2014 Middle Grade/Young Adult Summer Reading List

It’s the time of year when I turn to my friend young adult author Amanda Brice and beg her for middle grade and young adult mystery titles that will keep my 11-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter entertained for the coming months and share those recommendations with our readers. This year, sadly, Amanda is offline due to a sick toddler, so my daughter and son are filling in with their book recommendations. All of us at Kiss and Thrill hope Amanda’s little guy gets better quickly!

As we do each year, I’m asking our readers to chime in with their book recommendations in the comments. Summer is long and my kids are voracious readers, I need books! One lucky commenter will win a print or ebook copy of one of the books recommended by my kids – winner’s choice. On Thursday I’ll post a downloadable list of all the books recommended here and in the blog comments.

Before we get started on our list, here is a mom tip from me: if your son or daughter has an ereader of their own, use the links on this page to send a sample directly to their device. No need to remember titles or guess what they’ll like because they can try them all for free!

Here are my daughter’s book recommendations, in no particular order. (If you check out this list every year, you will see some titles repeated from previous years. These are books she really, really loves.)

1816 Candles
by Amanda Brice

The Selection
by Kiera Cass

City of Bones
by Cassandra Clare

by Bria Quinlan



The Other Side of the Island
by Allegra Goodman

by Ann Aguirre

by C.J. Redwine

Goodbye Rebel Blue
by Shelley Coriell



by A.P. Kensey

Maid of Secrets
by Jennifer McGowan

First Light
by Rebecca Stead

Cold Magic
by Kate Elliot



For Darkness Shows the Stars
by Diana Peterfreund

Alanna:The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness)
by Tamora Pierce

Heist Society
by Ally Carter

Eleanor & Park
by Rainbow Rowell



The Immortal Rules
by Julie Kagawa

by Marissa Meyer

by Shannon Hale

I Am Malala
by Malala Yousafzai



Here are my son’s book recommendations, in no particular order.
The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice Book 1)
by John A. Flanagan

Ender’s Game
by Orson Scott Card

Stormbreaker (Alex Rider)
by Anthony Horowitz



School of Fear
by Gitty Daneshvari

The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
by Jeff Kinney

Battle Heroes: Voices from Afghanistan
by Allan Zullo



When My Name was Keoko
by Linda Sue Park

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
by J.K. Rowling

by Louis Sachar

The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien



Okay readers, my kids have shared some of their favorites, now it’s your turn! Please post your book recommendations for middle school and high school aged readers. One commenter will win a copy of one of the books my kids recommended, winner’s choice! Check back on Thursday to see if you are our winner.

About Rachel Grant

Archaeologist Rachel Grant writes romantic suspense where archaeology, politics, and war collide.

Posted on June 10, 2014, in book recommendations, Rachel Grant and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. I like the Laura Ingalls Wilder series of books.

  2. Rachel I look forward to sharing these with my daughter. She’s in college but still loved young adult books. I’ll have to ask her for some recommendations to share too. I do know she loves all of the Vampire Academy books. And she loves the series of animals books by Brian Jacques.

  3. Of course there is A Wrinkle in Time, and at this age I was devouring the Mrs. Pollifax series by Dorothy Gilman. The latter is an adult cozy about a grandmother who suddenly decides to be a spy. It’s a series I still adore.

  4. This is a great list, Rachel, and my kids have read most but not all of them. So I’ve already added them to their summer reading list. 🙂

    Here are a few other recommendations from my fourteen-year olds who read these this winter (they are freshmen). I marked those my son loves and those my daughter loves with B or G. Sometimes they’re the same books, but sometimes not. 🙂

    I also marked the books I haven’t read.
    If they’re on the list, we loved them. 🙂
    * titles have romance “teams”.

    Article 5 Trilogy by Kristen Simmons (B/G, dystopian adventure and romance)

    * Mystic City/Toxic Heart books by Theo Lawrence (2 of a trilogy–still waiting for #3) (B/G dystopian adventure and romance, Romeo and Juliet story)

    The Partials Sequence Trilogy by Dan Wells (B/G Sci-fi adventure and romance, more adventure and action than love)

    Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu (B/G dystopian adventure and romance)

    * The Embrace Series (five books) by Jessica Shirvington (Girl, teen paranormal and adventure (dark and light angels) romance with teams)

    * Shatter Me Trilogy by Tahereh Mafi (Girl, dystopian adventure and romance with more love than my son could handle)

    How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (B/G World War 3 adventure and romance now a great movie on Netfilx)

    Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell (Boy, memoir of a real Navy Seal)

    Cherub Series (8 books and counting) by Robert Muchamore (Boy, dystopian teenage boy soldiers. May have zombies in them–I haven’t read these but the boys love them)

    Taken series by Erin Bowman (B/G, dystopian adventure)

    Under the Never Sky Trilogy by Veronica Rossi (B/G sci-fi adventure and romance)

    Furnace Series by Alexander Gordon Smith (Boy. Terrifying covers–which make me feel like a bad mother–for a scary dystopian series my son has re-read at least three times. I have not read these.)

    Abandon Series by Meg Cabot (Girl, upper YA paranormal romance)

    Maze Runner series by James Dashner (B/G, sci-fi adventure. Movie comes out soon!)

    John Green books (B/G. Realistic Fiction, upper YA. We have read all of them)

    Tales of Beauty and Madness by Lili St. Crow (two books: Nameless and Wayfarer) (Girl. Upper YA, high reading level required. Paranormal/alternate reality romances)

    Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank (B/G. WW2 Memoir)

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (B/G. Realistic Fiction)

    On our to be read pile this summer:

    Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene (Girl. Realistic Fiction)

    Lux series by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Girl. Sci-fi romance and adventure)

    Perfect Chemistry by Simone Ekeles (Girl. Upper YA teen romance)

    Shiver Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater (Girl. Upper YA, teen paranormal romance)

    Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (B/G)

    Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky (Boy. Zombies)

    Zom B (12 book series) by Darren Shan (Boy. Zombies)

    And I am always looking for more books to add to the list. Especially for the boys. 🙂

    Can’t wait to see what everyone else adds to the list!

    • Wow! Amazing list, Sharon! Thank you so much. I’ll post a few covers here, but they will all be on Thursday’s downloadble list.

      • My son wants to add to his list. 🙂 ( I think he was embarrassed his were all about zombies)

        Collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury (sci-fi)

        Collection of short stories by Philip K. Dick (sci-fi)

        Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Conan Doyle

  5. My 11 year old just finished DOROTHY MUST DIE. It was a little old for her (the Munchkins have potty mouths!) but she could NOT put it down and pre-ordered the second book, plus the novella prequel and the novella before the second book. My 18 year old daughter is reading it now. I read the first couple chapters and the voice is very strong. I think this is a debut novel.

    My 11 year old is now finishing the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. For younger girls, Nancy Drew Girl Detective is a great series — she started it when she was 9. It’s a bit young for her now.

    My 18 year old reviews for RT (her last review was this month because she’s going to college and doesn’t know if she’ll have time.) She just finished the book that ends with HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (can’t remember the full title) and she liked it, though there was a few minor problems. She reads the Vampire Academy novels by Richelle Mead, but didn’t love the last one as much (I think she’s very picky — she’s the kind of reviewer who can love a book but then give it 3 or 4 stars.)

    Here’s Kelly’s last posted review on Goodreads, about 2 weeks ago, for Maureen Johnson’s The Madness Underneath, which she recommends to those who read the first book:

    “I waited quite a while to read this, because I was secretly hoping a cover would be released that would match The Name of the Star’s original cover. But no, the series was completely reissued, leaving die hard fans with clashing books on their shelf. Despite my annoyance, I eventually picked up my sigh miss-matched copy.
    Voice is Johnson’s biggest strength, and the reason I can read one of her books in a day or so, and Madness is no exception. Rory is witty, insightful, and hilarious. She’s never dull, even in contemplative moments. The plot meandered a little bit before wrapping the mystery together, and certain points were predictable. But this gave Johnson a little room to develop Rory’s character, especially while she’s recovering from being stabbed, readjusting to Wexford, and learning to deal with being a human terminus, and I think this development will make the third book much stronger.
    Readers are left with a massive, awesome, horrible cliffhanger. I was near tears and had a throw-book-across-the-room reaction. Unlike a lot of emerging YA trilogies, this is a cliff hanger done right, not an undeveloped tack on that serves as a leeway to buy the next in a series. I was satisfied with the story but must have more or else I will harass Maureen on Twitter forever.
    I recommend this to those who read the first, I thought it was a satisfactory addition to Rory’s story despite the few differences”

    • mandacollinsauthor

      Allison, I can totally believe Kelly is your daughter–she shares your opinion of tacked on cliff hangers;) Love it. And I’ve been wanting to read that Maureen Johnson series so I think I’m going to try it out. Or maybe wait until it’s finished so I don’t have to gnash my teeth over the cliff hanger!

      • I’d heard about the DOROTHY MUST DIE book. I’m so intrigued at all the spin-offs from that movie (I have a plot thought myself!)

    • Wonderful review by your daughter! I’ve been encouraging mine to start a YA book blog with a few of her friends. 🙂

      Thanks so much for the recs! I’ve noticed that in some of my comments, the book covers aren’t coming through, but when I hit refresh they do. Don’t know if it’s my computer or WordPress, but it’s happening on the main blog as well. Hope everyone is seeing all the pretty covers! They link to Amazon. Thursday’s downloadable list will have links to other vendors too.

  6. Great lists! I’ll make good use of them. My kids and my nieces have LOVED the Rick Riordan series consistently from ages 10 to 17. Cannot recommend those highly enough–that they also teach the basics of mythology from at least three cultures (so far!!), ancient history, and ancient lit as well is just an added bonus. They are also PERFECT read aloud books. My SON adores them, and he’s had reading issues, so anything that makes him want to cart a 450-page hardback around is gold to me (and he was studying stuff in history this year that he said he “remembered” from Percy Jackson).

    My niece also loves Alethea Kontis’ books–Enchanted, etc.

    My daughter (8th grader) adores WWII stories (much to my bewilderment)–Anne Frank, Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, etc. She also is a huge fan of John Green even before the whole movie thing–The Fault in Our Stars has been a favorite since it came out, but she loves all of his stuff.

    This summer, I want to try my daughter out on Georgette Heyer and Andre Norton, too.

  7. I have RED RISING by Pierce Brown loaded on my kindle for my summer reading list. It’s the first book in a dystopian trilogy a la Hunger Games.

    Great lists, Rachel, Sharon, Allison, and Rowan!

  8. Thanks for including Wreckless!

    I’m currently rereading the Anne of Green Gables books – they’re still so good! So good!

  9. mandacollinsauthor

    I love this annual round up, Rachel! It reminds me that I need to add more YA into my own reading list! Especially with TFIOS taking the box office by storm.

    When I was a YA I was reading regency trads (Marion Chesney aka M.C. Beaton was a particular fave) and Georgette Heyer, with the occasional single title romance in between. I was also devouring every kind of murder mystery I could get my hands on. I was particularly into Martha Grimes’ Richard Jury series.

    MG, I loved everything by Irene Hunt. The Lottery Rose, Up a Road Slowly…I know there were more but it’s been umpteen years. I also really enjoyed The Witch of Blackbird Pond (total gateway to romance), Rifles for Watie, and whatever else I could find in my middle school library.

    In middle school I also discovered, through Scholastic, the Sunfire Romances which were sweet romances set during various periods in American History, and were named for the heroines. I loved Kathleen (about an Irish girl who comes to America and becomes a housemaid) and Marilee (about a girl who was an indentured servant in colonial America). The covers all had the heroine flanked by the two men she’d have to choose between at the end: one blond, one brunet. They made my little 13 yo heart beat faster!

  10. And here are my daughter’s suggestions: “Vampire academy, uglies series by Scott westerfeld, divergent series, mortal instruments series, the forest of hands and teeth series even though the ending is super depressing. And of course Harry Potter!”

  11. I’m a huge Sophie Jordan fan. She has a series out about a typical teen girl who, when she gets angry cannot stop her half-dragon DNA from morphing her into a fire-breather. The guy she has a crush on is the son of a formidable dragon hunter- who happened to have killed her father.

    The series is FIRELIGHT, VANISH, and HIDDEN.

    I have not read her new YA series, but she’s getting a lot of attention for it: UNINVITED. About a dystopian future where the government can take blood tests and see if a person has the ‘kill gene’, meaning they will probably grow up to be a murderer.

    This teen girl, who’s talented and popular and doesn’t have a care in the world is suddenly tagged as a ‘Carrier’ and how she copes with being shunned by family, friends and society.

  12. Great suggestions everyone! I’m going to have to print this out for my patients for summer reading. What I’m seeing the kids in my office with are the tried and true books like:
    Harry Potter,
    A Wrinkle in Time
    by Madeleine L’Engle
    by Roald Dahl
    Amelia Bedilia
    by Peggy Parish
    Nancy Drews, Hardy Boys and anything Twilight related 🙂
    Thanks for putting this together, Rachel!

  13. And yes I do drive both parents and kids crazy by nosing into what they are reading while waiting.

  14. My mentor and amazing writing teacher Rachel Toor is just releasing her first YA novel and it is fantastic. Rachel is a serious runner–as in Nike pace runner, ultra marathon, etc. In ON THE ROAD TO FIND OUT, the heroine takes up running and discovers much more than a new hobby.

    “On New Year’s Day, Alice Davis goes for a run. Her first ever. It’s painful and embarrassing, but so was getting denied by the only college she cares about. Alice knows she has to stop sitting around and complaining to her best friend, Jenni, and her pet rat, Walter, about what a loser she is. But what she doesn’t know is that by taking those first steps out the door, she is setting off down a road filled with new challenges—including vicious side stitches, chafing in unmentionable places, and race-paced first love—and strengthening herself to endure when the going suddenly gets tougher than she ever imagined.”

  15. Wow! Thank you everyone for all these wonderful recommendations. I’ll try to keep posting book covers in the comments throughout the day.

    All of these links lead to Amazon – because they make it so easy by providing the HTML code to post covers without uploading to WordPress, but I’d love links to other vendors if you want to post them. 🙂

    Also, to keep the list manageable, my son and daughter only listed one book by each author, and in the case of a series, I only posted the first book. But in general, they happily recommend the entire series and other books by the same author.

  16. Carmen Pacheco

    I’ve been jotting down all these wonderful titles!!!

    I’d happily recommend:

    Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead
    Scorched series by Mari Mancusi
    Between the Lines series by Tammara Webber
    Hush, Hush Saga by Becca Fitzpatrick
    Chronicles of Nick series by Sherrilyn Kenyon
    The Golden Sword and The Time Smugglers (Camelot Inheritance series) by Rosie Morgan
    Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
    Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer (EVERY girl needs to meet Edward Cullen)…swoooooooooooooooooooon…..
    The Summer I Became a Nerd by Lea Rae Miller

  17. Your kids have good taste, Rachel. 🙂

    Some others off the top of my head:

    My friend Alaya Dawn Johnson’s beautiful YA dystopian The Summer Prince. Gorgeous writing, Brazilian pyramid-living matriarchy, rife with art and music. This was on the National Book Award long list this year.

    The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner. My son devoured these and then turned around and read them all again. (I see Sharon mentioned this too. 🙂 )

    The delightful steampunk Larklight trilogy by Phillip Reeve. Another favorite for my son.

    Unspoken and Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan. Gothic-feeling but with witty banter and a fun heroine. The third in the trilogy is coming out this year, I believe.

    If I Stay, by Gayle Forman. Probably my favorite contemporary YA. Really beautiful and three dimensional.

    The Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater. Love these books. Better than Shiver, IMO.

    Liar, by Justine Larbalestier. Also, on a lighter note, her How to Ditch Your Fairy. (fun fact: she’s married to Scott Westerfeld)

    Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta.

  18. And of course I hit enter and more pop into my head!

    A few more and then I’ll go finish polishing my own YA…

    Six Months Later, by Natalie Richards, our Firebird sister. I could NOT put this down. Fabulous book. YA thriller.

    Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins. Lovely, about friendship and love and reading signals and finding your place in a group.

    E. Lockhart: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is the one I first read, and it’s terrific, but I snagged an ARC of We Were Liars at BEA and it blew me away.

    Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman. A very fresh take on dragons and shapeshifting and dreams. Really well written.

    • Thanks for reminding me about We Were Liars and If I Stay. My daughter and I definitely want to read those this summer. I saw the movie trailer for If I Stay and it made me cry. (then again, I was sitting with four fourteen-year olds waiting for the Fault In Our Stars to watch.) 🙂

      • Sharon, my mom was just staying with me for a week. She’s a voracious reader and always pilfers my bookshelves. She reads lit fic, mostly, so I’m careful to choose well-written books. First I gave her Alaya’s book, which she really liked, then she wanted another, so I gave her If I Stay. She flipped over it and is now eager to see the movie. Which looks like it has spot-on casting. I hope it’s as good as it seems, and that it does great box office! I worry, because it lacks TFIOS-level buzz.

  19. Love this list!! I would add Brazen, by Katherine Longshore for teens who love historical fiction, and A Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland for mythology fans! Great post!

  20. My recommendation to add to the I’m-Desparate-to-Read list includes:

    Eon and Eona by Alison Goodman – high fantasy with an Asian influence.

    The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (actually the whole Chaos Walking series is amazing)

    Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones

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