Too-Good-to-Miss Books: Middle School


Check out one of these too good to miss titles for readers in 6–8th grade! Compiled by the Children’s Services Staff at Monroe Public Library

Monroe County Public Library | 303 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, IN 47408 | (812) 349–3050

1. The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

Irish orphans Molly, fourteen, and Kip, ten, travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what it seems to be, and soon the siblings are confronted by a mysterious stranger and secrets of the cursed house.


2. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.


3. Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Twelve-year-old genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect with other people and find a surrogate family for herself after her parents are killed in a car accident.


4. The House of the Scorpion by 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 ofa corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States.


5. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever.


6. The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

Fifteen-year-old Jennifer Strange runs an agency for underemployed magicians in a world where magic is fading away, but when visions of the death of the world’s last dragon begin, all signs point to Jennifer — and Big Magic


7. The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.


8. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Accompanied by her daemon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North.


9. Zen and the Art of Faking It by Jordan Sonnenblick

When thirteen-year-old San Lee moves to a new town and school for the umpteenth time, he is looking for a way to stand out when his knowledge of Zen Buddhism, gained in his previous school, provides the answer — and the need to quickly become a convincing Zen master.


10. The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

While working at pleasant but mundane summer jobs in San Francisco, fifteen-year-old twins, Sophie and Josh, suddenly find themselves caught up in the deadly, centuries-old struggle between rival alchemists, Nicholas Flamel and John Dee, over thepossession of an ancient and powerful book holding the secret formulas for alchemy and everlasting life.


11. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

In alternating chapters, two teenagers describe how their feelings about themselves, each other, and their families have changed over the years.


12. Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.


13. Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson

When Rafe Khatchadorian enters middle school, he teams up with his best friend, “Leo the Silent,” to create a game to make schoolmore fun by trying to break every rule in the school’s code of conduct.


14. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but when he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl.


15. Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Struggling with Asperger’s, Rose shares a bond with her beloved dog, but when the dog goes missing during a storm, Rose is forced to confront the limits of her comfort levels, even if it means leaving her routines in order to search for her pet.


16. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

In 1906, sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiance, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. Based on a true story.


17. Life as We Knew it by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Through journal entries, sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family’s struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.


18. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

To free herself from an upcoming arranged marriage, Claudia, the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, a futuristic prison with a mind of its own, decides to help a young prisoner escape.


19. The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

When fifteen-year-old Will is rejected by battleschool, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt, and winds up protecting the kingdom from danger.


20. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.


21. Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Presents the humorous journal of a year in the life of a fourteen-year-old British girl who tries to reduce the size of her nose, stop her mad cat from terrorizing the neighborhood animals, and win the love of handsome hunk Robbie.


22. The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

In a society that purges thirteen-year-olds who are creative, identical twins Aaron and Alex are separated, one to attend University while the other, supposedly Eliminated, finds himself in a wondrous place where youths hone their abilities and learn magic.


23. The Schwa was Here by Neal Shusterman

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. Anthony, also known as “Antsy,” is fascinated by “The Schwa Effect” — the fact that no one ever sees Calvin Schwa. Even when acting weird and dressed like a total freak, The Schwa is only barely noticed. The two boys form a partnership and get away with all kinds of mischief, from conducting experiments at school to confounding opponents on thebasketball court. When The Schwa senses that even Antsy is beginning to lose sight of him, he vows to do something that will make him so visible, no one will ever forget him.


24. Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

As Bridge makes her way through seventh grade on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with her best friends, curvacious Em, crusader Tab, and a curious new friend — or more than friend — Sherm, she finds the answer she has been seeking since she barely survived an accident at age eight: “What is my purpose?”


25. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

Gen flaunts his ingenuity as a thief and relishes the adventure which takes him to a remote temple of the gods where he will attempt to steal a precious stone.



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Categories: Literature & Fiction

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