21 Incredible Classic Books For 13 Year Olds (8th Grade)

In this blog post, we’ll explore 21 Incredible Classic Books For 13 Year Olds.

In fact:

The classic books mentioned in this post are based on comprehensive research and reviews and are considered some of the Classic Books For 13 Year Olds.

Are You In a Hurry?

If you’re in a hurry, your search is over! We have selected three highly recommended Classic books.

Overview Of The 21 Incredible Classic Books For 13 Year Olds

Let’s begin…

Note: You can purchase these books by clicking on the title link. Please note that the links to purchase these books are affiliate links from Amazon.

Bridge to Terabithia

“Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson tells the story of Jess, a young boy who befriends Leslie, a new girl in town. Together, they create an imaginary kingdom called Terabithia in the woods, where they reign as king and queen, escaping the challenges of their daily lives. However, a tragic event changes everything.

A Wizard of Earthsea

“A Wizard of Earthsea” by Ursula K. Le Guin follows the journey of Ged, a young boy with magical abilities who enters a school for wizards. Throughout his training, he releases a dark force and a dangerous shadow creature that haunts him. Join Ged as he begins on a journey to free himself of this shadow.

Be sure to check out The Earthsea Trilogy.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith shows the Nolan family’s strength while navigating the challenges of poverty. Despite family complexities, young Nolan faces life with determination and courage. The story captures the daily struggles and connections within the Nolan family, showing the family bond and happiness of life.

The Once and Future King

“The Once and Future King” by T.H. White follows the story of King Arthur. When Arthur becomes king, he creates Camelot, a place with brave knights and wisdom. But problems arise when Arthur’s sister plans bad things, and his nephew turns against him. The story shows how people’s mistakes affect Arthur’s kingdom.

That Was Then, This Is Now

“That Was Then, This Is Now” by S.E. Hinton introduces two friends, Bryon and Mark, growing up in a tough neighborhood. While they’ve been close for years, their paths start separating as they face the realities of adulthood. As they face new challenges and difficulties, their friendship gets tested.

Treasure Island

“Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson follows Jim, a young boy who discovers a map of hidden treasure. He joins a crew to search for it. On their trip, there’s trouble within the crew, fights, and surprising friendships. Join them as they begin on thrilling adventures in search of the buried treasure.

Across Five Aprils

“Across Five Aprils” by Irene Hunt is about a boy named Jethro. It’s set in 1861 when he’s just nine years old. His older brother Tom and cousin Eb go off to fight in a big war. The war divides his family, and Jethro has to figure out how to deal with feelings and problems.

I Know an Old Lady

In “I Know an Old Lady” by Margaret Standafer, it’s the hot summer of 1972 in Kansas. Teens are having fun with new freedom. They go to the lake. But Billy Tupper’s life is different. He makes a mistake and has to work for Old Lady. As Billy works and looks into things, he learns about her and himself. This story is about growing up and understanding, showing how a family comes together.

The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

In “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle” by Avi, is set in 1832 during the summer. Charlotte Doyle goes on a sea journey from England to Rhode Island. She was alone with a mean captain and a crew. Things get tense, and Charlotte gets involved in their problems. Her trip becomes tough and scary. Charlotte needs to be brave and face this situation.

The Downstairs Girl

“The Downstairs Girl” by Stacey Lee is about Jo Kuan. She’s a maid during the day for a rich family. But at night, she secretly writes an advice queue. Jo talks about important things. When people start guessing who she is, this puts her in danger. The book shows how Jo faces challenges with bravery.

A Land Remembered

In “A Land Remembered” by Patrick D. Smith, the story takes place in Florida. It tells about the MacIvey family over many years, facing the challenges of living in the wild land. The book shows how they built their lives in the Florida swamp.

The Light in the Forest


“The Light in the Forest” by Mary Ellen is a story about a boy who grows up with Indians. John is captured when he’s young and becomes part of the tribe. But after eleven years, a treaty says he must go back to his original family. Now John has to adjust to his old life again.

The Secret School 

“The Secret School” by Avi tells the story of Ida, a girl with a strong desire to become a teacher. Her dream faces obstacles when her school closes. Determined to keep the school open, Ida creates a secret school to continue her education. However, a school needs a teacher, and Ida wonders if she can fulfill that role.

Love & War

“Love & War” by Melissa de la Cruz tells about the love between Alexander and Elizabeth during the American Revolution. While they are married, the war makes things hard. Alex wants to do something important in the war, and Eliza wants a better future. After the war, they face new problems, and their love is tested. 

Stormy Seas

“Stormy Seas” by L. J. Martin is about a young man named Jake Zane who comes to San Francisco. The city is filled with a mix of good and bad people. Jake starts working on ships and learns a lot during his journey. The book follows Jake’s adventures as he navigates through challenges and new experiences.

Two Thousand Grueling Miles

In “Two Thousand Grueling Miles” by L. J. Martin, a young boy named Jake has an important job to take care of his family, while traveling. They face many difficulties and challenges along the way. Many families are traveling together, but sickness and accidents make things even harder.

Outrun the Moon

In “Outrun the Moon” by Stacey Lee, Mercy Wong is determined to escape San Francisco’s Chinatown. However, when an earthquake hits the city on April 18, Mercy’s life takes a turn. Her home and school are destroyed, and she finds herself in a park with her classmates. Despite the destruction, she becomes strong and helps everyone. 

The Outsiders

“The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton follows Ponyboy, a teenager struggling with life’s challenges. Supported by loyal friends and his brothers, they stand together against the evil gang. However, a tragic incident destroys their world. Join Ponyboy as he navigates the difficulties with bravery.

Lord of the Flies

“In Lord of the Flies” by William Golding, a plane crash leaves a group of schoolboys on an uninhabited island, struggling with the challenges of survival. As time passes, things get scarier for the boys on the island. They start feeling more afraid, things become more chaotic, and they start acting like wild animals instead of civilized kids.

The Hobbit

“The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien follows Bilbo, a hobbit as he begins on a journey to help a group of people reclaim their homeland from the terrifying dragon. Along the way, Bilbo faces dangers and difficulties. This story explores a magical journey filled with bravery and friendship in a world of fantasy.


“Shane” by Jack Schaefer, follows Shane, a mysterious gunfighter who arrives in a small town. He becomes involved with the Starrett family, offering a hand on their farm and befriending their young son. When a neighbor tries to threaten them, Shane gets involved in a fight to keep them safe.


We hope that our list of classic books for 13 year olds has given you some great options to choose from and your 8th grader will have fun while exploring these classic books.

The classic books recommended in this list have been thoroughly researched and reviewed, and are considered some of the best Classic Books For 13 Year Olds. While I may not have personally read all of these classic books, they have been highly recommended by other readers.

We would love to hear from you about which classic book your 8th grader enjoyed the most, or if there is a favorite classic book that we missed.

Best wishes and happy reading!

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