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10 of the Best 8th Grade Books

Best books for 8th grade. Excellent novels to add to your classroom library or book club collections from 2 Peas and a Dog. #YAlit #reading #middleschool #8thgrade

It can be difficult to find appropriate and engaging 8th-grade novels. I have taught 8th grade for 11 years. I love to see what books stand the test of time and remain popular year after year. This best 8th-grade books book list will help you decide on what to add to your classroom library and recommend to your students.

This Best 8th Grade Books blog post contains affiliate links which are of no cost to the reader. If you make a purchase through the provided links, this blog will receive a small commission to help with the financial costs of maintaining the site.

10 of the Best 8th Grade Books

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (Historical/Realistic Fiction)

This is my favourite book for 8th Grade. The Greasers and the Socs have always been at war with each other. Each gang claims their own part of the city. When things go horribly wrong during a fight, Ponyboy and Johnny run away from home to avoid being arrested by the police.  

Rule of 3 by Eric Walters (Science Fiction)

During a global blackout, Adam’s life has become very dangerous. To survive Adam and his mentor Herb, must make the right decisions. When a threat arrives unexpectedly, no one is nearly ready for it. Someone will have to pay because of Adam.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (Mystery)

When ten strangers arrive at a desolate mansion upon the request of a stranger they quickly become aware that this is not your average dinner party. 10, 9, 9, 7 soon after their arrival one guest at a time goes missing. Who is responsible for these actions? Who will be next? 

Tangerine by Edward Bloor (Realistic Fiction)

Paul Fisher has recently moved to a new home in Tangerine County, Florida. Although he wears thick glasses, he still notices that many unusual events occur in his new hometown – lighting strikes, sinkholes and fires. He also must deal with the frequent bullying from his star athlete older brother. He finds solace once he joins the local soccer team. As many events continue to occur, anything seems possible in Tangerine County, Florida. 

Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick (Realistic Fiction)

Steven’s life was perfectly normal until things take an unexpected turn. His lifestyle has changed from now being a carefree middle school student to someone who is constantly worried about their five-year-old brother’s diagnosis of leukemia. Steven tries to help his family through this crisis using humour to offset their current reality.


Egghead by Caroline Pignat (Contemporary Fiction)

The transition from elementary school to high school can be difficult for some students. Will is a “nerdy” boy who enjoys his ant farm and fake turtleneck sweaters. This makes Will a target for Grade 9 bully Shane. Katie, Will’s friend since elementary school must choose which role she wants to have, bystander or friend.

Divergent by Veronica Roth (Dystopian Fiction)

Beatrice lives in a society where it is divided in five main factions. As each citizen becomes an adult they must choose between staying with their family’s faction or switching factions. Read this book, to find out how her initiations lead her to a discovery that will shock not only Tris, but her community. She is warned that she must conceal her status or risk being removed from her home. 

Legend by Marie Lu (Dystopian Fiction)

Set in the future where the United State has disappeared and the Republic exists, is a story about a place always at war. After her brother is murdered, fifteen year old June crosses paths with Day, one of the Republic’s most sought after criminals. They must sort out their reality and discover the truth about the Republic. 

Monster by Walter Dean Myers (Realistic Fiction)

This engaging novel will captivate your students as it is written as a movie script. Steve Harmon lives in a juvenile detention centre. He is currently on trial for murder. The novel showcases how a split second decision can change your life.  

Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan (Realistic Fiction)

Being a twelve-year-old genius isn’t easy – especially when your parents have just died in a car accident. Willow Chance must learn to rise above these challenges and find her way amongst her new family. 

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12 Genre Book Reports Assignment


Love teaching with genres?

Help your students dive deeper into their reading with these 12 different genre-focused book report assignments. Each assignment enables students to showcase their creativity while meeting curriculum standards. This assignment covers both fiction and non-fiction books. The assignment structure rotates every three months helping students achieve proficiency, while still providing student choice. Assignments can be used in any order. A sample teaching schedule is provided.

Included Genres

  • Realistic Fiction
  • Mystery Fiction
  • Graphic Novel
  • Science Fiction
  • Biography & Memoirs
  • Historical Fiction
  • Classical Fiction (pre-1970)
  • Fantasy Fiction
  • Non-Fiction
  • Traditional Literature vs. Fractured Fairy Tales
  • Sports Fiction
  • Free Verse Fiction

Assignment Types:

  1. Written Response – critical thinking and written reflection assignment.
  2. Creative Choice Board – students are provided with 3 options and must select which creative option they want to produce.
  3. Oral Presentation – a book talk format assignment.
  4. Student-Created Lesson based on a non-fiction book
  5. Traditional Literature vs. Fractured Fairy Tales Comparison Assignment

Find the 12 Genres Book Reports resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.

For more great middle school books, check out this blog post – Best Middle School Book Recommendations. Also, check out some fantastic YA books in this blog post – High School Book Recommendations.

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