Excellent Fiction Books for Middle Schoolers That Will Make You Nostalgic

While there are tons of book lists out there, this one contains fiction books for middle schoolers that will make you nostalgic. What makes these titles unique is the fact that they’ve been read by junior high kids for generations. They’re books you most likely read back when you were in middle school. Books that you loved. Stories that stayed with you all these years.

It’s why it’s one of the genres that are a part of my recommendations for the best books for middle school.

Our reading adventure category for this month is books that your parents loved in middle school. We all have those stories that we read back in school that just stuck with us, so why not share them with your tweens? Books are always a wonderful way to connect with your kids, especially when the tales you read together hold a special place in your heart.

Try to remember some of the books you enjoyed when you were younger and take some time to share those amazing stories that meant something to you with your tweens.

Let them know what you enjoyed about the stories and why you remember them all these years later. They may just find a new favorite of their own. 

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Fiction books for middle schoolers

Stories are always a wonderful way to connect with your kids, especially when the tales you read together hold a special place in your heart. Luckily, there are many great middle-grade books to choose from. Is your favorite listed?

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Harper Perennial Deluxe Editions)
The Borrowers


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Francie Nolan and her family live in Brooklyn in 1912 and live in extreme poverty. Her mother is the breadwinner of the family, cleaning houses. Her father, a singing waiter, is an alcoholic who is rarely around. Francie spends her time collecting junk to sell for pennies to add to the family’s “bank” which is just a tin can. She loves her father very much but struggles to win the love of her mother, as she favors her brother.

Readers discover all of the hardships the family must endure while wishing alongside Francie that there will be some way for her to go to school. Eventually, her father finds a way for her to get an education, but Francie continues to suffer at the hand of her classmates. In spite of her many challenges, she finds a passion for reading and writing, and dreams for the future. However, her father suddenly dies and Francie must go to work to help support the family. 

However, through hard work and determination, she finds a way to complete her education, and she may reach her goals after all.

Through this book, teens will realize that while humans are flawed, there’s also beauty inside, especially when you never give up on yourself or your hopes and aspirations.

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

The miniature Clock family, Pod, Homily, and Arrietty, live under the floorboard of a house in England. Everything they have in their home, they have “borrowed” from the people living in the house. Unfortunately, Pod breaks the most important rule – never be seen. Now they don’t know if they will have to leave their beloved home.

Tweens will laugh as they read about the creative ways the Clocks use the small objects they take from the house. I bet they’ll even be questioning what really happened to the stuff they’ve “lost” over the years.

The Cricket in Times Square (Chester Cricket and His Friends)
The Great Gilly Hopkins


The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

Chester is a cricket who lives in the country (in Connecticut) and accidentally finds himself in Times Square. He meets Tucker, a mouse and Harry, a cat and they quickly form an unlikely friendship. The three animals spend their days wandering around the streets and subway stations of New York City.

Eventually, Chester meets Mario, a boy who spends his time at his family’s newsstand. Mario wants to keep him as a pet but soon learns the special role crickets play in Chinese culture. Along the way, they also discover that Chester has a unique talent, the ability to make music, making him even more special in the eyes of his friends

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

Gilly is an 11-year-old who has been shuffled around to one foster family after another and unfortunately, she has hated every one of them. She is quick to shut herself off from any love given to her from the families she lives with. Her one longing is to be with her mother, but even if she had the opportunity, chances are, her mother is nothing like she’s imagined.

Will Gilly be able to put down the walls she’s built around herself long enough to realize that there are people in her life that love her?

Just a note – the book’s theme is not an easy one, plus the author uses some points of view and swear words to show the depths of Gilly’s angst and anger.

The Phantom Tollbooth
Tuck Everlasting


The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Milo is bored, bored, bored. Then, one day, out of the blue, a tollbooth appears in his room. As he drives through, things begin to get interesting. Each place he visits is unique and home to colorful characters. Now, Miles is on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason who are missing from the Kingdom of Wisdom.

During the journey, Miles visits Dictionopolis, where he learns to choose his words wisely, jumps to the Island of Conclusions, heads into the Valley of Sound, over the Mountains of Ignorance, as well as a bunch of other fun locations. His sidekick along the way is a watchdog named Tock.

Kids will love the puns and will even find themselves laughing at the author’s use of wordplay. They’ll also find that there are deep meanings found within the fun language.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit

Everlasting life – a blessing or a curse? The Tuck family, Mae, Angus, Jesse, and Miles are immortal, thanks to a magic spring they drank from. They are planning to meet up near the spring for the first time in years when a young girl, Winnie, runs into Jesse. She is upset with her overprotective family and has run away from home. Once the rest of the Tuck family arrives and sees Winnie, they decide to take her home where they tell her their secret.

Winnie has desired freedom, but now that she is away from her family, she wants to go back. Unfortunately, a mysterious older man has seen everything and is determined to get the spring, and its powers, for himself.

I think older kids who read this book will enjoy the different ways the members of the Tuck family are handling their eternal lives.

Have you shared any books from your childhood with your middle schooler? Did they love the stories as much as you did?

Additional Books for Middle School

Looking for even more books your middle schooler will enjoy? I’ve got you covered with even more reading lists, including books for animal lovers, Newbery award winning books for middle school, adventure stories, personal growth books for tweens, and novels written by contemporary authors.

Using Technology to Support Reading

Whether you have a child who loves to read or struggles to finish a book, you should add some technology to your reading. Add some audiobooks to your lesson plans. They’re a lifesaver for some families, especially those with auditory learners. Kids can listen to them on their devices or you can play the books in the car while you run errands. You can even get 2 free books for free.

If your tween isn’t using a Kindle, I encourage you to consider it, especially if you have older kids who are constantly reading. Some classic stories can be download for free and tweens can borrow books from your public library onto their device.

Ultimately, when you embrace the format that fits your child best, it will help them enjoy reading stories, like the ones on this list.

What fiction books for middle schoolers would you add to this list?

Megan Zechman
I love homeschooling! Learning is a way of life for our family. Most days you will find us exploring our Central Florida community, having fun while learning. I am constantly looking for new and interactive ways to engage my older children.
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman

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  1. My middle school son thinks that most of the books that I loved in middle school (With the exception of the Narnia series) were too girly or too peaceful and pioneer-y. One book from my childhood that he does like are my old Calvin and Hobbes books.

  2. Pingback: Finishing Strong 110

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