Middle School is Tough

Georgetown LibraryStaff Picks

Middle School is Tough

Books to Get Through It

Middle School can be brutal. Navigating bullies, teachers and making friends can be a dangerous endeavor. Luckily, there are lots of books with humor and class about surviving this difficult period in life.

Lions & Liars by Kate Beasley
We meet Frederick Frederickson as he’s being hit in the face by a dodgeball. This is unfortunately a routine occurrence for our hero as he has always been, “that guy,” the one who loses at games, never gets laughs in classes and the one who accidentally steps in spilled Kool-Aid on the floor. Frederick is desperate to not be that guy anymore. And he gets his chance, when a boating accident lands him in a summer disciplinary camp for boys who have been deemed behavior problems. It gives Frederick the chance to be someone else: even if he is pretending to be a legendary discipline problem. But no one at this camp is as they seem and when a Category Five hurricane hits, Frederick will find out exactly what his new friends are like in a crisis. This hilarious and at turns also heartening novel about what it means to be a friend looks at what it means to be at the top of the social order—and the bottom.

 Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
Nate has wanted to sing on Broadway since he belted out Santa Baby waddling around the Christmas tree in diapers. When his parents go for an overnight stay to celebrate their anniversary, he decides it’s time to take a chance on his dreams—and takes an overnight greyhound to the big apple to audition for a musical. He just has to sing a song and hop on the bus home before his parents notice he’s missing. No big deal right? But New York City turns out to have more in store for Nate than he anticipated. Watch Nate navigate these perils with wit, humor and a streak of class.

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson
Topher, Brand and Steve know what kind of teacher Ms. Bixby is. In a sea of boring teachers, mean teachers and ones that have just given up, Ms. Bixby is that rare teacher who knows how talented you are; even when you can’t see it yourself. So when Ms. Bixby unexpectedly can’t finish the school year out, Topher, Brand and Steve decide to pay her visit and cheer her up with the most perfect day ever. Middle School Style.

The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade by Jordan Sonnenblick
Maverick has it rough for his sixth grade year. Bullies, his mom’s loser boyfriend and middle school all conspire to make the roughest year possible for him. The one silver lining are visits from his hairdresser aunt and a silver sheriff’s star his father gave him when he was a child. Can he use it to turn this year around for himself and his classmates?

Warp Speed by Lisa Yee
Marley feels like the only time people at school notice him—is when they’re making fun of him. He tries to laugh along with them—it’s the only thing he can feel a part of. But with a bully on his tail, it’s a difficult year. Thank goodness he has his trusty Star Trek action figures in his pocket along with his captain’s log. Using his Star Trek smarts, can he find a way around the nebula of bullies in his town?

Schooled by Gordon Korman
Cap has never been to regular school. In fact, he has never been off of the community, a farm where lives with his grandmother, Rain. But when Rain falls out of the tree while picking plums and is hospitalized, Cap is put in the local public middle school. When his odd clothes, (tye-dye,) and behavior, (tai chi on the school lawn,) attract the attention of the Zach Powers the most popular kid in school, who sees a great opportunity for hilarity—he’s going to make the weirdest kid in school class president and see what happens. Will Cap be the president their middle school has been waiting for? Or will being president send him running back to the safety of the community?

Brave by Svetlana Chmakova
Jensen just wants to fit in and warn everyone about the dangers of sunspots in this graphic novel. He dreams of being an astronaut but has trouble in Math. When Jenny and Akilah two girls on the newspaper crew discover that he’s being bullied, they snap into action. But a rift in their friendship soon leaves Jensen to fend for himself. As the bullying escalates, Jensen must find his place at Berrybrook Middle School in his own way.

Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson—
Emmie has always kept her head down in middle school mostly in her sketchbook where she draws about her classes and the things around her. One day, she and her best friend are joking around at a lunch period and write love letters to their crushes. Emmie thinks she’s put the letters away in her locker, but when it’s found by another student and deliver to perfect Katie’s boyfriend and Emmie’s crush, things get complicated. Can Emmie find her voice?

Posted by John David Anderson –
Frost is just a regular kid going to middle school. He has a group of friends and they text back and forth, gossiping about the other students. As Frost says, “the internet was pretty much invented to spread gossip faster.” But when a girl named Dorothy is caught with an intensely unflattered text about her Math teacher, all phones at school are banned. And everyone starts communicating via post-it notes on lockers. The only problem is: not all of the notes are nice ones. And Frost’s school may never be the same after this.

Frazzled: Everyday Disaster and Impending Doom by Booki Vivat-Abby Wu is nervous about Middle School. Everyone except her seems to have a "thing." What is her thing? Revel in the hilarious antics of this worrier, (and middle years are worrying,) as she tries to navigate middle school and all its mishaps. Filled with fun doodles and hilarious situations, Abby Wu is a girl always in crisis, until a she realizes she can do something about an injustice in the school cafeteria.