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. If you would like to listen to booktalks of some of these books, please check out this site and enjoy!

To Read the End First….or Just Take a Peek? October 23, 2012

Filed under: Fantasy Books — oneilllibrary @ 9:59 pm
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I just finished Bruiser by Neal Shusterman on the way home today. The last two mornings I’ve been in my car, sitting in the parking lot, not wanting to go in to work, because the story became so compelling. What if you didn’t have to feel pain, any pain. No physical, no emotional pain, ever. The only problem is that you don’t just get rid of it, you transfer it to another person. Would you still do it, or would you own your pain? Brewster, or Bruiser as most of his classmates know him, has tried to remain aloof from everyone except his younger brother, Cody. However, when a brother and sister enter his life, all that he knows and tries not to know changes.

As much as I loved this book (as I do just about every Shusterman book I’ve read) it got me thinking. I tend to look at the end of a book, you know, the last few pages, if I’m getting worried. Worried that an animal might die, worried that a favorite character might die, worried that the two people I want to stay together or end up together won’t. In general, I worry. So that is why I sometimes look at the end of the book..before I’ve finished reading. I have mentioned this a time or two to Mrs. Homel and Mrs. Casper, and both have yelled at me. They say I’ve ruined the book. I can’t help it, I need to be prepared for an ending I might not like.

The only time I’m unable to do that, is if I’m LISTENING to a book. Now, I can’t even tell you how many times I wanted to flip to the end of Bruiser to see what was going to happen. BUT I couldn’t! I was listening to the CDs in my car, as you might have picked up from my first sentence. When I listen to a book I can’t just “flip” to the end. I also find that I remember books that I’ve listened to more than books that I’ve read. Partly, because I tend to skim parts of a book that I don’t like, or want to rush ahead to the “good stuff.”

Okay, so my question to you is, have you ever flipped to the end of a book, and felt better because you did? 🙂


3 Responses to “To Read the End First….or Just Take a Peek?”

  1. Sheila Kelly Welch Says:

    Have I ever flipped to the end of a book and felt better because I did? Not very often, but I have done it. I remember with one book, I kept wondering if the newborn baby would live or die as his siblings had all died shortly after birth. I checked near the ending, was relieved to learn that this one lived, and went on reading. Another time, I wanted to find out what had caused a character to be so traumatized that she’d quit talking. I closed the book and held it so I could see the edges of all the pages then opened it to the spot where I guessed this information would be revealed. I was amazed that I’d guessed correctly. I read those two pages and then went back to finish the book. If I’d been listening to these books on CDs, I wouldn’t have had that option. So my answer to your question is, “Yes, and yes, I felt better.”

    BUT, as an author, I work hard to make each story or novel have a structure, and I don’t expect readers to “cheat” and mess up the order in which I’ve told my tale. However, I have no control over readers, and as a reader myself, I understand that need to see into the future of a book.

    Happy reading!

  2. bhomel Says:

    I have NEVER flipped to the ending of a book and I hope I never do. One of the best parts of reading is being surprised by what happens and discovering the story as it unfolds. For me, it keeps me reading because I always have to find out how it ends. At times this has helped me actually finish books I had no desire to. But for all those books I have loved, I savor every page. Sometimes I am on the edge of my seat dying to find out what happens, sometimes I am in tears, and other times I am shocked or upset by what happened. I don’t think I’d be as invested in a book if I jumped to the end. Do you fast forward movies to see how they end?

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