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!

8th Guest Blogger – Highly Recommended Book! January 31, 2013

imgres-2I have just so recently read Trackers by Patrick Carman. I would have to say it was a great book. If you are into technology, and like using it to track or watch someone this is definitely the book for you. That may sound a little creepy, but it’s true… Anyhow back on topic. I was so amazed by the technology Adam had had! He had technology not even on the market! The book was easily a nine out of ten, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book in the series. Personally I’ve always wanted to get a government job tracking threats on the internet like the NSA, Homeland Sec., etc., but Adam and his crew get an awesome job offering at the end of the first book. I would have done anything to get the job offer they got. Once I read the first page I had to keep reading. I felt like an anaconda grabbing its victim from the beginning, but never letting go until the end! That simile is a little bit morbid, but the book was really good. I would suggest putting the book in the library, and I would also suggest anyone into technology to read the book. -Taus


Can You Escape Your Past? Do You Want To?

imgres-1When Socko (short for Socrates) is told by his mother they are moving out of the only home he can remember to take care of a great-grandfather he’s never met, he wants no part of it. Not that things are great where Socko lives in Summer on the Moon by Adrian Fogelin. He and his best friend live in fear of the local gang, the Tarantulas. Their leader, Rapp, seems determined to take them both out. Socko doesn’t feel near as brave as his friend Damien, but he knows Damien’s mom can’t help him out at all and Socko doesn’t want to leave him behind.

When Socko and his mother make the move to a basically deserted new housing development called Moon Ridge he feels they might as well be ON the moon for all the people there and how empty it feels after the bustle of the city life. His great-grandfather turns out to be a cranky, demanding old soul, who seems to live to torment Socko and his mother. Or so he seems at first glance. He sends Socko on recon missions in the neighborhood and it is on these missions Socko’s life begins to change as he meets his only neighbor. Just when things appear to be moving in a forward direction, Socko, can’t seem to leave behind his past in the city and when it comes looking for him, he has to decide to either continue looking back, or finally turn and look the other way.

Socko is a kid that reminds me of a younger brother I have, who, as a kid appeared tough and kind of scared at the same time. I’m sure he’d love to know I thought of him that way, but now that he’s older he would probably agree with me! While Summer on the Moon takes a bit to get going, once it does, it is hard to put down as you want to know what decisions Socko will make and which ones will be taken out of his hands.

Recommended for grades 6th and Up.


Guest Blogger 8th Grader Ariana A. January 29, 2013

Imagine you didn’t know anything about your own mom! What if you didn’t know some of the words she was saying? Imagine not understanding what she was saying or wanted to say to you.

In the book So B. It by Sarah Weeks, Heidi doesn’t know much about her mom. She wants to find out the meaning of the word her mom keeps saying, “soof.” Heidi’s mama is named So B. It.
Bernie is their next-door neighbor. Bernie takes care of mom because Mama’s brain is having trouble. Bernie is more like a nanny to them because she teaches them how to open food cans, how to cross the street, and how to tie their shoes. Then one day Bernie finds some pictures and shows them to Heidi. Heidi thinks that her mom and grandma are in the picture. Heidi has never met her grandmother.
Heidi and Bernie call Hilltop, the place where the pictures were taken, in New York. What Heidi decides to do is to go to Hilltop by herself. When she gets there, she meets a man that knows the word “soof”, the word that her mom says and the word that brought her to Hilltop. She tries to find out the information she needs about her mom and family.

I liked this book because it has some mysteries and a little bit of adventures. If you like finding clues like Heidi does, you will like reading So B. It.


Female heroine who is nice but NOT boring!!! January 27, 2013


Before I begin this post, I would like to preface by saying I love all sorts of characters, and this is a fantastic time to be a young adult book heroine.  There are incredibly strong, brave, self-sacrificing heroines like Suzanne Collins’ Katniss or Kristin Cashore’s Katsa.  There are the brilliant, resourceful, daring girls such as found in Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series.  There are   a multitude of dreamy, passionately romantic leading ladies such as Lauren Kate’s Luce or Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl’s Lena.  Even the snarky, Upper East Side Princesses Serena and Blair from Cecily von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl series are so much fun to know as characters.  So, I could go on and on!!  But, outside of the novels of Sarah Dessen, it can be difficult to find books to recommend to teen girls who just want a nice female leading character.  Not boring, not one-dimensional… just nice.  That is why, in addition to being a gorgeously written, goosebump-inducing, fantastically-woven mystery/ghost story, Brenna Yovanoff’s new novel, Paper Valentine, is so wonderful.  Her leading lady, sixteen-year-old Hannah Wagner, is an extremely nice, compassionate, polite person.  She is the kind of character many middle school and high school girls are friends with, are on sports teams and clubs with, and actually are!  Hannah has a good relationship with her mom and stepdad; loves her sister Ariel and enjoys hanging out with her.  She is artistic- she sews or enhances all of her own clothes with findings from her mom’s secondhand shop.  She helps out in her cousin’s photography shop.  She enjoys sleepovers, pool parties, laughing with friends.  She considers other people’s feelings, and if she says something cruel or stuck-up or just insensitive, she recognizes and apologies!  Hannah is not a boring or poorly drawn character. She is just a smart, sweet, thoughtful girl with varied interests and complex emotions.  Oh, and she just happens to be able to see and talk to the ghost of her dead best friend, as well the ghosts of other middle school and high school girls who have been murdered by a potential serial killer.  But that is another story!!! 🙂


Ever Want a Do-Over? January 24, 2013



What if one day you looked up and saw someone watching you, like they knew you? But the next moment they were gone? Anna is mystified in the book Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
when this happens to her one early spring morning while she is running. A boy appears to be sitting in the bleachers at the track, but the next moment gone. When she goes up to investigate, the snow on the bleachers is undisturbed…except where the boy was sitting. Adding to the mystery, she goes to school and meets the very same boy, although he acts like he’s never seen her before, and denies being at the track that morning.

Quickly, Anna, realizes there is something strange going on with Bennett. He is at first friendly, then cold and harsh. Anna has no idea what is going on with him, but honestly, the truth is far stranger than anything Anna could come up with on her own. Bennett has the ability to travel through time and has to make decisions that will affect many peoples lives, including his own and Anna’s.

If you are looking for a romance that will keep you on your toes wondering how the pieces of the puzzle will fall, this is a great book for you. As with most time travel books, I felt like there were a few areas that were unclear, or didn’t totally make sense, but this is a fantasy after all, so some..okay, a LOT of suspension of belief is needed. I don’t think that will deter most readers though who are looking for a fun escape.

Recommended for 7th grade and up.


Guest Blogger 8th Grader Nita A. January 21, 2013

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes is about a girl named Wanda. Wanda is not popular and rich like every other girl. Wanda wears the same old dress every day. One day a girl named Maddie asked Wanda how many dresses she had and Wanda said, “a hundred dresses!” This obvious lie becomes a game and everyone starts teasing Wanda.

There is a lot more going on in this book! I really liked it because it’s about bullying and it kind of shows that it’s not all about how popular and rich you are. If you are nice and smart and just being yourself – that’s all that matters!


Guest Blogger 8th Grader Ryan D.

Filed under: Science Fiction Books,Student Book Reviews — bhomel @ 4:34 pm
Tags: , ,

Have you ever been scared to go outside because of the thought you would never be seen again? You’re lucky you don’t have to, but read this book so you can feel what it’s like!
The title of my book is called POD By Stephen Wallenfels.

There are these black oval things called Pods. When they appeared, they started to take people away with this blinding light that flashes whenever people step outside. The only things that the bright flashes take away are people and cars. Everyone is safe unless they are seen by the pods.

The main characters are Meg (12 years old) and Josh (16 years old). Meg is all by herself living in a parking garage of a hotel with very little food. She has to go outside of the car she lives in to get food. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem but there are these guys that come out of the hotel and smash the car! These are very violent people that Meg doesn’t want to be involved with. In the beginning of the book, Meg’s mom left before the pods showed up. Her mom said she would be back. Meg didn’t mind her absence but, little did Meg know, that could be the last time she would possibly see her mom.

Josh is the other main character in the book. He lives at home with his dad. They have a good amount of food with them. (so far!) There is a pod over their house. His dad is very smart because he makes a list to eat only three times a day and he filled everything he could with water just in case the water goes off.
I like this book because it’s a page turner and I always wanted to keep reading. I just really like sci-fi and reading stuff like this. I hate to read but this book changed my opinion on reading.