Books for Boys Entering Seventh and Eighth Grade

(Summaries are taken from School Library Journal, Publisher's Weekly, and reviews and Library of Congress summaries.)

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.

Bullyville, by Francine Prose
After the death of his estranged father in the World Trade Center on 9/11, thirteen-year-old Bart, still struggling with his feelings of guilt, sorrow and loss, wins a scholarship to the local preparatory school and there encounters a vicious bully whose cruelty compounds the aftermath of the tragedy.

Doing Time: Notes from the Undergrad, by Rob Thomas
Each of these ten short stories centers on a high school student's mandatory 200 hours of community service and the student's humorous and often provocative responses to the required project.

Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? by Eleanor Updale
In Victorian London, after his life is saved by a young physician, a thief uses the knowledge he gains in prison and from the scientific lectures he attends as the physician's case study exhibit to create a new, highly successful, double life for himself.

Feed, by M.T. Anderson
In a future where most people have computer implants in their heads to control their environment, a boy meets an unusual girl who is in serious trouble.

Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan
Paul is smitten with Noah, but Kyle, Paul’s ex, complicates things. Joni is going out with domineering Chuck, much to her friends' disapproval. Tony’s conservative parents refuse to acknowledge that he is gay, so the others bone up on Bible verses all week so they can pretend Saturday night is a study group. And then there's Infinite Darlene, football quarterback and Homecoming Queen, who deserves a whole romance novel of her own.

Dark Waters, by Catherine MacPhail
Col McCann becomes a local hero when he saves a boy from drowning but when his older brother is suspected of a serious crime, Col must decide if he should be loyal to his family or tell the truth about what he saw while under the water.

A Night to Remember, by Walter Lord
A minute-by-minute retelling of the sinking of the Titanic. 

I'm Exploding Now, by Sid Hite
The summer he turns seventeen, Max Whooten is feeling off his game with no job and nothing to do, but after spending a lot of time hanging out in Manhattan, thinking about life, writing down his thoughts, and visiting his aunt in Woodstock, he develops a personal philosophy called "coolism" which seems to help turn things around.

Tangerine, by Edward Bloor
Twelve-year-old Paul, who lives in the shadow of his football hero brother Erik, fights for the right to play soccer despite his near blindness and slowly begins to remember the incident that damaged his eyesight.

Taming the Star Runner, by S.E. Hinton
Sent to live with his uncle after a violent confrontation with his stepfather, 16-year-old Travis, an aspiring writer, finds life in a small Oklahoma town confining.

That Was Then, This is Now, by S.E. Hinton
Sixteen-year-old Mark and Bryon have been like brothers since childhood, but now, as their involvement with girls, gangs, and drugs increases, their relationship seems to gradually disintegrate.

Raven's Gate, by Anthony Horowitz
As punishment for being present during an assault, Matt must choose between life with off-putting Mrs. Deverill in a remote Yorkshire village, or jail. As Matt soon learns, Lesser Malling is much worse than jail, because strange and dangerous things are occurring there. Raven's Gate, an ancient portal to the world of evil, is about to be opened, and Matt is to be the blood sacrifice.  If you like this book, check out the sequels: Evil Star and Nightrise.

The Buffalo Tree,
by Adam Rapp
A 12-year-old boy recounts his day-to-day battles in a juvenile detention center.  Some graphic imagery and strong language.

Rock Star Superstar, by Blake Nelson
Music is Pete's life. From playing in a jazz band to jamming at 2 AM with his guitar-playing dad, Pete is almost never without his bass. He's sure his treasured Fender Precision bass, along with his vow never to be a sell-out, will lead him to a record deal one day.  Be forewarned: this book contains some PG-13 language and descriptions.

Uglies, by Scott Westerfield
Tally Youngblood lives in a futuristic society that acculturates its citizens to believe that they are ugly until age 16 when they'll undergo an operation that will change them into pleasure-seeking "pretties."

The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
In this first book of his epic trilogy, Philip Pullman unlocks the door to a world parallel to our own, but with a mysterious slant all its own. Dæmons and winged creatures live side by side with humans, and a mysterious entity called Dust just might have the power to unite the universes--if it isn't destroyed first.

The Amulet of Samarkand, by Jonathan Stroud
Nathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the "ultimate sacrifice" for a "noble destiny."

Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card
Ender Wiggin is a very bright young boy with a powerful skill. One of a group of children bred to be military geniuses and save Earth from an inevitable attack by aliens, known here as "buggers," Ender becomes unbeatable in war games and seems poised to lead Earth to triumph over the buggers.

Rats Saw God, by Rob Thomas
In order to pass English class and graduate, 18-year-old Steve York has to write a 100- page essay about his life. What sounds like a run-of-the-mill writing assignment, however, becomes an excuse for Steve to reflect on the last four years (from Texas freshman to California senior), and figure out where it all went wrong. Maybe it was when he discovered that he really couldn't relate to his father, the Famous Astronaut. Or it could be because his "heart had been run through frappé, puree, and liquefy on a love blender" by his ex-girlfriend, Wanda "Dub" Varner.

Unwind, by Neal Schusterman
In a future world where those between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can have their lives "unwound" and their body parts harvested for use by others, three teens go to extreme lengths to uphold their beliefs--and, perhaps, save their own lives.

The Dead and the Gone, by Susan Beth Pfeffer
After a meteor hits the moon and sets off a series of horrific climate changes, seventeen-year-old Alex Morales must take care of his sisters alone in the chaos of New York City.

The Wizard Heir, by Cinda Williams Chima
Sixteen-year-old Seph, a powerful wizard, gets caught up in a conflict between the Wizard Council, smaller groups with their own agendas, and a rogue politician--the Dragon--whose identity and whereabouts the others seek to know.

Cover Up: Mystery at the Super Bowl, by John Feinstein
Steve Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson, high school reporters, learn that every player on the offensive line of a pro football team slated to play in the Super Bowl has failed his drug test and that the team owner has covered it up. Now they must find away to prove it.

Sunrise Over Fallujah, by Walter Dean Myers
Robin Perry, from Harlem, is sent to Iraq in 2003 as a member of the Civilian Affairs Battalion, and his time there profoundly changes him.

Little Brother, by Corey Doctorow
After being interrogated for days by the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco, California, seventeen-year-old Marcus, released into what is now a police state, decides to use his expertise in computer hacking to set things right.