I'm not a fan of MUST reads. Picky Reader ( a rising 9th grader), loves books where the children are abused, and Harry Potter, but won't read a paranormal book for love nor money.
But the books below I could hand to almost any 6th grader and they would be fairly happy. I have them divided by "girl books" and "boy books", not that girls don't read Chasing the Falconers, and boys don't read I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You, but you'd have a little more success staying along gender lines.And remember, these are the books that work for me at my school library. But if you haven't heard of these, I'd definitely take a look.
For the gentlemen: