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  • Writer's pictureKaram

Must-Read Books for Middle Schoolers

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

Photo by Karam CC-BY

Have you ever found yourself not knowing what to read and finding every book unappealing? You are not alone; most people have encountered this type of problem. Finding a book you enjoy that is also the right level with vocabulary you understand can be arduous.

Good news though: we have compiled a group of books that are appealing to most middle school students (we know because we surveyed you!) and are a range of levels for different readers. We hope you try some of these books as you might really like them.

Many middle schoolers haven’t read any of these books. This is the data from 68 responses from different middle schoolers.


The Hobbit series is a good read for anyone written by J. R. R. Tolkien. Bilbo (the main character), Thorin, and the 12 other dwarves venture on many journeys, the first being to reclaim their long-lost treasure, but a special surprise awaits them. Throughout the trip, they encounter many surprises altering the course of their journey. The hobbit is an intriguing read that will keep you reading for hours. I recommend reading the book before watching the movie, but it comes down to personal preference. The reading level can be difficult for some as the vocabulary is quite advanced. I recommend The Hobbit and give it a 9.7/10 as the language is developed and sometimes leads me to use the dictionary. Still, the plot and the character development were spectacular, keeping me reading for hours.

What AES students had to say:

“I enjoyed the excitement and adventure.”

"I liked The Hobbit because it had an amazing storyline with the ring, and it is a great book to read along with the lord of the rings.”

“I loved this book; very creative. J.R.R Tolkien is always coming up with something new to say.”


1984 is a dystopian novel following the life of Winston. This story takes place in the past when they are controlled by The big brother or a totalitarian form of government. The technology they use wholly violates a person's privacy but is okay under the rule of Big Brother. 1984 was written nearly 39 years ago but is an alarming possible version of our world today with leaders such as Hitler, Putin, etc., resembling The Big Brother in many aspects. 1984 is a must-read, and I rate it a 9.5/10 for the intriguing plot, but many details included can seem unnecessary to the eye of a middle schooler, but rereading it helps build a deeper understanding. I recommend this book to higher-level readers or people trying to challenge themselves. Nevertheless, it is still a good book and should definitely be read by everyone at some time.

What an AES student had to say:

“Orwell's 1984 is a novel that continues to be relevant today. I enjoyed this classic novel as it showed a deeper thinking into how the world works.”


The Giver is a dystopian novel by Lois Lowry and an award-winning book. It is based in this supposed community where every person lives an unfulfilled life with a job assigned to them by the leaders. The story follows a 12-year-old boy, Jonas, who was given a prominent and rare role. Through his position, he learns the truth about the society he is living in. The story's plot was very thought-provoking and made me make predictions and wonder what would come next. This book comes in a series of 4, but I wouldn’t recommend the other books as they weren’t up to par regarding how good the Giver was. I recommend this book to everyone; the word choice is simple and understandable. My rating for the Giver is a 10/10 as it is a great book and will keep you turning every page.

What an AES student had to say:

“I really liked Giver because it was fascinating and in a different world, and the concept of becoming the Giver about getting to know everything and seeing colours and things for the first time was really interesting and appealing to me. - Suvir Gupta”


Hatchet, written by Gary Paulsen, is a book following the life of a 13-year-old boy stranded in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash. Throughout his 54 days left, he has to overcome many challenges and fight for survival. This book is full of exciting plot twists and keeps you interested throughout. I rate this book an 8/10 and will keep you wanting more.

What AES students had to say:

“It is ok it does not have a ton of action but a good book would recommend”

Aum- “Hatchet was a very interesting and fun book to read. “


When Stars Are Scattered, written by Omar Mohamed and Victoria Jamieson, is a graphic novel following the life of 11-year-old Omar and his brother Hassan. They live in a refugee camp in Kenya, and the book follows them as they live in the center and try to survive with the limited supplies they are given. I recommend when stars are scattered and rate it 10/10 because it is a thrilling novel and will keep you entertained.

What an AES student had to say:

“It was a very touching book” -Aidan Coetzee.


The One And Only Ivan, Is a novel written by Katherine Applegate. Is it about a silverback gorilla named Ivan who lived in a cage at a mall? It is a best-selling novel about hope and friendship. I rate The One And Only Ivan 7/10 for its compelling storyline and captivating characters.

What an AES student had to say:

“The One & Only Ivan was excellent. It kept me engaged in the story and was very thrilling and exciting just like an overall book. It also had very sad parts and just kept me entertained.”


See more stories from #Karam and #Oliver

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