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!

Her Mind Erased January 27, 2016

Filed under: Romance,Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 11:09 am

This was Sarah’s chance. A chance to start fresh with no bad memories of her past. At imgresleast that is what the doctors tell her. She doesn’t remember, good or bad memories. She doesn’t even know if Sarah is her real name or not. All she remembers is this hospital in the middle of no where with only a few patients. Patients like her, who are there because they have had something so traumatic happen to them that they all want it out of their minds, forever.

As Sarah is going in for her last treatment, the power goes out in the building. While the power is down in the operating room, someone sneaks in and puts a small plastic bag in Sarah’s hand. Once the power has been restored, the doctors decide to hold off on the rest of the operation. When Sarah is returned to her room, she finds out that a major snow storm is about to hit the area and most of the staff have cleared out.

Once Sarah is alone in her room, she is able to look at the small plastic bag. It contains three gel pills and a note. It is then, that Sarah realizes more is going on than she could ever imagine. And she is right. Because the blizzard is only the beginning of how chaotic things are about to become.

Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin is for readers who love Science Fiction, but are tired of the typical dystopian novels that have been coming out the last few years. It is a fast paced, action adventure with nice twists of Science thrown in for good measure. A really great read that you’ll have a hard time putting down.

Recommended for 8th grade and up.



They Came to Kill Him January 25, 2016

Filed under: Historical Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 11:18 am

John loved the idea of the open sea and lands to travel to. His father, however, didn’t like the imgresidea of John wanting to go to sea and be a captain. He wanted John to stay firmly in England, running the office part of the shipping company John’s father owned. In an attempt to convince John that sea life was a terrible life, his father has him accompany him on a sea voyage. Of course, rather than discouraging John from the sea, it only makes John love travel and being at sea even more.

On their return trip, they run into a terrible storm. Looking for a safe harbor, they spot lights on a cliff top, indicating that there is a safe place for ships in the storm to take cover. However, this proves to be terribly wrong and John’s ship cracks up on rocks near the shoreline.

John survives, only to witness something terrible. It turns out his father’s ship was unlucky to encounter a storm near this particular town in Cornwall. Because this community wants shipwrecks, so they can have all the goods that come with a shipwreck. But the catch is, they can only claim the goods…if all the people on board the boat have died. John is in danger since he survived the wreck.

The Wreckers by Iain Lawrence is the first book in a trilogy about John and his adventures set in the era when ships ruled the world.

Recommended for 6th grade and up.


It Happened Overnight…. January 13, 2016

Filed under: Historical Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 10:24 am

One day, her father and brother were with them; the next the family was separated by a wall. A wall with guards and dogs and machine guns and death. Gerta is a young girl when her father and middle brother leave East Berlin to go check out the work situation and the possibility of moving to the West. Everyone is worried about the growing tensions between the West and East, and Gerta’s father has already run into trouble with the Russian police for worker uprisings he participated in.

What no one knows is that during the night that her father and brother are gone, the Russians decide to make it impossible for any others to leave and go West. Overnight they create a wall, a physical wall that cuts the city of Berlin in half. At first the wall is more a line of barbed wire, but soon, it becomes more permanent with guard towers and high bricks and a strip of land beyond the wall cleared of everything that locals call the Death Zone. Because if you are caught there, you are dead.

Four years go by, with Gerta, her oldest brother Fritz and their mother, all existing on the East side of the wall, while her father and middle brother are on the West. Gerta hates the restrictions placed on her in the East, while their mother tries to make the best of it and hopes each day the wall will come down.

One day, on the way to school, Gerta looks across the wall and sees her brother on the West side. The next day, she sees her father too, for the first time in four years. Strangely, he seems to be trying to send her a message. She believes her father is trying to get her to dig a tunnel to safety. The only problem is, Gerta knows this is beyond dangerous and she isn’t sure if she can keep such a bigimgres secret from her mother, brother Fritz or the Russian police. She knows if she is caught, she faces almost certain death for herself, and possibly the rest of her family.

A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen gives readers a personal look at life behind the Wall, in East Berlin during the beginning of the Cold War. The sense of desperation and the loss of any feeling of control over your life comes through in this book.

Recommended for grades 6th and up.


Good Intentions, Bad Actions December 20, 2015

Filed under: Novels in Verse,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 10:43 am

imgresHe was only trying to help his brother. But it all went wrong, really fast. Timothy’s younger brother Levi was born with a bad trachea. As a result, he needs a LOT of medical help. He has to have his airway held open by a tube that is inserted into his throat which can make things difficult for him to breath, eat, or make any noise at all. Timothy’s dad just up and leaves one day, which means now  Timothy and his mom must try to provide everything for Levi.

In an attempt to make things better, Timothy steals a wallet and uses one of the credit cards to purchase medical supplies for his brother. He is caught. His sentence is to be on house arrest for one full year. That means only going to school and being in his house. Also, he must meet with a counselor and his probation officer each week and keep a journal of his thoughts and feelings.

House Arrest by K. A. Holt is a quick and heartfelt read. Written as a novel in verse, be prepared to have one sitting to read this book because once you start you will want to keep going.

Highly recommended for grades 6th and up.


True Story Behind Man vs. Wild December 17, 2015


The Kid Who Climbed Everest

Bear Grylls, most famous for his hit t.v. show “Man vs. Wild” has done some crazy things on camera!  He’s run Class Five rapids… with no raft; he’s dove beneath the ice of a Siberian frozen lake… with no protective gear or clothing; he’s demonstrated how to effectively free yourself from deadly quicksand… by getting stuck up to his chest in some of the fastest moving quicksand on earth; he’s eaten rats and termites that he dug out of a rotting tree stump, and finally, perhaps most famously, he’s even drunk a bottle of his own urine to avoid dehydration in the middle of the ocean!!


But before Bear was the star of his own show, he was a member of the British Special Air Service.  On a training jump in Africa his parachute failed to open, and he fractured his spine.  Doctors were unsure if he would ever walk again.  After multiple surgeries and eighteen months of agonizing, painful rehab, Bear did regain the ability, not only to walk, but to train to climb Mount Everest.  Two years later, at age 23, he became the youngest Englishman to climb Everest, which is the highest peak in the world.  (The record has since been broken, just for FYI!!).   is an awesome book about this whole journey, and speaks to overcoming obstacles, true resilience, and the power of an adventurous spirit.


Nothing Can Stop It

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 8:59 am

Five students at a boarding school in England are about to have their lives completely changed forever. In fact, one won’t make it out of the next 24 hours alive.

It all starts with a Science class outside examining the flora and fauna as well as any insects that might wander into the students’ assigned area. Paul and Adam are put in a group together, and it only take a few minutes before they are fighting each other. No surprise. Paul is the mysterious newer kid and Adam is well known as the school bully.

What is surprising is a silver-ish beetle that is found roaming the grounds of the school. Pretty imgressoon, Mark and some other boys are investigating the beetles. They seem almost mechanical in nature. As Mark goes in to get a picture, a beetle flies up and breaks his camera. Then other beetles begin biting some of the students.

Quickly, it becomes apparent that once you are scratched or bitten by one of these silver beetles, you start to become one of them. Not a beetle, but something mechanical and altered so you aren’t yourself anymore.

Faster than anyone can believe, the academy becomes overrun by humans turned into mechanical beasts who only want to bite and kill everyone.

Silver by Chris Wooding is a fast paced Science Fiction thriller. As the reader, you are trying to figure out who will make it, if anyone.

Recommended for 7th grade and up.


When the hero becomes the villain… December 15, 2015

Rose Society


This is the second book in Marie Lu’s new trilogy.  She is the same author who wrote Legend, Prodigy, and Champion, which are all set in a futuristic society.  In this new series, though, readers are taken into the 14th century.  In the kingdom of Kenettra, a blood fever wiped out most of the population.  Any adult with the fever died brutally and painfully, but some children survived.  These surviving children were marked in some way… with vivid hair colors, loss of limbs, discolored eyes… and became known as malfettos.  The luckiest malfettos were granted exceptional powers in addition to their physical scars.  And the most powerful of these became known as The Young Elites.  In the first book in this series, we learn that Adelina Amouteru is a powerful Young Elite.  She is an illusion master, and can make people see, hear, smell, and feel whatever she wants.  She can use this power to create happiness, or use it to cause intense suffering.  In addition, her powers feed off of terror and rage, so she is actually at her strongest when others are in pain.  Terrified of this darkness, the rest of the Young Elites cast her out as an exile.  And that is where this story opens.  As Adelina writes of her own story, “Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends.  Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all…”.   This book is beautifully written, and readers will feel horrified as they watch Adelina turn into the villain of her own story.



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