home / grade level / middle school

Annotated Bibliography of Bully Books for Grade Levels:

Middle School

book cover Haze by Erin Thomas

Orca Sports, 2012. In this bully mystery, Bram is working hard to make the swim team at his private high school even though he has heard rumors of hazing initiations that may have caused one student's dead. Then Jeremy, Bram's swim team friend, ends up in the hospital with very suspicious injuries that put him in a coma. M/H

book cover Lilly Traps the Bullies by Brenda Bellingham, illustrated by Clarke MacDonald

Formac Publishing Company Limited, Nova Scotia, 2011. Lilly doesn't like that Spider and Bugsy tease her friend Theresa, but she likes being included by these boys. She has a decision to make. Early middle grades

book cover Fat Vampire by Adam Rex

HarperCollins, 2010. Targeted Doug Lee is not enjoying his teen years all that much, and then he is bitten by a vampire. Now he will be fat and fifteen for eternity. M/H

book cover No Ordinary Day by Adam Rex

Groundwood Books, 2011. Living on the streets in Kolkata, India, Valli survives as well as she can. One day she sees "the monsters," people suffering from Leprosy, and their misshaped, marked bodies scare her. What Valli ignore is that the loss of feeling in her feet, which are also covered with festering sores, cuts, and caked with dirt--signs of Leprosy. Grades 4, 5, 6.

book cover Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Ten-year-old August was born with genetic facial abnormalities that have not been changed much after more than ten surgeries which caused him to be home school. For fifth grade, his mother thinks he need to be part of public school. There will always be good kids and bad kids, Auggie is a good one who converts many of the others. Grades 4, 5, 6.

book cover Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught

Bloomsbury, 2012. Jason gets called Freak because he is schizophrenic, Derrick is called Drip because his nose drips all the time partly from his meds, and then there is Sunshine who never talks but Jason understands her perfectly. When she goes missing and is possibly dead, Jason knows better and believes he and Derrick can find their best friend once they figure out the clues, but the police believe these two freaks are part of the crime. M/H

book cover Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

HarperCollins, 2011. Set in Cambodia at the moment the Khmor Roughe starts herding the people out of the cities and into the fields, Arn, his aunt, sisters and brother try to survive though they are separated first by generation and then by gender. Before very long, Arn is on his own and realizes that if he wants to live he must become a Khomr soldier. M/H

My husband and I have visited one of the killing fields in Cambodia, walked across the ground where thousands died, their broken bones mixed into the soil, saw glass-cases filled with skulls, and in the trees, loudspeakers that blared music to cover the screams of people being bludgeoned to death. Children had stood by, waiting to push the bodies into the trenches before of them.

book cover My Awful Popularity Plan by Seth Rudetsky

Random House, 2012. In an attempt to become popular, Seth agrees to play the boyfriend of popular girl Becky so she can secretly keep dating super jock Chuck Jensen-her real boyfriend that her father disapproves of, only she realizes that Seth is much nicer. M/H

book cover October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman

Candlewick, 2012. In this novel-in-verse, Newman fills pages with poems told from many different perspectives, the fence that held his body, the biker who found him, the killers, the girlfriends of the killers, the EMTs who worked on Matthew body, the trees near that fenced, and many others -all telling the story of Mathew Shepard's murder. M/H

book cover Personal Effects by E. M. Kokie

Candlewick Press, 2012. Ever since they got word that Matt's older brother T. J. died in Iraq, he and his father share a house but nothing else. When Matt rummages through boxes holding T.J.'s personal effects, he finds some letters from C. Carson in Wisconsin, love letters. Believing that C.Carson might not know T..J. was killed, he decides to deliver T. J.s' last unsent letter. M/H

book cover Happy Families by Tanita S. Davis

Knopf/Random House, 2012. Fifteen-year-old Justin and Ysabel are twins and best friends which is what they hold on to when Justin sees a woman in the back of the auditorium at his debate competition and realizes "she" is their father in a dress. M/H

book cover Burning Blue by Paul Griffin

Dial/Penguin, 2012. Jay Nazzaro used to attend school, he was on the wrestling team, and he also has seizures. The last one happened at a pep rally when the wrestling team was called onto the gym floor and Jay had a major seizure. Every kid with a cell phone filmed it and sent it out. He switched from public schooling to home schooling and the Internet. Then someone threw acid into Nicole Caster's face when she came around the hallway at school and Jay becomes a teen sleuth. M/H

book cover

A Friendship for Today by Patricia C. McKissack. Scholastic Press, 2007. Set in Missouri in 1954, twelve-year-old Rosemary will start sixth grade at an all white school. At her new school, Rosemary experiences prejudice, she realizes Grace Hamilton suffers it also as the other white kids call her "white trash."

book cover

Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters, Little Brown, 2006. Fourteen- year-old Nick introduces himself in memories that tell the story of his life with his two lesbian moms: Erin, his biological mother, and Jo, his heart’s mother.

book cover

Buddha Boy by Kathe Koja. Frances Foster Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003. Justin doesn’t plan on befriending the weird new kid who calls himself Jensen, but after seeing how others at wealthy Edward Rucher High School treat this newcomer with a shaven head, kind smile, and gentle ways, Justin can’t go along with the crowd.

book cover

Bullies Are a Pain in the Brain by Trevor Romain, Free Spirit Publishing, 1997. With practical guidelines and cartoon-like illustrations, this book is a necessity for students, teachers, and parents.

book cover

Bullying: Deal With It Before Push Comes to Shove. Slaven, Elaine, illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan. James Lorimer & Company, 2003. Written for students, this highly illustrated booklet is excellent on discussing all types of bullying and has quizzes and self checks to get the points across clearly. Part of a series.

book cover

Charlie’s Story by Maeve Friel. Peachtree Publishers, 1997. Charlie was abandoned by her mother at age four. Ten years later the cruelty of her classmates who bully her because of that abandonment nearly causes Charlie to end her life.

book cover Dear Bully: Seventy Authors Tell Their Stories edited by Megan Kelly Hall and Carrie Jones

HarperCollins, 2011. This book grew out of Hall and Jones's need to react in some way to the bullycide of Phoebe Prince in 2010. They created a website, Young Adult Authors Against Bullying where YA authors were able to talk about the problem of bullying and offer their stories. (M/H)

book cover

Death by Eggplant by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe. Roaring Brook Press, 2004. Bertie Hooks spends his day ducking his tormentor, Nick Dekker and planning new recipes, until his math teacher gives him an assignment in responsibility.

book cover

Do Over by Christine Hurley Deriso. Delacorte/Random House 2006. In the middle of her seventh grade year, Elsa’s mother dies suddenly of an aneurysm and Elsa and her dad move in with her grandmother.  Elsa has trouble adjusting and her mother visits her late one night with a special gift to help her handle all the changes.

book cover

Drowning Anna by Sue Mayfield.  Hyperion, 2002. Thirteen-year-old Anna Goldsmith moves to a town and a new school where Hayley chooses Anna to be her new best friend, and then Hayley drops Anna. Told in flashbacks after Anna has tried to kill herself, this book weaves together Anna’s journal, her mother’s bedside hospital watch, and the reflections of her friend, Melanie.

book cover

Egghead by Caroline Pignat. Red Deer Press, 2008. This book clearly presents the feelings of the target, Will; the bystander, his friend Kate, and the bully's thug, Devan, as they find a way to become friends. (M)

book cover

Exposure by Patricia Murdoch. Orca Soundings, 2006. Julie, a bit overweight and very timid, gets bullied at school by queen bee Dana and her follower, Brynn. Then Julie's brother Zack comes home from a beach party where everyone got drunk enough to get themselves in trouble, and although Dana says she was attacked, Julie has Scott's hidden camera that shows the truth.

book cover

Fade to Black by Alex Flinn. HarperCollins, 2005. Alex is HIV positive and while sitting at a red light, someone attacks his pickup with a baseball bat and smashes in all the windows. Clinton, who has a history of harassing Alex because of his AIDS, is charged.

book cover

Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2007. Set it 1971, Frannie and her family live on one side of the highway and the white people live on the other side, but she and her friends have a new experience when a new student shows up and he looks white.

book cover Fire Girl by Tony Abbott

Little, Brown, 2006. One day, Tom Bender's teacher announces a new student will be joining their class-but she wants the class to know that Jessica has been badly burned and will receive treatment at their local hospital. Tom watches as everyone stares and then ignores Jessica. Some even make up rumors about her burns. (M)

book cover

The Girls by Amy Goldman Koss. Dial Books, 2000. Middle school cliques can be very cruel, and Koss shows one from the inside. Powerful Candace decides who is in and who is rejected according to her whims. Told in the voices of five members of the group in the beginning of the book, we see what happens when Candace tires of Maya.

book cover

The God Box by Alex Sanchez. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007. Paul, a Christian whose conservative church teaches that homosexuality is a sin, faces growing awareness that he may be gay, and does not know how to reconcile the two, particularly when Manuel moves to town, an openly gay Christian (M/H)

book cover

The Gold-Threaded Dress by Carolyn Marsden. Cambridge: Candlewick Press, 2002. Although Oy is from Thailand, the students in her fourth-grade class call her Chinita, Spanish for little Chinese. What she wants most is to be accepted by Lilianda and invited to her club house, and if Oy brings her traditional Thai dress to school that might happen.

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Valerie and Nick were having a nice morning but as they are crossing the Commons, Nick pulls out a gun and starts shooting—aiming for everyone on their hate list. After Valerie gets shot trying to stop him, Nick kills himself. This incredible book tells the story through Valerie’s return to that high school and flashbacks to events leading up to the shooting. Little Brown, 2009. M/H

book cover How to Rock Braces and Glasses by Meg Haston

Little, Brown, 2001. Eighth-grader Kacey Simon is the "it" girl in her middle school--pretty, confident, intelligent, the student broadcast journalist of the school's tv network, and the leader of her group of four who she rules with what SHE calls honesty. Then in a 24 hour period, she has to return to her glasses and get braces, but as she falls from stardom a couple of good friends help her sort out what is important. (M)

book cover

Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen Life is hard for Sam who has Tourette syndrome and an abusive, hate-filled stepfather who rules Sam’s mom and lies about Sam’s father. After his high school graduation, Sam leaves and takes a job with a crusty old landscaper who knew his father and who enables Sam to take a trip to discover the truth about himself and his dad. For Middle School and High School. An odyssey book. Puffin, 2008.

book cover

Jumped by Rita Williams Garcia. Amistad, 2009. The lives of three sophomore girls intersect on the day Leticia overhears Dominique threaten to beat up Trina after school.

book cover

Junebug and the Reverend by Alice Mead. Random House, 1998. When his mother gets a new job as Resident Supervisor of a senior citizen aprtment building, Junebug and his family move out of the projects. At a new school with new bullies, Junebug has to adjust.

book cover

Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson. New York: Delacorte Press / Random House, 2008. Scarlett Wakefield studies at a private girls school outside London where she is training in gymnastics. However, she has caught the eye of Plum Saybourne, who runs the "Smart Set." At one of Plum's posh parties, Scarlett is kissing Dan McAndrew when he has an allergic reaction and dies in her arms. Scarlett sets out to find his killer.

book cover

Letters to a Bullied Girl by Olivia Gardner with Emily & Sarah Buder. HarperCollins, 2008. After the bullying of Olivia Gardner made the news, two sisters started a letter writing campaign to show her she was not alone.

book cover

Lizard by Dennis Covington. Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1991 Thirteen-year- old Lucius Sims looks more like a reptile than a boy, so he gets sent to the Leesville Louisiana State School for Retarded Boys, but he decides not to stay there.

book cover

Lockdown by Diane Tullson. Trapped in the hallway, Adam and Zoe think the school lockdown is just another drill, until they hear gunshots. When Adam realizes he knows the shooter, he tries to stop him. For Middle School and High School. Orca Soundings, 2008.

book cover

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. HarperCollins, 1990. Jeffrey Lionel Magee loses his parents when he is three years old and spends the rest of his life looking for a home.

book cover Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts

Little, Brown, 2011. Sixth-grader Rafe has a buddy who wants to help Rafe change his reputation or perhaps get one by breaking every rule in the school's rule book. Rafe ends up in more trouble than he knew possible. (M)

book cover

The Misfits  by James Howe. Atheneum, 2001. Four social outcasts in seventh grade create a third political party and run for student council on a platform of “No Name Calling.” 

book cover Monster High by Lisi Harrison.

Told in the voices of Melody Carver and Frankie Stein, both girls are new to the school but do not meet until late in the book. Melody, her mom, dad, and older sister, move to Oregon because of Melody's asthma. Frankie, daughter of Victor and Victoria Stein, was just created last week-by her father, Dr. Stein. In this area of Oregon, monsters are feared and Monster sightings are broadcast regularly. Quirky and funny while mirroring teen life. Poppy/Little Brown, 2010 (M/H)

book cover

More than a Label by Aisha Muharrar, Free Spirit Publishing, 2002. Muharrar was still in high school when she wrote this book, but it isn’t an English class assignment. She compiled her research from over one thousand Teens Label Surveys and wove that information with her thoughts—which are pretty down to earth.

book cover

New Blood by Peter McPhee. Toronto: James Lorimer & Company Ltd., 2007. On his first day at school in Winnipeg, Callum's Scottish accent draws attention from the school's bully, Rick. When Rick throws Callum through the air, causing him to crash on a table in the hallway, the whole incident is captured on someone's cell phone who later posts it on a website. And that someone seems to follow Callum around.

book cover

No Castles Here by A.C.E. Bauer. New York: Random House, 2007. Auggie spends most of his time inside waiting for his mom to come home from her waitress job. As one of two white kids in the neighborhood, he tries to be invisible and avoid the class bully, Dwaine, the other white kid. One day he catches a train to Philadelphia, goes into a bookstore and finds a fantasy book that becomes part of the story. (M)

book cover

Not My Fault written Leif Kristiansson and illustrated by Dick Stenberg. Heryin Books, 2006. Told in the voices of children witnessing bullying and not knowing what to do, the book ends first with the question “Does it have anything to do with me?” and then black and white photographs from history around the world where the action of bystanders was and is needed.

book cover

Nothing Wrong with a Three-Legged Dog by Graham McNamee. New York: Random House, 2000. As the only white kid in his fourth grade class, Keath gets called Whitey, Va-nilla, and Mayonnaise, and his best friend Lynda gets called Zebra because her mom is black and her dad is white.

book cover

On the Fringe edited by Donald R. Gallo, Dial, 2001. Each story in this collection focuses on teens that are on the fringe of acceptance.

book cover Out of the Pocket by Bill Konigsberg

Senior year, Bobby Framingham, a very talented quarterback hopes to be picked up by Stanford-but he keeps questioning-- has there ever been a gay quarterback in the NFL? Bobby isn't out, but after he confides in one of his best friends, word spreads and the reporter for the school newspaper prints Bobby's story. During the smear that follows, Bobby's dad is diagnosed with Lymphoma and as he is waiting for treatment, he tells Bobby "You are the bravest person I have ever known." Dutton, 2008 (M/H)

book cover

Perfect by Natasha Friend. Milkweed Editions, 2004. Isabelle’s father died two years ago and after the service, someone suggested she might feel better if she ate something. She did, she ate everything on the buffet table and then threw up. Now two years later, her little sister finds her vomiting in the bathroom and calls their mom. Isabelle starts “group” and discovers the most perfect girl in the school, Ashley Barrnum, is there too.

book cover

Poison Ivy by Amy Goldman Koss. Roaring Brook Press, 2006. Ms. Gold had her government classes conduct a mock trial on an issue present in their school, the harassment of Ivy by three alleged tormentors, Ann, Sophie, and Benita. The jury of adolescents brings in what they believe is their only possible verdict.

book cover Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright.

Carlos/Carrlos Duarte might be in high school, but he is an amazing make-up artist, just ask him. After he gets an interview appointment for the make-up counter at Macy's New York, he has to hire a model--his sister, create a color palette, and learn everything about the specific make-up line he will be using. He gets the job but his skills create conflict with his insecure boss. A fun read. Simon & Schuster, 2011 (M/H)

book cover The Queen of Kentucky by Alicia Whitaker

Little, Brown, 2011. Entering a public high school after years in Catholic schools, has Ricky Jo planning ways to become popular-and the first way is starts using her real her name, Ericka. Soon Ericka is fitting in with the popular cheerleaders and ignoring her old friends. But when her best friend forever, Luke lands in the hospital after his abusive father beats him, it is Ricky Jo who shows up at his bedside. Ricky Jo has some great lines in this a fun read. (M)

book cover

Queen Bee by Chynna Clugston. Scholastic 2005. In this graphic novel, Haley Madison has spent time preparing for her new school so she would not be a geek again. Though Haley is in solid with the ”top clique,” Alexa Harmon arrives and a war begins.

book cover

Rebound by Bob Krech. Tarrytown, New York: Marshal Cavendish Corp, 2006. Seventeen-year-old Ray Wisniewski just wants to play basketball and doesn't care if he is one of the few white guys to go out for the team, in fact, he makes great friends with several of the black guys - but not all of them. This book will lead to great discussions about prejudice, fairness, and justice across race lines.

book cover

The Revealers by Doug Wilhelm. Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2003. Russell, Elliot, and Catalina have nowhere to go for help with the harassment each is enduring, until they band together and tell their side on the school's KidNet.

book cover

Ricochet by Julie Gonzalez. New York: Delacorte Press, 2007. Fifteen-year-old Connor, Daniel, Ryan and Will are on top of an apartment roof when Will pulls out a gun and coerces them into a game of Russian roulette. Next he wants to play idiot's roulette, spin the chamber, point the gun at someone and bang - Daniel is dead. Connor tells the story of the aftermath.

book cover Shine bby Lauren Myracle

Amulet/Abrams, 2011. While Cat's close friend Patrick lies in a come, the victim of a violent hate crime, she decides to track down his attacker who she believes could not possibly be from her tightly-knit Southern town. (M/H)

book cover

The Skin I'm In by Sharon G. Flake. New York: Jump at the Sun, 2000. Because Maleeka has dark-black skin and Miss Saunders, the new English teacher, has a white mark over half her face, mean-spirited Charlese doesn't let up on either of them. (M)

book cover

So Hard to Say by Alex Sanchez, Simon & Schuster, 2004. New to the school, eighth grader Frederick starts playing soccer with the other boys after school, and questions his attraction to one of them. The treasure of diversity in this book deals with the needed acceptance of one’s self and others.

book cover

Something To Blog About by Shana Norris. New York: Amulet Books/ Harry N. Abrams, 2008. Libby and her mom have a great relationship, and when her mom starts dating again, Libby's glad for her until she discovers her mother is dating the father of the girl who has bullied her since kindergarten. At a parents and daughters dinner at Libby's house, Angel slips into her bedroom and sends Libby's private blog to the entire tenth grade. (M/H)

book cover

Standing Against the Wind by Traci L. Jones. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. Patrice Williams’ southern ways are no match for the tough kids in her new Chicago middle school, where she gets called Puffy because of her unruly hair, but Monty sees more in her and the two start a friendship that will not only help them survive but also flourish.

book cover

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. Random House, 2000. A new student named Stargirl celebrates her uniqueness in eccentric ways that stun the students of Mica High School.

book cover

Sticks and Stones by Beth Goobie. Orca Book Publishers, 2002. Falsely labeled as a “slut,” Jujube fights back against the slurs whispered in the hallways and written on the bathroom walls of her school.

book cover

The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez by Judy Goldschmidt. Penguin Young Readers Group, 2005. Raisin and her little sister move from Los Angeles to Philidelphia after their mom remarries. In a blog for her friends in LA, Raisin shares her many uncomfortable and sometimes painful experiences, and of course, the blog gets spread throughout the entire seventh grade.

book cover

The Shorty Society by Sheri Cooper Sinykin, Penguin Books, 1994. Seventh grade brings many changes for Drew Minardi, and one is particularly hard to accept, his best friend Danny Greeson, is now five inches taller and spends most of his time bullying Drew about being short.

book cover

The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake. Jump At The Sun/Hyperion, 2000. Because Maleeka has dark-black skin, the other kids torment her. Miss Saunders, the new English teacher, has a white mark over half her face. Mean-spirited Charlese doesn’t let up on either of them. 

book cover

Vive La Paris by Esme Raji Codell. New York: Hyperion Book, 2006. Fifth grader Paris starts an Extreme Readers Club at school, takes piano lessons from Mrs. Rosen, a Jewish Neighbor who survived the concentration camps of World War II, and has four older brothers, one of which gets bullied by a girl in Paris' class. This is a wonderful book with very rich characters and content.

book cover Warp Speed by Lisa Yee.

Marley Sandelski is different, very smart, and a little dorky; he and his parents live in an old movie theatre. At home, he feels relaxed and unencumbered, but at school he sneaks through the halls trying to be invisible to avoid the bullies who delight in chasing him and who sometimes get physically abusive. Arthur Levine/Scholastic, 2011 (M)

book cover

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town by Kimberly Willis Holt. Holt, 1999. Billed as the fattest boy in the world, Zackary Beaver is a side show in a trailer, but when Toby Wilson and his friend pay their money to stare, Toby notices Zackary’s sadness.

book cover

Yankee Girl by Mary Ann Rodman. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004. It is 1964, and Alice Moxley's dad, an FBI agent, has just been reassigned to Jackson, Mississippi, to cover the integration of public schools. No one in Alice's sixth grade class will talk to her because she is a Yankee, but that is nothing compared to how all the students and teachers treat Valerie Taylor, who integrates Alice's class. The KKK adds another level of harassment by burning its initials in Alice's front lawn and planting a car bomb that kills Valerie's father. (M)

Back to Books by Grade Level list

home / grade level / middle school