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. If you would like to listen to booktalks of some of these books, please check out this site and enjoy!

Can a Girl Vanish into Thin Air? April 24, 2016

Filed under: Historical Fiction — lpitrak @ 1:32 pm


Once a passionate, politically-minded, curious teenager, Henneke now lives in fear.  It is 1943, and Amsterdam is occupied by German Nazis who encourage an atmosphere of secrecy and betrayal.  Furious at seeing her beloved city destroyed, and her friends and family forced out of jobs and into poverty, Henneke rebels in the only way she knows how…. finding and selling black market items like beer, cigarettes, and lipstick to sell for a high price.  Her reputation for finding items leads an elderly neighbor to ask her for a huge (and very dangerous) favor.  Mrs. Janssen had been hiding a fifteen-year-old Jewish girl named Marjam, protecting her from being deported to a labor camp.  Marjam is now missing, though, even though the house was still locked from the inside.  There should have been no way for her to get out.  Henneke takes the case out of guilt, but secretly feels there is no way to solve it, because people don’t just vanish into thin air.  But, after becoming acquainted with members of the dangerous Dutch resistance (a crime punishable by death), she realizes that hundreds of people are vanishing from Amsterdam every single day.  This is a powerful novel about a very strong young woman trying to fight against a darkness that the world doesn’t fully comprehend.


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