YRCA: Finding the Perfect Book Match for Junior High Students

Did you catch our last post about finding the perfect YRCA book for Division 2 students (Grades 4 to 6)? If so, continue on to our book profiles for Junior High students (Grades 7 to 9) who like magic, adventure or a dose of reality.

If not, get caught up on what you missed!

If a teen likes books about magic and fantasy...

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Recommended for teens 14 and up

About: Scarlett and her sister Tella are whisked away to Caraval, a five-day show that’s part game and part adventure. The excitement is short-lived when Tella is kidnapped by a madman. To learn more, watch the book trailer.


Fun Fact: Stephanie Garber wrote five books before she sold Caraval to a publisher.

Caraval is available as a book and audiobook CD.

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

Recommended for teens 13 to 15

About: Anna Arden has a magic ability to shatter spells. Revolutionaries want her to shatter the Binding—a spell letting only noble elites have access to magic and rule nations.

Read-Alikes: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Fun Fact: Rosalyn Eves lives in Southern Utah where she enjoys hiking through the splendid landscapes and dislikes housework on principle.

Blood Rose Rebellion is available as a book, eBook and audiobook CD.

If a teen likes adventure books...

Exo by Fonda Lee

Recommended for kids and teens 12 to 18

About: Donovan is kidnapped by a resistance group fighting against the alien overlords who’ve controlled Earth for a century.

Read-Alikes: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Fun Fact: Fonda Lee wrote her first book on the school bus in the fifth grade.

Exo is available as book, audiobook CD and downloadable audiobook.

Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Recommended for teens 14 and up

About: Time travelling treasure thieves Farway Gaius McCarthy (“Far”) and the mysterious Eliot find family in each other and save the world.


Fun Fact: Ryan Graudin is the award-winning author of six young adult novels, including the Carnegie nominated Wolf by Wolf duology and The Walled City.

Invictus is available as a book, eBook and audiobook CD.

If a teen likes books with a dose of reality...

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Recommended for kids and teens 9 to 13

About: Aven was born without arms. After moving with her parents across the country, she meets Connor and together they must solve a mystery. To learn more, watch an introduction by the author.

Read-Alikes: Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Fun Fact: The sequel, Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus, came out in September 2019. Dusti Bowling lives in Arizona with her family, a dozen tarantulas, a gopher snake named Burrito and a cockatiel named Cilantro.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus is available as a book, eBook and downloadable audiobook.

Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali

Recommended for kids and teens 12 to 18

About: Janna is assaulted by a respected boy in her community and she struggles to figure out where she belongs.

Read-Alikes: Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Fun Fact: Canadian S. K. Ali’s family is consistently listed in the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the world.

Saints and Misfits is available as a book, eBook and downloadable audiobook.

Stranger than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer

Recommended for teens 15 to 17

About: A teenage TV celebrity joins four mega fans on a cross-country road trip adventure, but he has a big secret he’s keeping from the world.


Fun Fact: Chris Colfer is a TV star and talented singer, having gotten his start on the show Glee. He is also the author of the popular Land of Stories book series.

Stranger than Fanfiction is available as book, eBook and audiobook CD.

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Recommended for teens 13 to 16

About: This is the true story of 14-year-old Dita Kraus, prisoner at the Auschwitz Extermination Camp responsible for a small collection of eight books.


Fun Fact: The book was originally written in Spanish and translated to English. Author Antonio Iturbe met Dita Kraus and visited Auschwitz in preparation for writing this book.

The Librarian of Auschwitz is available as book, eBook and downloadable audiobook.

What is YRCA?

The Young Reader’s Choice Awards is an annual EPL program that takes places every school year for kids in Grades 4 to 12. Starting in the fall, students are introduced to an exciting, diverse and age-appropriate collection of books that they can read and vote on throughout the school year. Each YRCA division (Junior for Grades 4 to 6, Intermediate for Grades 7 to 9 and Senior for Grades 10 to 12) includes eight awesome titles, but students can choose to read from any division, and vote for as many books as they like, until Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

YRCA Book Profiles: Intermediate Division for Junior High (Grades 7 to 9)

To help navigate the titles in each YRCA category, we’re profiling the books so parents and educators can help children find their perfect match! First, a few important notes:

  1. Books are organized into common themes
  2. Each title also includes age recommendations from Kirkus reviews
  3. Read-Alikes are similar books as the one being profiled
  4. All available formats of the book are included so kids can choose works best for them.

No matter what a teen is into, YRCA has something they’ll love. Here’s a sample of some of the previous winners, many of which are so popular that they’ve been made into movies!

That’s it for the Intermediate division! Remember to encourage kids to share their favourites with us by tagging @EPLdotCA on Twitter or liking us on Facebook.

Last post in the series is coming up where we tackle the Senior division.

Want more reading recommendations for Junior High students? Check out our page dedicated to teens.


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