Books for 7th and 8th Graders

Our seventh- and eighth-grade members have discovered some pretty wonderful reads. In fact, they were so wonderful that they had a hard time narrowing down their favorites to ten choices. We hope that this list can help those who need a few reading recommendations!

  1. Artemis Fowl: Irish author Eoin Colfer’s novel is the first in a series of adventures about Artemis Fowl, a young criminal mastermind who kidnaps a fairy for a ransom of gold. His captive, Holly Short, is much more of a handful than he bargained for. The subterranean fairies are not like the ones in tales of old but members of a high-tech society. This exciting and unique series is full of laughs.
  2. Eragon: This much-loved fantasy by Christopher Paolini is the story of a boy and his dragon. Eragon discovers he’s not the simple farmer he thought he was but a Dragon Rider. The choices he makes with his dragon, Saphira, will affect the fate of his world.
  3. Brown Girl Dreaming: Jacqueline Woodson’s narrative poetry earned her the National Book Award and Newbery honors. These poems tell the story of her experiences growing up as an African-American girl in the ’60s and ’70s and her struggles with reading despite her love of words. This is an inspiring story for students who love stories but aren’t strong readers.
  4. Boxers: This story by Gene Luen Yang combines history and fantasy. The book transports readers to China in 1898, where a boy named Little Bao harnesses the powers of the Chinese gods to summon an army of “boxers” trained in kung fu. He fights to free China from imperialists but finds that the ethics of warfare are complicated, especially when innocent citizens die as a consequence.
  5. Counting by 7s: Holly Goldberg Sloan’s book may sound sad, but it’s nothing short of uplifting. Willow Chance is a child genius obsessed with nature, medical conditions, and counting by 7s. She has always had trouble connecting with others, even more so when she loses her parents in a car crash. She learns to push past her grief with the help of her surrogate family.
  6. Smile: Raina Telgemeier’s memoir is relatable for everyone who has or had to wear braces. This is the story of a sixth-grade every-girl who trips after a Girl Scout meeting and damages her two front teeth. She has to deal with oral surgeries, braces, and headgear, not to mention unfriendly friends, boy troubles, and a major earthquake.
  7. Touching Spirit Bear: This book by Ben Mikaelsen tells the story of Cole, a young man who constantly causes trouble. After severely injuring another boy in an empty parking lot, Ben is given a choice: jail time or Circle Justice, a program rooted in Native American traditions. Cole chooses Circle Justice, and while he’s there, he’s mauled by a mysterious white bear. As he faces death, he explores the root of his troubles, his choices, and his relationship with his abusive parents.
  8. The One and Only Ivan: Animal-lovers will enjoy Katherine Applegate’s story about an unlikely friendship between Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the baby elephant. Ivan is a painting gorilla who has grown accustomed to his life in captivity, but the arrival of Ruby brings changes. Ruby helps him see his artwork through new eyes.
  9. Tuck Everlasting: Natalie Babbitt’s classic story allows readers to explore what it might be like to live forever. Young Winnie Foster meets the Tucks, an eternally young family, and discovers that eternal youth comes with its own set of challenges. As Winnie’s bond with the family grows, she has to decide if she, too, will drink from the spring of youth.
  10. Ender’s Game: This book is now considered a sci-fi classic. Middle school is a perfect time to read Orson Scott Card’s story about a young boy sent off-planet to train at an elite military academy. Despite being a genius, it’s not easy for Ender to learn strategy as he’s launched into challenging games against his fellow talented students. Ender will learn that the enemy is not always what it seems.

Which of our picks have you read? We’d love to hear your opinion.