Eighth Grade Favorites

Colored pencils arranged in a curved line.

The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
Jessica, an avid runner, learns to deal with shattered dreams when she loses her leg in a car accident. In this inspiriting novel, we follow Jessica as she deals with her emotions, her friends and family, and making new dreams.

I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch.
Enjoy a beautifully written memoir of two students from completely different places in the world. We see pen pals Caitlyn and Martin become best friends over six years of writing letters. 

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
Hope has moved from NYC to a quiet Wisconsin town. While finding her place, Hope finds herself getting involved in a plan to take down the corrupt mayor.

Focused by Alyson Gerber
Clea is struggling to focus on everything. Noises around her make it hard to stay focused on a task; her mind tends to wander while trying to do her homework. When Clea is told she has ADHD she needs to find a way to understand her own mind and work with herself so she can finally focus. 

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
When Bronte begins to date troubled teen Bruiser, she and her twin brother notice strange, unnatural events happening. Does this have something to do with Bruiser and if so, is it good or are they in trouble?

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick
Jeffery is trying to navigate his teenage life – a life as a boy in cancer remission with confusing friendships and family who has walked away.  

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus
Five students are in detention. Before detention is over, one of those students dies. The question now is which one of the other four students murdered Simon, and why!

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Ponyboy Curtis has had to grow up too fast. He believes that he, his family and his friends are outsiders living in a society in which everyone is against them. One terrible night puts Ponyboy and his best friend on a trajectory that changes everything forever. 

Dodger Boy by Sarah Ellis
In 1970, 13-year-old best friends Charlotte and Dawn see eye to eye on life. Will their friendship be tested when they are introduced to a draft dodger who comes to live with Charlotte’s family?

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Ada and her brother are evacuated from London during WWII and find that life is much easier when they are away from their abusive mother.

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Jack has been grounded for life by his feuding parents, but things quickly turn around when he starts working for his neighbor. The job: typing obituaries that come with fascinating stories.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
When 15-year-old Liz is killed in an accident, she finds herself in a strange place. It is not heaven or earth, it is Elsewhere. 

Peeled by Joan Bauer
High school reporter Hildy is on to something. There have been strange things occurring in town and Hildy is investigating a house that is rumored to be haunted. 

Crossover by Kwame Alexander        
Twin brothers Josh and Jordan are navigating life on and off the court. They both have basketball in their blood, but they realize that some things are more important than the game. 

All Summer Long by Hope Larson
In this coming-of-age graphic novel, Bina is trying to survive the summer while her best friend, Austin, is away. But things that happen over one summer can change a friendship and Austin is acting weird. Can they figure out their friendship and try to understand one another again?

Slam! by Walter Dean Myers
Seventeen-year-old Greg "Slam" Harris can do it all on the basketball court. He's seen ballplayers come and go, and he knows he could be one of the lucky ones. Maybe he'll make it to the top. Or maybe he'll stumble along the way. Slam's grades aren't that hot. And when his teachers jam his troubles in his face, he blows up. Slam never doubted himself on the court until he found himself going one-on-one with his own future, and he didn't have the ball.

Heartstopper: Volume 1 by Alice Oseman
Charlie and Nick are at the same school, but they've never met ... until one day when they're made to sit together. They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn't think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is more interested in Charlie than either of them realized. This book about love, friendship, loyalty and mental illness encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie's lives that make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.

The Getaway by Lamar Giles
Jay is living his best life at Karloff Country, one of the world’s most famous resorts. He’s got his family, his crew, and an incredible after-school job at the property’s main theme park. Life isn’t so great for the rest of the world and as things outside get worse, trouble starts seeping into Karloff. First, Jay’s friend and her family disappear. Then the richest and most powerful families start arriving, only... they aren’t leaving. Unknown to the employees, the resort has been selling shares in an end-of-the-world oasis. And in order to deliver the top-notch customer service the wealthy clientele paid for, the employees will be at their total beck and call. Yet Karloff Country didn’t count on Jay and his crew – and just how far they’ll go to find out the truth and save themselves. But what’s more dangerous: the monster you know in your home or the unknown nightmare outside the walls?

Night by Elie Wiesel
Night offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’ s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted – at first. Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that makes her different, and Leo, panicked and desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal. In this celebration of nonconformity, Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the perils of popularity and the thrill and inspiration of first love.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
In 1939 Nazi Germany, the country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will. Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart, the Epic who is said to be invincible – the Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying and planning - and he has something they need – not an object, but an experience. He's seen Steelheart bleed.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood - those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army, she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own - an ability she didn't know she had. Except...her blood is red. To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard - the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince - and Mare against her own heart.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does - or does not - say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.