Year 8 Reading List

Year 8 Reading List

The books in this list have all been enjoyed by many students.  Read the synopsis and the students comment to decide which book you would like to read next.

PIPrisoner of the Inquisition by Theresa Breslin

Zarita lives a life of privilege but this changes when the formidable and frightening Inquisition arrives in the area, bringing menacing shadows of suspicion with acts of cruel brutality, betrayal and revenge. Saulo is hauled off to be a slave at sea but has sworn vengeance on those who falsely accused his father.

“This book made history come alive, never again will I say history is boring”


Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech

Trouble twins. Dallas and Florida are orphans who long for a loving home. Tiller and Sairy are an eccentric older couple who live in the Ruby Holler and yearn for adventure. When they invite the twins to join them on their journeys, they first must all stay together in the Holler, and the magic of the place takes over.

“I thought I was badly behaved!”


Toffee by Sarah Crossan

When Allison runs away from home she does not expect to be taken in by Marla, an elderly woman with dementia, who mistakes her for an old friend called Toffee. Allison is used to hiding who she really is and being what other people want her to be. So Toffee is who she becomes. But as her bond with Marla grows, Allison begins to ask herself, where is home? What is a family? And most importantly, who am I, really?

"Impossible to not read in a single go!”

Skin and other Stories by Roald Dahl

A new collection of stories to startle, surprise and satisfy from the master of the twist in the tale. So where would you hide a diamond where no one else would think of looking for it? And what if you discovered your tattoo was worth a million dollars!

“Roald Dahl writes absolutely BRILLIANT stories”


GLA Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly

When Mattie is given a bundle of letters to burn by a guest at the hotel where she has a summer job, she thinks the guest is simply upset. But when the woman is found drowned next day, Mattie must decide whether she will read them, or burn them as requested. A touching funny surprising novel set in 1906 and based on a true story.

“It wasn't until the very end of this book that I realised exactly how much I loved it.”


The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

Parvana and her live family in one room of a bombed-out apartment building in Kabul, Afghanistan. One day her father is arrested for the crime of having a foreign education and the family is left without someone to earn money and shop for food. There is only one solution. Forbidden by the Taliban government to earn money as a girl, Parvana must transform herself into a boy and become the breadwinner.

“Read this, it is true – I come from Afghanistan…”

The Bone Sparrow by Zan Fraillon

Perfect for fans of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. This is a beautiful, vivid and deeply moving story about a refugee boy who has spent his entire life living in a detention centre . This novel reminds us all of the importance of freedom, hope, and the power of a story to speak for anyone who's ever struggled to find a safe home.

“A tragic story, told with expertise and humanity. I would definitely recommend this beautiful book.”


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman 

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he did not live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts. There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard. But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod's family.

“This book should have won more awards!”


CBCoram Boy by Jamila Gavin

A tale of two cities Gloucester and London. A tale of two boys Toby, saved from an African slave ship and Aaron, the illegitimate son of the heir to a great estate. A tale of fathers and sons Otis, dealing in the vilest trade of all and his son Meshak, not quite of this world; Sir William Ashbrook, landowner and Alexander, the son he disinherits. An epic journey fraught with every danger and excitement, until love triumphs over hate and corruption.

"I have never been so moved to tears as I have with this book".

After the Fire by Will Hill

Father John controls everything inside The Fence and he likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming. But Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She's starting to see the lies behind Father John's words. She wants him to be found out.  What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

"It makes you think about what you believe in"

A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson

Ellen never expected her new Austrian school to be even more unusual than her life in England. A world occupied by wild children, even wilder teachers, experimental dancers and a tortoise on wheels, Ellen is instantly attracted to the part-time gardener / fencing teacher. Hitler's Reich looms and only when she discovers Marek's true identity and his mission does Ellen realize the depth of her feelings for him.

“a really different love story…”

BeastBeast by Ally Kennen

Stephen is in foster care because his mom is crazy and his dad is an ex-con vagabond. He is always in trouble or on his way to trouble. But none of these problems compare to the problem of The Beast, Stephen's biggest secret and also his biggest challenge and that is when it is in a cage. When the Beast escapes, the stakes get even higher.

“Gulped it down in one sitting, it’s genuinely frightening!”

LALove Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur

A beautifully written and deeply moving teen novel with characters to cherish and a story full of tragedy and loss. Aubrey has suffered an unbelievable loss, and goes to live with her grandmother in Vermont in order to heal. There she makes new friends, learns to cope with what has happened, and begins to figure out how to move on and she has to make one of the biggest decisions of her life.

“heart-breaking and funny and true to life”

GKThe Garbage King by Elizabeth Laird

Mamo and Dani are both left homeless and on the streets. They are taken into a gang led by a tough but likable boy, Million. This spellbinding story deals with the deprivations, uncertainties, and the stark terror experienced today by too many Third World children. Although alarming in its authenticity, this is also an inspiring tale of courage and generosity in a world where danger and anxiety are the norm.


Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence

After nuclear war devastates the earth, a few people struggle for survival in a new world where children are born with strange mutations. Sarah and her family are cooped up in the tightly-sealed kitchen, dreading the inevitable radioactive fall-out and the subsequent slow, torturous death, which is preferable to surviving in a grey, dead world, choked by dust. But from out of the dust and the ruins, comes new life, a new future, a whole brave new world.

“One of the very few books that I will read again.”

Splinter of Sunshine by Patrice Lawrence

I pick up the envelope. As I rip down the sides, there's loads of paper bursting out; stuck on flowers, dandelions, roses. Spey recently received two surprises. The first: his ex-prisoner dad turning up unannounced and the second: a mysterious package containing torn-up paper flowers. Spey instantly recognises it as a collage he made with his old friend Dee and decides she must be in danger, but there are no clues to her whereabouts. There's only one person he knows who can help to track her down.

"I was drawn into the story from the start and really did not want to put it down at all. I liked what it had to say about family and friendship".

12 day of july
The Twelfth Day of July by Joan Lingard

Tommy and Sadie Jackson are already looking forward to the 12th day of July, which is a Protestant celebration day.  Meanwhile, Catholic Kevin McCoy is out causing trouble in the Protestant part of town. What will happen when Sadie and Kevin meet? Can they become friends when everyone else in Northern Ireland is so full of hatred against the other religion?

“Thought provoking”

TWWTomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden

When Ellie and her friends return from a camping trip in the Australian bush, they find things hideously wrong, their families are gone. Gradually they begin to comprehend that their country has been invaded and everyone in their town has been taken prisoner. As the reality of the situation hits them, they must make a decision; run and hide, give themselves up and be with their families, or fight back.

“an exciting and different spin on a survival story”


TOSThe Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo

A tragedy and a terrible loss for Sade and her younger brother, Femi, children of an outspoken Nigerian journalist. Now terror is all around them and they must flee their country. At once. And alone. Plans for their journey have to be hastily arranged. Everything must be done in secret. But once Sade and Femi reach England, they will be safe - won't they?

“it is good to step into someone else's shoes”

HLAHere Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve

Gwyna is just a small girl, when she is bound in service to Myrddin the bard, a traveller and spinner of tales. But Myrdin transforms her into a lady goddess, a boy warrior and a spy. Without Gwyna, Myrddin will not be able to work the most glorious transformation of all and turn the leader of a ragged band into King Arthur, the greatest hero of all time.

“A new and exciting retelling of the King Arthur story”

SINIShe is not Invisible by Marcus Sedgewick

Laureth knows something is wrong when her writer father’s notebook turns up in New York, when he is supposed to be in Austria. So she decides to go and find him. She takes her little brother and her mother’s credit card with her. Ahead lie many challenges, not least because Laureth is blind.

“Sometimes it is hard to know which book to pick up and read. Let me help you. Choose this one.”

Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr

Marianne is in bed after a serious illness and to pass time she takes up drawing with a pencil she finds in a workbasket. To her surprise she dreams about her drawings and they come to life in an extra ordinary way. Jumping between the real world and that of her dreams, Marianne slowly becomes conscious that the world she is creating is affecting the waking world and another sick child called Mark.

“ a MUST read if you like dark fantasy!”


SCStone Cold by Robert Swindells

Homeless, frightened and alone because of a bad situation at home, Link finds himself down and out in London. He only survives because he's befriended by streetwise Ginger. When Ginger disappears, Link is in despair. Other kids are vanishing now and the killer is stalking his next victim. Will it be Link? And who is Shelter?

“It tells two stories: on the one side we have homeless teenager, Link; on the other we have Shelter.”

Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry by Mildred D Taylor

The story of Cassie Logan and her family, an African American family fighting to stay together, preserve their history and being strong in the face of brutal racist attacks, illness, poverty, and betrayal in the Deep Jim Crow South of the 1930s.

“I would have cried at the end, but I was at school and that would have been so embarrassing!”


The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

The enchanting prelude to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit is the story of Bilbo Baggins, a quiet and contented hobbit whose life is turned upside down when he joins the wizard Gandalf and thirteen dwarves on their quest to reclaim stolen treasure. It is a journey fraught with danger and in the end it is Bilbo Baggins alone who must face the guardian of this treasure, the most dreaded dragon in all Middle-earth.

“One of the best children's stories of the 20th Century”


Teacher's Dead by Benjamin Sephaniah

A teacher is dead, murdered by two of his students in front of the school. He was a good man. People liked him. So how could this happen? Why? It just does not make any sense to Jackson, and he is determined to investigate the case until he understands.

“Why has all this happened? What are the reasons? You must read this book to find out!”



If you have already read these, try others by the same authors, or look on the Academy website for other reading lists and the Library Catalogue.

Library QR Code

Nikky Raddon - January 2024