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Best Books for Eighth Graders

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Eighth grade is an important time in every child’s life, and it’s a period when they learn to become more independent. Reading allows them to learn more about various subjects and delve into imaginative stories that offer an escape. Read on to find out about our favorite books for eighth graders, which feature adventure and characters any eighth grader will feel connected to.

Most Thrilling

Steelheart (The Reckoners) (Paperback)


List Price: $10.99 USD
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Teenagers will find this book to be an original and entertaining read about a young man who loses his father to a villain and decides to use his superhero powers for revenge. The novel is an action-packed drama and has a style similar to Marvel Comics. Much of the action is character-based in a setting that features a post-apocalyptic Chicago cityscape. The detailed and descriptive writing makes it easy to stay engaged, while the illustrations provide excellent imagery that helps develop readers’ imaginations. Sanderson has taken the well-trodden superhero theme and turned it into something new and exciting.

Best Fantasy

Red Queen (Paperback)


List Price: $12.99 USD
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A dynamic heroine, Mare Barrow, is in the middle of this sizzling thriller set in a world reflecting many real-life issues such as pollution and political corruption. It’s easy to delve into the story due to the likability of the main character. Mare is a young girl with dreams, self-doubt and annoyances. A significant twist is one of the highlights of “Red Queen,” which proves to be complex and thought-provoking enough to engage young adult readers.

Best in Non-Fiction

Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb: Young Adult Edition (Hardcover)


List Price: $17.99 USD
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Author Neal Bascomb proves to be an excellent storyteller in this thrilling, impeccably researched book. He’s a master of taking complicated histories and turning them into exciting and educational works. Kids will enjoy the detailed narrative that is both fast-paced and reflective. The book even includes black and white photos of people, buildings and artifacts that contribute to the story. There’s an effective combination of dramatic tension and context throughout the book that offers insight into military and political history.

This is an ideal book to include in homeschool study for students learning about World War II. Readers will have their eyes opened to the plight of Norway during occupation with firsthand experience that allows readers to visualize the events. Backgrounds are also provided on the different characters, allowing readers to understand each person’s perspective during the events.

Most Engaging

Shadowshaper (The Shadowshaper Cypher, Book 1) (Paperback)


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Readers won’t have a problem staying engaged in “Shadowshaper” as Daniel José Older introduces colorful and diverse characters. The story is propelled at a fast pace and includes top-shelf imagery. Sierra fights for what she wants while protecting her family and friends. She also has a strong desire to understand her family history. The book offers an educational experience to readers and includes culturally-rich content in both Spanish and English. Her powerful, internal struggle against racism and expectations will offer a unique perspective to readers relevant to society today. This urban fantasy addresses serious topics without compromising the creative storytelling.

Most Classic

Treasure Island (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)


List Price: $5.00 USD
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“Treasure Island” is a classic adventure with great writing and memorable characters. It includes many sailing terms with colorful descriptions to go along with them, but it’s the characters who bring the story to life. Children will be challenged by the antiquated language while gaining insight into the 18th century. One of the main highlights of this classic tale is the complex characters who have believable flaws and strengths, each with a likable, multi-faceted personality. The villain, Long John Silver, is complex, greedy and bloodthirsty but still manages to have compassion and nobility.

This rollicking adventure story originates some of the modern tropes and themes of pirates that continue to be celebrated today. The book encourages readers to delve into a world that includes plenty of peg legs, lively sea shanties and parrots. Although sword fights are scattered throughout the novel, the details aren’t overly graphic for young minds.

Expert Commentary

“Choosing the best books for an eighth grader comes down to a few factors. Having taught children of all types, I’ve found that understanding their learning styles and passions is a very important consideration. So, for an eighth grader who loves fantasy, a fantasy book is a great place to start and over time, they may also enjoy trying new genres like a thriller. In my experience, I have found starting out by matching a book with a child in a personalized manner works best. As they grow as a reader, you can expand their horizons and introduce new areas and topics.”

Our Expert Consultant

Kelsey Daubenmier

Kelsey Daubenmier is a licensed primary school teacher with over 10 years of experience in primary education. Kelsey thoughtfully balances the demands of raising four children with the never-ending stack of papers to grade and lesson plans to prepare. In the last decade, Kelsey has gained experiences educating children as young as 5 and as old as 11. She is passionate about bringing the best possible baby and children’s products to you and your loved ones.