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!

Good Intentions, Bad Actions December 20, 2015

Filed under: Novels in Verse,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 10:43 am

imgresHe was only trying to help his brother. But it all went wrong, really fast. Timothy’s younger brother Levi was born with a bad trachea. As a result, he needs a LOT of medical help. He has to have his airway held open by a tube that is inserted into his throat which can make things difficult for him to breath, eat, or make any noise at all. Timothy’s dad just up and leaves one day, which means now  Timothy and his mom must try to provide everything for Levi.

In an attempt to make things better, Timothy steals a wallet and uses one of the credit cards to purchase medical supplies for his brother. He is caught. His sentence is to be on house arrest for one full year. That means only going to school and being in his house. Also, he must meet with a counselor and his probation officer each week and keep a journal of his thoughts and feelings.

House Arrest by K. A. Holt is a quick and heartfelt read. Written as a novel in verse, be prepared to have one sitting to read this book because once you start you will want to keep going.

Highly recommended for grades 6th and up.


True Story Behind Man vs. Wild December 17, 2015


The Kid Who Climbed Everest

Bear Grylls, most famous for his hit t.v. show “Man vs. Wild” has done some crazy things on camera!  He’s run Class Five rapids… with no raft; he’s dove beneath the ice of a Siberian frozen lake… with no protective gear or clothing; he’s demonstrated how to effectively free yourself from deadly quicksand… by getting stuck up to his chest in some of the fastest moving quicksand on earth; he’s eaten rats and termites that he dug out of a rotting tree stump, and finally, perhaps most famously, he’s even drunk a bottle of his own urine to avoid dehydration in the middle of the ocean!!


But before Bear was the star of his own show, he was a member of the British Special Air Service.  On a training jump in Africa his parachute failed to open, and he fractured his spine.  Doctors were unsure if he would ever walk again.  After multiple surgeries and eighteen months of agonizing, painful rehab, Bear did regain the ability, not only to walk, but to train to climb Mount Everest.  Two years later, at age 23, he became the youngest Englishman to climb Everest, which is the highest peak in the world.  (The record has since been broken, just for FYI!!).   is an awesome book about this whole journey, and speaks to overcoming obstacles, true resilience, and the power of an adventurous spirit.


Nothing Can Stop It

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 8:59 am

Five students at a boarding school in England are about to have their lives completely changed forever. In fact, one won’t make it out of the next 24 hours alive.

It all starts with a Science class outside examining the flora and fauna as well as any insects that might wander into the students’ assigned area. Paul and Adam are put in a group together, and it only take a few minutes before they are fighting each other. No surprise. Paul is the mysterious newer kid and Adam is well known as the school bully.

What is surprising is a silver-ish beetle that is found roaming the grounds of the school. Pretty imgressoon, Mark and some other boys are investigating the beetles. They seem almost mechanical in nature. As Mark goes in to get a picture, a beetle flies up and breaks his camera. Then other beetles begin biting some of the students.

Quickly, it becomes apparent that once you are scratched or bitten by one of these silver beetles, you start to become one of them. Not a beetle, but something mechanical and altered so you aren’t yourself anymore.

Faster than anyone can believe, the academy becomes overrun by humans turned into mechanical beasts who only want to bite and kill everyone.

Silver by Chris Wooding is a fast paced Science Fiction thriller. As the reader, you are trying to figure out who will make it, if anyone.

Recommended for 7th grade and up.


When the hero becomes the villain… December 15, 2015

Rose Society


This is the second book in Marie Lu’s new trilogy.  She is the same author who wrote Legend, Prodigy, and Champion, which are all set in a futuristic society.  In this new series, though, readers are taken into the 14th century.  In the kingdom of Kenettra, a blood fever wiped out most of the population.  Any adult with the fever died brutally and painfully, but some children survived.  These surviving children were marked in some way… with vivid hair colors, loss of limbs, discolored eyes… and became known as malfettos.  The luckiest malfettos were granted exceptional powers in addition to their physical scars.  And the most powerful of these became known as The Young Elites.  In the first book in this series, we learn that Adelina Amouteru is a powerful Young Elite.  She is an illusion master, and can make people see, hear, smell, and feel whatever she wants.  She can use this power to create happiness, or use it to cause intense suffering.  In addition, her powers feed off of terror and rage, so she is actually at her strongest when others are in pain.  Terrified of this darkness, the rest of the Young Elites cast her out as an exile.  And that is where this story opens.  As Adelina writes of her own story, “Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends.  Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all…”.   This book is beautifully written, and readers will feel horrified as they watch Adelina turn into the villain of her own story.


Mystery Death? December 5, 2015



Suzy, aka Zu, loves science and random facts.  Do you know how many times a heart beats in a minute?  Or how many seconds pass between lighting flashes?  Or how many people are stung by jellyfish every year?  Zu does, and she is obsessed with gathering as much new information about the world as she can.  That is, however, before her best friend drowns. Zu is heartbroken by Franny’s death, made even worse by the fact that Zu betrayed her greatly right before Franny died.  When Zu sees an exhibit at the aquarium of a very rare, very tiny, very deadly jellyfish, she knows in her heart this is what truly caused Franny’s death.  But is she willing to travel halfway around the world to meet with this species’ leading scientist?  And even if she does, will anyone believe what she knows to be true?  The Thing About Jellyfish is a hilarious, heartbreaking, totally unique novel about relationships and forgiveness.  Most importantly, this novel explores the theme of how everything in the universe is interconnected.  Fans of Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff, and Goodbye, Stranger by Rebecca Stead will love this book!!