When I began this Summer Reading series, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to break up categories into boy and girl books. I believe that good literature appeals to everyone, regardless of the gender of its characters or the nature of its themes.
However, in my experience as a middle school teacher, I do know that certain books tend to be extremely popular with my boys that don’t go over as well with the girls, and vice versa. Therefore, I decided to write a post on books for middle school boys and then a separate post for middle school girls.
Please note, though, that all of these books are extremely well-written and may be well-received by girls. I personally loved them all!
Peak by Roland Smith
Fourteen-year-old Peak comes from a family of climbers. When his habit of climbing skyscrapers lands him in juvenile detention, his estranged father takes him to Nepal. There Peak discovers that he is going to be a publicity stunt for his father’s new climbing expedition company, as he attempts to become the youngest climber ever to top Mt. Everest. Peak is filled with action, adventure, and family dynamics If you have a teenage boy who does not like to read, this book may tempt him! Recommended for both boys and girls grades 6-12.
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
This classic is still one of the most popular books among my 7th grade boys! Brian is on a small plane over the Canadian wilderness when the pilot has a heart attack. The plane crashes and the pilot dies, leaving Brian alone in the wild with only a few basic supplies, including a hatchet. He learns to find food, shelter, and protect himself against various animals. Brian’s self-sufficiency and survival skills endear him to young readers. There are also three other books in the series to entice further reading!
Storm Runners by Roland Smith
Chase Masters and his father are storm runners who move around the country ahead of big natural disasters. Chase’s father then helps rebuild the communities, making a tidy profit. When they move to Florida ahead of a hurricane, Chase makes friends with an eccentric family who owns a circus. As Chase and his new friends are leaving school, the hurricane hits. Will Chase’s bus make it home? Will his father be alright? Storm Runners is very short and filled with action and interesting characters. It is also the first of three in a series. This is my go-to book for reluctant male readers, and it hasn’t failed yet!
The Big Field by Mike Lupica
If you have a sports fanatic in the house, then you should introduce them to Mike Lupica. Lupica has written dozens of excellent sports books for young adult readers. In The Big Field, Hutch plays shortstop like his hero Derek Jeter and his father. Playing baseball and preparing for the championship game take up most of his time and focus, until a betrayal causes him to question everything. A great book for grades 5-9.
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
The most recent Newbery Award winner, The Crossover combines sports and poetry. Kwame Alexander has written an engaging novel in verse–an increasingly popular genre. Twins Josh and Jordan are hardcore basketball players and best friends. That is, until a girl and family dynamics get in the way. This quick read will engage your teen while introducing him to poetry.
Holes by Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. His no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-grandfather started it all. Now Stanley is being sent to Camp Green Lake–a home for boys who need to be rehabilitated. There he is forced to dig holes all day, every day, searching for a mysterious object. While at camp, he makes friends, learns about his past, and manages to reverse the curse for good. This Newbery winner is funny and endearing, perfect for readers in grades 5-8.
Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
If your teen loves to be scared, the Lockwood & Co series is for them. Lockwood, Lucy, and George are teenage ghost hunters trying to contain The Problem–violent ghosts which have plagued London for years. In the first book of the series, The Screaming Staircase, they solve a centuries old mystery with their wits and bravery. See my full review for more details!
Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Have a history buff on your hands? Introduce them to Bomb–the story of the creation of the atomic bomb. This narrative nonfiction book takes the reader through the entire history of the bomb including its creators and the spies who tried to steal it. I learned a ton from this book!
Don’t forget to check out the other books in this Summer Reading series:
Books for Middle Schoolers
What books would you recommend for middle school boys?
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