Entertaining Summer Reading for Middle Schoolers

A Very Non-Exhaustive Summer Reading Suggestion List

This is a very brief list of suggestions for your middle school aged kids to read this summer. I tried to include a variety including different genres and some books you and your kids may not have heard of before. Some are new and some are old.

20 Summer Reads20 Summer Reads

For me, summer was a time to read as late as I wanted and to read the entire series of books, if my library had them!

I still love books and read all the time. I wanted to share some summer read ideas, and I decided to start with the age group I thought it was hardest to find good books for when my kids were in the middle grades.

The books on my list are “high interest” and are mainly for ages 11-14.

The reading levels will vary within that range. Some of your older readers will still like them. Some of them only readers on the older end will like them. You can look them up and be the judge of what your children will get out of them.

I picked stories with a variety of types of lead characters – some are smart, some are ordinary, some are princesses and some are paupers.

I have tried to give a quick synopsis of the story with no spoilers.

For the most part, these books all show good values and character that are presented through an interesting plot, but I just chose them for my list because they are exciting and interesting stories:

Top 20 Summer Reads For Kids 11- 14

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty – takes place in my home state of NC at the mysterious and glamorous Biltmore Estate. Edge of your seat excitement as children are being kidnapped and only Serafina and her new friend can stop the tragedy. This is a spooky mystery-type book.

The Circle and The Choice by Cindy Cipriano – continuing the NC theme, this series takes place in the mountains of m home state. The author creates a fantasy world that meshes with our real world. The Sidhe Series is the story of faeries who live and work among us! More abductions here. This book is of the fantasy genre – the author was influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien. (Moonbeam Children’s Book Award)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle – (now my suggestions are getting away from NC, but not from abductions) ordinary and brainy, Meg must rescue her family! This is a classic, and a sci-fi/fantasy type book. (Newbery Medal, Sequoyah Book Award, and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award)

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – book one of the Olympian Series, which is a super fun, modern retelling of the adventures of the gods and goddesses and their talented, tricky offspring.  Adventure & Fantasy (too many awards to list!)

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein – a classic and an easy read. Start with this instead of the Lord of the Rings if your reader is a reluctant one. A magic world and a epic journey teach a gentle Hobbit to leave comfort behind – facing danger and a dragon while learning to be courageous and wise.  Adventure & Fantasy

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – first book in a sci-fi series about a young man with unusual abilities that may save his world.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton – explores conflicts between the rich kids and the poor kids, as well as dealing with the lives of kids living on the outside of what would be considered a normal suburban life and the sometimes shocking struggles they must overcome. Set in the 60’s so it has great vintage flair. Another Classic Fiction Story (New York Herald Tribune Best Teenage Books List, Chicago Tribune Book World Spring Book Festival Honor Book, Media and Methods Maxi Award, ALA Best Young Adult Books, Massachusetts Children’s Book Award)

The Diary of Anne Frank – this is a non-fiction classic. Anne is a young Jewish girl who comes of age while secreted away with her family during WWII. Poignant and important real life story. Non-Fiction Classic (One of the most listed Top Books of the 20th Century)

I am Malala by Malala Yousefzai, Christina Lamb – non-fiction biography of a young woman standing against the ignorance and oppression of the Taliban in her home country of Pakistan. Important read for all of us. Non-Fiction, Biography

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – classic fiction set in the depression era south, the story deals with human prejudices and judgement, justice and truth as seen through the eyes of Scout, a six-year-old. Not a “thrill-a-minute” story, but always a timely message and a story your introspective kids will love. Just. Amazing. (Pulitzer Prize)

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix – thrilling first book from the fiction fantasy/dystopia series, The Shadow Children. No one may have more than two children- food and population are monitored and controlled by the government, but Luke and his friend, Jen overcome fear and find a way to connect and rebel against government oppression. My kids were addicted to this series. Fiction/Fantasy – Dystopia (loads of book awards!)

Ink Heart by Cornelia Funke – another great fiction series. A little creepy, but full of heart-stopping adventure as a girl realizes she has a mysterious power that runs in her family and that she must try to set things in her world right. Books & the Real world collide and intertwine. DO NOT judge this book by the movie!  Awesome/ Fiction Fantasy

The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander – series – The Prydain Chronicles series – the author, inspired by welsh mythologies wrote this fabulous classic. Tarna, an assistant pig-keeper is thrust into an epic struggle against good and evil. Must Read to Believe. (Newberry Winner)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak –  Liesel  is a ten-year-old girl living in Germany during World War II who lives with foster parents who make the decision to hide a Jewish man. Max becomes her friend and teaches her to love reading. Beautiful Historical Fiction

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix – a favorite at my house: well-written, lighthearted and fun! Fiction/Comedy

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot – enjoy this series of stories that are great fun. Genovian princess comes into her own!  Fiction/Comedy

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann – Alex and Aaron are twins, but when Alex is labelled as an “Unwanted” he is sent away expecting to die. Instead, he is sent to a magical world where he must develop his abilities. The twins bond stretches between the worlds but eventually they are pitted against one another in this dystopian fiction adventure series.

The Ruins of Gorlan, book 1 of the Ranger’s Apprentice Series Gorlan by John Flangan – 15-year-old Will has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. He has always been afraid of them, but what he hadn’t realized was that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. He must become trained in the skills of battle and surveillance in order to help defeat the evil forces gathering to attack his kingdom.  Fiction/Fantasy/Adventure

Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques – a boy and his dog are trapped on the ill-fated Flying Dutchman.  When the gods curse the ship for the captains evil doing, they are made immortals and because of their innocence they are allowed to leave the ship where they are able to solve mysterious and right wrongs done. Another series that was an addiction for a while at our house. Fiction Adventure

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert O’Brian – this adventure story is fine for younger fiction readers too, but if your middle-schoolers haven’t read it yet, they may be enthralled by this story of genius lab rats gone rogue. Fiction/Adventure

I did not link to where you can purchase all the books –  I recommend checking your library and if your library gives you access to e-books, check there first. Some of these  “series” books were very addicting, and it could get pricey if you have voracious summer readers!

I hope you find some good reads for your kids this summer and I hope this list helps you do it ~


13 comments on “Entertaining Summer Reading for Middle Schoolers

  1. Reading during the summer is so important! This looks like a great list of books! #HomeMattersParty

  2. livefromjulieshouse

    June 24, 2016 at 9:46 am Reply

    Sounds like a fun reading list! Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty

  3. Sounds like a great list of books,Merit! #HomeMattersParty

  4. Thank you for putting together this great list of summer reading books! #HomeMattersParty

  5. Great ideas, I love book lists for my kids. My son is 10 and daughter is 9 they love reading!

  6. Great ideas and good book choices. I’d also add anything by Zilpha Keatly Snyder, and if you’ve got horse-crazy kids, anything by Jean Slaughter Doty.

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