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realistic fiction

book list

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Middle Grade:

  • Blue Willow by Doris Gates

  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

  • Crunch by Leslie Connor
    (This is set in an immediate but hypothetical future and has a mystery going on as an aside, but the focus of the story and the theme [coming of age] both favor realism genre.)


Young Adult:

  • Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

  • Saving Marty by Paul Griffin
    (Technically written for middle schoolers but deals with suicide, albeit gently, so I’ve categorized it for older teens.)

  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
    (Contains racial slurs and a reference to the infamous 1963 bombing of a church in Birmingham in which four girls lost their lives.)

This is a tricky genre when looking for clean reads. Much of what is classified as realistic fiction is full of grit and touches on topics parents may not want their children exposed to. In an effort to ensure the books in this reading list are age appropriate, I have opted to list some books set in historical times. Though set in prior eras, these books were written primarily as realistic fiction not historical fiction. They do not have the emphasis on historical events and personalities like those found in the historical fiction section, though they may be mentioned.

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