Most tweens love having middle school fiction books on their reading lists because they make it easy for them to get caught up in lives that are very different from their own. They elicit a variety of emotions from readers and often have important messages woven into the tales. There’s nothing better than getting lost in a good story.
I want my kids to read the best books for middle school, so I encourage them to read a wide variety of genres, including fiction.
The books below are funny, poignant, and perfect for middle-grade readers.
This post contains affiliate links.
Middle Grade Fiction Tweens Will Enjoy
If your middle schooler doesn’t normally read fiction, especially contemporary fiction, have them give one of these a try.
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Mia Yang and her parents have moved to America (specifically California) after fleeing communist China in the 1990s, searching for a better life. They soon realize that reality is not what they were expecting. As skilled professionals, Mia’s parents assumed they’d be able to get high paying jobs, but instead they’re forced to take one menial job after another, keeping them below the poverty line.
Eventually, they are given the opportunity to manage a motel in Anaheim which includes room and board. While her parents are forced to work night and day, Mia steps up to manage the front desk. Her parents help other immigrants by offering them rooms for free, but the Yang family must be careful to not get caught by the owners or they will be in big trouble.
Mia longs to be a writer and wants to enter an essay contest to help her parents get a better life, but her mother does not see value in this and discourages her from pursuing writing.
Will Mia choose to abandon her dream or will she be able to find a way to give her family everything they hoped for?
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Based in Coconut Grove, Florida, this funny story revolves around middle school kids trying to save owls from losing their home to a new pancake restaurant. Roy is a new kid in town, recently moving from Montana. He befriends Beatrice and her step-brother, who spend a lot of time away from their dysfunctional home, at a vacant lot where they’re protecting a group of burrow owls.
Soon, a pancake house announces plans to build a restaurant there, which will destroy the owl’s habitat. The three kids join forces to do whatever it takes to stop the construction.
The Last Last Day of Summer by Lamar Giles
Otto and Sheed are cousins living with their grandma in Fry, Virginia. They’re well known in their town as amateur sleuths who regularly solve zany cases that come up in Logan County. They are always up for an adventure and now that summer is coming to an end, they’re wishing for more time before the fun ends and school starts.
When a mysterious man shows up with a camera that freezes time, they know they’ve found their next adventure. One that’s full of crazy creatures and odd things that all seem to have something.
They’ll need to work together, using all of their knowledge and skills to solve the mystery and save their beloved town before time stops.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Dozens apply, but only four are chosen from the ad looking for “gifted children looking for special opportunities.” They are Reynie, George/”Sticky,” Kate, and Constance. The children, who all happen to be orphans, are taken to Mr. Benedict’s house where they learn that a crazy man, Ledroptha Curtain, has been using subliminal messages to control people all over the globe.
Readers will be enthralled as they follow along as the tweens use their own abilities, work together to solve clues, and hopefully defeat the criminal mastermind determined to take over the world.
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Despereaux Tilling is a mouse, like no other. He is in love with the Princess, Pea. To him, it doesn’t matter that she’s a human and he’s a mouse. Chiaroscuro, a rat living in the dungeon, longs for light. And lowly serving girl, Miggery Sow, desperately wishes to be a princess herself.
Their three stories intersect in unexpected and humorous ways.
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
This story takes place in Long Island, New York, during the turbulent time of 1967. Holling Hoodhood, a typical 11-year-old must spend Wednesdays with Mrs. Baker as the other kids attend religious classes. During their time together, she forces him to read and discuss Shakespeare, which he hates, but he ends up enjoying Wednesdays once he realizes that Mrs. Baker is incredibly special.
By the end of the book, readers will see amazing growth and change in Holling.
They look like fun, don’t they? Definitely some of our favorite fiction books for middle school. I would highly encourage you to add some of these stories to your homeschool reading list.
Additional Middle School Books
Support Your Tween’s Reading with Technology
Do you love the idea of expanding your child’s reading list, but getting her to sit down with a book ends up being a hassle? Consider switching over to audiobooks. They’re a lifesaver for some families. Kids can listen on their devices or you can play books in the car as you travel together.
If you haven’t ventured into electronic books with your tween yet (whether audiobooks or a Kindle), I encourage you to consider it, especially if you want to raise enthusiastic readers. When you embrace the format that fits your child best, ultimately, it will help them get swept up in a great story. And bonus, some classic stories can be download for free to Kindle devices.