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!

Can hope save your life? March 31, 2013

Prisoner B-3087

15756277By: Alan Gratz

I will say that Historical Fiction is usually my least favorite genre of literature, so much to my surprise as I could not put this book down! In having read various texts centered around the Holocaust, I was hoping that I would learn something new after having read this one, and I must say that I really seemed to notice the fight and struggle that the main character was having. The way the author wrote, I felt as if I was going through the same emotions as our main character, Yanek, as he was forced into numerous concentration camps. The author doesn’t waste any time and wrote in a way that at times seemed almost brief. But you come to realize that this young boy didn’t have time, energy, or the drive to stop and dwell on the hardships that surrounded him, which mirrored similar strategies that the author used throughout.

One part that was really powerful about a half-way through the book was when Yanek’s thought, “I started to cry, the first tears I had shed. Why had I worked so hard so survive if it was always going to end like this? If I had known, I wouldn’t have bothered. I would have let them kill me back in the ghetto. It would have been easier that way. All that I had done was for nothing” (126-7).  You really get the sense of his helplessness and lose of hope. You’ll have to read this fast-paced novel to see if Yanek’s hope, or lack thereof, can pull him through the toughest struggles anyone could be asked to endure.


7th Grade Guest Blogger – Katie A.

I loved this book! I originally picked up One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones because I had just read What My Mother Doesn’t Know – also by the same author.

This book is about a girl named Ruby. You can probably tell by the title, but her mother passes away. This 15 year old is forced to move to L.A with her father, who she has never met, and absolutely hates because he abandoned her and her mother. What’s different about her father, Whip, he’s a super famous movie star. Ruby has to leave her best friend, Lizzie and her boyfriend, Ray.

When she gets to Whip’s mansion, her entire life is flipped around. She gets whatever she wants including her dream room and so much more. The only thing is that she still hasn’t seen the good side of Whip. Ruby is forced to go to a new high school and to spend time with the horrible Whip. She emails her boyfriend, best friend and even deceased mother everyday, but its just not the same. Will Ruby finally warm up to Whip? Is he even really the bad guy? Read this amazing book to find out!

Like I said, I really liked it. Personally, I like books that get straight to the point. That’s one of the reasons I liked this book, it got straight to the point. I would recommend this book to anyone, although it’s a little bit more on the girly side, I think boys could read it too. Like I said, it’s poetry so if you like poetry or novels in verse, you should read it!


7th Grade Guest Blogger – Ben L.

In the book I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, Number Four is the the main character. Number Four is trying to run away from the Mogadorians, the bad guys in the book series of I Am Number Four, The Power of Six, and The Rise of Nine. The reason that the Mogadorians are after Number Four and his friends is because they are the last of their kind and the Mogadorians want to terminate them all.

This book takes place in the future because there are aliens as the bad guys. The setting is in America and takes place mostly at Number Four’s house in Ohio. Number Four is in the 10th grade in high school.

I Am Number Four is very action-packed and suspenseful! I liked it because it kept me reading and it was from my favorite genre – Science Fiction. My favorite part of the book is when Number Four has to drive somewhere. Number Four has never driven before so it is interesting how the author describes his first drive in a car. I would recommend this book for both boys and girls who like fiction.


7th Grade Guest Blogger – Samantha H. March 30, 2013

Ally’s life was perfect. She was popular, dating her crush, and was on her high school dance team…until her life turns upside down! Something horrible happens to her that leaves her choosing between life and death. It all started one day when an embarrassing photo of her was sent around school. It was revenge from an unknown person. The only questions left are – who is standing in Ally’s way from life and death and what is going to happen to her?

Forget Me Not by Carolee Dean is a truly heartbreaking story of just how fast your life/dreams can be destroyed by one simple thing, like a photo. This was my favorite book since it really relates to all the drama and other things that happen in everyday life. My favorite part of Forget Me Not  was when Ally was just figuring out how much other people really cared about her, once they finally knew the truth and not all the rumors that were being spread around.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes a kind of sad story that turns out better for everyone in the end and also someone who doesn’t mind if a book has a little bit of romance.


7th Grade Guest Blogger – Rachel D.

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Student Book Reviews — bhomel @ 9:40 pm
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The book Between by Jessica Warman is about a 17 year old girl named Liz having her 18th birthday party on a ship her parents own. During the party, it is just her and a bunch of her friends hanging out and they are drinking too! Then when Jessica wakes up outside on the deck, she sees that when she is yelling, no one can hear her. She sees herself under the boat and she has no idea what is going on. That is until a guy that went to Liz’s school, who had died in a car accident, showed up and told her that she had died sometime during the party!

Liz has no idea what happened, she remembers nothing and neither does Alex. As police and detectives search for any clues to how she died, Liz and Alex are already going back in time to see all things that might have lead up to her death or how she even died. As they go on and time passes, they see that Liz’s sister starts to date Liz’s boyfriend Richie. When this relationship is going on, weird things start to happen and clues start to come from everyone. What if the person that killed you was closer than you thought?

I loved this book because it always kept me on my feet and wanting to read more and more every time. Also, it has a lot of drama between friendships and relationships. I would recommend this book to anyone, because it isn’t very girly or doesn’t have a lot of boy stuff in it. It’s just a great and thrilling read!


Do You Dream in Cotton Candy? March 27, 2013

Too Much PINK! That is how Grace feels when she is first put into The Land of Golden Butterflies to save her sister’s life. What? Okay, so in Deadly Pink by Vivian Vande Velde, Grace is called out of school by her mother and a game designer and a lawyer who say Grace’s older sister has altered a virtual reality game she was helping to design and now can’t be “retrieved” from the game. It appears she wants to stay in the game, and in reality, lose herself completely. Grace is an experienced gamer and finds her sister quickly with the help of the gaming company within The Land of Golden Butterflies, but is shocked when the older sister she has always loved and admired rebuffs her attempts to get her to leave the game. Grace realizes, as does her mother, her older sister’s life isn’t quite what they thought it was and now Grace has to figure out how to survive in the pink land of unicorns and dragons to find a way to bring both herself and her sister back to reality while they both still have enough time.deadly pink

I read Heir Apparent by this same author years ago and enjoyed it quite a bit. The idea of trying to beat or figure out the game comes through in Deadly Pink and anyone who has ever dreamed of being lost in a virtual reality world will thoroughly enjoy this book. There is enough of a drama going on with Grace and her sister to know that things aren’t truly what they appear, whether in the virtual world or the real one.e in the pink land of unicorns and dragons to find a way to bring both herself and her sister back to reality while they both still have enough time.

Recommended for students in grades 7 and up.



The Lesser of Two Evils March 24, 2013

When none of the options looks good, what do you do? Calvin in Nowhere to Run by Claire J. Griffin is a runner, or actually he is a sprinter. He is starting his senior year of high imgresschool in Washington, D.C. and is looking forward to winning the 100 meter dash in the District Championship. What he doesn’t count on is getting caught up in the life of his best friend Deej whose cousin who happens to be running a lot of shady deals.

Struggling to stay in school when most of his classmates don’t seem to care about showing up, and a lot of the teachers appear to only be passing the time, Calvin has a goal, and that goal is to make it to spring and go as fast as he ever has before. His friend Deej plans to be there every step of the way, and even helps to coach Calvin. Yet, just when things seem to be falling into place for Calvin, who begins dating a girl with the nickname of Junior and feels he is in love for the first time, Deej becomes distant. One night Deej asks Calvin to do something Calvin knows might jeopardize everything he has worked so hard for both with his running and in his personal life. But how do you say no to your best friend?

Nowhere to Run gives you a sense of the conflict we all face growing up. How do we make those hard decisions on our own, and even more difficult, how do we live with them once we’ve made them.

Recommended for grades 7 and up.