The Best 9th Grade Reading List

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Are you looking for exciting books for your 9th grader? Do you want to find something relatable and informative? Are you worried about how they will transition to high school? If any of these questions sound familiar, then you have come to the right place. In this post, we’ll go over the best 9th grade reading list. This list is full of coming of age stories, historical accounts and even books which will help you or your students think in a way that they never have. On this list, you will also find fiction, non-fiction, classic literature, and even a little bit of self-help. This 9th-grade reading list will not disappoint.

The Best Books to Read in 9th Grade

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

The House on Mango Street has been taught far and wide, in and out of schools across the country. It tells the story of Esperanza, a young Latina girl growing up in a not so nice neighborhood in Chicago. Although their home is an upgrade from their previous apartment, Esperanza is not sold on the house. It is not the house she has always dreamed of. The House on Mango Street is beautifully written in a series of short stories. Each story is told from Esperanza’s perspective. Some stories are humorous, while others are more serious. Esperanza takes us into her world, good or bad, as she struggles with self-definition. The House on Mango Street is an excellent read for new freshman looking to define themselves in high school.

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  • Sandra Cisneros (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-07-29


Award Winning Popular Books for 9th Graders

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

From the first day of her freshman year, Melinda is an outcast. She is socially rejected and ostracized by her peers after calling the police and getting the end of the summer party busted. She has no one, and no one will listen. As time goes on, she stops talking altogether. Melinda finds solace in her art class, where she can finally face that she was raped the night of the party. Follow Melinda as she attempts to find the voice she shamed into silence. Speak tells a compelling and not uncommon story. It has won numerous awards including the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Fiction, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, Printz Honor Book and many more. This is an excellent read for the freshman as they deal with their changing emotions and those of their classmates. It takes you deep into the head of an outcast teen and how the actions of others directly affect her views of self and the people around her.

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  • Square Fish
  • Anderson, Laurie Halse (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-07-28


Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Another compelling read is Thirteen Reasons Why, a uniquely told story of Hannah Baker and all of the reasons why she decides to commit suicide. These reasons are 13 of her classmates and at one time, her friends. The story opens with Clay Jenson finding a box of cassette tapes on his porch, just two weeks after Hannah decides to commit suicide. The novel takes you through the aftermath of not only her death but of the events that make up each reason for her death and the 13 tapes that each person who had a hand in her death must listen to. Thirteen Reasons Why paints a picture of the cruelty that can ensue in high school and the consequences from it. The is a read that will hopefully not just make the 9th-grade reading list but also help students think before they act.

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Thirteen Reasons Why
  • Razorbill
  • Jay Asher (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-07-29


Recommended 9th Grade Reading List Classics

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm, first published in 1945, is a satirical novel. The book centers around a farm which gets overtaken by the mistreated and overworked animals which inhabit it. Their overarching goal is to create a paradise. This includes equality and progress. They even have a theme song, Beasts of England, which depicts the vision that they dream of. This vision is called Animalism. However, the story can be used to illustrate the evolution from revolution to totalitarianism. In the novel, Animal Farm symbolizes Russia and the Soviet Union under Communist Party rule. There are a variety of themes present within Animal Farm however you’ll have to read to find out more.

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Animal Farm: 75th Anniversary Edition
  • George Orwell (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 140 Pages - 04/06/2004 (Publication Date) - Signet (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-07-29


To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill A Mockingbird is a literary classic which has sold more than 30 million copies and been translated into more than 40 languages. It is told through the eyes of 6-year-old, Jean Louise Finch is also known as Scout, a rebellious tomboy. The story takes place in Maycomb, Alabama. Here people are defined by their gender, social class, and of course, race. The story centers around Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, who attempts to prove the innocence of a black man accused of rape and Scout’s relationship with their neighbor Boo.

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Last update: 2021-07-29


Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet is the story of two young people in love attempting to beat all odds to be together. Their respective families not only disapprove of their relationship, but the Montagues and the Capulets are engaged in a blood feud. There is no way that they can be together in life. This is said to be the most excellent love story in English Literature. The two attempt to love in secret: sneaking to meet and hide their affections. However, the feud between their families only gets deeper. Romeo and Juliet has inspired several motion pictures and continues to be read and interpreted around the world.

Romeo and Juliet
  • Shakespeare, William (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 92 Pages - 12/21/2020 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-07-29


Recommended 9th Grade Reading List for Common Core

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

This novel can be deemed as a southern love story about Janie Crawford. The book retells the story of her life to her best friend Pheoby in an extended flashback. Janie is independent and ever-changing as seen through her impoverished life, tribulations and three marriages. Janie is determined to be her own woman; something shunned upon in the 30s as a woman from the south. This book is a story of relationships, power, and even inequality. This book is another literary staple that will not disappoint its readers. It is also said to be the best-known work of Zora Neale Hurston written in 1937. This is an excellent read for males and females and explores gender roles that some students may have never thought about.

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Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • Zora Neale Hurston (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-07-28


In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences is a story about a murder which took place in Holcomb, Kansas, on November 15, 1959. The Clutter family were savagely murdered by a shotgun only a few inches from their faces. This is a real murder mystery that led to the capture and execution of their killers. This is undoubtedly a book to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences
  • Hardcover Book
  • Capote, Truman (Author)
  • 07/30/2021 (Publication Date) - Random House (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-07-29


Recommended 9th Grade Historical Fiction Books

Projekt 1065 by Alan Gatz

Projekt 1065 is a World War II novel about Michael O'Shaunessey, a young boy originally from Ireland, living in Germany with his parents. Like most boys, Michael is a part of the Hitler Youth. However, Michael is keeping a pretty big secret; he and his family are spies. Michael hates everything about the Nazis, but to get the information he needs, he must act accordingly. This includes partaking in the games of the Hitler Youth program and appearing loyal to get what he needs. Projekt 1065 is a secret Nazi mission that further complicates things, but Michael must not fold. This is a story of fear, perseverance, and the fight between good and evil.

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  • Scholastic Press
  • Hardcover Book
  • Gratz, Alan (Author)

Last update: 2021-07-29


For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

For Whom the Bell Tolls is a story of loyalty and courage centered around Robert Jordan, a young American man living in the International Brigades of Spain. It is the story of the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s. Robert is fighting for the leftist Republicans against the Fascist Nationalist, and his main goal is to blow up a bridge in Spain. However, is plans are slightly thwarted when he falls in love with Maria. Maria is a young woman who a Spanish woman whose life had been shattered by her parents’ execution. Robert must struggle to do what he feels is right in this story of love and courage. This is an excellent read for high school freshman as their internal battles are only beginning.

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  • For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • Hemingway, Ernest (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-07-29


The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help is the story of the African American women working in white households in Mississippi in the early 1960s. The story centers around three women, Constantine, Aibileen, and Minnie. All face varying difficulties as they attempt to remain true to themselves while still raising the children and caring for what seems like the enemy. The 3 women band together to shake up the norm and create a shift for themselves and their families. You will not be disappointed by reading this book. It is a well written and at times humorous reality of the mammies of the south.

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The Help
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  • Stockett, Kathryn (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-07-29


The Best 9th Grade Nonfiction Books

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking is a book about how to think. It is about how to make choices which may happen in the blink of an eye. The book goes into detail about how the people who make the best options are not the ones who lament for hours but who know exactly when to make a decision. The book gives various scenarios which support his theories of thinking. He provides detailed research and information which makes you think. Unlike many books of this caliber, he provides the knowledge and leaves it up to you what to do with it. This can be an excellent read for 8th graders as they find their footing and begin to make decisions which can affect the rest of their lives.

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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
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  • Gladwell, Malcolm (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-07-29


The Boy's War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War by Jim Murphy

Jim Murphy uses his book, The Boy’s War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War, to provide first-hand accounts of boys in the Civil War. He focuses on boys who are 16 years old and younger. He includes diary entries and even personal letters to provide a picture of what life was like. Murphy also includes photos, although some are slightly more disturbing than others. This is an excellent first-hand account of boys in the war and the experiences they had. One reader even goes so far as to point out that many countries view children as shorter, untrained adults but still highly capable. This is an excellent read for the student who is interested in history and how things happened.

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The Boys' War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War
  • Murphy, Jim (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 03/22/1993 (Publication Date) - Clarion Books (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-07-29


Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

Black Like Me is a must-read novel for any student or adult. It is the biography of a white man, John Howard Griffin, portraying the Jim Crow south from the eyes of a supposed black man. To get a full account, John Griffin darkens his skin with the help of a dermatologist to analyze how he would be treated as a black man traveling through the south. At this time of deep racial divide, you can only image what Griffin encountered. There are several themes present in this book, including identity, hypocrisy, and of course, racial segregation with a critical takeaway being the ability to see life from someone else’s eyes. His study on humanity and race is something that we can all benefit from reading, especially during the times we live in.

Black Like Me
  • Griffin, John Howard (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 10/20/2010 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-07-29


The Best 9th Grade Fiction Books

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game is a science fiction story which takes place in some unspecified time in the future. The story centers around Andrew Wiggins aka Ender. Ender believes that he is merely playing a video game when, in reality, he is proving himself to be the military genius that the earth needs. Ender starts his journey at six years old but will soon grow fast. Compassion is a major theme in the book and throughout Ender’s existence.

Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet)
  • Card, Orson Scott (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 07/15/1994 (Publication Date) - Tor Science Fiction (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-07-29


Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi is a story of survival. It is the story of Pi, a Tamil boy and zoo keeper’s son, who manages to survive 227 days at sea with a Bengal tiger after becoming shipwrecked. Pi’s family decides to sell their zoo and travel from India to Canada on a cargo ship with what little animals they have left. Initially, aboard a Japanese cargo ship with his family, Pi is the only survivor after a storm hits and wrecks the boat. Read as Pi’s relationship with himself and the tiger flourish as hours turn to days and days to weeks. This novel is excellent for older teens as it explores notions of religion, cannibalism, and sexuality.

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  • Martel, Yann (Author)
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Last update: 2021-07-28


The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Hobbit is the prelude to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It follows the quests of a hobbit, Bilbo Baggins as he sets out to win a share Smaug the dragon’s treasure. The book is set in the fictional Tolkien universe. The story follows his quests with a group of spirited dwarves to reclaim their mountain home. The Hobbit is a book of high adventure and magic. It is also a one centered around the notion of bravery. Bilbo’s journey is not one that should be taken lightly; he is met with numerous challenges along his journey, including orcs, goblins, and a variety of other dangers. If you enjoy Harry Potter, magical kingdoms and wizardry this is the perfect book for you.

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The Hobbit
  • Mariner Books
  • J. R. R. Tolkien (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-07-29


Absolute Must Read 9th Grade Books Before 10th Grade

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

The Time Machine is a science fiction novel by H.G Wells, a pioneer of the science fiction genre. In this novel, an inventor is also known as the Time Traveler; time travels up to more than a million years into the future to bring back information concerning the destruction of the world and human race. There are many themes present in this novel, including, of course, the notion of time, science and technology and even fear.

The Time Machine
  • Wells, H.G. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 113 Pages - 11/07/2018 (Publication Date) - SDE Classics (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-07-29


Gulliver’s Travels by Johnathan Swift

Gulliver’s Travels is the story of Lemuel Gulliver, a ship surgeon. The novel tells the tale of 4 of his travels to various lands. Gulliver finds himself on several unknown islands living with a variety of people and animals. Still, after each adventure, he manages to return to his home in England, where he recovers from these strange encounters and experiences.

Gulliver's Travels (AmazonClassics Edition)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Swift, Jonathan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-07-29


Summary of the Best 9th Grade Reading List

Here’s a table of what 9th grade reading list we evaluated:

ProductNumber Of Pages
The House on Mango Street 110
Speak 224
Thirteen Reasons Why 288
Animal Farm 140
To Kill a Mockingbird 336
Romeo and Juliet 92
Their Eyes Were Watching God 219
In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences N/A
Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II 320
For Whom the Bell Tolls 480
The Help 544
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking 296
The Boys' War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War 128
Black Like Me 208
Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet) 352
Life of Pi 326
The Hobbit 300
The Time Machine 113
Gulliver's Travels (AmazonClassics Edition) 306

If you are looking for a book, you don’t want to put down, and you will find it on this list. Reading is a fundamental part of high school, and it’s even better when you find the books that you enjoy. From War to wizardry there is something on this list for everyone. Here you will find stories of love, survival, and even death. Grab a seat, a glass of lemonade and a good book, we’ll be here with several more when you get back.

Because you read this post, you may also our best high school reading list and how to make reading a habit post.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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