Summer Reading 8th Grade

Suggested Titles for Upcoming 8th Graders
Fiction

96 Miles -- Esplin, J. L.
During a massive blackout in rural Nevada, two brothers struggle to survive without their self-reliance-obsessed dad and without enough water to cross the desert for help.
LEX: 760L

All Fall Down -- Carter, Ally
There are many powerful people along Embassy Row who want Grace to block out all her unpretty thoughts. But Grace will not stop until she finds out who killed her mother and makes that person pay.
Lexile 610HL

Allies -- Gratz, Alan
It is June 6, 1944, D-Day, and Dee Carpenter, an underage private in the United States Army, is headed for Omaha Beach, seeking revenge for his uncle, who was arrested by Nazis when Dee was a little boy; meanwhile, Samira Zidano, an eleven-year old French-Algerian girl is looking for the French resistance, desperate to deliver the message that the invasion is about to begin, and get their help in freeing her mother--this is the most important day of the twentieth century, and both want to fight, and survive.
LEX: 780L

Becoming Muhammad Ali: A Novel -- Patterson, James
A biographical novel tells the story of Cassius Clay, the determined boy who would one day become Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest boxers of all time.
LEX: 1010

The Blackbird Girls -- Blankman, Anne
On a spring morning, neighbors Valentina Kaplan and Oksana Savchenko wake up to an angry red sky. A reactor at the nuclear power plant where their fathers work--Chernobyl--has exploded. Before they know it, the two girls, who've always been enemies, find themselves on a train bound for Leningrad to stay with Valentina's estranged grandmother. In their new lives in Leningrad, Oksana must face the lies her parents told her all her life; and Valentina must keep her grandmother's secret, one that could put all their lives in danger.
LEX: 560

Bloom -- Oppel, Kenneth
The invasion begins--but not as you'd expect. It begins with rain. Rain that carries seeds. Seeds that sprout--overnight, everywhere. These new plants take over crop fields, twine up houses, and burrow below streets. They bloom--and release a toxic pollen. They bloom--and form Venus flytrap-like pods that swallow animals and people. They bloom--everywhere, unstoppable. Or are they? Three kids on a remote island seem immune to the toxic plants. Anaya, Petra, Seth. They each have strange allergies--and yet not to these plants. What's their secret?
LEX: 670L

The Bitter Side of Sweet -- Sullivan, Tara
Kept as forced labor on a chocolate plantation on the Ivory Coast, Amadou and his younger brother Seydou had given up hope, until a young girl arrives at the camp who rekindles the urge to escape. LEX 810L

Chains -- Anderson, Laurie Halse
When her owner dies at the start of the Revolution, a greedy nephew keeps Isabel and her younger sister enslaved and sells them to Loyalists in New York, where she is offered the chance to spy for the Patriots.
Lexile 780

The Clone Codes-- McKissack, Pat
On the run from a bounty hunter who arrested her mother for being part of a secret society devoted to freeing clones, thirteen-year-old Leanna learns amazing truths about herself and her family as she is forced to consider the value of freedom and what it really means to be human in 2170 America.
Lexile 680
Cloud and Wallfish -- Nesbet, Anne
A lonely boy in East Germany meets a girl one floor below him, and together, they find their way in the world as the Wall--and walls--close in on them.
Lexile 850

Dear Sweet Pea -- Murphy, Julie
Thirteen-year-old Patricia, widely known as Sweet Pea, navigates her parents' unconventional divorce and finds herself in the unlikely role of her town's advice columnist.
LEX: 810L

Dress Coded -- Firestone, Carrie
An eighth grader starts a podcast to protest the unfair dress code enforcement at her middle school and sparks a rebellion.

Goodbye Stranger -- Stead, Rebecca
As Bridge makes her way through seventh grade on Manhattan's Upper West Side with her best friends, curvaceous Em, crusader Tab, and a curious new friend, she finds the answers she has been seeking.
Lexile 560

Halfway Normal -- Dee, Barbara Twelve-year-old cancer survivor Norah struggles to fit in at middle school after two years of treatment, but she finds her voice with the help of new friend Griffin, who shares her love of mythology. LEX 620L

House Arrest -- Holt, K. A. Timothy, sentenced to house arrest for stealing, keeps a journal into which he documents his fears and frustrations. LEX 610L

Hunt for the Bamboo Rat -- Salisbury, Graham
Zenji Watanabe, seventeen, is sent from Hawaii to the Philippines to spy on the Japanese during World War II and, after he is captured and tortured, must find a way to survive months of being lost in the jungle behind enemy lines.
Lexile 510

If the Witness Lied-- Cooney, Caroline B
Torn apart by tragedies and the publicity that it brought, siblings Smithy, Jack, and Madison, aged fourteen to sixteen, tap into their parent's courage to pull together and protect their brother Tris, nearly three, from further media exploitation and a much more sinister threat.
Lexile 670

The Inside Battle -- Sumrow, Melanie
Longing for his father's approval, thirteen-year-old Rebel Mercer follows him inside a racist, anti-government militia group, but when his father plans an attack on an African-American church, Rebel must make the most important decision in his life.

It Wasn't Me -- Levy, Dana Alison
When Theo's photography project is vandalized, the five students nearby all claim it was not them, so Theo's favorite teacher suggests they all spend vacation week together and get to the truth.
LEX: 740L

Knockout -- Holt, K. A
When formerly medically fragile Levi discovers his love for boxing, he finds himself in the ring with those who love him most. He knows he's strong enough to fight for his life, but can he convince everyone else to believe in him, too? LEX HL610L

Look Both Ways : A Tale Told in Ten Blocks -- Reynolds, Jason
A collection of ten short stories that all take place on the same day about kids walking home from school.
LEX: 750L

Midnight without a Moon -- Jackson, Linda Williams Rose Lee Carter, a thirteen-year-old African-American girl, dreams of life beyond the Mississippi cotton fields during the
summer of 1955, but when Emmett Till is murdered and his killers are unjustly acquitted, Rose is torn between seeking her destiny outside of Mississippi or staying and being a part of an important movement. LEX 870L

The Night Diary -- Hiranandani, Veera
Shy twelve-year-old Nisha, forced to flee her home with her Hindu family during the 1947 partition of India, tries to find her
voice and make sense of the world falling apart around her by writing to her deceased Muslim mother in the pages of her diary.
LEX 700L

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story -- Baskin, Nora Raleigh Relates how the lives of four children living in different parts of the country intersect and are affected by the events of
September 11, 2001. LEX 730

Other Words for Home -- Warga, Jasmine
Jude never thought she'd be leaving her older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives. At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven't quite prepared her for starting school in the US --and her new label of 'Middle Eastern,' an identity she's never known before now.
LEX: 930L

Prisoner B-3087 -- Gratz, Alan Based on the life of Jack Gruener, this book relates his story of survival from the Nazi occupation of Krakow, when he was
eleven, through a succession of concentration camps, to the final liberation of Dachau. LEX 760L

Refugee -- Gratz, Alan
Although separated by continents and decades, Josef, a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany; Isabel, a Cuban girl trying to escape the riots and unrest plaguing her country in 1994; and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015 whose homeland is torn apart by violence and destruction, embark on harrowing journeys in
search of refuge, discovering shocking connections that tie their stories together. LEX 800L

Rebound -- Alexander, Kwame
In the summer of 1988, twelve-year-old Chuck Bell is sent to stay with his grandparents, where he discovers jazz and basketball and learns more about his family's past.
LEX 780L

The Reckless Club -- Vrabel, Beth
After getting in trouble in the eighth grade, five students are assigned by a judge to spend the last day of summer helping out in
an assisted living home and manage to forge an unexpected bond with the residents and with each other.
LEX 650L

Restart -- Korman, Gordon
Chase does not remember falling off the roof, in fact he does not remember anything about himself, and when he gets back to middle school he begins to learn who he was through the reactions of the other kids--trouble is, he really is not sure he likes the Chase that is being revealed, but can he take the opportunity amnesia has provided and restart his life? LEX 730L

Santiago's Road Home -- Diaz, Alexandra
Fleeing abusive relatives and extreme poverty in Mexico, young Santiago endures being detained by ICE while crossing the
border into the United States.
LEX: 740L

Shadow on the Mountain -- Preus, Margi
In Nazi-occupied Norway, fourteen-year-old Espen joins the resistance movement, graduating from deliverer of illegal newspapers to courier and spy.
Lexile 730

Siege : How General Washington Kicked the British out of Boston and Launched a Revolution -- Orgill, Roxane
It is the summer of 1775. The British occupy Boston and its busy harbor, holding residents captive and keeping a strong military foothold. The threat of smallpox looms, and the town is cut off, even from food supplies.
LEX: NP

Slider -- Hautman, Pete
Hoping to win a cash prize in a pizza eating contest after racking up a tab on his mother's credit card, David must juggle his competitive eating training with the responsibility of looking after his autistic younger brother. LEX 660L

Suspect Red -- Elliott, Laura In 1950s Washington, D.C., teenaged Richard, a bookworm whose father works for the FBI, experiences effects of McCarthyism, beginning with book banning and ending with a threat to his half-Czech friend. LEX 760L

This Town is Not all Right -- Krys, M. K
Twelve-year-old twins Beacon and Everleigh move with their father to a weird Maine fishing village, and Beacon must uncover
its frightening secret before he loses his sister forever.

The Worst Class Trip Ever -- Barry, Dave
When the eighth grade civics class of Miami's Culver Middle School goes on a trip to Washington, D.C., Wyatt Palmer finds himself in deep trouble before the plane even lands because his best friend, Matt, has decided the men sitting behind them are terrorists and it is up to the boys to stop them.
Lexile 770

Suggested Titles for 8th Graders
Non-Fiction

42 is not Just a Number: The Odyssey of Jackie Robinson, American Hero -- Rappaport, Doreen A look at the life and legacy of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in major league baseball, and became an American hero. LEX 1010L

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team -- Soontornvat, Christina
Looks at the cave rescue of the twelve young players of the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach in northern Thailand.
LEX: 1020L

Apollo 8: The Mission that Changed Everything -- Sandler, Martin W
Text and photographs explore the historic Apollo 8 mission, occurring in December 1968.
LEX: 1200L

Because they Marched: The People's Campaign for Voting Rights that Changed America -- Freedman, Russell
Provides an account of the march for African American voting rights led by Dr. Martin Luther King in January 1965.
Lexile 1160

Born to Fly : The First Women's Air Race Across America -- Sheinkin, Steve
Tells the story of the 1929 Women's Air Derby, the first official all-female air race in the U.S.
LEX: 930L

The Boy who Became a Dragon: A Bruce Lee story -- Di Bartolo, Jim
Tells the life story of martial artist Bruce Lee in a graphic novel.

Breakthrough! How Three People Saved Blue Babies and Changed Medicine Forever -- Murphy, Jim
The story of the landmark 1944 surgical procedure that repaired the heart of a child with blue baby syndrome. The team that developed the procedure included a cardiologist and a surgeon, but most of the actual work was done by Vivien Thomas, an African American lab assistant who was frequently mistaken for a janitor.
LEX: 1170L

Chasing the Storm: Tornadoes, Meteorology, and Weather Watching -- Miller, Ron
Explains that storm chasers hunt for tornadoes, hurricanes, or other violent storms, how they work, and how they help study weather and warn people.
Lexile 1110

Coco Chanel: Pearls, Perfume, and the Little Black Dress -- Rubin, Susan Goldman
Beginning with the difficult years Chanel spent in an orphanage, Goldman Rubin traces Coco's development as a designer and demonstrates how her determination to be independent helped her gain worldwide recognition.

Don't Know Much about American History-- Davis, Kenneth C.
Presents in question and answer format, a history of the United States from the exploration of Christopher Columbus to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, & the Fall of Imperial Russia -- Fleming, Candace
Details the history of Russia's last royal family, the Romanovs.
Lexile 950
Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment-- Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki
Biography of Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston relating her experiences of living at the Manzanar internment camp during World War II and how it has influenced her life.
Flesh & Blood so Cheap : the Triangle Fire and its Legacy -- Marrin, Albert Provides a detailed account of the disastrous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, which claimed the lives of 146 garment workers in 1911, and examines the impact of this event on the nation's working conditions and labor laws. Lexile 1000

Free Lunch -- Ogle, Rex (Memoir)
The story of Rex Ogle's first semester in sixth grade. Rex and his baby brother often went hungry, wore secondhand clothes, and were short of school supplies, and Rex was on his school's free lunch program. Grounded in the immediacy of physical hunger and the humiliation of having to announce it every day in the school lunch line, Rex's story is a story of more than just hunger.

Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott-- Freedman, Russell
Presents the story of the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and the major persons and events that contributed to the year-long struggle for equal rights on Montgomery's city buses.
Lexile 1110

Hidden like Anne Frank: Fourteen True Stories of Survival -- Prins, Marcel
Presents a collection of fourteen first-person accounts that share what it was like to go into hiding during World War II.
Lexile 790

How the Beatles Changed the World -- Sandler, Martin W
Text and illustrations look at The Beatles' dramatic rise to fame and their impact on rock and roll music.
Lexile1160

How we got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science behind Humanity's Greatest Adventure -- Rocco, John
A guide to the people and technology of the moon landing.
LEX: 1170L

Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman who Challenged Big Business--and Won! -- McCully, Emily Arnold
A biography of Ida M. Tarbell, a journalist who made history by writing a series of articles detailing the shady business practices of John D. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Trust.
Lexile 1120

The Missing: The True Story of My Family in World War II -- Rosen, Michael (Memoir)
Through prose and poems, Michael Rosen explores his family's history of what happened to his French and Polish relatives during World War Two.
Mr. Lincoln's High Tech War: How the North used the Telegraph, Railroads, Surveillance Balloons, Iron-Clads, High-Powered Weapons, and More to Win the Civil War-- Allen, Thomas B.
Examines how Abraham Lincoln's interest in technology played a role in the outcome of the Civil War; and explains how the telegraph, railroads, surveillance balloons, and other inventions helped the North win the war and rebuild the economy.
Lexile 1180

Motor Girls: How Women took the Wheel and Drove Boldly into the Twentieth Century -- Macy, Sue Meet the first generation of female motorists who drove cars for fun, profit, and to make a statement about the evolving role of women. LEX NC1250L

Neanderthals: A Prehistoric Puzzle-- La Pierre, Yvette
Examines recent discoveries and DNA technology used in reevaluating archaeological evidence about Neanderthals.
Lexile 1130

Now or Never! : 54th Massachusetts Infantry's War to End Slavery -- Shepard, Ray Anthony
Here are the life stories of George E. Stephens and James Henry Gooding, African American soldiers who fought in the Massachusetts 54th Infantry, the famous black regiment of the Civil War, and who were also the first African American war correspondents to report from the battlefield.
LEX 1140L

On the Horizon -- Lowry, Lois
A moving account of the lives lost in two of WWII's most infamous events: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.
LEX: HL580L

The Poison Eaters: Fighting Danger and Fraud in our Food and Drugs -- Jarrow, Gail
The relentless work of U.S. government chemist Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, who mounted a thirty-year campaign to protect consumers from harmful food and drugs.
LEX: 1020L

Poisoned Water -- Cooper, Candy J.
Through interviews with residents and intensive research into legal records and new accounts, the authors reveal the story behind the water crisis in Flint, Michigan which began in 2014 when government officials of the cash-strapped city that had been abandoned by General Motors decided to temporarily switch its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River, which then caused widespread sickness and death to its residents.

Skywalkers: Mohawk Ironworkers Build the City -- Weitzman, David
Narrative text and photographs examine Native American history and the development of structural engineering and architecture, focusing on Mohawk ironworkers. Lexile 1150

Survivors Club : The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz -- Bornstein, Michael
The incredible true story of Michael Bornstein--who at age 4 was one of the youngest children to be liberated from Auschwitz--and of his family.
LEX: 890L

Two Truths and a Lie: It's Alive! -- Paquette, Ammi-Joan Presents some of the most crazy-but-true stories about the living world as well as a handful of stories that are too crazy to be true--and asks readers to separate facts from the fakes! LEX 1010L

The Ultimate Weapon: The Race to Develop the Atomic Bomb-- Sullivan, Edward T.
Chronicles the three-year Manhattan Project, discussing scientific developments, scientists, the three secret cities, spies, and saboteurs, and describes the decision to use the atom bomb on Japan, the dropping of the bombs, and the aftermath.
Lexile 1170

Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 -- Marrin, Albert
Examines the history, science, and impact of the influenza pandemic of 1918.
LEX: 1040L

Where Have all the Bees Gone? Pollinators in Crisis -- Hirsch, Rebecca E.
Numbers of bees are falling, and that has scientists alarmed. What's causing the decline? Diseases, pesticides, climate change, and loss of habitat are all threatening bee populations. Some bee species teeter on the brink of extinction. Learn about the many bee species on Earth-- most importantly, find out how you can help these important pollinators.
LEX: 1060L