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!

Are You Born a Killer? September 24, 2016

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 1:26 pm

imgres-3IN the future, crime has gotten so bad, that scientists have gone looking for the gene that might help determine if a person is likely to commit murder. And one has been found. The majority of people who kill are HTS carriers – they have the gene that many murders have. Now many in the general population are being tested before they can have certain jobs, or go to schools, etc.

Davy is living a pretty awesome life. She comes from a wealthy family, goes to a private school, has been accepted into Julliard in New York because of her fabulous musical ability and has the best boyfriend a girl could want. What could possibly go wrong. Turns out, quite a lot.

Everyone in Davy’s school was tested for the HTS gene and unfortunately for Davy, she has tested positive for it. This means her school kicks her out and she must now attend public school with five other “carriers.” At first she can’t believe she has anything in common with this potential killers. But as time goes on, and her friends and boyfriend all pull away and commit the ultimate betrayal, Davy begins to realize her only hope of surviving in this new reality is to face the truth rather than living in her past fantasy. One HTS carrier named Sean, just might be the only one who can help her.

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan is a scary, possibly not so distant future of what could happen when people get scared and let their fear rule their actions. It also is a fascinating look at nature versus nurture.

Recommended for 8th grade and up.


“Run” Written In Blood September 20, 2016

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 7:40 pm

imgres-1Seriously, Rylee thinks when she gets home from school – not a moment to herself – before she has to start dealing with her little brother, Hayden. Why can’t her mom deal with him and give her five minutes before her needy little brother starts to complain and want something?

When her brother starts to cry, Rylee is about to lose it. After all, can’t he wait two seconds for a sandwich? Until she heads into the kitchen and sees that Hayden is lying over the body of their father. With blood seeping from his chest and onto the floor, from a knife that is still sticking in his heart. Clearly, Hayden had a reason to be crying this time.

As she looks in horror at the body, she sees her dad’s hand has written in blood the one word that can make her own blood freeze. Run. Rylee goes into hyper drive realizing that her mother isn’t just out somewhere, but she’s been taken. The scenario that had always been a possibility has come true. And now Rylee must leave everything behind and grab her brother and disappear. But to where? Who is safe and who can she trust?

Girl on the Run by Greg Olsen is a fast paced, harrowing tale of a young girl fleeing for her life, and then realizing she will have to stop running and go on the attack if she is ever to find her mother and keep her brother safe.

Recommended for mature 8th graders and up.


It Started with a Journal… September 16, 2016

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 7:27 pm

Look, he was simply bored. And who wouldn’t be, working for the Toronto Transit imgres-2Authority’s lost and found section. What Duncan thinks is going to be an incredibly boring summer gets turned on its side when he discovers a man’s journal in the book section of the lost and found.

At first, he thinks it is just some weird scribbles, but the closer he reads, the more he realizes this is some disturbed person’s recording of torture. Not only that, but it looks like this person is ready to move on from hurting animals, to stalking and perhaps killing a human. And it appears that he has three in mind and is trying to decide which one to grab.

Duncan can’t believe this is all real, but when the man comes asking for his journal, Duncan also realizes he can’t take the chance that it might, just might be true. What if this man is actually planning to kill one of these women? What can Duncan do about it?

Acceleration by Graham McNamee is a true thriller in every sense. Don’t read this book late at night because you will have nightmares.

Recommended for mature 8th graders due to content and subject matter.


A Car Is All He Needs, or So He Thinks September 13, 2016

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 7:06 pm

Stetson thinks he must be the only teen in history to STAY in school to spite his dad. Yeah, you heard right. His father has been after him to quit high school and come work at the same place he does, but Stetson sure doesn’t want to do anything that would make him have to spend any more time with his dad.

All Stetson cares about is having enough money to spend on his car, the car that he’s been fixing up for a long time, and his art. He’s talented and makes extra money designing t-shirts for others. Which doesn’t leave much time for hanging out with his perpetually drunk father, or much of anyone else for that matter.

So he really isn’t counting on finding out he has a sister he never knew about. After all, his mom left them when he was just over 3 years old. He only has a few memories of her. Turns out Stetson’s mother was pregnant when she left and now that she’s died, Kaylaimgres has come to live with them. Kayla has no intentions of being an easy new addition to the family either.

Stetson by S.L. Rottman looks at a complicated family situation and makes you want Stetson to make it, even when everything looks to be against him. This is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read, and a great book for any teen who has been searching for a gripping story.

Recommended for grades 8 and up.


Orbiting Jupiter August 31, 2016

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 11:39 am

When Jack sat down with his parents and Mrs. Stroud, from the State of Maine * imgresDepartment of Health and Human Services, he knew his parents wanted to foster a teenager named Joseph. What he didn’t know what just how much Joseph would impact them all.

Joseph, at 14, has already lived more than others have by the age of 80. He’s a father to a little girl that he’s never seen, named Jupiter, and comes from a troubling home situation. After being removed from his father’s custody Joseph was sent to a few homes and eventually a juvenile facility where things went from bad to worse, as in he tried to kill a teacher.

Jack’s parents know all of this, and they still want to offer a place for Joseph. What Jack doesn’t realize is how much he will end up wanting Joseph to stay as well. Even though people around him tell him Joseph is a bad example for him to follow, since he is two years younger than Joseph, Jack finds himself time and again believing in Joseph and his desire to find his little girl, Jupiter.

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt will haunt you after you have read this book. Be ready to read this book in one sitting because once you start it you won’t want to put it down. While it is a quick read, it packs a poignant punch.

Recommended for mature 7th graders and up due to subject matter.


In a World of Heroes, an Antihero is Very Welcome! August 30, 2016

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 12:01 pm
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Coming in October is the release of Goldenhand, Garth Nix’s chronological continuation of his beloved Old Kingdom series. In anticipation of this dive back into the intoxicating realms of magic, duty, and sacrifice, I would like to recommend my personal favorite of this series. Clariel is the only book in the Old Kingdom series which is not a continuation of the storyline, but rather a journey into the origins of elemental magic.

Clariel is set 600 years before Sabriel, and the Old Kingdom is very different from what it will come to be in the future. Due to generations of prosperity and relative safety from Free Magic creatures, members of the Charter have grown lax. King Orrikan shirks all royal duties, hiding in his palace, while the Abhorsen is rumored to fear his connection and rightful control over the realms of Death. Seventeen-year-old Clariel, who is capable and brave, is utterly uninterested in politics, material possessions, and the intricacies of the Charter. She lives for the wild solitude of the Great Forest. However, due to blood ties to both the King and the Abhorsen, many conspire to use her for their own purposes. Clariel as constantly torn between a sense of duty, a desire to forge her own path, and a raw “berserk” nature. In contrast, Free Magic entities are presented not as villains, but ethereal, elemental beings whose understanding of morality differs greatly from humans. Savvy readers will figure out what Clariel is to become long before the change occurs in the novel. However, this sensitive rendition gives readers a greater understanding as to how a strong force such as Clariel is ultimately drawn to the untamable power of Free Magic and necromancy.


Giants Among Us? August 25, 2016

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 2:08 pm

imgresHe simply needed a new well. At least that is what William Newell told the men that had come on the morning of October 16, 1869 to work for him. He took the men to a specific location and told them that he figured digging down about four or so feet should get them to water. What none of the workers expected was to find what appeared to be a stone man, or maybe even a petrified man. Could this be proof that giants once roamed the earth, as the Bible said? Could this be proof of Giants that the native Onondaga Indian tribe described in their legends?

Or could it actually be one of the most successful hoaxes played on Americans in the 1800s? The Giant: And How He Humbugged America by Jim Murphy looks at a little known, but largely impactful hoax that was imagined and perpetrated by a man named George Hull, along with many accomplices. This Cardiff Giant, as it was later named, captivated the minds of Americans for several months before the truth finally came out.

This is a quick and interesting read about a little known part of American history. Recommended for 6th grade and up.