Even though I am in college, I love reading young adult books. Many of them seem to shed light on real world issues, but are written in a way that even younger children can understand. There are so many young adult books stacked in school libraries, but there are a select few that are definitely worth recommending to a middle schooler.
The Giver, by Lois Lowry, is one of the most brilliantly written young adult books I've ever come across. It describes life in a utopian society where there is no pain, no war, and no worry; however, there is also no love. This book follows the journey of the new Receiver of Memories in the community, who learns about what life was like before "sameness." Through his journey, he comes to wonder which is worse: a world with pain and love, or a world with no pain and no love. If you want a book that will really make you think and wonder about life, this is the book to read!
Holes, by Louis Sachar, is about a boy named Stanley Yelnats whose family seems to attract bad luck. Stanley winds up at Camp Green Lake for troubled boys, for allegedly stealing a pair of shoes. At this camp he is required to dig a hole in the dry ground every day to build character; but as it turns out, this is not the reason the troubled boys are digging holes. This book is complex, but eventually all the loose ends are tied up in a wonderful ending!
If you've ever thought about running away and living off the land, My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George, would be an excellent book to read. This book is about a young boy who learns to live by himself in the wild, by building a home in a tree and befriending a falcon. I read this book in elementary school, but any middle schooler is sure to love it as well!
The 21 Balloons, by William Pene du Bois, is about a distinguished professor who decides to take a ride in a hot air balloon, but is found much time later, stranded, with 20 balloons. He tells the story of his adventures on the island of Krakatoa, and of all the interesting people he has met there. This book is very fun to read as it is extremely creative!
While I'm sure almost everyone knows the plot of Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, this is one of those books I couldn't leave off the list. Harry Potter is a book that anyone, no matter what age, gender, etc. will love. Following Harry through his journey as a wizard will leave you laughing and crying and simply not wanting to put the books down. This is a must-read for any middle schooler!
Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt, is about a girl Winnie, who meets a family that is immortal. She falls in love with one of the boys in the family, but struggles with her decision to drink from the fountain of youth that is keeping their family immortal, or to live her life as a mortal. The choice between life and love is often a difficult one, and this book will truly bring this issue to light.
In the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis, four siblings decide to walk through a wardrobe, and they enter an entirely new realm. These siblings travel through a place called Narnia, while fighting the evil White Witch who has ruled there for many years. In the end, they defeat the White Witch and become the kings and queens of Narnia, ruling there for many years and creating peace in what was once a troubled place. This book is one of a series of the Chronicles of Narnia, but happens to be my favorite!
No matter what age you are, Young Adult books can be fun to read. What Young Adult books have you enjoyed reading?
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