Eighth grade readers have a lot to gain through books, both academically and in their personal development. Thought-provoking titles at this age will help develop your reader’s abstract thinking; they’ll approach complex moral issues and discover diverse perspectives they might not typically encounter.
Other forms of entertainment may offer a window to the world, but books reign supreme when it comes to challenging eighth graders to think critically. The best titles don’t just entertain—they support adolescents in their path to forming personal viewpoints. Readers can synthesize information found in fiction and nonfiction stories and apply it to real-life situations, while expanding their empathy and understanding of the world around them.
Middle grade fiction, activity books, graphic novels, and young adult fiction can all be part of a balanced eighth grade reading diet. To lead your reader towards the most enriching stories, Literati has named its top picks. Here are a few of the best titles for your eighth grade reader:
By Jarod Shusterman and Neal Shusterman
In this captivating survival story, one teen must make crucial decisions for her family in order to survive a devastating drought. Readers won’t be able to take their eyes off of this vivid, near-future dystopia as they’re challenged to understand the reasoning and motivation behind certain characters’ reactions. Full of tension and pulse-pounding suspense, Dry is a distressing reminder of our current climate reality and a gripping “what if” exercise for your eighth grader.
Burn After Writing Teen
By Rhiannon Shove
The made-for-teens edition of Rhiannon Shove’s ultra-engaging personal journal, Burn After Writing, will get your eighth grader thinking about big questions and looking inward for answers. The fun, thought-provoking prompts throughout this book provide an outlet for some complicated thinking—the kind that eighth graders aren’t always sure how to approach. Journaling is a fantastic form of self-care, but sitting down in front of a blank page can be a little daunting (even for adults). This book provides the perfect safe space for teens—unlike that math test next period, there are no wrong answers here!
Blood Metal Bone
By Lindsay Cummings
After being wrongly accused of her brother’s murder, Sonara gets a second chance at uncovering the truth. A clever blend of sci-fi and fantasy elements allows readers to get in touch with more specific genre preferences. With an expansive world to explore and a wide cast of characters, your eighth grader’s memory and comprehension will be adequately challenged, while they stay completely immersed in a total page-turner.
Knowledge Genius! A Quiz Encyclopedia to Boost Your Brain
by DK Publishing
Do you have a future Jeopardy contestant on your hands? You might after you get this fact-packed book in front of them. First, readers will dive into a whole slew of “general knowledge” subjects. Then, they can quiz themselves and find out just how much they’ve learned! Other than the obvious educational value of a brain-boosting encyclopedia, the self-testing format found in this book is incredibly impactful. When students quiz themselves on information, they’re more likely to encode it deeply and recall it later. That’s right—this book can actually help teach your eighth grader how to study effectively!
By Amanada Patnitch
Survival stories are popular among eighth and ninth graders as readers can jump into super high-stakes scenarios, relate to teen characters, and watch them grow into heroic versions of themselves. In Gone Dark, the country’s power grid is suddenly compromised, leaving Zara to make an impossible choice in order to survive. Eighth graders will find a strong message about resilience and facing one’s past with confidence while following along for the adventure.
The best books for eighth graders feature captivating plots, immersive settings, and challenges that feel relevant to the eighth grade experience. Even if your reader chooses to escape into a fantasy world, the best books will encourage them to think deeply and find lessons they can bring back to reality.
Sometimes, finding those perfect titles is easier said than done: all eighth graders are different, after all. No matter what kind of story excites your reader—even if they don’t know it yet—Literati is here to help them build reading habits that stick.
When you join Literati book clubs, your reader will receive a personalized box of books curated just for them. They’ll go deeper into their existing interests, and find new ones, and solidify a passion for literature with stories that are perfectly matched to their reading level. Start with Literati’s personalization quiz and get your first box of books today.