Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2014

TS1Middle school is a time of change as students’ minds develop and their exposure to the world increases. As a result, their internal lives and emotions grow more complex, and they may struggle to comprehend those new feelings. Since sympathetic writers can help, we decided to organize this year’s list around the many moods of middle school. The adventurous titles in “Thrill Seekers” will attract students restless in their ordinary lives and yearning for more agency in the world. These action-packed stories show young teens at their most capable and daring. The tales in “Shifting Selves” explore the mutability of identity, and may comfort readers feeling uneasy with internal changes, as well as young teens wondering about their place in their changing world. The “Hard Times” titles reach out to students facing anyone’s sadness or grief. Helping them understand and cope with their own feelings, these stories can also help young people empathize with others. Sometimes, though, they just want to stop thinking about all these changes. When they do, the hilarious and rollicking tales in “Break Time” will whisk them away into lighthearted adventure and humor. Finally, the edgy titles in “Fast Forward”—full of painful emotions, violence, complex relationships, and sophisticated world outlooks—will appeal to early-maturing students yearning to know more about what lies ahead. We and our students loved reading these books, and hope you and your students will love them just as much. If so, to purchase the entire list would cost $472.32. ~ Top Shelf Committee 2014

The Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers list is published in the February 2015 issue of VOYA Magazine. Download the full list here.