Awesome Books for Middle Schoolers 2019

Teen Specialists Staff Image

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

The 2019 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.

Akissi: Tales of Mischief

Akissi is a true adventurer with a knack for mischief. She’s always getting into trouble! Follow her along hilarious escapades through the streets of her West African city.

Alexander Hamilton: The Making of America

Chronicles the life of the Founding Father, from his impoverished childhood in the West Indies and journey to New York City to his role in developing the Constitution and untimely death in a duel with Aaron Burr. 

Aru Shah and the End of Time

Aru Shah is spending a school break alone at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, where she lives with her archaeologist mother, who is currently on a dig. Aru has a tendency to make up fantastical stories about her life to cover for her boredom. When some of her classmates come over to call her on it, she unwittingly unleashes an ancient demon from a cursed lamp, and she must save the world from being frozen in time.

Betty Before X

Raised by her aunt until she is six, Betty, who will later marry Malcolm X, joins her mother and stepfamily in 1940s Detroit, where she learns about the civil rights movement.


From multiple perspectives, tells of a time capsule project and the middle schoolers who contribute, including future journalist Nora Tucker and newcomer Elidee Jones, whose brother is in the local prison.

Endling: The Last

Byx, possibly the last member of a mythical doglike species in the war-torn kingdom of Nedarra, sets out to find safe haven and, along the way, she meets new allies who each have their own motivations for joining her quest. 

Front Desk

Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?

Ghost Boys

A heartbreaking and powerful story about a black boy killed by a police officer, drawing connections through history, from award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes.
Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better.

The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún Vol. 1

In a world split between the Inside and the Outside, those living in both realms are told never to cross over to the other side, lest they be cursed. A young girl named Shiva lives on the outside, in a vacant village with a demonic guardian known only as “Teacher.” Shiva and Teacher seem to share a bond that transcends their disparate appearances. But when Shiva leaves Teacher’s care to seek out her grandmother, the secret behind her mysterious living arrangement comes to light. 

Inside the World of Roblox

Get an inside look into the world of Roblox, including profiles on talented players and insider information on the games. 

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

Twelve-year-old Ivy Aberdeen’s house is destroyed in a tornado, and in the aftermath of the storm, she begins to develop feelings for another girl at school.

Last Day on Mars

While waiting to leave Mars before it burns up like the Earth before it, Liam and his friend discover some facts about time and space and realize that the human race is just one race trying to survive in space.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Vol. 1

After a fateful meeting, Link sought out the anonymity and peace of life in a small village. But danger and adventure always find heroes to set things right, and when the dark minions of the King of Shadows threaten his new home, Link answers the call! 

Little Witch Academia, Vol. 1

As the only student at Luna Nova Witchcraft Academy to come from a non-magical family, Akko finds herself surrounded by prodigies from around the world, but giving up isn’t in her vocabulary. Whether it’s making friends, proving the doubters wrong, or just flying on a broom, Akko is going to make her dream a reality!

Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish

After a fight at school leaves Marcus facing suspension, Marcus’s mother takes him and his younger brother, who has Down syndrome, to Puerto Rico to visit relatives they do not remember or have never met. While there, Marcus starts searching for his father, who left their family ten years ago and is somewhere on the island. 

The Only Road

Twelve-year-old Jaime makes the treacherous journey from his home in Guatemala to his older brother in New Mexico after his cousin is murdered by a drug cartel.

Parker Inheritance

Twelve-year-old Candice Miller is spending the summer in Lambert, South Carolina, in the old house that belonged to her grandmother, who died after being dismissed as city manager for having the city tennis courts dug up looking for buried treasure–but when she finds the letter that sent her grandmother on the treasure hunt, she finds herself caught up in the mystery and, with the help of her new friend and fellow book-worm, Brandon, she sets out to find the inheritance, exonerate her grandmother, and expose an injustice once committed against an African American family in Lambert.


After being forced to give up his pet fox Pax, a young boy named Peter decides to leave home and get his best friend back.

The Prince and the Dressmaker

In this historical fantasy tale set in Paris, Frances, a lowly seamstress, is unexpectedly recruited to be the dressmaker for the mysterious, rich and trendsetting Lady Crystallia. She soon finds out that Lady Crystallia is actually Prince Sebastian, whose secret life is the thing that makes him feel free from his life of social obligation. But nothing can stay a secret for long. Can their friendship survive the test of truth?


Meet Wax, a young mix-master who scratches the perfect hip hop beat and accidentally summons a UFO that transports his family, best friend, and current crush to the robot-dominated planet of DiscopiaNow Wax and his crew must master the intergalactic musical martial art of Sci-Fu to fight the power and save Earth. 

The Science of Breakable Things

Middle schooler Natalie’s year-long assignment to answer a question using the scientific process leads to truths about her mother’s depression and her own cultural identity. 

Star Scouts

Accidentally abducted by an alien named Mabel, Avani joins Mabel at Camp Andromeda, a camp for Star Scouts where she has the adventure of a lifetime.