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!

Oh, You Poor Pathetic Vampires November 30, 2012

Filed under: Fantasy Books — ghahn2012 @ 1:36 pm
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Honestly, I’ve been pretty sick of the vampire/werewolf genre for the last few years.  There was a ridiculous output of these books after Twilight made it big, and in my opinion, it was big time overkill! My YA book group recommended the title The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks as a monthly read.  It just happened to be in the school library, so I gave it a try.  Now although I’ve already told you that I’m sick of vampires, I love when when an author can take something that everyone is familiar with and give it their own spin.  Catherine Jinks earned major creativity points in my book when instead of making her vampires strong and good looking she made them weak and pathetic.  What a twist, right?

The main character is, of course, a teenage vampire named Nina who is actually in her fifties and living with her senior citizen mother.  The only time she really gets out of the house is to go to her Tuesday night vampire support meetings at the local church.  She is able to survive by writing vampire novels- about a stylized, strong, good looking vampire who saves people.  Nina herself is weak and barely surviving on guinea pigs and supplements.  Everything that this group of vampires does is to help them survive.  Nina has never even tasted human blood!  Nina makes an interesting hero as she and some of her friends try to find a vampire hunter who staked one of the members of reformed vampire support group.

I absolutely recommend this book as great change of pace from the classic vampire story.  There is even a werewolf thrown in for good measure.



Don’t Read All At Once November 29, 2012

So I started reading this book on a road trip with my family. At first I was sharing bits and pieces with my husband, but as the hours and pages rolled by, he asked, no BEGGED me to stop. Frankly, it became a bit depressing! Now, don’t get me wrong, this is a fabulous, informative, funny (parts are laugh out loud funny), engaging book that is hard to stop reading…until you get a queasy feeling. So, seriously, you read this book and you’ll never wish to go back in time again, if you ever did! Or at least go back into a time where there were no antibiotics, dentists with novocaine or how about doctors who washed their hands! This book looks at nineteen deaths of famous folks from Edgar Allan Poe to Cleopatra to James Garfield and really more gory details about their ends then you probably ever wanted to know. How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg is one book you won’t ever forget reading, but take my advice. Spread it out over a few days, unless you are good at handling lots of gore, guts and and gagging, or and don’t forget bodily fluids.

Recommended for mature (for the gross out factor and sarcastic writing style) 6th graders and up.


Evil Iceberg Sinks Ship! November 27, 2012

If you are a Titanic fan, then you need to read The Watch That Ends the Night, Voices From the Titanic by Allan Wolf.

Not only is it about a famous historical event but this book is also written in verse!

The tragic events leading up to the sinking of the Titanic are told in poems by various people on the ship. Allan Wolf does a great job sharing the voices of both the first class and third class passengers while showing the difference sailing was for them on this grand ship. Even the Ship Rat tells his tale of scurrying among the captain, crew and passengers of the doomed ship. My favorite character has to be the evil Iceberg plotting to meet the Titanic and seal it’s disastrous fate! How clever of Allan Wolf to turn the iceberg into a villainous character.

The book is a bit lengthy with over 400 pages to read but some of the poems are short. If you sat through the 3 hour Titanic movie, you can make it through this book!
At the end of the book there is extra information about the characters who were real people, facts about the ship, and resources on the Titanic.

This book will not disappoint Titanic fans & history buffs.


“CLICK” One Novel :: Ten Authors

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — herricklrc @ 12:52 pm

Image“Click” took a new spin on the traditional novel.  Instead of having just one author, this novel had ten! Yes…you heard me right, TEN authors. A camera, some photographs, a box of seven shells, and a whole lot of mysteries are some of the things Maggie and Jason inherited from their grandfather George “Gee”.  Gee was a famous photographer who left clues about his life to the ones who he loved most. He wanted his family to understand his life’s work and discover the adventures he had around the world.

Even though the story seemed a little disconnected and predictable at times, overall it was a good read. Having ten authors can really make a story go all over the place, but I thought they did a nice job by separating each chapter by a different character.  Each chapter brought a new adventure as the two main characters Maggie and Jason discovered the puzzles their beloved Gee left behind.  Anyone who has lost someone they love will appreciate the gifts and memories that Gee had left behind.


Fairy Tales Retold


Traditionally the Thirteenth Fairy, enraged at not being invited to the royal christening of the infant princess, curses her to fall into a deep sleep on her sixteenth birthday, from which she will never wake.  The royal family, including the beautiful and gentle princess, are made to suffer at the hands of a malicious and jealous witch.  In Yolen’s Curse of the Thirteenth Fey retelling, however, readers get the fairy’s side of the story.  The “thirteenth fairy” is actually the youngest in a family of fairies, all bound to the selfish royal family who use the fairies as performers for their own amusement.  Unlike the rest of her clan, “The Shouting Fey”, Gorse is a shy and awkward bookworm.  On the day of the princess’ christening, Gorse is late and in hurrying to the castle, falls down a hole into a cave, where she meets two banished fairy princes.  In trying to save them all, she unwittingly unleashes the curse that created the legend of Sleeping Beauty.  Perfect for fans of Robin McKinley’s Beauty or the fractured fairy tales of Gregory McGuire.


One Teen Against the System and One For It November 25, 2012

Filed under: Romance,Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 2:15 pm
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What do you do when your whole world is collapsing around you? That is what is happening for Day and for June. For Day, a wanted criminal in the Republic who has just found out his family has the plague he knows he must find a cure or watch them die. For June, her brother

and only family member left has been killed, supposedly by Day. She must bring Day in to avenge her brother, but what happens when things don’t go as planned for either of them? In Legend by Marie Lu, both June and Day are characters you are rooting for, wanting them to get beyond their own beliefs to see each other as we, the reader, does. June comes from a privileged background and has her life set before her, with only good things as far as she can see. It is only when her brother is killed that she begins to realize he was trying to let her in on some of the secrets surrounding the world she has never questioned before. Day, on the other hand, has seen the brutality of the world in which he lives and strives so hard to keep part of his humanity alive, even as it becomes harder day by day. Set in a future where the haves and the have nots are clearly defined, June and Day must navigate the world they find themselves in, without compromising who they are totally.

This book keeps you moving forward quickly and with enough twists that the end isn’t totally foreseen  Even in a time when, frankly, I’m pretty tired of the futuristic dystopian books that seem to be published on an hourly basis, this one had me caught almost from the very beginning.

Recommended for grades 7 and up.




A Fantasy Without Vampires? November 24, 2012

Filed under: Fantasy Books,Mystery and Ghost Stories — lhorn1217 @ 5:53 pm
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Finally, finally, finally I have found a novel that lies within the genre of Fantasy that is not inclusive of vampires, werewolves or anything too extreme for my Contemporary/Realistic Fiction heart! The book is called Revived written by Cat Patrick (also well-known for her book Forgotten that many seventh graders have devoured).

Basically, the main character was in a terrible bus accident when she was a young girl and this agency was looking to test-out a new drug called Revive that would bring people who have died back to life. After bringing this bus load of young kids to life (though not all of them were revived) these children are then relocated, think witness protection program.

The book’s main character has now been revived five different times and seemingly found her place where she belongs, including making a best friend and her first crush. But when she discovers some hidden case studies about the agency in charge of Revive, those relationships begin to alter and she doesn’t know if she’ll be able to stay in the only place she’s actually felt at home. This mysterious fantasy has romance, friendships, action, and pulls you in from the very first page! A definite recommendation I’d make to middle school students, especially ones that don’t love far-fetched fantasies!