Collection: Books 11-12 Years

Eleven and twelve year-olds are ready for more complex writing. While middle grade books are written for ages 8 to 12, young adult books are written for 12 to 18 year-olds. There is an age overlap for the 12 year-old, but the main differences between the two come down to the degree of complexity of sentence structure and vocabulary, as well as the maturity level of the topic and maturity level of the reader. This difference applies to literary classics, as well.

The middle grade word count tends to be 30,000 to 50,000 words, and the books are full of adventure, mystery, magic, hero's journey, fantasy, friends and family. The themes are often fun, but can be serious and deal with topics such as grief, divorce and tragedy, as well. The books vary in many ways and what's appropriate for a 12 year old, might not be for your 8 year old. And just because the book's age range stops at 12, doesn't mean your 13 or 14 year-old won't enjoy the book. So you should still rely on your parental instinct for what your individual child's reading readiness, interest level and maturity level is rather than focus too much on the age. 

Young adult books can be around 80,000 words but tend to mirror the roller coaster of adolescence and the challenges faced as kids move through the ages of first loves and break ups, self-identity, intense emotions, difficult situations and life-altering decisions. Really considering your 12 or even 13 and 14 year-old's maturity level is important in deciding which category to explore.  Often, 12 year-olds aren't ready for the same book as a 17 or 18 year old, but then, some are, as kids are all different with different life experiences and different maturity and reading levels. 

Most adults enjoy both categories, too. Looking for a lighter or a more relaxing read, go with a middle grade book. Looking for something deeper and more realistic that may lead to some personal introspection, look at the young adult selections out there. 

The books listed here are often overlapping with the 8-9 category as they are middle grade books and though they are all appropriate for most 12 year-olds, they are not all appropriate for an 8 year-old so please keep your child's maturity level, attention span and topic interest in mind when reading the descriptions.