Thought-provoking books for eighth and ninth graders

Eighth and ninth graders are at an important transitional period. As eighth-graders prepare to enter high school and ninth-graders get accustomed to a more challenging curriculum, better comprehension skills are of the utmost importance. How well do they understand concepts? How good are they at following directions? Do they have a strong grasp of the language arts? How well can they understand their own emotions or other people and the world?

If you want your child to not only excel at school but also experience greater personal growth, your eighth or ninth grader should be reading as much as they can, from acclaimed classics to modern works in niche genres.  

Your child can start with these beautifully woven tales below to become a better learner for a brighter future!

The Outsiders | S.E. Hinton

No one ever said life was easy, but Ponyboy is pretty sure that he’s got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers and true friends who would do anything for him. He knows only trouble comes from the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is beating up “greasers” like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect—until the night someone takes things too far.

The Prince and the Pauper | Mark Twain

Tom Canty, a poor beggar boy, and Edward, the Prince of Wales, are shocked when they come across each other and find that they look exactly alike! After deciding to temporarily switch identities, the two boys live in each other’s shoes, experiencing vastly different class cultures in this humorous and exciting tale. Will they be able to switch back, and what will they have learned?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy | Douglas Adams

Seconds before Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect. As a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Ford has been posing as an out-of-work actor for the last fifteen years. Together, this dynamic pair begins a journey through space aided by a galaxy full of fellow travelers.

Lord of the Flies | William Golding

This timeless tale explores the question about the inherent nature of human beings. A group of young British boys find themselves stranded on an island, where they decide to organize into groups and create a system of rules in order to survive. However, the boys discover that peace is hard to maintain, and their government descends into anarchy under the clashing leaderships of Ralph and Jack.  

Animal Farm | George Orwell

This allegory retells the early stages of the Soviet Union through the lives of farm animals that decide to revolt against their human farmer. The animals are tired of being treated poorly and wish to create a better world for themselves in which they are free and equal. They unite under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, but soon learn that power can corrupt even the best of intentions.  

To Kill a Mockingbird | Harper Lee

In the last years of the Great Depression, the lives of a well-to-do white family in Alabama are forever disrupted when the father, Atticus, becomes the lawyer representing Tom Robinson, a black man accused of assaulting a white woman. The children, Scout and Jem, begin to see the world through new lenses as they deal with racial slurs, harassment, and threats by the townspeople they have known all their lives.

These timeless classics are often found on school reading lists for a reason! They introduce thought-provoking themes about society and human nature that will open your child’s eyes as they enter the final stage of adolescence. Depending on your child’s reading level or the speed at which they consume novels, you may also want to consider our previous book list! There are so many excellent books out there that reading can be an endless adventure.

To get the most out of all our recommendations, enroll your child in our State Standard-aligned JEI Reading & Writing program, now available temporarily through JEI Remote Learning! This program ensures that your child not only reads the books but also understands the themes, appreciates the symbolism, and digests the plots. It is best paired with our JEI English program so your child can take what they read and apply it to high school-level essays.

Start today by finding a center near you and scheduling a diagnostic test!