Fitting In, Sticking Out, and Finding Yourself: 20 Books for Middle Schoolers

by Kari Ness Riedel

Background image credit: Boyko.Pictures/Shutterstock

You said that you didn’t even know why they had middle school, that there ought to be some government program where, as soon as kids graduated elementary school, they got scooped up and sent to a lab where scientists could put them in a deep freeze until they were old enough for high school. For their own sake.” –Trent, from Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff, quoting his mom two days before he starts sixth grade.

If this sentiment resonates with your middle schooler, here are 20 books — ranging from funny to sad to dramatic — that accurately portray the ups and downs of middle school life, and how to survive it.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2016 and updated in 2024.