Awesome Books for Middle Schoolers 2018

Teen Specialists Staff Image

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh creates an annual booklist encouraging middle school students to read for the fun of it! 

The 2018 Awesome Books for Middle Schoolers booklist includes diverse books in a variety of formats and genres selected by CLP Teen Specialists. These books are great for middle schoolers.

All's Faire in Middle School

Homeschooled by Renaissance Faire enthusiasts, eleven-year-old Imogene has a hard time fitting in when her wish to enroll in public school is granted.

The Backstagers, Volume One: Rebels Without Applause

When Jory transfers to an all-boys private high school, he’s taken in by the only ones who don’t treat him like a new kid, the lowly stage crew known as the Backstagers. Not only does he gain great, lifetime friends, Jory is also introduced to an entire magical world that lives beyond the curtain. With the unpredictable twists and turns of the underground world, the Backstagers venture into the unknown, determined to put together the best play their high school has ever seen.

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora

Arturo Zamora is determined to save his family’s Cuban American restaurant, the decades-old hub of their Miami neighborhood, from an unscrupulous developer who seems to have bought city council approval for his land grab.

Every Shiny Thing

Seventh-grader Lauren begins stealing to help children who, like her brother, are on the autism spectrum, and Sierra, in foster care in Lauren’s neighborhood, fears she will enable Lauren’s lawbreaking. Told half in prose, half in verse.

For Everyone

Jason Reynolds shares this letter-poem, written several years ago, in the hope that it will encourage readers to continue reaching for their own dreams.

Forget Me Not

Astronomy-loving Calliope June has Tourette syndrome, so she sometimes makes faces or noises that she doesn’t mean to make. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But it isn’t long before the kids at her new school realize she’s different.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic.

Invisible Emmie

When an embarrassing note falls into the wrong hands, the lives of two totally different girls collide.

Lily and Dunkin

Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl–but being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Norbert Dorfman, nicknamed Dunkin Dorfman, is bipolar and has just moved from the town he’s called home for the past thirteen years; this would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse. One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.

The Lumberjanes: The Moon is Up

Welcome to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types. The five scouts of Roanoke cabin–Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley–hang out with their best friends, earn Lumberjane scout badges, annoy their counselor Jen–and go on supernatural adventures. As the camp gears up for the big Galaxy Wars competition, Jo and thegang get some help from an unexpected visitor–a moon pirate!

Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded

Chantel would much rather focus on her magic than on curtsying, which is why she often finds herself in trouble at MissEllicott’s School for Magical Maidens. But when Miss Ellicott mysteriously disappears along with all the other sorceresses in the city, Chantel’s behavior becomes the least of her problems. Without any magic protecting the city, it is up to Chantel and her friends to save the Kingdom.

One Piece, Vol. 1

Monkey D. Luffy, who has strange powers after eating the Gum-Gum fruit, sails the Seven Seas in search of the elusive treasure “One Piece.”

Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History

In Rad Women Worldwide, writer Kate Schatz and artist Miriam Klein Stahl tell tales of perseverance and radical success by pairing biographies with expressive cut-paper portraits. Featuring an array of diverse figures from Hatshepsut (the great female king who ruled Egypt peacefully for two decades) and Malala Yousafzi (the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize) to Poly Styrene (legendary teenage punk and lead singer of X-Ray Spex) and Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft (polar explorers and the first women to cross Antarctica).

Scar Island

Twelve-year-old Jonathan Grisby has been sent to the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys, a former lunatic asylum which is currently run by a sadist who enjoys punishing the boys and setting them against each other; but when a lightning strike kills all the adults the boys find themselves suddenly free–and trapped on Scar Island which seems to be sinking into the ocean.

See You in the Cosmos

Eleven-year-old Alex Petroski, along with his dog, Carl Sagan, makes big discoveries about his family on a road trip and he records it all on a golden iPod he intends to launch into space.

The Serpent's Secret

Up until her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala considered herself an ordinary sixth-grader in Parsippany, New Jersey, but then her parents disappear and a demon shows up in her kitchen, and soon she is swept into another dimension, full of magic, winged horses, talking birds, and cute princes–and somehow Kiranmala needs to sort it all out, find her parents, and basically save the world.

The Skin I'm In

Maleeka suffers every day from the taunts of the other kids in her class. If they’re not getting at her about her homemade clothes or her good grades, it’s about her dark, black skin. When a new teacher, whose face is blotched with a startling white patch, starts at their school, Maleeka can see there is bound to be trouble for her too. But the new teacher’s attitude surprises Maleeka. Miss Saunders loves the skin she’s in. Can Maleeka learn to do the same?

The Stars Beneath Our Feet

Unable to celebrate the holidays in the wake of his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting, Lolly Rachpaul struggles to avoid being forced into a gang himself while constructing a fantastically creative LEGO city at the Harlem community center.

Well, That Was Awkward

It’s all good. Well . . . almost. When Gracie learns that her crush likes her best friend, Sienna, she decides to help Sienna compose perfect texts to him. And Gracie is super okay with it. Like, more than okay! In fact, ti seems everyone around Gracie counts on her to be okay . . . all the time. But Gracie has a wonderful, though complicated, family, plus she’s in middle school. And then there are unexpected consequences when the texts Gracie sends pretending to be her bashful best friend, Sienna, are returned by their friend Emmett pretending to be shy A.J.

Wishtree

A red oak tree and a crow help their human neighbors work out their differences.