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!

And Then the Sharks Came April 24, 2015

Filed under: Historical Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 9:22 pm
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They were trying to get to their parents. In the final days of WWII, the Pacific Ocean and the islands by the Philippines were devastated from bombings and all the fighting. Caught in the armies crossfire were civilians and others native to the islands. Patrick and Teddy had been having bad luck ever since the Japanese invaded the Philippines. Their parents, in an attempt to save them, sent them away to another island, not knowing the two boys would end up in grave danger there as well.

imgres-1Once the Japanese were driven off the island of Guam, Patrick has the idea if he can only get back to the Philippines, he can find their parents and be re-united with them after four long years. However, the only way for two young boys to get there is by becoming stowaways. It turns out they pick the wrong ship. With the help of a marine named Benny, they are smuggled aboard a ship called the U.S.S. Indianapolis.

This proves to be a fateful move however, since the Indy is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sinks in under 13 minutes. Benny, Patrick and Teddy make it into the water, but Benny is severely hurt in, and Teddy is basically no help. So Patrick must try to keep them alive even as the waters churn with sharks, ready to take them down, deep into the sea.

Into the Killing Seas by Michael Spradlin is a great historical fiction look at the sinking of this ship during WWII, and the worst encounter between humans and sharks ever recorded.

 

Three Great Romances by One Amazing Author!!! April 9, 2015

Filed under: Humor,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction,Romance — lpitrak @ 7:12 pm

Stephanie Perkins is the author of three awesome romances.  Each one features a different girl (Anna, Lola, and Isla) whose lives overlap and intersect throughout the series. Anna, a down-to-earth beauty with a passion for film, finds love for the first time while studying abroad in Paris… but the interest of her affection has a long-time girlfriend!!!  Lola, a vibrant, experimental budding fashion designer, is happy with her musician boyfriend, until the childhood crush who broke her heart moves back in next door.  Finally, Isla, brilliant, shy, with a love for graphic novels, realizes the guy she has been crushing on since freshman year likes her too… but can she understand that he finds her as fascinating as she finds him?  I love this series so much, because each of the girls has a totally distinct personality, sense of humor, and quirks.  And so do the guys they fall for!!  Happy endings are there for everyone, but they happen realistically and characters have to work for them. Great for anyone who loves romantic comedies and smart, funny girls!!!

Book Blog

 

What if the Nazis…Won? April 4, 2015

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 1:03 pm
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imgresZara has always known a world with the Nazis in it, because they won World War II, along with the Japanese and the Italians. As a result, the United States has been divided up by the three winning countries, and the rest of the world that wasn’t parceled up by the Axis Powers just tries to stay out of their way.

That is hard for Zara to do though. She’s lost her mother and her best friend to the Nazis; her mother because she was fighting in the Alliance to push the Nazis out, and her best friend because it was discovered a distant relative was Jewish. Zara wants more than anything to join in the fight with the Alliance, but her uncle is extremely hesitant. After her mother died, her uncle went from being a fighter to terrified about anything that could put him or Zara on the radar of the Nazis. And Zara has something very powerful that could indeed put her on the radar, and get her instantly killed as well!

The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond will keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow Zara beginning to realize if she wants to make something happen to change her life and her world, she will need to do it herself, rather than waiting for someone to come along. The idea of what might have happened if the war didn’t end as it did will have you thinking for a long time after you finish this book.

Recommended for 8th grade and up due to violence.

 

The Librarian is a Demon…No Really He IS! March 31, 2015

Filed under: Fantasy Books,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 2:35 pm
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So, Cyn -short for Cynthia- realizes that not much can penetrate her laser focus when Ryan is around  (the guy she’s been majorly crushing on forEVER but doesn’t know she exists), but still, something is up when her normally unflappable, positive and totally supportive best friend.  Annie suddenly seems really taken with the new school librarian. Not as in, oh, he recommends such great books to me, but as in so taken that it is creepy and inappropriate.

imgresCyn decides she needs to check things out since Annie can’t stop gushing about Mr. Gabriel. When Cyn meets him, she agrees with Annie that, yes, he is quite attractive, but there is something that is a bit, well, OFF, about him that Cyn just can’t put her finger on. However, Annie will hear nothing against her new guy (again – ick) and proceeds to begin to shut Cyn out of her life. Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is doing something to the students at her school. He touches them and they get kind of foggy looking and out of it. Cyn sees Ryan (AKA – love of her life) talking to one of his zombie/ foggy friends and she mentions that she thinks there is something strange going on with Mr. Gabriel. Of course she knows this sounds totally crazy, until she is proven right.

Turns out …he’s a demon, and he wants her best friend to become his demon bride. Double ick! So it is up to Cyn to try to save not only Annie, but Ryan and…wait for it – her entire school – from Mr. Gabriel and his evil ways. The Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen will not disappoint. You will laugh out loud with this book, and be rooting for Cyn every step of the way, through murders and soul sucking and well, waiting for her first kiss from Ryan…which, let’s face it is right up there with saving her friend Annie from becoming a Demon’s bride!

Run out and get this book RIGHT NOW! It is a great read. It is funny, and scary and just plain downright WONDERFUL. Recommended for 8th grade and up.

 

Dreams Do Come True March 30, 2015

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles,Novels in Verse — oneilllibrary @ 5:45 pm

For a little brown girl, born into a world of continuing turmoil of change, Jacqueline Woodson had no idea how much her life might parallel the world around her, and the struggles her nation was undergoing. For Woodson was born in the early 1960s in the Unites States. She was a girl born to a northern father and an southern mother, at a time when the South was still very entrenched in their Jim Crow world. After the marriage fails between her parents, Jackie, as her family called her, along with her mother and two siblings, moved to the South and lived with her mother’s parents for several important years.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson is a novel in verse biography of Woodson’s early years and howimgres she tried to resolve her love of the South, with some of the harsh realities of her younger years. She also moved to NYC when she was still fairly young, and the differences between the two climates and cultures made her feel split often.

This book will be slow for some readers, and is what I would call a quiet book. This book is recommended for thoughtful and mature readers, as some inferences will be needed to fully appreciate this story. For grades 7 and up.

 

Walking the Line… In War March 2, 2015

Ashe is used to living in a war zone. After all, his parents are only together because of him. His dad was on his way to getting a job with the NFL after college, but he had to drop out after Ashe’s mom got pregnant. While it is clear both his parents love him to death, they don’t share the same affection for each other. Most of his life has been spent in a cold war situation.

With the real war in Vietnam heating up, Ashe realizes just how far apart his parents have become. His dad is imgrescompletely supportive of the war while his mom begins to attend rallies to end the war. In the middle of this, a new girl begins to attend his school and he quickly becomes entranced with her. Her brother is off already fighting in the war in Vietnam.

Things really begin to fall apart when Ashe’s mom does something his father just can’t, or won’t, forgive. Ashe is being asked to choose between two people he loves dearly, but who are pulling him in opposite directions.

Death Coming Up the Hill by Chris Crowe is written as a novel in verse and is a fast and engaging read. Seeing Ashe struggle between knowing what his mother did was wrong, but understanding why she did it as well as seeing how his father can feel. It also gives the reader a view into a very tumultuous year in our history – 1968.

Recommended for 8th graders because of the subject matter.

 

Life in the Death Shop February 19, 2015

Filed under: Romance,Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 8:36 am
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Her life had been pretty predictable up to this point. Aria had her close group of friends, her mother, Luna, and well, the Realms. Life in the Realms made everything seem fine. Until her mother has to leave their pod and go to another settlement called Bliss to do her research, leaving Aria behind. Still, not the end of the world, until contact is lost to Bliss. In an effort to find out what has happened to her mother, Aria befriends the son of the Head of Security, Soren, thinking he must know something. However, things go very wrong when Soren decides to break into a part of their pod that hasn’t been used for years. He and some of the boys start a fire and then attack Aria and her friend Paisley. Out of the burning night a person appears, an outsider, who rescues Aria from Soren’s attack.

imgresPeregrine is stunned to see the waste in the pod and doesn’t understand the attack on the girl. He saves her life from the fire, and take the strange eye piece that she was wearing over her eye. He returns to his tribe and back into conflict with his older brother Vale. Quickly Peregrine knows he will have to leave again, since he can’t get along with his brother. However, people from Aria’s pod come and kidnap Peregrine’s little nephew and demand to have the eye piece from Aria back. Peregrine is able to escape, barely but he knows he must leave his tribe to try to find a way to get his nephew back.

Little does he know that his actions back at the pod have created problems for Aria leading to her expulsion from her society. Aria, forced outside of the comfort and familiar surroundings of the pod, finds herself dropped into the middle of the Death Shop, where rumor has it there are a million ways to die. Never having been outside of four walls before, she isn’t sure how she will survive. Peregrine comes across her not long after she has been thrown out and he sees her as a way to get his nephew back.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi is a fast paced action story of what could happen in a future where the sky has turned on the earth, and what the humans are trying to do to live.

Great book for anyone looking for a futuristic earth – without zombies – and a nice romance too! Recommended for grades 8 and up.

 

 
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