Engage middle school hearts and minds with these gripping and complex stories that place family at their center. With multi-dimensional characters and plot themes, these titles explore the range of emotion in middle schoolers’ experience.


The Ethan I Was Before

by Ali Standish

Upper Elementary

After Ethan loses his best friend and moves from Boston to small­town Georgia, he discovers that life can be transformed in one moment, but that one moment doesn’t have to define him for life


Forever, or a Long, Long Time

by Caela Carter

Upper Elementary

Here is an achingly beautiful and endearing story about two foster children who want desperately to believe that they’ve found their forever home.


Me and Marvin Gardens

by Amy Sarig King

Upper Elementary & Junior High Plus

Marvin Gardens is an unusual creature and best friend to lonely Obe Devlin. He’s also Obe’s biggest secret.


See You in the Cosmos

by Jack Cheng

Upper Elementary & Junior High Plus

Transport yourself in this funny, luminous, utterly moving novel about a space-obsessed boy, his dog Carl Sagan, and a journey toward family, love, hope, and awe.


The Courage Test

by James Preller

High Interest Middle Plus

A father-and-son journey along the Lewis and Clark Trail offers readers a genre-bending blend of American history, thrilling action, and personal discovery.


As Brave As You

by Jason Reynolds

Upper Elementary & Junior High Plus

Is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?


Still a Work in Progress

by Jo Knowles

Advanced Readers

In an affecting and realistic novel with bright spots of humor, Noah faces the complexities of navigating middle school while feeling helpless in the face of a family crisis.


Falling Over Sideways

by Jordan Sonnenblick

Advanced Readers

While Claire’s dad is talking to her, he falls over with a medical emergency. Will there ever be joking again?


When Friendship Followed Me Home

by Paul Griffin

Advanced Readers

A boy’s chance encounter with a scruffy dog leads to an unforgettable friendship in a moving story about life, loss, and the meaning of family.



by Alyson Gerber

PG Middle

Braced is the first contemporary novel about a disease that bends the lives of ten percent of all teenagers: scoliosis.

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