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!

Do you believe in FAIRY TALES? February 27, 2013

Cinder (Book 1) and Scarlet (Book 2) 

By: Marissa Meyer

Genre: Fantasy

Welcome to the Lunar Chronicles! An admitted non-fan of Science Fiction/Fantasy, I was coerced into listening to a fabulous audiobook (Thank You Mrs. Squires) by the name of Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I have always enjoyed the various stories and versions of Cinderella (my favorite fairy tale) and thought- why not give it a try??  And I must say, I easily fell in love! The young lady who narrated the audiobook was fabulously entertaining and of course I found myself not wanting to leave my car after endless commutes just so I could finish and find out what was going to happen to our beloved Cinder, a modern day mechanic in a futuristic society.

Yes, this book definitely had counterparts that coincided with the story of Cinderella, but did so in such a way that I felt was incredibly creative and unlike many other pieces I had been reading at the time. As I have continued and gotten more into the Science-Fiction/Fantasy genre, I will still say that this is one of my favorites. I have recommended it to many students, boys and girls included and I could not wait to hear and see what happens as Cinder, a now fugitive would make of herself and the world she lived in as the man she had feelings for, none other than Prince Kai, was forced to potentially come together with the evil Queen Levana in order to save her life….

And then Scarlet (Book 2) came out and I could not wait to get my hands on it. Despite it being a little lengthy, I was ready for the challenge. We now meet Scarlet, when she finds that her grandmother has gone missing, a take on a new fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Scarlet comes into contact with a “wolf-like” character and hence the story begins.

I thought it was interesting to finally see how Cinder and Scarlet’s stories intersected, as the book continually shifts back and forth to what was currently happening with the two ladies. While Cinder is trying to escape and stay away from Queen Levana who will do nothing else than to find her and kill her, Scarlet is on a mission to find her missing grandmother. What might you ask could these two ladies have in common? Well, without giving away too much, I will say that secrets are finally out in the open and some unsolved mysteries from the first book in the series were solved!

Finally, a series that although there is a commanality with both books, still has something inventive, creative and unknown within the second book! I am looking incredibly forward to book three and even four! 🙂




So you THINK you want to be King?

Hah! Seriously, after reading Kids Who Rule: The Remarkable Lives of Five Child Monarchs by Charis Cotter, you will think twice about how grand it would have been to be king. Just think of all the people who are constantly trying to take you down. This book looks at five kids who were rulers. Now, some you have heard of, like King Tut, but others were new to me like Queen Christina of Sweden, and the last Emperor of China, Puyi.

What all of these rulers had in common was they were forced by birth to take a throne that was either ready for them, or they had to wait till they were a bit older to try to take over. Puyi, the last Emperor was a virtual prisoner in his Forbidden City and raised by women who wanted to keep him so sheltered he didn’t even understand the outside world until he was a teenager. Even after that, he was used as a pawn in wars and ended up being viewed as a traitor to his people. Queen Christina had to be voted on by groups of people in Sweden whether they felt she was fit to rule as a queen, and when they did, she was only able to take the throne when she was older after years of rigorous training in warfare as well as diplomacy. These kids were busy with all they had to learn, or were busy trying to avoid being assassinated.

Really makes you think about how being a King or Queen proably wasn’t all it seems cracked up to be!

Recommended for grade 6 and up.


Peculiar Mystery & Photos Included February 24, 2013

The only reason I decided to read Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children was because of the creepy looking cover…

I really didn’t know much about the book beyond that. Turns out, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is a mysterious story you’ll probably want to keep reading to figure out what’s going on – especially with the strange black and white pictures scattered throughout the novel.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was an orphanage on an island that Jacob’s grandfather lived in. Grandfather shared stories about growing up in the orphanage and some stories about monsters. He shared his collection of peculiar black and white photos with Jacob. Jacob questioned if the people in the photos could even be real because they were so strange!

After something horrible happens to Grandfather, Jacob is determined to figure out a cryptic message his grandfather gave him about the island. Jacob travels with his dad to the tiny island off the coast of Wales to visit the orphanage. He discovers more than just an abandoned building! What he discovers will forever change his life!

If you like mysteries and aren’t afraid of challenging words in a story – then you should read this book!


Everyone Needs a Boost Now and Then…Right? February 21, 2013

I picked up this book on a recommendation by a 7th grader at my school who in five words described this book imgresBoost by Kathy Mackel with  – intriguing, sustaining, sad, astonishing, READ. She really loved the book and her enthusiasm for it made me want to read it. I’d had it on my list for a long time, but she gave me the push I needed. I’m always on the hunt for sports books, and this one is great because it is about a girl. Savvy who loves basketball lives for it, breathes it, and eats for it! Her family is undergoing a huge change though. Just having gone through a bankruptcy, her family moves in with Savvy’s great aunt in New Jersey on a sheep farm. Right away there are adjustments that no one feels ready to make, least of all her older sister Callie whom everyone treats with kid gloves.

As Savvy looks to get on a competative traveling basketball team, and Callie takes her place on the school cheerleading squad things appear to be looking up. That is until Savvy gets accused of something that can derail all her dreams for playing basketball in the big leagues!

Recommended for grade 7 and up.


Real Life Gross Out! February 19, 2013

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 9:33 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

What could be better than learning about real life gross out stuff? And what a better subject than…blood itself! In Seeing Red: The True Story of Blood by Tanya Lloyd Kyi, we learn so much about the origins of how people all over the world viewed blood in the past and how we deal with it today. The little stories in this book are awesome. For example, did you know that Gaul warriors made necklaces…for their horses of the severed heads of their enemies? Or what about a woman in the 1600s who bathed in blood because she thought it would make her younger. Some believed that your brains were in your blood and if you leaked too much, there went your intelligence! But not all these ideas are from the past. Many religions today still have rituals surrounding blood.

I am not into gross stuff, but this book walks the line between truly gross out and cool information. If you love reading weird off the wall facts, and enjoy going “ewwww” often, this is a great find for you!

Recommended for 7th grade and up.


Guest Blogger -7th Grader Danny K.

After finishing Cat Patrick’s first book, Forgotten, I was wondering if Forgotten would be turned into a movie or if Cat Patrick would write another book. Well, she did…Revived!

What would you do if you couldn’t keep a secret? How would you feel if you couldn’t tell your secrets to someone you love or someone you have faith in? These are the thoughts in the mind of Daisy, a 16 year old girl that has been revived 5 times! After dying the first time on a football field, she woke up not knowing where she was. It was Mason that made a drug for her to come back to life. Revive is a drug that brings you back to life.

Daisy was always aware when she was being revived or not. She still has flashbacks of the times she has been revived; these dreams still haunt her. Each time she is revived, she has a different name, she moves to a new city, and she has to transfer schools.

Daisy “McDaniel” or “West”, made an oath to never tell anyone about revive, otherwise she could go to jail. Audrey, a high school student, meets Daisy and they become friends in a flash! Matt, Audrey’s brother, falls in love with Daisy, but they are not together. Daisy tells Matt her secret!

Audrey has cancer and Matt wants Daisy to give Audrey revive to help her get better. Maybe Audrey can live, but it is a 50/50 chance.

Revived is an outstanding book! I was in joy from the beginning of the book to the end! Revived is a nonstop read from the amazingly talented Cat Patrick!


Comics Count As Reading!

Filed under: Humor — bhomel @ 2:04 pm
Tags: , , , ,

If you are looking for a book to give you a few laughs then AAAA! A FoxTrot Kids Edition by Bill Amend is for you!

FoxTrot is a popular comic strip about the Fox family. FoxTrot stars:

  • Jason (10 year old brainy little brother who loves to get on his sister’s nerves with the help of his pet iguana Quincy)
  • Paige (14 year old sister who is very girly girl)
  • Peter (16 year old brother who is into sports)
  • their parents – Andy & Roger Fox

Middle schoolers (and even adults) will enjoy the Fox family antics while these three kids drive each other and their parents crazy. The FoxTrot comics cover topics like school, dreaded homework, baseball and other sports, school crushes, and the everyday life of being in a family.

AAAA! has laughs for everyone and you will laugh out loud!