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!

Does the Walker Choose the Path, or the Path the Walker? December 28, 2014

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 3:09 pm

600 years before the events that occur in Sabriel, seventeen-year-old Clariel arrives in the fashionable town of 3dcover-clariel-auBelisaere.  Her mother has been honored with the rank of Highest Goldsmith, and the entire family is to live in incredible wealth and prestige.  Clariel is even set to be married to the Governor’s handsome (but cruel) son.  But Clariel, while beautiful and intelligent, has a wild, untamable nature.  She feels choked by the high walls and fancy dress of the city, and longs to return to her home in the Great Forest.  Due to Clariel’s blood ties to both the King and the Abhorsen (controller of Death), Free Magic creatures are attracted and enticed by her presence.  A member of the Royal Guard strikes a deal with the miserable, homesick young lady- she will act as bait to draw a Free Magic being out of the city, and he will help her escape Belisaere for refuge in the forest.  Clariel struggles to always do right, and to remain uncorrupted despite all those around plotting to use her for their own selfish purposes.  Still, she is strangely drawn to the elemental and raw power of Free Magic.

This is a fantastic prequel to Garth Nix’s trilogy that is comprised of Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen, and Clariel is one of the most compelling, conflicted, and ultimately, tragic, characters ever written in young adult fantasy.  For anyone who loves fantasy, magic, and heroes with a dark side, this book is a sure bet!!!


Teenage Art Thief December 18, 2014

HeistsoceityKatarina comes from a family of art thieves but is trying desperately to have a “normal” life.  When a mobster’s priceless art collection goes missing, he and his goons come looking for Kat’s father.  In order to save him, Kat finds the only solution is to channel her family’s heritage and steal back the collection.  She has only two weeks to assemble a team of teen thieves, hackers and con artists to pull off this seemingly impossible crime.  Full of humor, suspense, action, and plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing, Heist Society is one fun, slick caper novel!

Guest post by Mieko Fujiura-Landers from the Downers Grove Public Library.



Chalk Assassins

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 2:43 pm

The RithmatistIn an alternate United States, a special type of magical soldiers called Rithmatists are the only defense against wild chalklings, violent, two-dimensional creatures who leave mangled corpses in their wake.  Joel, the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, wants nothing more than to be a Rithmatist, but can only watch in envy as the chosen students learn their magic.  Then, students start disappearing – kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood.  Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves uncovering deeply hidden secrets that may permanently change the world of the Rhithmatists forever.  

Guest post by Mieko Fujiura-Landers from Downers Grove Public Library.


Who Killed the High school’s hated football coach?

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories — lpitrak @ 2:40 pm

High school senior Millie stumbles across the dead body of her school’s (very much despised) football coach, Buzz KillHollerin’ Hank.  Even though the suspect list is a mile long, her father becomes the main suspect in his death.  Millie decides she needs to channel Nancy Drew and investigate the coach’s murder herself.  Millie, with the help from the hot new transfer student, Chase (who she’s not really sure she can trust), pokes around Hollerin’ Hank’s life to try to clear her father before the body count rises any higher.  

Guest post by Mieko Fujiura-Landers from the Downers Grove Public Library.


Teenage Superhero

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lpitrak @ 2:35 pm

SteelheartA decade ago, a mysterious event known as the Calamity transformed ordinary people into powerful beings with incredible powers and abilities. Known as Epics, these corrupt superheroes have subjugated humanity and taken over the world, a different epic ruling each of the cities. As a child, David watched as his father was killed by an Epic. Now, ten years later, he joins the Reckoners, who are trying to eliminate the Epics and end their tyrannical rule.

Guest post by Debra Wischmeyer from the Downers Grove Public Library.


An Assassin’s Dilemma

Filed under: Fantasy Books,Romance — lpitrak @ 2:32 pm

Throne of GlassAt only 17 years old, Celaena is the most feared assassin in Adarlan, and has been condemned to prison work in the salt mines for her crimes. But a year into her sentence, the Crown Prince offers to sponsor Celaena in a competition with 23 other criminals and murderers. The stakes are high–either she wins and earns her freedom, or loses and returns to certain death in the mines. Guest post by Debra Wischmeyer from the Downers Grove Public Library.


Epic quest for a lost King

Filed under: Fantasy Books,Romance — lpitrak @ 2:30 pm

Raven BoysSince she was little, Blue has been told one thing by her psychic family: if she ever kisses her true love, he’ll die. Blue doesn’t have much to worry about, since her rule is to stay away from them—especially boys at the local prep school, Aglionby. But one night, in a cold churchyard, as Blue waits with her mother to greet the spirits of those who will die in the next year, Blue sees the desperate spirit of a young man who calls himself Gansey. When she learns Gansey is alive and a student at Aglionby, she seeks him out and is caught up in a mystery she never expected.  

Guest post by Debra Wischmeyer from the Downers Grove Public Library