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!

Unbroken September 28, 2016

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 2:10 pm

He really was a trouble maker. If there ever was a kid that was destined for juvenile hall, it imgreswas Louis Zamperini. If it wasn’t nailed down, he had no problem stealing it and even if it WAS nailed down, he’d bring a hammer and pry the nail out! His mother despaired of him ever amounting to anything. That was until his older brother, Pete got him into running. By some luck, Louie loved running. And not only did he love it, but he was good at it. So good that by the time he was out of high school, he had his eyes on the Olympics. He just missed a spot in the mile, but then decided to try his legs at running the 2 mile. He was so fast at that, he made the Olympic team.

While Louis didn’t metal in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he knew that he had what it would take to come back in 1940. However, in 1939, the world was caught up in World War II, and Japan withdrew as the host of the Olympics. Louie was heartbroken. However, he decided to join the Air Force and after Pearl Harbor was bombed was sent off to learn how to be a┬ábombardier in a B-24 plane. It was Louie’s job to drop the bombs over the correct targets. His plane’s was nicknamed Superman.

One day Louie and his pilot – Phil – were ordered to go on a search and rescue mission in another plane that had the nickname the Green Hornet. Superman had been terribly damaged in a battle and so wasn’t available for them to fly. As Phil, Louie and the rest of a motley crew of airmen flew away in the Green Hornet, they had no idea it would be the last flight for all but two of them.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (the adapted for young adults edition) is a gripping tale of what war time is really like. Not only does Louie’s plane crash in the Pacific Ocean where he undergoes extreme thirst and hunger, but he and Phil are captured by the Japanese and endure unimaginable horrors in their prisoner of war camps.

Anyone interested in World War II, prisoner stories, survival stories, or just an amazing story will be captivated by this book.

Recommended for 8th graders and up due to the details of torture in this book.


Are You Born a Killer? September 24, 2016

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 1:26 pm

imgres-3IN the future, crime has gotten so bad, that scientists have gone looking for the gene that might help determine if a person is likely to commit murder. And one has been found. The majority of people who kill are HTS carriers – they have the gene that many murders have. Now many in the general population are being tested before they can have certain jobs, or go to schools, etc.

Davy is living a pretty awesome life. She comes from a wealthy family, goes to a private school, has been accepted into Julliard in New York because of her fabulous musical ability and has the best boyfriend a girl could want. What could possibly go wrong. Turns out, quite a lot.

Everyone in Davy’s school was tested for the HTS gene and unfortunately for Davy, she has tested positive for it. This means her school kicks her out and she must now attend public school with five other “carriers.” At first she can’t believe she has anything in common with this potential killers. But as time goes on, and her friends and boyfriend all pull away and commit the ultimate betrayal, Davy begins to realize her only hope of surviving in this new reality is to face the truth rather than living in her past fantasy. One HTS carrier named Sean, just might be the only one who can help her.

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan is a scary, possibly not so distant future of what could happen when people get scared and let their fear rule their actions. It also is a fascinating look at nature versus nurture.

Recommended for 8th grade and up.


“Run” Written In Blood September 20, 2016

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 7:40 pm

imgres-1Seriously, Rylee thinks when she gets home from school – not a moment to herself – before she has to start dealing with her little brother, Hayden. Why can’t her mom deal with him and give her five minutes before her needy little brother starts to complain and want something?

When her brother starts to cry, Rylee is about to lose it. After all, can’t he wait two seconds for a sandwich? Until she heads into the kitchen and sees that Hayden is lying over the body of their father. With blood seeping from his chest and onto the floor, from a knife that is still sticking in his heart. Clearly, Hayden had a reason to be crying this time.

As she looks in horror at the body, she sees her dad’s hand has written in blood the one word that can make her own blood freeze. Run. Rylee goes into hyper drive realizing that her mother isn’t just out somewhere, but she’s been taken. The scenario that had always been a possibility has come true. And now Rylee must leave everything behind and grab her brother and disappear. But to where? Who is safe and who can she trust?

Girl on the Run by Greg Olsen is a fast paced, harrowing tale of a young girl fleeing for her life, and then realizing she will have to stop running and go on the attack if she is ever to find her mother and keep her brother safe.

Recommended for mature 8th graders and up.


It Started with a Journal… September 16, 2016

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 7:27 pm

Look, he was simply bored. And who wouldn’t be, working for the Toronto Transit imgres-2Authority’s lost and found section. What Duncan thinks is going to be an incredibly boring summer gets turned on its side when he discovers a man’s journal in the book section of the lost and found.

At first, he thinks it is just some weird scribbles, but the closer he reads, the more he realizes this is some disturbed person’s recording of torture. Not only that, but it looks like this person is ready to move on from hurting animals, to stalking and perhaps killing a human. And it appears that he has three in mind and is trying to decide which one to grab.

Duncan can’t believe this is all real, but when the man comes asking for his journal, Duncan also realizes he can’t take the chance that it might, just might be true. What if this man is actually planning to kill one of these women? What can Duncan do about it?

Acceleration by Graham McNamee is a true thriller in every sense. Don’t read this book late at night because you will have nightmares.

Recommended for mature 8th graders due to content and subject matter.


A Car Is All He Needs, or So He Thinks September 13, 2016

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 7:06 pm

Stetson thinks he must be the only teen in history to STAY in school to spite his dad. Yeah, you heard right. His father has been after him to quit high school and come work at the same place he does, but Stetson sure doesn’t want to do anything that would make him have to spend any more time with his dad.

All Stetson cares about is having enough money to spend on his car, the car that he’s been fixing up for a long time, and his art. He’s talented and makes extra money designing t-shirts for others. Which doesn’t leave much time for hanging out with his perpetually drunk father, or much of anyone else for that matter.

So he really isn’t counting on finding out he has a sister he never knew about. After all, his mom left them when he was just over 3 years old. He only has a few memories of her. Turns out Stetson’s mother was pregnant when she left and now that she’s died, Kaylaimgres has come to live with them. Kayla has no intentions of being an easy new addition to the family either.

Stetson by S.L. Rottman looks at a complicated family situation and makes you want Stetson to make it, even when everything looks to be against him. This is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read, and a great book for any teen who has been searching for a gripping story.

Recommended for grades 8 and up.