Escape into a World of Words: 19 Summer Reading Book Lists for Middle Schoolers and Tweens

Written by Michelle Watson

June 2, 2023

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It’s time for summer reading book lists for middle school!

When I was in middle school, my goal in life was to blend in with everyone else and (above all things) not stand out. 

During this phase of stressful social awkwardness, it’s no wonder that escaping into a book was my best-loved hobby.

(I did go through a pretty serious cardmaking phase, with stamps and fancy scissors, but reading was always numero uno.)

Do you have a middle schooler who needs a break from the relentless pressure of being a teenager? Reading offers that escape—but it’s MUCH MORE than just mindless entertainment. Reading offers them a chance to escape from me-first thinking that dominates the teen years. 

Through a story, they step into another’s shoes and (hopefully) realize that the struggles and changes and growth they’re navigating are not unique to them but part of the VAST and INCREDIBLE landscape of human experience since the dawn of time. They are profoundly connected—not isolated, as so many kids feel.

In order to pave the way for this type of experience, though, we can’t let them read books that are only going to promote feelings of discontent and isolation—we want to lay the table with good, nourishing books.

I still maintain that kids should have the freedom to choose their own books, especially during the summer, but we, as their parents, need to exercise godly discernment on their behalf, just as we do with TV, movies, music, and other media. 

So, here’s my contribution to the conversation! Nineteen summer reading book lists for middle school.

19 Summer Reading Book Lists for Middle School

 🙏 Please don’t skip: I haven’t read every book on all of these lists—there’s just no way. But I have made an effort to include lists by people who I feel are trustworthy and have a heart for kids. Naturally, I can’t endorse every book that appears on these lists, and I encourage you to vet any titles that you’re unsure about—it only takes a few minutes! Focus on the Family’s PluggedIn Books Reviews is a great place to do this.
Scroll to the bottom for my own list of middle school book recommendations—books that I’ve personally read and enjoyed.

50 Must Read Books for Middle School

By Jamie at The Unlikely Homeschool

The Top Summer Reading List For Middle Schoolers

By Shawna Wingert for Sonlight

2023 Summer Reading Guide for Middle School

By Afoma at Reading Middle Grade

Picky Christian Mom Review of B&N Summer Reading Titles in 2023

By Kristin at Big Books Little Ears

12 Clean New-ish Novels for Middle Schoolers

By Jamie at The Unlikely Homeschool

60+ Books for a 7th Grader Who Loves to Read

By Ami at Walking by the Way

7th Grade Summer Reading List (Ages 11-13)

By Erica at What We Do All Day

8th Grade Reading List

By Erica at What We Do All Day

Series Fiction for Tweens and Teens

By Betsy at Redeemed Reader

Heroes of WWII: A Book List for Tweens and Teens

By Betsy at Redeemed Reader

30+ Books for Christian {Tween & Teen} Narnia Fans

By Jamie at The Unlikely Homeschool

Mystery Books for Girls Before Nancy Drew

By Kristin at Big Books Little Ears

Over 25 Biographies That Will Inspire Your Middle School Student

By Mary Hanna Wilson at Celebrate a Book

25 Fantastic Graphic Novels Your Middle Schooler Will Love

By Mary Hanna Wilson at Celebrate a Book

Over 100 Riveting Mystery Books for Middle School Kids

By Mary Hanna Wilson at Celebrate a Book

Fantasy Books

By Sarah MacKenzie at Read-Aloud Revival

Non-cheesy Christian Books for Tween Boys that Aren’t Devotionals

By Kristin at Big Books Little Ears

6 Books With a Vintage Feel That Christian Teen Girls & Their Moms Will Love

By Gretchen Louise at Club 31 Women

Top Picks (6th Grade and Up)

Storyglory bookstore curated list

Michelle’s List of Favorite Summer Reading Books for Middle School 

Here are books that I think are particularly suited to both summer AND middle schoolers. I’ve personally read all of these and recommended them to any teens who are cool enough to talk books with me.

Which middle school books (or book lists) have I missed?

Tell me your favorite books in the comments! Do you have a list on your website? Drop a link in the comments so that I can check it out.

More along these lines…


  1. Anonymous

    Is this considered a book club?

    • Michelle Watson

      No, not a book club. It’s a DIY summer reading challenge that you can customize to your family.


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