Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2013
Life starts to change in middle school and—whether by choice or perforce—students’ minds, abilities, and worlds open up with opportunity and possibility. How youth and their loved ones cope with these new roles and experiences has always provided rich fodder for middle school fiction. This year is no exception; we reflected the authors’ use of these inherent changes in our categories. Family Ties features books about changing family relationships, from connection to loss to betrayal. Protagonists in Future Dreams, many international or historical, come to realize that great life changes, however difficult, are both possible and worth pursuing. In Help Yourself, young characters discover how much they can achieve without adult help, from trouncing zombies and ghosts to escaping their pasts. Away From Home takes characters into a wider, more dangerous, and more exciting world. No matter the distance—to the moon or just a fallout shelter—their journeys will change them forever. Ready for More is less a theme in the books than a tribute to the many students who race towards the world beyond middle school, with all its dangers and opportunities. These titles will best suit mature readers, comfortable with violence, death, heartbreak, and complex new emotions. We and our students loved reading all these books, and hope you and your students enjoy them just as much. If so, purchasing the entire list would cost $474.58. The article was first published in VOYA February 2014. Click on the image at the left to read or download the full list.