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!

Taking Over a Dead Girl’s Bucket List… March 18, 2014

1-Goodbye-Rebel-BlueRebecca Blue does not fit in at Del Ray high school.  Raised by her professional photographer single mother, Rebecca (aka Rebel) grew up on the road chasing the perfect photographic happenings throughout Central and South America.  When her mother is tragically killed, however, Rebel moves in with her aunt, uncle, and Cousin Pen… all of whom seem impossibly tight-laced and perfect.  The one constant in Rebel’s life is now detention, where one afternoon she connects with perky, passionate, civic-minded Kennedy Green.  For their detention assignments, the two create Bucket Lists.  Rebel’s is full of jokes and dares, while Kennedy’s is full of ideas to make the world a better place.  When Kennedy is killed in a car accident eerily similar to the one which killed her mother, Rebel decides to complete Kennedy’s Bucket List.  Can Rebel choose to save endangered species and perform Random Acts of Kindness, without losing her sense of the artistic, free-spirited wanderer that she has always been?


Can Love Endure Over Multiple Centuries?

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 12:32 pm
Tags: , ,

The winner of the 2013 Printz Award, Midwinter Blood, is a wildly imaginative exploration of folk ritual, human connection, and enduring love.  The book opens in 2073, when Eric Seven travels to the isolated island of Blessed.  He is a reporter who has been assigned to uncover the secrets of a rare breed of orchid flower, which seems to give the island’s inhabitants eternal youth.  Nothing is as it first appears, however, and readers are taken farther and farther into the past through seven fantastic stories connected with this ethereally beautiful, but dangerous, island.Image


What happened if you woke up as a new person each day? March 13, 2014

Title: Every Dayimgres

Author: David Leviathan

Think about the relationships you have and the comfort of knowing someone is constant in your life. You have a routine, you have a family you are a part of, and a support system you have around you. What would happen if that all vanished? What would happen if each day you managed to wake up as a new person, embedded within someone else’s life, only to stay for a single day? Could you ever fall in love?

This is exactly what is occurring within the text, Every Day, a beautiful written and enlightening story that I really feel the reader can’t help but be reflective on their own lives. Since the main character changes to a different person each day, this person doesn’t technically have a specific gender, as he has transformed into both males and females. One day while inhabiting the body of Justin, he makes an immediate connection with Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. Since “he” can’t seem to stop thinking about her, the contact continues. But he will then be contacting her as someone else. To what lengths will “he” go to try to continue this connection? Is it a possibility? Will he share his secret?

You’ll definitely have to read it to figure it all out!


Does Makeup Cover All? March 6, 2014

Lexi knows her life isn’t perfect. But that is how she has to present her little sister, Mackenzie, since her sister is in pageants. As in full glitz pageants, where the little kids wear tons of make-up, fake tans, and fake teeth! These pageants cost a ton of money, and Lexi has given up trying to talk her mom into moderation – even though it is impacting their lives in terms of money and lots of time.

imgresLexi’s bright spot is she gets to spend every weekend with the boy of her dreams…as he watches his girlfriend compete in pageants. So while she daydreams about Logan, she knows the fantasy will never become reality. Or will it? Lexi, with the encouragement of her two best friends, decides to do a little makeover on herself. The problem with that is, do people like her for who she is now on the outside, or who she is inside?

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg has some fun moments. Lexi finally speaks her mind with lots of authority at the end of the book, but it isn’t realist. Still, it is always fun to root for the underdog.

For students in grades 7 and up.


Raised by Wild Animals

Filed under: Fantasy Books — ghahn2012 @ 9:05 am
Tags: , , , ,

Into That Forest by Louis Nowra Image

Our public library hosted a fantastic event at both of the middle schools where they donated tons of new novels that are in the process of being published to our students.  I was fortunate enough to get my hands on this title.

In the novel, two girls survive a terrible storm in which the narrator’s (Hannah) parents drown.  The girls are rescued by two Tasmanian tigers that raise them and teach them to hunt and survive in the wilderness.  Eventually, they lose their humanity and seem to be more animal than human.   The story is absolutely fascinating and really makes the reader think.  Would wild animals, especially predatory animals like tigers, ever raise human children as their own?  In the story the female tiger recently lost a litter to hunters, which supports the idea of accepting the children as her own.  It leaves the reader to question, if we were taken out of civilization would we revert to being more like the animals?

This novel is a quick and easy read.  The reader will get caught up in the story of Hannah and Becky.  As a reader, I wanted to connect more with Hannah.  Her experience was very traumatizing, but it is told from Hannah’s perspective as an old woman, which puts distance between the experience and the story.  I felt like Nowra could have written Hannah differently to pull the reader into the story more.  On the other hand, Nowra gives Hannah an almost animalistic perspective, which sets her apart from the reader and makes her interesting in a different way.

I absolutely recommend Into That Forest for animal lovers and readers looking for something a little bit different.