In past blog posts we’ve discussed ways to help foster a love of reading in young people, particularly middle school students. We know that kids who read generally perform better in school, and extensive reading can help prepare kids for the challenges of life. But what about kids who already love reading? The voracious book worms who power through a book the way most kids power through videogames.

If you’re the parent or teacher of an advanced reader who’s already progressed beyond the more childish fantasy novels for middle school students, what kind of books can you recommend? What are some of the best advanced novels for middle school students ready for a more challenging read?

Here are some good places to start:

“Ender’s Game,” by Orson Scott Card
This classic novel is one of the rare books that won both the Nebula and Hugo awards, the most prestigious honors in fantasy and science fiction. It’s also consistently rated as one of the best high school fantasy books, while also being enjoyed by adult readers as well. Card’s novel is the first in two separate series, one set in Earth’s future and one set among distant stars. It follows the brutal military training of a young genius being prepared for war. We should note that it does contain scenes of violence and some adult themes.

“The Lord of the Flies,” by William Golding
This is another classic novel, one that follows a group of young boys marooned on a deserted island. The boys quickly descend into anarchy and violence, a cut-throat environment that just might remind young readers of middle school. Plus, it typically shows up on required reading lists for schools during freshman year of high school, which makes it one of the most ideal novels for middle school students looking to get ahead of the curve.

“Speak,” by Laurie Halse Anderson
Inspirational books for students don’t just help young people identify problems in their own life, but also prepare them for the challenges ahead. Although this novel might not be age appropriate for all middle school students, it is a powerful read for young adults that can handle mature content.

“Speak” tells the story of a young woman ostracized by her friends after calling the police to break up an illicit party. When she cannot tell her friends that she was assaulted, she stops speaking altogether.

Parents, teachers, high school students, do you have any more recommendations for advanced reads for middle schoolers? While 53% of 9-year-old students read daily, just 17% of 17-year-olds do too. That means it’s crucial to keep middle school students’ love of reading alive. If an advanced reader in your life has run out of stimulating reading material, then recommend some of the best books for middle school students you enjoyed reading.