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Parent picks: What middle-schoolers are reading this summer

GreatSchools members share their favorite children's books, from classics to trendy tales.

GreatSchools Blog

By GreatSchools Staff

If you have a middle-schooler, chances are your child has been caught up this summer in fantasy and adventure stories, ranging from vampire romances like the Twilight saga to survival tales like Hatchet. These recommendations are sure to keep your tween's nose buried in books:

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.  A gripping survival tale. Thirteen-year-old Brian, en route to visit his father in Canada, survives a plane crash and must find his way out of the Canadian wilderness. With underlying themes of divorce and family relationships, this book is a real page-turner.

Twilight saga by Stephanie Meyer. This is a fast-paced story about a group of "vegetarian" vampires secretly living among humans. When Isabella Swan moves to the small town, Edward (a vampire posing as a high school student) can't resist her, and soon they find themselves falling in love. A perfect pick for tween or teen girls.

Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan.  If your tween has already barreled through the Twilight books, these dark tales of a boy's journey into a mysterious world of vampires will leave him or her hungry for more. These books appeal to boys and girls alike.

Holes by Louis Sachar. A magical tale of a young boy who believes he has inherited a curse from his great-great-grandfather. Wrongly sent to a juvenile detention center, he must dig holes all day to "build character." It's not long before a mystery unravels in this gem of a book. One GreatSchools parent, who also happens to be a middle school teacher, says, "The book more of my middle-schoolers loved than any other was Holes — and that was before the movie came out. Every year students come to me and say, 'I don't like to read, but I loved reading Holes.'"

The Five Ancestors books by Jeff Stone.  An adventure series about five foster brothers who were raised in a temple by warrior monks. When the temple is destroyed, the grandmaster orders them to uncover the secrets of their past. The boys split up, and each book follows one brother’s adventures. A great series that is sure to lure kids away from video games.

The Clique by Lisi Harrison.  This series will appeal to middle-school-age readers because it deals with many real-life experiences, from being the new kid at school to dealing with mean girls and learning how to maintain friendships.

Just As Long As We’re Together by Judy Blume.  From celebrated author Judy Blume, this is the story of three friends and the trials and tribulations of being a tween. A great alternative to The Clique and Gossip Girl books.

Hotel for Dogs by Lois Duncan.  A whimsical tale of a brother and sister who, out of their love for dogs, turn an abandoned house into a hotel for strays.

The Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling.  If this series hasn’t found its way onto your middle-schooler’s reading list, now’s the time! These wonderful books are filled with magic, mystery, and fascinating characters. Your kid will be hooked.

Have your own book recommendations? Add them to the Parent Picks list!

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

06/25/2012:
"I just read Divergent a few weeks ago SUCH A GOOD BOOK!If u like The Hunger Games!And yes HARRY POTTER!:D "
02/21/2011:
"I don't think that Hatchet was such a great book."
03/15/2010:
"Other book series to get into for the summer.... Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull. There will be five books by March 24th. Fun reads, good story. The Book of Three, by Lloyd Alexander. The first of the Black Cauldron series that ends with the High King. Leven Thumps by Obert Skye. Fantasy series about mystical creatures and a land called Foo. All of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Yup. I know that they are a lower reading level but the content is perfect for middle schoolers and the reading is so darn easy that you can read a book a night. "
08/10/2009:
"This artlicle helped me decide what books my middle school son could read, as a parent we tend to forget the names of the good books we once read as a child, thanks. "
08/4/2009:
"My 9 year old boy loves the 39 Clues series!"
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