Want to motivate reluctant readers? We've got the perfect collection of books suited to 8th graders. With everything from a true story to a comedic and uplifting read, we've got you covered!
1. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Two young boys become the most unsuspecting of friends in this moving novel set during the Holocaust. With a devastating end, this truly is a remarkably written book.
Check it out: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
2. A Long Walk to Water
A Long Walk to Water illustrates the lives of two Sudanese children. The novel sees the children face many dangers in a feat to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.
Check it out: A Long Walk to Water
3. The Book Thief
Set in Nazi Germany, foster child Liesel Meminger discovers a blissful world in between the spines of books- away from the constant bombing raids. Reading becomes her escape and often transports her to magical worlds.
Check it out: The Book Thief
4. The Giver
A twelve-year-old boy named Jonas has his life turned upside down when he receives his life assignment- taking on the role of The Giver. After all the world's memories have been bestowed upon him, Jonas soon learns that his seemingly ideal world isn't as wonderful as he once thought.
Check it out: The Giver
5. Shadow Jumper
If you're in the mood for a mystery adventure story, then this is the book for you! Jack Phillips is on a mission to find his missing scientist father, but will his rare sunshine allergy interfere with his search? Delve into Shadow Jumper to find out!
Check it out: Shadow Jumper
6. The Outsiders
The Outsiders is a powerful story your 8th graders will love! Ponyboy and his gang of close-knit friends stand up to a gang of snooty rich kids in this tale about bravery and friendship.
Check it out: The Outsiders
7. The Finest Hours
True stories such as The Finest Hours are always popular reads. Explore the heart-rending tale of a shipwreck of two oil tankers and how 4 brave men in a lifeboat managed to save 30 stranded sailors.
Check it out: The Finest Hours
8. Long Way Down
Delve into the world of teenage gun violence as you follow the journey of fifteen-year-old Will who seeks to avenge his brother's death.
Check it out: Long Way Down
9. The Cruel Prince
The Cruel Prince is a wondrous book about a mortal girl who finds herself entangled in the tribulations of a mysterious and enchanted land.
Check it out: The Cruel Prince
10. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
After losing her seemingly perfect older sister, rambunctious young Julia learns to navigate life outside of her sister's shadow - all whilst uncovering shocking secrets about her sisters' past.
Check it out: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
11. We'll Always Have Summer
We'll Always Have Summer is a sweet book about young love. Will Conrad have the courage to finally tell Belly how he feels about her, or will he lose her to Jeremiah forever?
Check it out: We'll Always Have Summer
12. You Have a Match
The main character Abby signs up for a DNA service, but soon discovers that she has an Instagram-famous sister that she knew nothing about! Wanting to know more, Abby decides to meet her sister, Savannah, at camp and get to the bottom of why her parents gave Savannah up for adoption.
Check it out: You Have a Match
13. We Are Not from Here
Inspired by true stories, We Are Not from Here follows the journey of 3 escapees as they cross the US-Mexico border.
Check it out: We Are Not from Here
14. I'll Give You the Sun
I'll Give You the Sun is a humorous yet tear-jerking read. It follows the tale of two twins, Jude and Noah, who were once extremely close, but have now been torn apart because of an unsuspected disaster.
Check it out: I'll Give You the Sun
Embark on the journey of a lifetime with the four Tillerman children after their mother abandons them in a parking lot in Connecticut. They must make their way to Bridgeport to Great aunt Cilla's house, but will they make it?
Check it out: Homecoming
16. House of Hollow
House of Hollow is a captivating read about a seventeen-year-old teenager whose only wish is to fit in when she was born to be different! Sneak a peek into a supernatural world when Grey, 1 of the 3 Hollow sisters mysteriously goes missing. Iris Grey and Vivi Hollow are about to quickly learn that everything is not always as simple as it may seem to be at first glance.
Check it out: House of Hollow
Echo is a heart-warming read that revolves around a harmonica, a prophecy, and a long-standing promise. Echo is ultimately a tale of friendship, facing life's challenges, and pursuing your rightful destiny.
Check it out: Echo
18. The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner is a heart-racing read about a group of memory-wiped strangers who must escape from the center of an ever-changing maze. Faced with many-a-challenge, their only hope for survival is a message they received saying "Remember. Survive. Run." and so they decide to devise a plan of escape.
Check it out: The Maze Runner
19. The Hunger Games
A gripping read inspired by a dystopian-like world. The Hunger Games is an annual televised event that occurs in the Capitol of Panem- a metropolis of wealth. 12 representatives from each outlying district fight to the death until only one victor remains.
Check it out: The Hunger Games
At Discovery Unlimited, an outdoor education program, 7 teenagers decide to borrow the company's rafting gear and make their way down the river and through the Grand Canyon. Whilst making memories that will remain with them for life, the group faces some pretty close calls and nerve-wracking consequences.
Check it out: Downriver
21. The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition
The Diary of a Young Girl is Anne Frank's account of living in a secret annex in an abandoned office building, in fear of and hiding from the Gestapo. For 2 years Anne and her family hid and faced challenges of hunger, being scared, living in a small space and so much more.
Check it out: The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition
22. A Wrinkle in Time
3 young children explore new worlds in the hopes of finding one of their long-lost scientist fathers who went missing whilst working on a secret program for the government.
Check it out: A Wrinkle in Time
23. The Breadwinner
11-year-old Parvana disguises herself as a boy so that she can work and become the family's breadwinner. After her father is forced to stop working, Parvana's courage, and desperation, help save her family!
Check it out: The Breadwinner
24. All the Bright Places
All the Bright Places reminds us of the beauty of life. Eighth graders will love this book about two teenagers who meet on the ledge of a tower and fall in love whilst marveling at the adventure of life.
Check it out: All the Bright Places
25. A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow
When nothing goes right, Lila is sent by her parents to live in Winchester, England in the hopes of improving her mental health. She isn't enjoying her time until she meets a teashop clerk named Orion Maxwell who may just convince her that England isn't too bad after all.
Check it out: A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow
26. You Should See Me in a Crown
Striving to be accepted to the prestigious college of Pennington, there isn't anything Liz Lighty won't do to make her dream come true. In need of financial aid, she remembers her school's promise for a scholarship for prom king and queen, so decides to give it all she's got and run for the queen!
Check it out: You Should See Me in a Crown
27. Felix Ever After
Felix Ever After is a beautiful read about Felix and his journey to self-discovery and authentic identity. This coming-of-age story inspires readers to make a stand for themselves and never accept less than they deserve.
Check it out: Felix Ever After
28. They Both Die at the End
Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio wake up one morning only to be told that they have 1 day to live. Author, Adam Silvera, narrates a special day for these two men- who try their best to live life to the fullest in their final 24 hours.
Check it out: They Both Die at the End
29. Cemetery Boys
Yadriel, a transgender high school student, accidentally summons his ghost of a cousin, Julien, from the dead in an attempt to summon a ghost who would help him prove his true gender to his parents. Julien and Yadriel become closer as time goes on and eventually, Yadriel doesn't want his cousin to leave.
Check it out: Cemetery Boys
30. The Henna Wars
Childhood friends Flávia and Nishat must navigate their relationship in a way like never before. Nishat risks not being accepted by her family, but is tired of being in the closet and must now make a choice about whether or not to come out about her true feelings for Flávia.
Check it out: The Henna Wars
31. Not My Problem
Aideen helps fellow classmates solve their issues in very unwitting ways, but can't seem to ever solve any of her own problems! Another brilliant coming-of-age novel, Not My Problem makes readers pause and consider their interactions with and influence on others.
Check it out: Not My Problem
32. Written in the Stars
Written in the Stars is a queer, humorous, and romantic read about a fake relationship between a social media astrologer and an actuary.
Check it out: Written in the Stars
33. The Voting Booth
When Duke Crenshaw is turned away at the voting booth, Marva Sheridan makes it her mission to ensure that Duke's right to vote is upheld. On a path to help shape democracy, Duke and Marva find unexpected love.
Check it out: The Voting Booth
34. Juliet Takes a Breath
Juliet feels more alive and free than ever. After she comes out to her parents and set off for a Summer of motorcycling, love, partying, and more, she finds herself creating a happy space for herself in the world.
Check it out: Juliet Takes a Breath
35. Honey Girl
Grace learns to navigate newly married life with a woman she barely knows. On top of this, she must learn to deal with the pressures of life and family, social expectations, and her demanding job.
Check it out: Honey Girl
36. Only Mostly Devastated
Only Mostly Devastated is an awesome book about a teenage romance. Will and Ollie must navigate the shaky waters of their relationship and learn to trust again.
Check it out: Only Mostly Devastated
37. Perfect on Paper
The main character Darcy gives love advice to her classmates. The secret is- no one knows that she's the one giving it! Darcy's anonymity is threatened when the grade's jock catches her collecting letters from a locker, and she is then forced into helping him get back together with his girlfriend.
Check it out: Perfect on Paper
38. We Are Not Free
Fourteen teenagers rally together in a fight against injustice and blatant racism. After their lives are forever changed by the mass U.S. incarcerations of World War II, the teens become closer than ever as they create a community for themselves.
Check it out: We Are Not Free
39. Hot Dog Girl
Elouise works as a hot dog girl at her local fair and finds herself pining over Nick the pirate. The only problem is that Nick has a girlfriend and hardly seems to notice poor Elouise!
Check it out: Hot Dog Girl
40. With the Fire on High
Acclaimed author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about a momma who reclaims her power after getting pregnant and having a child during her freshman year. Emoni graduates and goes on to work as a chef who takes on a whole new passion for cooking!
Check it out: With the Fire on High
41. The Poet X
Teenager, Xiomara, has so much to get off her chest, but no outlet! She decides to join the school's poetry society but must keep this a secret from her rather strict Mami.
Check it out: The Poet X
43. Don't Ask Me Where I'm From
Liliana must fight to be herself in a world that advocates for her to be anyone else! Proud of her heritage, Liliana must be courageous as she starts attending a snooty suburban high school.
Check it out: Don't Ask Me Where I'm From
44. Let Me Hear a Rhyme
Three friends plan to turn their deceased friend into a rap legend by pretending he's still alive. How long can this rambunctious group from Brooklyn keep their lie going?
Check it out: Let Me Hear a Rhyme
45. Can't Take That Away
Fed up with the discrimination faced at high school, a queer teen makes the decision to stand up for what is right- speaking his truth and inviting others to do the same!
Check it out: Can't Take That Away
46. The Sky Blues
Sky Baker, plans to ask his crush, Ali, to prom in just 30 days, by asking him out at the annual beach party! Sky's plans are ruined when a homophobic hacker releases an email detailing his plan. Sky's 30-day prom-planning period quickly turns into a mission to expose the hacker.
Check it out: The Sky Blues
47. It Goes Like This
A pop band formed in middle school finds out if their friendship will stand the test of time when they return to their hometown after a tragic storm.
Check it out: It Goes Like This
48. Love & Other Natural Disasters
Nozomi poses as Willow's girlfriend in Love & Other Natural Disasters, and not all goes according to her original plan when she unexpectedly falls in love.
Check it out: Love & Other Natural Disasters
49. The Fascinators
As a bunch of magic-loving youngsters grows older, they learn that their bond over a magical fascination, may not be enough to keep them together as friends forever.
Check it out: The Fascinators
50. House in the Cerulean Sea
This adventurous read takes its readers on an adventure to a magical island where they'll uncover mysterious secrets and dangerous missions.
Check it out: House in the Cerulean Sea
51. The Marvelous
Gathered together by a famed heiress, 6 teenagers compete to win a life-changing cash prize. Players quickly learn that it's far more than just money at stake as they go head to head in an estate-wide game!
Check it out: The Marvelous
52. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Two lonely boys form an unforgettable friendship after meeting at a public swimming pool one day. This tale beautifully depicts the importance of friendship in discovering more about yourself and the world.
Check it out: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
53. Rules for Being a Girl
Star character Marin reclaims her power after being sexually assaulted by her English teacher. After speaking out about the incident and having no one believe her, she decides to write in the school newspaper and starts an inspiring feminist club!
Check it out: Rules for Being a Girl
54. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
Sal, once a self-believing teenager, feels as though he is questioning everything and doesn't have a place in the world. Navigate the universal questions of life as you connect with relatable, humorous, and comforting characters.
Check it out: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
55. The Infinite Noise
Caleb learns more about his special ability which is to be extremely empathetic. In learning more about his ability, Caleb makes a new friend and learns to accept who he truly is.
Check it out: The Infinite Noise
Instill a love for reading in your 8th grade students by encouraging independent reading. Reading allows children to learn about the experiences of others and therefore foster better empathy. Furthermore, they gain valuable knowledge and expand their vocabulary as well as explore more imaginative and creative thought patterns.