy (and The Hobbit, as an unofficial intro to the trilogy) have been fascinating readers for years. Also, the C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia series. Both of these fall into the fantasy genre, but they have strong messages that often resonate with younger and older readers alike.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sharon Draper's books are of interest to this age group as are S.E. Hinton's. Specifically, The Tears of a Tiger and The Outsiders.  The Giver by Lois Lowry as well as Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor are certainly ones that middle school students could read. Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper is interesting, too, and a classic. Another worthy work is The Diary of Anne Frank.


pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you want something that is timely right now, the Hunger Games trilogy would seem like a good choice.  It's not exactly historical fiction, but it does have some amount of what you might call social commentary in it.  It makes you think about what life might be like in a totalitarian state.  It also sort of spoofs (in my opinion) our obsession with reality shows.  

So, not very high class, but lots of people that age and up like them.

carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The books by J.K. Rowling are worthwhile reading. I have read them all and additionally have enjoyed the movies that go along with them.  The vocabulary, exciting plot elements, and character development which ranges from book one to seven is extraordinary. Some naysayers are disturbed by the magical aspect of the books...however, if you like, Tolkien or Lewis, there is value in the Potter series. 

mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Walter Dean Myers with his Monster, Somewhere in the Darkness, Slam, Game, Fallen Angels, The Glory Fields, and Sunrise over Fallujah.  He isn't always sweet, but gritty and realistic.  With his own rough childhood, I think he understands the age group he  writes for and does it well.

katehackett eNotes educator| Certified Educator
What are some good books for a middle school student?

I mainly enjoy realistic and historical fiction, but other genres are also fine.

Try Red Badge of Courage, Number the Stars, the Graveyard Book, Ella Enchanted, Indian Captive, anything by Avi, and Little Women.

Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator
One poster above mentioned the Hunger Games books and if you like them I would recommend Emma Clayton's new distopian series beginning with The Roar. Additionally, while more mythological than historical, I would recommend anything written by Rick Riordan.
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would say the Hunger Games series as well. On top of that, I would suggest the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod. The new book by James Patterson looks funny (Middle School: Get Me Out of Here!), although I have yet to read it.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Louis Sachar's 'Holes' is an enjoyable read, as are 'Bridge to Terabithia' and Antony Horowitz' 'Stormbreaker' series.

udonbutterfly | Student

The Dead is series is a nice and light read that would be perfect for middle school kids since it's never gets boring and is easily relatable. Also there is the Watsons Go to Birmingham which is a great book that is set in the 1960's that really teaches lessons about bullying and racism. I remember reading it myself when I was in middle school I finished the book before the entire class because I was so eager to finish it.

Wiggin42 | Student

Ender's Game by Orson S. Card is an absolute must! Its military sci-fi and is a great introduction to science fiction novels for young readers. It has a heavy plot that appeals to children and adults alike.

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix is a future dystopian sci-fi that is also good. Its a bit simpler (more 6th grade than 8th grade) but very poignantly written.

City of Ember is another future dystopian sci-fi that is simple but enjoyable.

nicoledesilva | Student

If you like historical fiction, I suggest Raven Queen by Pauline Francis.

glgoodrich | Student

"Treasure Island" and "Lord of the Flies" are both great books for middle school (or for any age if you haven't read them). "A Wrinkle in Time" and "The Hobbit" are also very good. My middle school students read all four of those.

liz199909 | Student

i believe good book to read in middle school would be the tempest by Shakespeare and also the mockingbird and A separate peace. A separate peace is a very interesting book and a event happening through the book is World War 2.

mandy-96 | Student

I like fantasy and fiction but i also like biographies. i think Harry Potter series, Percy Jackson series, books for older reader by Jacqueline Wilson and books by Meg Cabot are good! :)

mad-e | Student

Diary of a Wimpy kid series by Jeff Kinney is awesome..


chetto99 | Student

The Giver by Louis Lowry, The outsiders and Schooled by Gordon Korman are excellent books to read!

adi12 | Student

The House on Mango Street

Author: Sandra Cisneros

The Other Side of Dark

Author: Joan Lowery Nixon

The second book is very intreasting when you have time research it and hopefully you enjoy it :)

msnewbooklover | Student

I will t00 suggest u t0 read hunger games series...its perfect and every1 nowadays love it...but there is nothing wrong with nicholas sparks(all bks particularly last song) and stephienei meyer

lmcswig | Student

To Kill a Mockingbird and The Help are two of my favorite stories that fit under your historical fiction genre.  Another personal favorite of mine that I just finished is The Joy Luck Club.  It talks about the relationships between mothers and daughters from Chinese cultures.  The mothers in the story, all from China, raise their children as Americans, and fear that they will never learn of their rich Chinese heritage.  Quite a good read in my opinion! 

Hope this helps you out! :)


amanda-panda | Student
If you read and enjoy the hunger games another series you might like is the Gone series by Michael Grant. It is one of my favourite series it includes five books so far called Gone, Hunger, Lies, Plague and Fear. It about a town in California called Perdido Beach. Every human 15 and older vanishes, and the town and surrounding areas are encased within an impenetrable bubble. Many of the people and wildlife develop supernatural powers. The story continues from there following the survival and deaths of the kids.
lshenkman | Student

Sharon Draper's books are of interest to this age group as are S.E. Hinton's. Specifically, The Tears of a Tiger and The Outsiders.  The Giver by Lois Lowry as well as Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor are certainly ones that middle school students could read. Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper is interesting, too, and a classic. Another worthy work is The Diary of Anne Frank.


Thank you very much! I've read the Outsiders, the Giver, The Prince and the Pauper, and Diary of Anne Frank. I can't wait to readTears of a Tiger, Roll of Thunder, and Hear My Cry.

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