More Books for Struggling Readers in Middle and High School

Yay! You found one of my book lists. Jump down to the titles if you like.

Also click HERE to see more book lists for Struggling Readers.

Time for some more great books. If your student, son or daughter has a learning disability (LD) or is a reluctant reader, then you are in the right place. This post will focus on high low or hi-low books. These titles are at and interest level for older readers – say 7th, 8th, 9th grade and up BUT are written at a lower reading level.

I am the mom of a boy with dyslexia. Reading has always been a challenge for him. He is now in middle school and finding the right books for him takes a bit of digging. He refuses to touch anything with Power Rangers on the cover. :-)

Currently my son is reading at a beginning 5th grade level. His Lexile® Reader Measure is around 650L. CLICK HERE to learn more about a Lexile® Reader Measure and CLICK HERE to find out how to get your son or daughter’s score. If they have taken a standardized test at school in the last year or so, they most likely will have a score. I was able to get my son’s score after he took the MAP test. In my area they take this twice a year.

As you probably know, the age of your child does not determine if they can read a particular book. Books list ‘age interest’ levels or will state ‘this book is intended for ages 9-12′ on the back cover. You want to look for the reading level of a title or the Lexile® Reader Measure. My son is nearing the end of 6th grade and is at a 5.2 reading level.

After each title below I’ve indicated a Grade Level – this indicates what age of student might be interested in the title. It also refers to the content. A novel listed at Grade 9 and up may not be appropriate for a younger reader. This is not an indication of reading level.

I’ve also listed the Lexile Score for each title. This information was obtained from The lower the number, the easier the book should be to read.

~ ~ ~ ~

Say the Word

Interest level/Appropriate for – Grades 9 and up.

Lexile score – HL580L (High Low)

Ten years ago, Shawna’s mom, Penny, came out, moved out, and never looked back. For 10 years Shawna aspired to be everything her protective, perfectionist father, Jack, wanted her to be, distancing herself as much as possible from the shame that Penny’s abandonment caused her. But at 17, Shawna is pulled by her mother’s death into contact with Penny’s partner, Fran, and their sons, Arye, 17, and Schmule, 10. Jack, who legally remains Penny’s next of kin, financially ruins Fran’s family and then goes after Schmule, who is revealed to be Penny and Jack’s biological child. Shawna finds herself questioning her allegiances, but she is powerless in the shadow of her domineering father.

~ ~ ~ ~

Fancy White Trash

Interest level/Appropriate for – Grade 8 and up

Lexile score = HL660L

Fifteen-year-old Abby Savage has always thought of herself as the “normal” one in a household that more closely resembles a soap-opera cast than a real family. It’s the summer before sophomore year, and, with her best friend Cody’s help, Abby is determined to follow her One True Love Plan (formulated to avoid the mistakes of her sisters Shelby and Kait). Then Mom announces that she is pregnant by her new husband, Steve, a younger man who also happens to be the father of Kait’s unborn child. Things become even more complicated when Cody’s older brother, Jackson, returns home. Last spring, Abby thought she was falling in love with him, but she now distances herself because she’s obsessed by the possibility that he could be the father of Kait’s child (Kait dated Jackson before Steve).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Soul Enchilada

Interest level/Appropriate for – Grades 7 and up

Lexile score = HL720L

Eunice “Bug” Smoot is a recent high-school graduate with all sorts of problems: she’s about to get evicted from the flophouse apartment she rents, she’s just been fired from her pizza-delivery job, and it seems like every day some idiot is giving her crap for being half-African American and half-Tejana. The only light in her life is her dead grandfather’s classic 1958 Cadillac Biarritz—and even that goes down the tubes when a demon named Mr. Beals materializes in the passenger seat and demands repossession of the vehicle. Turns out, her grandfather financed the car by selling his soul. Luckily, Bug’s crush, a car-wash attendant, just happens to moonlight for the International Supernatural Immigration Service and he’s got some ideas about how to deport this “Illegal.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Interest level/Appropriate for – Grades 7 and up

Lexile score = HL670L

Adrian Havoc, 15, lives in an urban hotbox in the partially post-nuclear United Christian States, where the end of the world is nigh. He meets Lenora, a beautiful zookeeper on a mission to deliver a favorite penguin to colder waters. Adrian’s semi-savant, semi-psychic little sister, Shriek, joins them on a trip through the radiated Deadlands to Maine, where the Havocs had a cabin. There they discover Adrian’s long-missing father, a member of a Resistance force formed to combat an evil plot to fake the end of the world.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Interest level/Appropriate for – Grades 8 and up

Lexile score = HL570L

Fifteen-year-old Tommy Latrella is about to board his beloved New York City subway system as he runs away from home to escape the shadow of his older brother, a fireman who perished in the attacks of 9/11. But when a prank goes horribly wrong, the subway jettisons him back to 1918, where Italian immigrants take him in and fix him up with a backbreaking job building subway tunnels. Tommy faces success and tragedy, and then is thrown by a subway crash into 1932, where Depression-era struggles compel him to work for the Mafia as a money collector. It takes a third round of time travel, this one to the middle of World War II, for Tommy to realize that he won’t get to return home until he starts making up for his past mistakes.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Bad Girls Don’t Die

Interest level/Appropriate for – Grades 7 and up

Lexile score = HL670L

Alexis, a self-described anti-cheerleader, defiantly embraces her role as bad student and social outcast, skipping class and spending her time in the darkroom, until the increasingly odd behavior of her little sister, Kasey, draws her into a world of evil spirits and dangerous games. At first, inexplicable dreams and eerie balls of green light hovering around Alexis’s house seem like fringe occurrences in a story otherwise concerned with family, friendship, and a tentative romance. But soon, bizarre happenings take over, and Alexis comes to realize that Kasey is demon-possessed and hell-bent on murder.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Zombie Queen of Newbury High

Interest level/Appropriate for – Grades 8 and up

Lexile score = HL810L

High-school senior Mia inadvertently casts a spell that turns her entire senior class into flesh-eating zombies who believe that she is their especially tasty queen. Fortunately, the new kid at school, Chase, is actually an agent from the Department of Paranormal Containment, and it’s his job to make sure such things never come to pass. It takes four days for the spell to fully evolve, so Mia; her best friend, Candice; and Chase spend that time romping through truly funny predicaments while desperately seeking to reverse the spell.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Interest level/Appropriate for – Grades ?? Not sure on this one. There isn’t a listing anywhere.

Lexile score = HL350L

The picture-perfect new town of Candor, Florida, is attracting more and more new families, drawn by its postcard-like small-town feel, with white picket fences, spanking-new but old-fashioned-looking homes, and neighborliness.

But the parents are drawn by something else as well.  They know that in Candor their obstreperous teenagers will somehow become rewired – they’ll learn to respect their elders, to do their chores, and enjoy their homework.  They’ll give up the tattoos, metal music, and partying that have been driving their parents crazy.  They’ll become every parent’s dream.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

David Inside Out

Interest level/Appropriate for – Grades 8 and up

Lexile score = HL490L

David Dahlgren, a high-school senior, finds solace in running with the track team; he’s a fast runner, and he enjoys the camaraderie. But team events become a source of tension when he develops a crush on one of his teammates, Sean. Scared to admit his feelings, David does everything he can to suppress them: he dates a girl, keeps his distance from his best friend who has become openly gay, and snaps a rubber band on his wrist every time he has “inappropriate” urges. Before long, Sean expresses the thoughts David has been trying to hide, and everything changes for the better. Or so it seems.

In this thoughtful yet searing coming-of-age novel, Lee Bantle offers a raw, honest, and incredibly compelling account of a teenager who learns to accept himself for who he is.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Amaranth Enchantment

Interest level/Appropriate for – Grades 6 and up

Lexile score = HL610L

When a mysterious piece of jewelry and a strange visitor arrive in the jewelry shop where she works for her evil aunt, Lucinda’s course takes a surprising turn.

With the help of the Amaranth Witch, a young (and harmless) con-artist, and a prince, Lucinda uncovers secrets about her own royal past.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That’s it for this post.

Click HERE for more books at low reading levels. Lots of great books to pick from.

~ Jenna

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5 Responses to More Books for Struggling Readers in Middle and High School

  1. avatar Ann says:

    I found the site hard to manage. All I wanted to do was find a list of books for non reading third graders at beginning first grade level. Books such as Bisquit are about his level. I wanted to see your list and couldn’t find it. It was very frustrating.
    Why not list the books by reading level/ and ones for low levels but older kids too and let people click on them to go right to that list?

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