There are many times throughout life that a good laugh is both needed and appreciated, but rarely so much as during middle school. While I encourage adults to respect a teen's penchant for serious, dramatic teen literature, never hesitate to recommend something funny.
Two of the laugh-out-loud, funniest books I have ever read are the slapstick-like "The Boy Who Owned the School" by Gary Paulsen and the short story collection, "Never Cry Arp" by Patrick McManus. My favorite story in the collection involves two boys and a rope, one end of which they've lassoed around a wild horse while the other end is tied around their unsuspecting father's waist for what was supposed to be safety and security.
"Ruby Redfort: Look Into My Eyes" by Lauren Child is the light-hearted story of a middle school spy who happens to be super-smart, ice-cool and gadget-laden. Her demeanor and the rules she uses to plan every aspect of her life make for some laughs while the search for a missing housekeeper and some code-breaking make for a page-turning mystery!
"Cold Cereal" by Adam Rex
It's the story of three friends who wonder what would happen if the leprechaun mascot for your favorite cereal brand was actually enslaved by the company.
"The Last Dragonslayer" by Jasper Fforde
Set in a world where magicians no longer garner respect. Jennifer Strange runs an employment agency hiring them out for the only jobs they can get—menial tasks. She thinks this job is her future until she discovers that she is a mythical, last dragon slayer destined to kill the dragon whether she likes it or not.
"Dead End in Norvelt" by Jack Gantos.
The elderly in his small town are dying and Jack's neighbor, who has hired him as a substitute for her arthritic hands, doesn't believe it's a coincidence. The unlikely pair makes quite the investigative team as they set off to prove that crimes are being committed and then to solve them.