9th grade reading books for teens aged 14-15

Grade 9 books – this suggested reading list has been curated and compiled by teachers and librarians for final year middle school and freshman high school students in the 9th Grade, aged 14-15. There is a range of exciting and thought-provoking books to suit all abilities, including easy readers and more difficult texts. Authors include Liz Kessler, William Golding, Rick Yancey, and Marjorie Rawlings. This list of 9th grade reading recommendations was last edited on Sep 16, 2020 @ 9:51 am.

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Books for Grade 9 – our recommendations

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

A group of boys is marooned on a deserted island and left to fend for themselves. What could possibly go wrong? An ideal book to study in 9th grade literature classes.

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

A reluctant airman in WW2 gets closer and closer to achieving enough flights to go home but is thwarted every time in this absurdist portrayal of power and bureaucracy. This book is excellent for studying time-shifts and narrative plotting.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

In a dystopian world where humans and are bred and controlled, can one man bring normal life back to society? A challenging read for students in grade 9.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

In this classic Pulitzer Prize winning story of prejudice, a white lawyer represents a black man accused of the more heinous of crimes in the South. Votes the best novel of the 20th century by American librarians.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger

Disillusioned with school, 16-year-old Holden Caulfield escapes to New York for three days where the reader finds out more about Holden’s life and Holden finds out more about how ‘phony’ the people and the world are. A classic coming of age story.

The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger

Looking for Alaska by John Green

The gripping multi-award-winning debut novel by John Green which follows teenage Miles Halter as he leaves boarding school in search for “The Great Perhaps”. A great coming of age story, and a good novel to study and compare with The Catcher in the Rye.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The first book in a quintet of science fiction stories about human survival after a devastating alien invasion. Gripping and fast-paced, this series of novels will appeal to reluctant readers.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Monster by Walter Dean Meyers

The intelligent and distinctive story of Steve Harmon, charged with being the lookout in a homicide drug store robbery gone wrong – presented as a strangely detached screenplay written by Steve as a way of coping with the system and situation he finds himself trapped inside.

Monster by Walter Dean Meyers

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

In a dystopian society divided by blood, regular people serve the rich and powerful and the silver-blooded rule with superpowers, Mare Barrow finds out she has a power, a power which changes her life forever. Dark and poignant, this is an epic thriller.

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Taking Hold by Francisco Jiménez

A beautifully written autobiography which charts Franciso’s journey from growing up in California and moving to Columbia University in New York. A great story of resilience.

Taking Hold by Francisco Jiménez

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Two unlikely friends, George – small, quick-witted and sharp, and Lennie, large, and childlike find themselves enveloped in injustice and inevitable danger. Will they find a way to escape?

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Every Day by David Levithan

A unique story about a teenager, A, who wakes up in a different life and different body each day. In many ways A has come to terms with this – until A meets Rhiannon who he wants to stay with every day. A great book for studying character and plot. A great class reader for 9th grade students.

Every Day by David Levithan

Under the Bridge by Michael Harman

When hotshot skateboarder Indy drops out school after a family argument, his brother Tate tries everything to save him from a rapid descent into a life of crime. Gritty and powerful, this book will appeal to reluctant readers.

Under the Bridge by Michael Harman

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

A clever and thought-provoking graphic novel about Jin Wang who struggles to fit it at his new High School. When a visiting cousin ruins his hard-earned reputation, where will he turn? A great story of isolation and rejection and an ideal format for reluctant readers.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

March by John Lewis

This graphic novel masterpiece which features vivid artwork chronicles the life of Congressman John Lewis during the civil rights movement. Widely praised, this book is a Coretta Scott King Honor book.

March by John Lewis

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

When Dill’s father becomes the town pariah, he soon starts to feel the heat. Travis and Lydia the only friends he has left, but can they help see him through to the end of school and graduation day? This book offers a harsh look at growing up in a small town in the Bible belt and is useful to provoke discussion.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

An intriguing story that blends science fiction, alternative realities, and superheroes into a gripping and pacey thriller. Yael, a death-camp prisoner who can shapeshift, plans to impersonate a famous motorcycle racer to assassinate an aging Hitler in a reimagined 1956. But can she escape the attention of Luka and Felix long enough to maintain her disguise? Ideal for reluctant readers, this novel features a stunning climax. A startling read for teens in the 9th grade.

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak

When Ed Kennedy inadvertently stops a bank robbery, he finds himself thrust into a strange and unpredictable world where he delivers messages and makes problems vanish. But who is sending him the messages and orchestrating everything he does and what is the bigger picture? A clever mystery, peppered with plot devices and clues and written in a less formal style – this book will appeal to the more reluctant reader in grade 9.

I Am the Messenger by Marcus Zusak

Shadowmancer by GP Taylor

Obadiah Demurral is the epitome of evil, trying to take over not just the world, but the universe with magic and spells. Raphah, Kate, Thomas are perhaps the only ones who can stop him? Packed with atmospheric descriptions of smuggling and ancient magic – this is a gripping read for middle graders or reluctant teen readers in grade 9 who enjoy fantasy and magic.

Shadowmancer by GP Taylor

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

When Rosie’s parents start arguing and yelling non-stop, she goes off with her friend Windy in search of excitement and escape. This summer, however, they find much more than they bargained for. This is a powerful graphic novel page-turner and coming of age story.

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

Haunt Me by Liz Kessler

A love story with a difference. Joe is a ghost who lives in his old house after his family moves on. When a new family arrives, Erin, a lonely and bullied teenager, shares Joe’s space. A relationship develops and complications abound.

Haunt Me by Liz Kessler

Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

A classic tale of mystery, murder, and bumps in the night. Sherlock Holmes investigates the curse of the Baskervilles and the legend of a gigantic hound which roams the bleak, marsh infested moors. Full of peculiar suspects and strange phenomena. A gripping read for 9th grade teens who enjoy mysteries and adventures.

Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

An award-winning science-fiction novel, set in Opium, a country between Mexico and the United States. A complex story of drugs, power, treachery, and cloning; this fast-moving text follows the adventures of Matt, his allies, and his foes.

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

A powerful autobiography from Maya Angelou. Living with her grandmother, Maya and her brother feel abandoned and despised by the local community. Back with their mother in St Louis, eight-year-old Maya is attacked by a man and is left traumatized. Many years later, kindness, her strength of character and her love of literature allow her to feel free.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Regarded as one of the hundred best novels of all time, this classic book is an enduring anti-war polemic. Elements of science fiction and time travel combine with WW2 experiences. A must-read.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

The Yearling by Marjorie Rawlings

Jody Baxter is a young boy who lives in the 1870s with his impoverished family in the Florida backwoods. The story revolves around a fawn called Flag which Jody adopts and grows up with. In this coming of age tale, Jody lives through hunger, fear, and loneliness; anger and rejection – but ultimately find peace through the love of his family.

The Yearling by Marjorie Rawlings

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

A classic best-selling book that was described by The New York Times as ‘original, remarkable, and finally heartbreaking … impossible to put down.’ An account, in their own words, of the battles, broken treaties and massacres that left the American Indians landless and defeated.

Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

In this complicated love story, Natasha has to fight deportation back to Jamaica, and Daniel is being pushed by his Korean parents to get on with his life. These two young people, with nothing in common and different ambitions, meet, and this sets off a sequence of events which will change their lives.

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Revolutionary Summer by Joseph Ellis

A brilliant examination of the people, the politics and the military battles in the summer of 1776 in America. The actions of both sides are brought together into a single story explaining how British actions provoked an American response and vice versa. A more challenging read for 9th grade students.

Revolutionary Summer by Joseph Ellis

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

The Magisterium draws the reader into an alternative world. Glenn and Kevin have lived next to The Rift for 16 years – but they have never been allowed to cross to the other side. Events conspire and when they are forced to leave home, there is only one way to go – across the Rift and into the unknown. A gripping and compelling read.

Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch

The Odyssey by Homer

The classic Greek poem about Odysseus and his ten-year journey home after the fall of Troy. The contemporary slant and lyricism capture the scale of Homer’s epic poetry in an absorbing retelling of the mythical legend.

The Odyssey by Homer

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

A classic novel which has been a bestseller for over 30 years. Set in a New England boarding school for boys during WW2, the relationship between Gene and Phineas is tested, stretched and altered forever. Innocence is lost and the world changed. A great book for students in grade 9.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles


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