the outsiders

Summer Reading: If You Liked The Fault in Our Stars

Love and life get complicated in these young adult novels. Bring your own tissues.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Misfits Park and Eleanor fall in love in high school, but both of them are smart enough to know that first love never lasts forever.

 

 

 

Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts

Stoic Zac meets fiery Mia in the hospital, where they’re both undergoing treatment for leukemia.

 

 

 

It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

A suicide attempts lands anxiety-ridden Craig in an institution, where he meets a motley crew of residents who help him face his fears.

 

 

The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

Ponyboy isn’t sure where he fits into the sharply divided social castes of his 1960s Oklahoma town, but when trouble strikes, he’s forced to choose sides.

 

 

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

It doesn’t pay to be different in Standish Treadwell’s world, where a Nazi-like government keeps everyone living in fear and hope is hard to find.

 

 

My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi

One bad decision changes Lucy’s life forever. Now she—and her friends and family—must deal with the fallout.

 

 

 

Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher 

Social outcasts Sarah and Eric forge a deep friendship, but when Eric’s life takes a different turn and Sarah ends up in a mental hospital, refusing to speak, everything they think they know about each other will be challenged.

 

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Grieving the loss of her universally beloved older sister, Lennie finds herself in an unexpected love triangle: drawn to one boy who shares her grief and one boy who pulls her toward joy.

 

 

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

When the world’s population is decimated by a global pandemic, a small troupe of Shakespearean actors travels between far-flung communities, bringing art and music with them.


What You Should Read in Middle School

what you should read in middle school

In the summer issue of home/school/life, we’re helping you navigate the transition from elementary to middle school in your homeschool. An important piece of the puzzle: Your middle grades reading list. These titles tap into tweens’ developing social and emotional lives

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It’s heartbreaking to read, but that’s kind of the point of this book about life for one Jewish girl in hiding during the Holocaust.

 

Flowers for Algernon
By Daniel Keyes
 

Some of the situations in this book may be a little mature for younger middle schoolers, but its themes of identity and intelligence will captivate tween readers.

 

What cost does utopia have? How important is freedom? Tweens are ready to tackle those ambiguous questions right along with young Jonah in this deceptively simple novel.

 

To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee
 

For many tweens, Harper Lee’s American classic is the first novel that really makes them sit up and pay attention to what literature can do. Scout, Boo Radley, and Atticus Finch are characters who stay with you.

 

The Catcher in the Rye
By J.D. Salinger
 

People have called Holden Caulfield, the book’s not-a-hero-protagonist annoying, boring, spoiled, and hard to identify with. That unlikability is part of what makes this a classic.

 

The Outsiders
By S. E. Hinton
 

Tweens trying to sort out where they belong will identify with reluctant hoodlum Ponyboy in this story about two rival gangs in the 1960s Midwest.

 

Holes
By Louis Sachar
 

Coincidence or fate, revenge or redemption, justice or generosity — Sachar tackles these big topics with good-spirited humor and a rollicking good story.

 

Golding’s novel might poke fun at some of the traditional fairy-tale elements in epic adventures, but the story of Buttercup and her Westley is an unabashed literary delight. (Golding was inserting wry narrator notes long before the trend took off in children’s literature.)

 

Lots of children’s books talk about the history of Native Americans, but Alexie’s novel is one of the few that digs into what it’s like to grow up on a modern-day Indian reservation. There’s tough stuff in this book, but that’s part of what makes it so worthwhile.

 

Bridge to Terabithia
By Katherine Paterson
 

This book, about two lonely kids who find friendship while creating an imaginary world, will break your heart in the best possible way.

 

Coraline
By Neil Gaiman
 

Like a more confusing, much darker version of Alice in Wonderland, Coraline is a fascinating look at the costs of getting what we want.

 

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet)
By Madeleine L'Engle
 

You don’t have to be a science-fiction fan to get completely caught up in this story of Meg’s search for her father, and even non-science-minded kids will appreciate the intelligent writing.