Books for Middle School Students

Find your school's recommended books from our alphabetized lists.

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23 Minutes

Vivian Vande Velde

Witnessing a bank robbery gone awry, misfit 15-year-old Zoe, a girl with supernatural ability to jump back in time and repeat events with up to 10 tries, attempts to stop the crime, but only makes things worse with each successive effort. Lexile 900; ages 12-14

Hardcover | eBook (hoopla) | eBook (cloudLibrary) |

Al Capone Does My Shirts

Gennifer Chaldenko

A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.

"Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I'm not the only kid who lives here. There's my sister, Natalie, except she doesn't count. And there are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cooks or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. Plus, there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers, and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don't want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you're me. I came here because my mother said I had to." Lexile 600

Hardcover | Large Print | CD Audiobook | Portable MP3 Player Audiobook

American Born Chinese

Gene Luen Yang

Alternates three interrelated stories about the problems of young Chinese Americans trying to participate in the popular culture. Presented in comic book format. GN530L Lexile

Hardcover | 2008 edition

And Then There Were None

Agatha Christie

The world's bestselling mystery! "Ten . . ." Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious "U.N. Owen." "Nine . . ." At dinner a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead. "Eight . . ." Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by a nursery rhyme counting down one by one . . .one by one they begin to die. "Seven . . ." Who among them is the killer and will any of them survive?

Book | PaperbackCD Audiobook | Downloadable Audiobook (hoopla) | Downloadable Audiobook (cloudLibrary) |

Animal Farm

George Orwell

George Orwell's classic satire of the Russian Revolution has become an intimate part of our contemporary culture, with its treatment of democratic, fascist, and socialist ideals through an animal fable. When the animals of Mr. Jones's Manor Farm revolt against their human rulers, they establish the democratic Animal Farm under the credo, “All Animals Are Created Equal.” Out of their cleverness, the pigs, Napoleon, Squealer, and Snowball, emerge as leaders of the new community. In a development of insidious familiarity, the pigs begin to assume ever greater amounts of power, while other animals, especially the faithful horse Boxer, assume more of the work. The climax of the story is the brutal betrayal of Boxer, when totalitarian rule is reestablished with the bloodstained postscript to the founding slogan: “But Some Animals Are More Equal than Others.” Lexile 1170L

Book | Rebelión en la granja (Spanish) | CD Audiobook | Large Print | Downloadable Audiobook (hoopla) | eBook (cloudLibrary) |

Beautiful Blue World

Suzanne LaFleur

Sofarende is at war and the army is paying families well to recruit children, so if twelve-year-old Mathilde or her best friend Megs is chosen, they hope to help their families but fear they will be separated forever. Lexile 540; ages 8-12

Hardcover | CD Audiobook | eBook (cloudLibrary)

Big Wave, The

Pearl S. Buck

The author of The Good Earth tells a poignant story about two boys whose friendship and courage help them survive an overwhelming tragedy. On a mountainside in Japan, two boys enjoy a humble life governed by age-old customs. Jiya belongs to a family of fishermen; his best friend, Kino, farms rice. But when a neighboring volcano erupts and a tidal wave swallows their village, including Jiya's family, life as they know it is changed forever. The orphaned Jiya must learn to come to terms with his grief. Now facing a profoundly different life than the one he'd always taken for granted, he must decide on a new way forward.  Lexile 790L; ages 8-12

Book | BookeBook (cloudLibrary)


Kwame Alexander

In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel THE CROSSOVER, soccer, family, love, and friendship, take center stage as twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read. This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match! Lexile 660; ages 10-12

Hardcover | CD Audiobook | eBook (cloudLibrary)

Boy on the Wooden Box

Leon Leyson

Leon Leyson (born Leib Lezjon) was only ten years old when the Nazis invaded Poland and his family was forced to relocate to the Krakow ghetto. With incredible luck, perseverance, and grit, Leyson was able to survive the sadism of the Nazis, including that of the demonic Amon Goeth, commandant of Plaszow, the concentration camp outside Krakow. Ultimately, it was the generosity and cunning of one man, a man named Oskar Schindler, who saved Leon Leyson’s life, and the lives of his mother, his father, and two of his four siblings, by adding their names to his list of workers in his factory-—a list that became world renowned: Schindler’s List. Lexile 1000L

Book | Downloadable Audiobook (hoopla)

Call of the Wild

Jack London

Commonly considered to be Jack London's tour de force, The Call of the Wild tells the story of Buck, a domesticated dog ripped from a comfortable life when he is stolen from his home on a California ranch. Sold to a pair of men in Canada, Buck is trained as a sled dog in cold wilderness of the Klondike region. However, Buck's ordeal has only begun, as he is forced to learn how to overcome both in the brutal conditions and as the primal social facets as a member of a dog sled pack.

Hardcover/Paperback | CD AudiobookEl llamado de la selva (Spanish CD Audiobook | Downloadable Audiobook (hoopla) | eBook (hoopla) | eBook (cloudLibrary)

Children of Exile

Margaret Peterson Haddix

A twelve-year-old girl raised in a foster village is returned to her biological parents, and discovers home is not what she expected it to be. Lexile 680; ages 10+

Hardcover | CD Audiobook | eBook (cloudLibrary)

Code Talker

Joseph Bruchac

After being taught in a boarding school run by whites that Navajo is a useless language, Ned Begay and other Navajo men are recruited by the Marines to become Code Talkers, sending messages during World War II in their native tongue. Lexile 910

Hardcover | CD Audiobook

Crown's Game, The

Evelyn Skye

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are the only enchanters in Russia, and when the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threaten to attack, the tsar wants a powerful enchanter by his side, and as an advisor for the prince, Pasha. He initiates the Crown's Game, a duel of magical skill, and the winner will become his Imperial Enchanter; the loser will die. For Vika and Nikolai, the game is a chance of a lifetime, but they come to realize that their growing regard for each other makes the game impossible to win. And as long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes increasingly clear to them that the Crown's Game is not one to lose. Lexile HL800; ages 12-17

Hardcover | Downloadable Audiobook (hoopla) | eBook (cloudLibrary) |

Darkest Hour, The

Caroline Tung Richmond

In 1943 sixteen-year-old Lucie Blaise is the newest recruit of Covert Ops, a secret espionage and sabotage organization of girls, and her mission in German-occupied France is to track down information about a weapon that could wipe out all of Western Europe--and then dismantle it before it can be used. Lexile 790; ages 12-17

HardcovereBook (cloudLibrary) |


Laurence Yep

In the early twentieth century a young Chinese boy joins his father in San Francisco and helps him realize his dream of making a flying machine. Lexile 870L


Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora

Pablo Cartaya

Save the restaurant. Save the town. Get the girl. Make Abuela proud. Can thirteen-year-old Arturo Zamora do it all or is he in for a BIG, EPIC FAIL? For Arturo, summertime in Miami means playing basketball until dark, sipping mango smoothies, and keeping cool under banyan trees. And maybe a few shifts as junior lunchtime dishwasher at Abuela’s restaurant. Maybe. But this summer also includes Carmen, a cute poetry enthusiast who moves into Arturo’s apartment complex and turns his stomach into a deep fryer. He almost doesn’t notice the smarmy land developer who rolls into town and threatens to change it. Arturo refuses to let his family and community go down without a fight, and as he schemes with Carmen, Arturo discovers the power of poetry and protest through untold family stories and the work of José Martí. Funny and poignant, The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora is the vibrant story of a family, a striking portrait of a town, and one boy's quest to save both, perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia. Lexile 750; ages 10+; grades 5+

Hardcover | eBook (cloudLibrary)

Esperanza Rising

Pam Munoz Ryan

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression. Lexile 750L

Hardcover | CD AudiobookEsperanza renace (Spanish) | Esperanza Renace (Spanish: Downloadable Audiobook ) |

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451-- the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns ...

In a society in which books are outlawed, Montag, a regimented fireman in charge of burning the forbidden volumes, meets a revolutionary school teacher who dares to read. Suddenly he finds himself a hunted fugitive, forced to choose not only between two women, but between personal safety and intellectual freedom. Lexile 890

Hardcover | CD Audiobook | Portable MP3 Player Audiobook | eBook (cloudLibrary) |

Falling Over Sideways

Jordan Sonnenblick

Claire's life is a joke . . . but she's not laughing. While her friends seem to be leaping forward, she's dancing in the same place. The mean girls at school are living up to their mean name, and there's a boy, Ryder, who's just as bad, if not worse. And at home, nobody's really listening to her -- if anything, they seem to be more in on the joke than she is. Then into all of this (not-very-funny-to-Claire) comedy comes something intense and tragic -- while her dad is talking to her at the kitchen table, he falls over with a medical emergency. Suddenly the joke has become very serious -- and the only way Claire, her family, and her friends are going to get through it is if they can find a way to make it funny again. Lexile 860; ages 12+

Hardcover | Downloadable Audiobook (hoopla) | eBook (cloudLibrary)

Farewell to Manzanar

Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

Jeanne Wakatsuki was seven years old in 1942 when her family was sent to live at Manzanar internment camp. This is the true story of one spirited Japanese-American family's attempt to survive the indignities of forced detention. Lexile 1040L


Fever 1793

Laurie Halse Anderson

During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. Mattie spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen. But then the fever breaks out. Disease sweeps the streets, destroying everything in its path and turning Mattie's world upside down. At her feverish mother's insistence, Mattie flees the city with her grandfather. But she soon discovers that the sickness is everywhere, and Mattie must learn quickly how to survive in a city turned frantic with disease. Lexile 580L

Book | Downloadable Audiobook

Fish In A Tree

Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Ally's greatest fear is that everyone will find out she is as dumb as they think she is because she still doesn't know how to read. Lexile 550L

Book | Como pez en el arbol (Spanish) | eBook (cloudLibrary)

Flying Lessons & Other Stories

Ellen Oh

From basketball dreams and family fiascos to first crushes and new neighborhoods, this anthology, written by award-winning children's authors, celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us. Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7

Hardcover | CD Audiobook| eBook (cloudLibrary) |


Dean Hughes

Forced into an internment camp at the start of World War II, eighteen-year-old Yuki enlists in the Army to fight for the Allies as a member of the "Four-Four-Two," a segregated Japanese American regiment. Lexile 820; Ages 12+

Hardcover | CD Audiobook | eBook (cloudLibrary)


Jason Reynolds

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team -- a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves. Ghost has a crazy natural talent, but no formal training. If he can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons -- it all starting with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems -- and running away from them -- until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who blew his own shot at success by using drugs, and who is determined to keep other kids from blowing their shots at life. Lexile 730; Ages 10+

Hardcover | CD Audiobook | eBook (cloudLibrary) |

Girl I Used to Be, The

April Henry

Olivia's parents were killed fourteen years ago. Now, new evidence reopens the case . . . and she finds herself involved. Lexile HL660; Ages 13-17

Hardcover | eBook (cloudLibrary)

Giver, The

Lois Lowry

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lexile 760

Hardcover | El dador (Spanish) | Portable MP3player Audiobook | Large Print | eBook (hoopla)| eBook (cloudLibrary) | Downloadable Audiobook (cloudLibrary) |

Glass Menagerie, The

Tennessee Williams

In this semi-autobiographical play the domineering matriarch of the Wingfield family tries to find a "gentleman caller" for her fragile daughter.

Book | Book | CD Audiobook | eBook (cloudLibrary) |

Hate U Give, The

Angie Thomas

After witnessing her friend's death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter's life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died. Grades 8+; Ages 13+; Lexile HL590L

Hardcover | CD Audiobook |Large Print | Portable MP3player AudiobookeBook (cloudLibrary) |

House of the Scorpion

Nancy Farmer

In a future where humans despise clones, Matt enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patrón, the 142-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States. Lexile 660L

Hardcover | Large Print | CD AudiobookLa marca del escorpion (Spanish) | eBook (cloudLibrary) |

I Am Drums

Mike Grosso

A single-minded twelve-year-old drummer, challenged by her school's budget cuts and her family's financial woes, must find a way to keep her dreams of drumming alive. Lexile 730; Ages 10-12

Hardcover | eBook (hoopla) | eBook (cloudLibrary) |

Inquisitor's Tale

Adam Gidwitz

A peasant girl and her holy greyhound, an oblate on a mission from his monastery, and a young Jewish boy travel across medieval France to escape persecution and save holy texts from being burned. Lexile 620; Ages 10+

Hardcover | CD Audiobook | eBook (cloudLibrary) |

Last Man Out

Mike Lupica

Twelve-year-old Tommy Gallagher, the bravest and toughest football player on the field, faces his biggest battle ever when his father, a Boston firefighter, is fatally injured while rescuing a child. Lexile 840; Ages 10+

Hardcover | CD Audiobook | eBook (cloudLibrary) |

Life As We Knew It

SUsan Beth Pfeffer

High school sophomore Miranda’s disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to Earth, like \"one marble hits another.\" The result is catastrophic. How can her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis are wiping out the coasts, earthquakes are rocking the continents, and volcanic ash is blocking out the sun? As August turns dark and wintery in northeastern Pennsylvania, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sunroom, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove. Told in a year’s worth of journal entries, this heart-pounding story chronicles Miranda’s struggle to hold on to the most important resource of all—hope—in an increasingly desperate and unfamiliar world. Lexile 700L

Book | CD Audiobook | eBook (cloudLibrary) |

Life of Pi

Yann Martel

Martel's novel tells the story of Pi - short for Piscinean - an unusual boy raised in a zoo in India. Pi's father decides to move the family to live in Canada and sell the animals to the great zoos of America. The ship taking them across the Pacific sinks and Pi finds himself the sole human survivor on a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra with a broken leg, and Bengal tiger called Richard Parker. Life of Pi brings together many themes including religion, zoology, fear, and sheer tenacity. This is a funny, wise, and highly original look at what it means to be human.

Hardcover | Large Print | CD Audiobook | Vida de Pi (Spanish) | eBook, Illustrated (hoopla) | Downloadable Audiobook (hoopla) | eBook (cloudLibrary) |

Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

C. S. Lewis

Open the door and enter a new world. Narnia ... the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place frozen in eternal winter ... a magical country waiting to be set free. Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don't believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they've been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch's sinister spell. Lexile 940

Book | CD Audiobook | Downloadable Audiobook (hoopla) | eBook (cloudLibrary) |

Llegar A Ser Pedro

Matt Tavares

Before Pedro Martínez pitched the Red Sox to a World Series championship, before he was named to the All-Star team eight times, before he won the Cy Young Award three times, he was a kid from a place called Manoguayabo in the Dominican Republic. Pedro loved baseball more than anything, and his older brother Ramón was the best pitcher he'd ever seen. He dreamed of the day he and his brother could play together in the major leagues. This is the story of how that dream came true. Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7, 870L Lexile


Antes de que Pedro Martínez fuese elegido al Salon de la Fama del Béisbol, antes de que hiciera posible que los Medias Rojas ganaran la Serie Mundial, antes de que fuera seleccionado ocho veces para formar parte del equipo de la Liga de las Estrellas, antes de que recibiera el Premio Cy Young tres veces, Pedro era un niño que nació en Manoguayabo, un pequeño pueblo de la República Dominicana. Pedro amaba el béisbol más que nada en el mundo, y Ramón su hermano mayor, era el mejor lanzador que llegaría un día en el que su hermano y él jugarían juntos en las Grandes Ligas. Esta es la historia de cómo ese sueño se hizo realidad.

Hardcover |