Today, we will be looking into some awesome works for the young adults out there. A lot of these are coming-of-age works and are at a reading level that caters to the eighth-grade demographic. I hope that this blog post increases your interest and curiosity in reading, especially if you’re a student or a diehard bookworm like myself. These are all enriching and diverse reads that do not disappoint!
by Kate Messenger
Nora’s summer vacation comes to a standstill as the whole neighborhood is placed under house arrest after a high-profile prison break puts the residents in danger. This novel follows a multiple genre format from comics to poetry and letters.
A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness
Protagonist Connor, who is grieving after the loss of a loved one, is fighting off monstrous bullies and monsters in his nightmares until his fears come alive, and he must face up to the arrival of a real monster.
by Walter Dean Myers
Steve Harmon is a 16-year-old amateur filmmaker who is arrested and tried for the murder during a shootout at a drugstore and must try his best to prove his innocence in the case.
The First Rule of Punk
by Celia C. Perez
“The first rule of punk is to be yourself”, Malú’s father tells her. In order to fit in and get past her disastrous first day at school, the young girl decides to assemble a punk band of misfits and also finds herself along the way.
Peter and the Star Catchers
by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson
This is a humorous origin story for Peter Pan and tries to provide solutions to various questions such as why Hook is afraid of crocodiles, who Peter Pan’s parents were, and how his growing up years in Neverland were. It also delves into the origin stories of beloved characters such as Tinkerbell and Lost Boys.
I am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai
The inspiring autobiography of Malala Yousafzai, who was a pioneer highlighting the need for education of girls and was thus the target of an assassination ploy by the Taliban in her home country in 2012, only to win a Nobel Peace Prize (she was the youngest to win it) for her hard work.
Go Tell It on the Mountain
by James Baldwin
Trigger warning: abuse
This gritty novel is a strong psychological study of a 14-year-old who grows up in an abusive environment in Harlem and rebels against his self-righteous preacher stepfather.
by Alan Gratz
A journey of 3 children, all refugees hailing from not only different places under tyrant rule but also different points in history. Josef from Nazi Germany, Isabel from Cuba en route to American shores, and Mahmoud from modern-day Syria find their lives and journeys intertwined and intersecting in this novel.
Better Nate than Ever
by Tim Federle
Not only is the novel’s title a pun-tastic take on a phrase, it also follows the fantastic journey of young Nate Foster, who has big dreams of fitting it big on Broadway but hails from the small town of Pennsylvania and thus jumps at the opportunity to attend an open cast calling for a musical in New York City, but it will be a daring journey indeed.
The Night Diary
by Veera Hiranandani
Set during an important era in history, the Partition of 1947, which left Indo-Pak relations in tatters and follows Nisha and her family as they attempt to escape the bloodshed between Muslims and Sikhs, but the journey across the new border is a fearful, treacherous one.
Diary of a Young Girl
by Anne Frank
Who hasn’t heard about this poignant tale of Jewish teen Anne Frank who kept a diary during her and her family’s journey of survival as they hid away from the Nazis during World War II? Her diary entries dealt with love, loss, courage, and coming of age and were recovered by her father Otto to be published into this novel that is still part of the syllabus in many schools, including my own old high school.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Mark Twain
This is a fun rollercoaster ride of a journey featuring the young and naughty Huckleberry Finn and his equally mischievous pal, Tom Sawyer, along the Mississippi River. But along with their mischief-filled adventures, it also shines a light on serious themes such as slavery and alcoholism.
The True Adventures of Nicolo Zen
by Nicholas Christopher
This movie is centered around Nicolo, who is a penniless orphan growing up on the streets of 16th century Venice, and his adventures with his mysterious and enchanted clarinet.
A Study in Charlotte
by Brittany Cavallaro
Do you enjoy the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson? Then this reimagining of the classic dynamic between both will appeal to you. It revolves around descendants of the former duo- Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson who meet at a modern-day Connecticut boarding school, spark off a romance, and pair up to solve a diabolical crime.
by George Orwell
George Orwell’s allegory on sociopolitical issues is not only part of the syllabus in schools but also many colleges, and it is one of my favorite works from the writer due to how closely it mirrors the cruel and harsh realities of our political regimes, much like a graphic novel ‘V for Vendetta’, via the unique perspective of a farm run ‘by the animals and for the animals’…or is it?
Hope was Here
by Joan Bauer
The protagonist of this movie Hope helps her aunt run a diner in rural Wisconsin which is a long way from her laid-back life in the urban atmosphere of New York City. She befriends diner owner G.T. Stoop, and this novel is a refreshing coming of age focused on truth and trust.
The Hate you Give
by Angie Thomas
This is the story of Starr Carter, a teen who is just about to embark on her first day at high school until her world is shattered and her life is turned upside down after her best friend is shot by the police, and only she knows the truth of what really happened.
The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
Lastly, this is a novel from one of my favorite fantasy novelists, Neil Gaiman. It centers around Nobody Owens (lovingly called Bod), who is brought up by ghosts in a local graveyard after his escape from a murderer who has killed his parents. As he comes to adolescence, Bod decides it is best if he ventures away from his home for a taste of the world outside, but is this a good idea?
So, if you are a part of the eight-grader demographic to whom this blog post caters to or even a parent/teacher who is looking out for something fun yet educational for their child/student to read and get stuck in, then do check out these works and probably many more out there. If you are a teacher or parent and want to also include a book report, check out our template here! Until then, happy reading, and please don’t hesitate to share.