The middle school grades are a fantastic time to encourage life-long reading through amazing novels. Children’s reading levels have excelled enough for more complex plots and character development. Here are 10 of the best middle school novels according to teachers, parents, and children. These are memorable books your kids will remember in adulthood and want to reread.
10 Best Middle School Novels
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen won the Newberry Medal of Honor in 1988. It’s a classic survival story in which the main character not only needs to persevere and endure in the wilderness but internally processes his parents’ divorce and learns self-reliance. Guided reading level R.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the first book in the series following the adventures of the wizarding and muggle world. The plot immediately enthralls children, as they imagine what it would be like to go to Hogwarts. Guided reading level V.
Dragonwings by Laurence Yep
Dragonwings is a creative story about Chinese immigration to San Francisco. Prejudice and invention are interwoven in historical fiction by Yep. The characters remind us to never give up on our dreams. Guided reading level V.
Holes by Lous Sacher
Holes is a story of intrigue as the characters at a boys’ detention facility spend their days digging holes of exact measurements. What is the warden looking for? This novel is humorous and mysterious, as well as reflective offering social commentary. It won the Newberry Medal in 1999. Guided reading level V.
Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry is set in Mississippi during the Great Depression. Racial injustice and prejudice confront inner strength, dignity, and self-respect in the main character Cassie Logan. This powerful story is important for all children to read. Guided reading level W.
The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham
The Luck Uglies is an adventure series filled with magic and friendship. Three friends discover their village’s secrets and must defeat evil creatures with the help of the Luck Uglies. This novel is fast-paced and humorous. We were sent a copy of the second book in the series: Fork-Tongue Charmers. Guided reading level Z.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games is an enthralling tale of life and death. Characters struggle with survival and love as they battle for their lives on live TV. The first in a trilogy, this book is one you can’t put down! Guided reading level Z.
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Charlotte’s Web is a beloved novel suitable for younger middle schoolers or those that are challenged by reading. It’s an archetypal tale of friendship and includes lessons of life and death. Guided reading level R.
The One and Only Ivan by
The One and Only Ivan is based on the true story of a captured gorilla and is told from his point of view. The story is sensitive and humorous with messages of friendship and hope. Guided reading level S.
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
Tuck Everlasting is an entertaining tale that raises questions of mortality. Would you really want to live forever? Characters in the book drink from a magical spring that is essentially the fountain of youth. Readers learn about their struggles and secrets. Guided reading level W.
Obviously, this list is not all-inclusive. There are so many wonderful novels for tweens.
A note on guided reading levels: The later in the alphabet the letter occurs, the more difficult the text. It is based on the Fountas and Pinnell Levels.