Awesome Books for Middle Schoolers 2020

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

The 2020 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.

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Black Brother, Black Brother

Donte feels like he can never get the respect his lighter-skinned brother Trey gets automatically. He’s bullied and nicknamed “Black Brother” at his school before being framed by the captain of the fencing team for something that gets him arrested. Training with an Olympic fencer at a local youth center focuses him on ways to take back his power and sense of self. You can also check out this title as an eBook on Overdrive/Libby and in eAudio on Overdrive/Libby.

Create a Costume!

Costume Critter, the world’s cutest cosplayer, shows Bea and Parker how to create fun, easy, budget-friendly costumes. Starting with some thrift store finds and a little sewing instruction, you too can come up with the costume creation of your dreams!

The Deep & Dark Blue

After a terrible political coup usurps their noble house, Hawke and Grayson flee to stay alive and assume new identities, Hanna and Grayce. Desperation and chance lead them to an order of magical women who spin the threads of reality to their will, and the twins begin to hatch a plan to avenge their family and retake their royal home. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby.

A Dash of Trouble

All Leo wants is to be able to help bake the treats for the Día de los Muertos festival, the biggest celebration of the year, but she is still too young, according to her mama and hermanas. She decides to prove that her magic is worthy of the bakery by helping her friend Caroline with a crush – what could go wrong? You can also check out this title as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby, as eAudio on Hoopla and as an eBook on Hoopla.

Each Tiny Spark

Emilia’s dad is finally home from his military deployment, but things still aren’t back to normal. He spends all day in his auto shop even though her mom is away on business, and she struggles to keep up in school because of her ADHD. It’s in the auto shop that Emilia finds something to hold her interest – welding – and learning along with her dad starts a new healing process in Emilia and her family. You can also check out this title as an eBook on OverDrive/Libby and as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby.

Lalani of the Distant Sea

The island of Sanlagita lies between a forbidding mountain and a foggy sea, isolating its inhabitants. Lalani Sarita stays at home with her mother, used to the rhythms of life there, until an illness strikes the family and she must brave a journey to Mount Isa to complete a dangerous quest that others have failed before her. You can also check out this title as an eBook on OverDrive/Libby, as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby and as eAudio on Hoopla.

Martin McLean, Middle School Queen

Mathletes is where Martin McLean feels comfortable. It’s where he has the answers and is sure of himself. That is, until his tío introduces Martin to drag – now, as Lottie León, Martin is braver than ever. Until it comes to anyone but his family knowing about his new hobby. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby or as eAudio on Hoopla.

The Moon Within

Her mom wants her to have a moon ceremony for her first period, as part of their family’s Mexican heritage, but Celi Rivera refuses to entertain the thought. With her body changing and her best friend telling her they are genderfluid, Celi wants to keep some of her life private and give herself time to figure things out. You can also check out this title as eBook on Overdrive/Libby or as eBook in Spanish on Overdrive/Libby.

The Okay Witch

Moth thinks she knows everything about everything witchy. Meeting a talking cat on Halloween, finding an enchanted diary, and being magically transported into her town’s history of witch persecution changes her mind about that. You can also check out this title as an eBook on Overdrive/Libby.

Song for a Whale

Tech genius Iris is treated like a nonentity at school because she is deaf. When she learns about Blue 55, a whale who can’t speak to other whales, she gets an idea for an invention that can help him, but she’ll have to attract attention to her cause to connect to this whale on the other side of the country. You can also check out this title as an eBook on Overdrive/Libby and in eAudio on Overdrive/Libby.

Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

A mysterious invitation to a mansion draws together four kids unlikely to hang out in any other circumstance. Birdwatching, journalism, secret clubs, and activism collide during the summer to bond them together and force them to face uncomfortable truths. You can also check out this title as an eBook on Overdrive/Libby.


Corey is used to his secret life as a time traveler. After all, his grandfather is one, too. It is a surprise to find out that he can alter the past, unlike the other keepers of this secret knowledge, and now his life is in danger. You can also check out this title as an eBook on Hoopla.

The Usual Suspects

Thelonius “T” Mitchell is a troublemaker – he likes to pull pranks and have fun – but he’s not a criminal. So, when a gun is found at school and he and his special ed classmates are blamed, he’s angry, and uses his unique way of seeing the world to get to the bottom of it.