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!

Switcheroo +skating = Fun Read February 26, 2014

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — kbradley123 @ 2:31 pm
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Being Sloane Jacobs

by Lauren Morrill

Sloane Emily Jacobs has elite figure skating camp all summer. It is an escape from the spotlight of her senator dad and her family’s issues. Sloane Devon Jacobs is forced to go to hockey summer camp in order to stay on her high school team. She too, is looking for an escape from her family as her mom is temporarily is gone from her household. When the two Sloane Jacobs literally run into each other the night before both camps, they strike a plan to switch lives for the summer.  Each camp is far different than what each novice expects and of course each experiences a little bit of romance while pretending to be someone they are not.

This fun adventure has sports, romance, and adventure. Each chapter is from another Sloane’s perspective and is clearly labelled. This switcheroo really brings out high jinks and each girl has their own adventure in their new city and sport. It is a fun read that keeps you wanting to know what happens next!

  If you liked the Parent Trap or books where people switch lives this one is for you! It is a thoughtful reminder of what it is like to glide in someone else’s skates.       


All About the Music February 20, 2014

When HarrImagey is eight years old, a group of older neighborhood boys ties him to a tree… not knowing that an intense thunderstorm is on its way.  Lightning ends up striking the tree, leaving Harry severely burned, with facial scarring that turns him into a self-proclaimed “freak” and   “monster”.  Harry’s resulting depression lands him in therapy, where a music loving psychologist turns him on to all of the great bands of the 80s, and encourages Harry to learn to play the guitar.  The result is a misfit group of teens who call themselves “The Scar Boys”, and who actually have a great shot at touring.  Along the way, there are car disasters, fights, unrequited love, and some really amazing nights on stages all over the country.  And as Harry learns, even when the people in his life let him down and he is plagued with self-doubt and depression, “the music is always there”.


Some Secret Admirers Will Kill For You February 19, 2014

Things have been really bad for Sawyer Dodd. First, her parents get divorced and her mom moves across the country, then her father remarries and Sawyer’s new stepmom is pregnant and they all move to a new house, in the middle of a new subdivision where they happen to be the only ones living there. The only saving grace – the fact that Sawyer can keep going to her old high school. At least that seems to be the only good thing. Until her boyfriend, Kevin, is killed in a car accident. Everyone believes Sawyer is torn up over his death, but only she knows her relationship with Kevin had become toxic and abusive.

At least she thinks no one knows. Coming back to school after Kevin’s funeral, Sawyer finds a note in her locker, telling her “You’re Welcome” with an imgresarticle about Kevin’s death, clearly implying someone killed Kevin…for Sawyer. Now Sawyer isn’t sure what is going on. As others around her begin to get hurt and some die, Sawyer slowly begins to question her own sanity. Who is responsible for all of this? And can she stop the person before he or she strikes again?

Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne will keep you turning the pages in this mystery thriller, trying to figure out who is ultimately responsible for all the death surrounding Sawyer.

Recommended for grades 8th and up.


When Grandma is Bad and the Wolf is Good! February 17, 2014

After growing up as one of the famous twelve dancing princesses, Princess Petunia is hoping to leave all that drama behind her. Now that she is 16, she is looking for a little more freedom. So when an invite comes from a Countess she stayed with when she was younger, Princess Petunia takes the opportunity to go for a visit.  After all, it isn’t far from her home, and two of her sisters are getting ready for their weddings so she won’t be missed. What the princesses don’t know, is the new King Understone is still looking for brides for his brothers and himself.imgres

So as Princess Petunia heads off to the Countess’ home, she certainly doesn’t expect to be attacked by the “wolves” that live in the forest. Wolves that turn out to be men, lead by a young earl, named Oliver, who is trying hard to keep his family together. After Princess Petunia finds herself kidnapped by Oliver, she and Oliver come to an agreement. Oliver quickly realizes that Princess Petunia is in danger, and he has to figure out a way to save a girl he hardly knows but feels a connection to. Will Oliver be able help save the princesses and especially, Petunia from King Understone and his brothers?

Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George extends the story started in Princess of the Midnight Ball. Anyone who likes fairytales will enjoy this book.

Recommended for students in grades 6 and up.


Sometimes taking a risk can change your life… February 15, 2014


By: Jessi Kirby

I was hooked during the very first few pages of this text! Wrapped with hints of Robert Frost metaphors and questions connecting to our lives, I knew this romance was going to capture me whole, and it didn’t disappoint. We start our story with Parker, a studious, rule-follower, who takes pride in her choices and her hard work. As a senior TA for an English teacher whom she admires, she is given the task to postage and send out senior journals that were written 10 years ago. This teacher gives the assignment each year for his seniors to compose entries in a black composition notebook about what they will make out of their lives and the various plans they have and foresee, and then will send them to his former students ten years later. When Parker discovers a particular journal, she can’t help but read it- the first risk she’s taken in her life, upon taking it for her own viewing pleasure.

This special journal that she took was none other than the seemingly perfect Ashley, whom actually was reported missing, and presumed dead, when she and her equally perfect boyfriend, Shane, took a terrible spin during a bad snow storm a day after graduating. Their car was found in shambles, as were their belongings, and that was how their love-story ended. As Parker initially wants to read the journal because of her fascination and assumed thoughts for a perfect love story, she begins to uncover new ideas that she never had dreamt about Ashley or Shane’s relationship. As she begins to discover these new ideas around her life currently, Parker seems to piece together a different puzzle that she has indeed become infatuated with.

This story really connects with taking chances, self-discovery and taking risks. But will there be the “happy ending” that Parker desires, like in her Nicholas-Spark fantasy romances? This is definitely a must-read for all romantics out there, and those that are willing to take time to think about many messages that come about through the contexts of this journal prompts, and with help from Robert Frost of course. Stay Golden…


What would you do if you were constantly on the run?

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories — lhorn1217 @ 10:51 am
Tags: , , ,

Don’t Turn Aroundimgres-6

By: Michelle Gagnon

Tags: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Science Fiction

Our two main characters here are Noa and Peter. We begin with Noa- a foster kid who doesn’t have a family to call her own. The book starts with a heightened sense of thrill when Noa wakes up on a table in a warehouse in nothing but a hospital gown. In not recollecting anything that had taken place beforehand, she instantly tries to escape. Using her incredible street-smarts she’s picked up while primarily caring for herself for so long, she is able to do so.

Then, we meet Peter- a rich kid who takes pleasure in computer-hacking and not his parents money. When he begins to search through his father’s secret files one night, a man breaks into his home, steals his computer, and leaves.

How do these two stories come together? Well, when Peter continues to delve into this program that obviously has some restrictions and danger, he reaches out to other computer hackers for assistance, which happens to be none other than Noa. As they both continue to explore their own situations, they begin to see how their stories really do intertwine.

This story has a lot of complexity in following along the various plot lines, but the intensity, suspense, and smart creativity used along the way is like none other. As Noa and Peter continue to try to solve this mystery, get the “bad guys” while also potentially saving other people’s lives, they continue to ask themselves if it will be enough. The book ends rather abruptly with a lot of unanswered questions, which is why I cannot wait to begin the sequel: Don’t Look Now! Read if you dare!


How can one bug disturb an entire campus?

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lhorn1217 @ 10:49 am
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imgres-5By: Chris Wooding

After a student is bitten by a bug and taken to the school nurse, who knew that this would change the entire campus of students and teachers involved. We find out that this bug and other creatures, have been infected with a virus that will turn flesh into metal and thus turning people into mindless, but killing machines.

With a variety of characters and points of view along the way, the story can become slightly confusing at times, but also keeps things interesting. One science teacher tries to rally up as many students as he can to help them protect themselves from these machines that are beginning to crawl all over campus looking to infect and produce more flesh-eating machines. A few students begin to gather together to create a united front and fight against these machines. Although some of the characters make poor decisions and risk their lives, there are others that rise in the face of danger and show their true leadership skills.

Although in a genre that typically is not deemed my favorite, the horror and suspense that was created, was something I couldn’t walk away from. I definitely appreciated the perspectives included, as well as the ending where we can see the whole story come together.