I have been looking forward to writing this post since I started my Summer Reading series! I absolutely love reading young adult literature–which is a good thing for a 7th grade reading teacher. 🙂
And, I couldn’t wait to share with you some of the books that have influenced me personally, as well as those that my female students have loved. As with the previous post on Books for Middle School Boys, I want to emphasize that good literature appeals to all people, regardless of gender. However, these books are ones that the girls I have taught have tended to gravitate toward.
If you have a daughter who is looking for a book recommendation (or if you, like me, love a good young adult book), run to your library or book seller to get these great titles!
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Any list of the best books for middle school girls simply has to include Anne! I, along with millions of other girls, spent most of my childhood wanting to be Anne of Green Gables. Her adventures, her friendships, and her sparkling personality captivated me. Anne of Green Gables is the first in a series of eight books centered on this classic heroine. If you or your daughter have not read this book, please, pretty please go get it now!
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Melinda begins her freshman year as the most hated girl in her entire school because she called the cops to a summer party. Melinda begins to shrink more and more within herself, unable to speak out about the real story. This is a beautifully written book about finding the courage to tell others of a past abuse. Speak does deal with sexual assault (though not in a graphic manner), so I would make sure that you gauge your daughter’s maturity level and possibly read it together.
Perfect by Natasha Friend
At the end of each year I ask my students (7th graders) to tell me their favorite book they read that year. I had a few girls mention Perfect, so I knew that I had to read it, too. Perfect follows the story of Isabelle, who lost her father a few years before and tries to cope with the emptiness by bingeing and purging. This powerful book deals with eating disorders, body image, and depression without feeling bleak or preachy. It’s no wonder my students loved it.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Another classic that every young woman should read, Little Women follows the March family daughters as they grow into women. With such memorable characters as the tomboy writer Jo, gentle Beth, artistic Amy, and the domestic Meg, every girl will be able to see herself in the book. (Bonus: after reading Little Women, read The Mother-Daughter Book club which tells the story of four very different girls forced to read Little Women by their mothers.)
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Anidori, Crown Princess, is married off to the prince of a neighboring land by her mother. As she and her caravan journey toward him, Ani’s lady-in-waiting, Celia, overthrows Ani and tries to murder her. Ani has to survive in a new country by pretending to be lowly goose girl caring for the palace fowl. As she befriends the castle folk and learns more about her new country, Ani also discovers powers that she never knew she had. I fell in love with this book! It’s a gently told, imaginative fantasy any 6-9th grader will love.
Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen
Written by a fifteen-year-old, this nonfiction book tells the story of Maya’s eighth grade year. During that school year, she decided to follow the advice of a 1950s book on how to become popular. Maya focused on one chapter a month, implementing whatever the book said–no matter how out-of-date (twinset and pearls, anyone?). Fun, funny, and insightful, Popular will be very, well, popular with your teen!
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Mary Lennox, a most sour-faced and disagreeable little girl, lives in India until her parents die. Then she is shipped off to the English moors to live with her uncle in a lonely, rambling old house filled with mysteries. The contrary girl gradually softens through the influences of her maid, new friends, and a secret garden. I still love rereading this classic novel as an adult.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
If your daughter likes science fiction or fantasy, then Cinder is the perfect book. Cinder retells the Cinderella story, setting it in the future and turning Cinder into a cyborg who falls for the Emperor’s son. The first of The Lunar Chronicles, Cinder takes the reader on a fantastic journey of the imagination. The final book comes out in November, so read the rest of the series soon!
Make sure to read the other posts in this Summer Reading series:
Books for Middle School Boys
What books would you recommend for middle school girls? And, what were your favorite books growing up?
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