My Favorite Books to Recommend to Middle Schoolers


Middle school readers are wonderfully unique. They are right between Middle Grade books, which are appropriate for fourth through seventh grade, and Young Adult literature, which spans middle and high school.

How does one find appropriate, interesting books for their middle schooler? As someone who has worked with middle schoolers for a long time, here are some of my favorites that I recommend. 

Real Friends

By Shannon Hale 

This little graphic novel is a fantastic read! It’s a fictionalized account of the author’s childhood and her search for “real friends” in middle school. It’s a perfect representation of finding friends, and how important it is to find the right ones. 

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish 

By Pablo Cartaya

This hilarious, heartfelt book follows the story of Marcus Vega as his family takes a trip to Puerto Rico, where his estranged father lives. Every character in this book is fantastic, and it left me feeling hopeful that regardless of where we are, we will always have our people to bring us home. 

The Thickety: A Path Begins

By J.A. White

I may get some eyebrow raises when I say that this is the best fantasy series I’ve ever read, but it’s so true! This dark fantasy is perfect for kids who enjoy scarier stories but aren’t quite ready for creepy Young Adult books yet. If you know a middle schooler who loves fantasy, get them this book immediately! 


By Pam Munoz Ryan

Ryan is one of those authors that always comes through. This book was no different. Spanning different time periods, this book is full of magical realism, hope, and family. Middle schoolers who like historical fiction, magic, and music will love this book!

What books does your middle schooler like to read?  


All products featured are independently selected and recommended by our writer. As an Amazon Associate, Columbia Mom earns from qualifying purchases.
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Kelsey Arender is a Lexington native who fell in love with her work in libraries in 2012. Prior to her recent career change, you could find her at the public library's children department. Now, she happily works in a middle school library. On the weekends, Kelsey and her husband, William, enjoy watching reruns of their favorite TV shows, attending church, and reading with their one-year-old daughter. Kelsey's favorite things include endless mugs of coffee, cozy sweaters, rainy days, and laughing with friends. She may be an introvert but if you start a conversation about personality types, toddlers, or hygge, you'll make a fast friend. You can find her hanging on Instagram at @we_all_get_sleepy.


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