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!

And Then the Sharks Came April 24, 2015

Filed under: Historical Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 9:22 pm
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They were trying to get to their parents. In the final days of WWII, the Pacific Ocean and the islands by the Philippines were devastated from bombings and all the fighting. Caught in the armies crossfire were civilians and others native to the islands. Patrick and Teddy had been having bad luck ever since the Japanese invaded the Philippines. Their parents, in an attempt to save them, sent them away to another island, not knowing the two boys would end up in grave danger there as well.

imgres-1Once the Japanese were driven off the island of Guam, Patrick has the idea if he can only get back to the Philippines, he can find their parents and be re-united with them after four long years. However, the only way for two young boys to get there is by becoming stowaways. It turns out they pick the wrong ship. With the help of a marine named Benny, they are smuggled aboard a ship called the U.S.S. Indianapolis.

This proves to be a fateful move however, since the Indy is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine and sinks in under 13 minutes. Benny, Patrick and Teddy make it into the water, but Benny is severely hurt in, and Teddy is basically no help. So Patrick must try to keep them alive even as the waters churn with sharks, ready to take them down, deep into the sea.

Into the Killing Seas by Michael Spradlin is a great historical fiction look at the sinking of this ship during WWII, and the worst encounter between humans and sharks ever recorded.

Recommended for grades 6 and up.

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Three Great Romances by One Amazing Author!!! April 9, 2015

Filed under: Humor,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction,Romance — lpitrak @ 7:12 pm

Stephanie Perkins is the author of three awesome romances.  Each one features a different girl (Anna, Lola, and Isla) whose lives overlap and intersect throughout the series. Anna, a down-to-earth beauty with a passion for film, finds love for the first time while studying abroad in Paris… but the interest of her affection has a long-time girlfriend!!!  Lola, a vibrant, experimental budding fashion designer, is happy with her musician boyfriend, until the childhood crush who broke her heart moves back in next door.  Finally, Isla, brilliant, shy, with a love for graphic novels, realizes the guy she has been crushing on since freshman year likes her too… but can she understand that he finds her as fascinating as she finds him?  I love this series so much, because each of the girls has a totally distinct personality, sense of humor, and quirks.  And so do the guys they fall for!!  Happy endings are there for everyone, but they happen realistically and characters have to work for them. Great for anyone who loves romantic comedies and smart, funny girls!!!

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What if the Nazis…Won? April 4, 2015

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 1:03 pm
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imgresZara has always known a world with the Nazis in it, because they won World War II, along with the Japanese and the Italians. As a result, the United States has been divided up by the three winning countries, and the rest of the world that wasn’t parceled up by the Axis Powers just tries to stay out of their way.

That is hard for Zara to do though. She’s lost her mother and her best friend to the Nazis; her mother because she was fighting in the Alliance to push the Nazis out, and her best friend because it was discovered a distant relative was Jewish. Zara wants more than anything to join in the fight with the Alliance, but her uncle is extremely hesitant. After her mother died, her uncle went from being a fighter to terrified about anything that could put him or Zara on the radar of the Nazis. And Zara has something very powerful that could indeed put her on the radar, and get her instantly killed as well!

The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond will keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow Zara beginning to realize if she wants to make something happen to change her life and her world, she will need to do it herself, rather than waiting for someone to come along. The idea of what might have happened if the war didn’t end as it did will have you thinking for a long time after you finish this book.

Recommended for 8th grade and up due to violence.