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Suggested reading list for Year 8 pupils | KS3 | Age 12-13

The following book list contains titles to appeal to children aged 12-13 in Year 8 of secondary school. The books consist of a range of titles to cover all ability ranges including the more able. This list was last updated on Apr 27, 2018 @ 5:56 pm.

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Madame Doubtfire by Anne Fine

Lydia, Christopher and Natalie’s parents have divorced. When their mum looks to hire a nanny, their Dad, Daniel gets the job – using a cunning disguise.
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Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird

Omar dreams of being a successful businessman and to rule the world. But living in Syria, this 12 year old’s dreams are set in a time and place where things can change rapidly – especially when his older brother finds himself in a dangerous situation and the whole family has to flee to safety.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

A story of struggle, growing up, gangs and peer pressure. A classic of modern teenage fiction.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

A classic fable and allegory of a communist revolutionary dictatorship and the tyranny which develops, told through the story of the animals of Manor Farm.

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah

The unforgettable story of a young Chinese girl’s struggle to find acceptance within her own family and her survival amongst siblings and parents who think she represents bad luck. She finds writing a form of release. Based on the author’s own life.

The Coral Island by R.M. Ballantyne

A boy’s own story of Ralph, Jack and Peterkin who are shipwrecked on a coral island. As they work together and discover how to live and survive on the island their world is suddenly threatened by pirates. A good counterpoint to read with Lord of the Flies.

Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin

A stunning period drama of deception, child stealing, mistaken identity and searching for long lost families. An amazing piece of historical fiction.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

Christopher isn’t like other teenagers. He finds it difficult to talk to other people, hates being touched and reacts badly to certain colours. When the neighbour’s dog is murdered he causes chaos trying to find out who did it.

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Bill wakes up to find he’s the only person left on Earth who can see. Everyone else has been blinded by a mysterious meteor event. Can he save the world from the extraterrestrial carnivorous plants?

Flambards by K.M. Peyton

Christina is sent away to live with her nasty uncle in his dilapidated house. While there she discovers a passions for horses and begins to understand the peculiar world around her.

The Flame Trees of Thika by Elspheth Huxley

Elspheth Huxely’s autobiograpical story of her life in Africa with her parent settlers – living among the Kikuya in Kenya in a traditional grass house and working the land.

Goggle Eyes by Anne Fine

Katy Killin is a world expert on her mother’s disastrous boyfriends, and how to try and stop them developing into unwanted stepfathers.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Arthur’s Friday doesn’t start well when his house is demolished. The Earth is obliterated soon after, to make way for a bypass, and then he finds out his best friend is an alien. Can things get any worse?

Small Steps by Louis Sachar

The sequel to ‘Holes’. Armpit is now a gardener living in Texas and trying to stay out of trouble by making the right choices. But things never seem to go his way.

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Baskerville family is cursed by a ravenous supernatural dog intent on savaging them. Can Sherlock Holmes and Watson solve the mystery and save the family?

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Daisy, a streetwise American 15 year old and Edmond, her cousin from England are evacuated to the countryside. After briefly falling in love, her world is shattered by an unimaginable event. How will she live now?

I am David by Anne Holm

The story of 15 year old David’s quest – escaping from the concentration camp where he has lived his life and traveling across a Europe unknown to him to try and find home.

Joby by Stan Barstow

11 year old Joby finds the world he lives in strange and disturbing and struggles to understand the division in society, his friends and family. A thought provoking social comment.

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

An orphaned young girl and her governess travel thousands of miles from boarding school to South America with distant relatives. An exotic and wonderfully described adventure.

A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines

A modern classic and very popular with reluctant boy readers. Billy Casper is a troubled teen growing up in Barnsley. He finds an escape in Kes, a Kestrel, which transforms his life.

Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy

A child killer is living a new life under a new identity after being released. How long can she keep her former life secret, and is she as evil as people believe?

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

When a plane evacuating a group of schoolboys crashes on a remote island, the boys are left to fend for themselves with no adult supervision. A modern classic.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

The dystopian novel in which the terms ‘big brother’ and ‘room 101’ first appeared.Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth where is job is to rewrite history. He rebels and longs for freedom.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

George and Lennie follow the American Dream and head to California. However Lennie gets into trouble with his boss’s daughter in law – trouble which George might not be able to help him with.

The Tulip Touch by Anne Fine

No-one wants anything to do with Tulip, who is avoided by children and teachers alike. But Natalie is drawn to her and finds her dangerous and interesting. When things go too far, Natalie isn’t able to stop events spinning out of control, leading to a stunning and unexpected ending.

The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams

Two dogs, Snitter and Rowf, escape from the horrors of an animal research center and try to survive in the outside world.

The Dam Busters by Paul Brickhill

The true story of 617 squadron’s historic bombing raid on the Ruhr dam using ‘bouncing bombs’ devised by Barnes Wallace.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

12 year old Jonas lives is a world with no poverty, no crime, and where everyone is the same. But when he is given the role of “receiver of memory” he becomes one of the only people to understand how the world he lives in came about.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Jess creates the world of Terabithia to escape from his annoying family. Reached only by a rope swing, he and his friend Leslie live out their adventures, until an earth-shattering tragedy strikes.

Tightrope by Gillian Cross

Ashley has no idea that her late night graffiti will change her life. First she is watched, then she received notes and finally she realises she is being stalked.

I’m the King of the Castle by Susan Hill

Edmund doesn’t want a new brother, and immediately dislikes his stepbrother Charles, who he sees as an intruder in his own home. At home, Edmund terrorises Charles, but in Hang Wood the roles are reversed.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

A chilling mystery about a woman in black who the villagers only talk about in terrifying true ghost stories.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A spellbinding story about Misselthwaite Manor and an unwanted lonely child who discovers a hidden and magical garden.

Unbearable by Paul Jennings

A collection of eight weird, wonderful, strange and occasionally revolting short stories including ‘Licked’ and ‘Smelly Feet’.

Treasure Island by R.L. Stevenson

The classic tale of Jim Hawkins and his adventure on the ship Hispaniola sailing to find hidden treasure. Intrigue, treachery, mutiny, castaways, crime and the menacing Long John Silver dominate this roller coaster of cliffhangers and surprises.

The Haunting by Margaret Mahy

A story of haunting, and a boy with a very special gift. A compelling and scary novel.

Z for Zachariah by Robert O’Brien

Ann Burden has survived a nuclear war by living in a valley free of radiation. But when the only other person she knows becomes threatening, she decides to leave the valley to see if anyone else has survived.

Shadowmancer by G.P. Taylor

Obadiah Demurral wants to rule the universe with magic. Can he be stopped? A dark, atmospheric and gripping novel.


For less demanding books, try our Year 7 reading list or our Year 6 suggestions.

For more demanding material, try out Year 9 reading list, or Year 10 suggestions.

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