Books in the Middle: Reading for Middle School

Our focus is on books middle school students might like to read and topics pertaining to books for these students, and we are giving recommendations. Teachers, librarians and middle school students are the contributors to this blog. Enjoy!

School Has Been Taken Over September 28, 2014

imgresWhat would you do if your school had been taken over by a reality TV show? At first, Ethan doesn’t really think much of it. He wasn’t picked to be one of the contestants vying for the grand prize of a scholarship to an Arts college of his choice. He likes the fact that one of the contestants is a senior named Maura, so he can watch her without feeling creepy. After all, all of America is watching her on the TV show, and this show gives him the opportunity to do just that, in addition to feeding his fixation during English class, which he has with her also. Maura is the girl of his dreams, in that he’s never actually talked to her, but has had a crush on her for three years.

So while most everyone at school is just going along, Ethan is surprised when his best friend, Luke, begins to really pitch a fit about the show. He gets his other friends, Elizabeth and Jackson, riled up too. They all decide they will publish Luke’s scathing long poem about the vileness of the show, For Art’s Sake, which has taken over their school. With the assistance/ non assistance of their English teacher, BradLee, their poem creates a stir within the school and within the show, For Art’s Sake.

However, it quickly takes a turn none of the original four expected. The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer is a funny, serious, thoughtful look at growing up without knowing where you are going or how to get there. This has to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.

Recommended for mature 8th graders with a fabulous vocabulary and up. Enjoy!

 

Clockwork Prince September 19, 2014

Filed under: Fantasy Books,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 2:36 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Nimira feels stuck. She came to this new country to escape her old one where she had nothing but a broken father after the death of her mother. Her father, who used to be high up in rank within the structure of their society,  began losing all their money because of his sorrow.

Nimira however, has not found the great escape she was hoping for when she left her father and her old country behind. In fact, she struggles toimgres make ends meet as a young dancing and singing girl, commonly referred to as a trouser girl. Yet one night, a young, wealthy sorcerer comes to see her performance and asks her to come meet with him to discuss a business proposition. Nimira is hesitant at first, not sure she wants to become involved with sorcerers and the magic they can wield, but as she considers her circumstances, she realizes she needs to hear what this man, Hollin, has to say.

It turns out Hollin needs a singer to accompany his automaton – a clockwork man – who plays the piano. Hollin says he has hired other girls to sing, but they all ran away, saying the automaton was haunted. Intrigued, Nimira decides to take a chance and go to Hollin’s house to meet with the automaton. After just a little bit of time with this strange clockwork man, Nimira knows there is something living about this man, and she must do whatever it takes to help him.

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore gives us glimpses of what life would be like if fairies flew and sorcerers staffs really could have magic in them. This book gives you just the right amount of fantasy and romance as Nimira has to make hard choices that will ultimately impact the rest of her life.

Recommended for 7th graders and up who likes a bit of fantasy and romance.

 

He Hid, But Was Found August 14, 2014

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 4:26 pm
Tags: , , , ,

After World War II and the Nuremberg Trails, not ALL the major Nazis were captured and tried. Some escaped justice for a time and some for all time. One major person of interest was Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi official who was in charge of removing Jews from Germany and ultimately, all of German occupied Europe. This meant he was the one responsible for rounding up the Jews, and transporting them to concentration camps all over Europe where they faced unimaginable horrors trying to survive. Many had no chance of survival, as they were killed immediately.

imgresAs the war drew to a close, and it became evident Germany was losing, Eichmann was told to stop killing Jews, but he didn’t. He began moving them out of the camps on long torture filled walks in terrible weather where more and more died.

However, at the end of the war, Eichmann wasn’t on trail. He wasn’t to be found. Some didn’t even know his role in the war, and others, once they found out, didn’t even have a picture to know who they were looking for.

Thus it wasn’t until a girl named Sylvia, living in Argentina in 1956 brought home her new boyfriend to meet her family. His name was Nick Eichmann. During dinner he admitted his father had been a high ranking Nazi official who was instrumental in eliminating Jews in Europe. Many former Nazi found a haven in Argentina after the war, and anti Jewish sentiments were high even after the war in Argentina. For that reason, Sylvia’s father, who was half Jewish, had never admitted to anyone in Argentina his heritage. It made for a very uncomfortable dinner.

It wasn’t until months later, after Sylvia had broken up with Nick Eichmann, that she and her father read an article naming the notorious Nazi, Adolf Eichmann. They realized they might have been having dinner with one of his sons.

Thus began the secret spy operation by Israel to bring to justice one of the most hated and feared men from the Nazi organization. The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb tells the tale of how one of the most infamous men of World War II was kidnapped, drugged and ultimately taken to trail for his crimes.

Highly recommended for anyone who is interested reading about World War II or a good spy story in grades 7th and up.

 

When it Really Counts

What do you do when you hurt your best friend? Diamond Willow is struggling to find herself as she grows up in the middle of Alaska, in the middle of her family, in middle of a crisis…a crisis of her own making.

Diamond Willow begs her parents to let her take the sled dogs on the 12 mile trek to her grandparents. It is a trip she’s done plenty of times with imgresher dad, and she thinks of all the reasons they will say no, and has a counter for each. However, when her mom and dad give her permission, she is pleasantly surprised. She takes off with three sled dogs, including their best dog, Roxy, and Diamond Willow’s true best friend. The trip to her grandparents is uneventful and she loves spending time with them. It is the return trip where things go wrong, so quickly. In the blink of an eye, Diamond Willow finds her best friend terribly injured and when her parents talk about making the ultimate and final decision for Roxy, Diamond Willow runs away with her to save her life.

All through Diamond Willow by Helen Frost, relatives of the characters are among them as spirit animals, helping their human relatives to make the better decisions and subtly guiding them. This element to the story lends a feel of fantasy but also a glimpse into the Native American culture of Diamond Willow’s family.

This quick novel in verse read will definitely appeal to animals lovers as well as those who feel a little lost even in a loving family. When Diamond Willow learns of a secret that has been in her family since she was born, it is a chance for her to connect with others in a way she never imagined possible.

Recommended for grades 6th and up.

 

Looking for 60-year-old Skeletons? Fun! July 29, 2014

After his father died two years ago covering the conflict in Darfur as a photojournalist, Dylan can’t seem to connect with anyone or anything. He is hostile, angry, and just plain unpleasant to be around. His mom doesn’t seem to know what to do with him, and that is just fine with Dylan. After all, she doesn’t seem to blame his dad for going off and getting killed in some far off place hardly anyone even thinks about, so Dylan will be ticked off at the whole world enough for her too. One night he lands in jail after joy riding through a field in a stolen car. He doesn’t see what the big deal is, but his mom and the courts sure seem to have a problem with him.

imgresEnter his dad’s brother, Uncle Todd. Uncle Todd has some crazy idea to go find the Bomber plane his dad, Dylan’s grandfather, flew in during World War II. It was shot down in Papua New Guinea (PNG), and his grandfather was the only one of the crew who made it out alive, two weeks after the plane went down. For some reason, Uncle Todd thinks he can find the plane in the jungle after over 60 years, and that Dylan will become enlighten by the journey through bug infested foliage! Dylan thinks his uncle is nuts. No way does he want to tramp through some stupid jungle looking for a plane no one will be able to find anyway.

Contrary to all of Dylan’s best plans, he does end up in the jungles of PNG, and not long after arriving, he finds himself fighting for his very life, all because of his own actions.

Jungle of Bones by Ben Mikaelsen takes a kid who hates the world and gets set down in a situation where the world couldn’t care less. It is up to Dylan to decide if he really doesn’t care, or if there is something more to life.

Recommended for readers who enjoy survival stories and reading about characters who get their just deserts! For grades 6th and up.

 

 

 

What Would You Do if Your Best Friend Disappeared? July 14, 2014

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction,Romance — lpitrak @ 2:11 pm

since you've been goneFor the last two years, Emily’s world has exploded into a bright exciting place because of her best friend Sloane.  Sloane showed up the summer before sophomore year of high school, adorned in vintage cocktail dresses and smoky eye makeup, with amazing stories and adventurous plans.  All of this changes the summer before senior year, when Sloane has just disappeared.  Left behind for Emily is a list of thirteen tasks, cleverly designed by Sloane to draw Emily out of her introverted shell.  Emily vows to complete the whole list before the summer’s end, positive it will lead her to Sloane, but is horrified at the idea of kissing a stranger, dancing until dawn, or buying the expensive backless dress she’s always loved at the thrift store.  Along the way, though, Emily realizes she has hidden reserves of strength, humor, and compassion, and finds a place for herself in the world without Sloane.  VERY highly recommended for all fans of Sarah Dessen’s smart, realistic fiction.

 

Bodies and Tweets, piling up! July 10, 2014

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories — oneilllibrary @ 1:07 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thinking this new school will be her chance to break free of her old self, Brianna heads back to MacHale after winter break with mixed feelings. She thought going to the private arts boarding school would allow her to finally get out from under her mom’s thumb and get into acting. However, after the fall session, she isn’t sure anyone will take her seriously as an actress or even as a friend.

When she gets to her room for the beginning of the Winter session, she is surprised to find it full, of not only her roommate but some of the most influential upper classmen guys on campus. Including, Eric, the guy she’s been secretly crushing on since her arrival months ago. Eric is an amazing actor, and Brianna hopes her try out for Hamlet will land her a starring role, opposite Eric.

However, her hopes are quickly dashed when the old director dies, and a new teacher comes in. His style is very different and Brianna gets a role of being the play’s imgressocial media person. The new director wants her to tweet about the show and all the happenings. Very quickly though, the production is plagued by bad luck, and some cast members actual die! Brianna grows more paranoid as tweets from a mysterious person seem to predict these dire events. More and more of her classmates seem to think Brianna is the one behind these awful events.

Can Brianna figure out who is really behind the tweets and the murders before she finds herself caught in the murderer’s sights?

Followers by Anna Davies is a mystery that will leave you with some questions at the end, but if you want a mystery, grab this one for a quick read.

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 109 other followers