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!

Ghost by Jason Reynolds December 28, 2016

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — debrawisch @ 7:44 pm
7th grader Castle Crenshaw can’t seem to make it more than 17 straight hours without getting into some kind of trouble. Honestly, he can’t help it! He just has a lot of anger built up inside. He’s been calling himself Ghost ever since the night his dad got drunk and threatened Castle and his mom with a gun.  Ghost learned to run that night, and he’s been running ever since. When a coach for a track league called the Defenders sees him run one day,  Ghost decides to join the team and give it a try. The running is way harder than anything Ghost has ever experienced before. But no matter how fast he is, Ghost can’t run away from trouble. And if he’s not careful, it’s going to follow him right onto the track.

The Sun is Also a Star

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — debrawisch @ 7:39 pm


Natasha is running out of time. She’s only 12 hours away from being deported to Jamaica, thanks to her father’s arrest. She came to this country 10 years ago and is desperate to stay so she can go to college. As she scours the city looking for anyone who can help her and her family, she crosses a path with a boy named Daniel. Was this just a chance encounter, or was it meant to be? There are many possible futures ahead for Natasha and Daniel, but which one will come true?

Simeon’s Story – A Review by 8th Grader Paul B. December 15, 2016

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — bhomel @ 1:35 pm

In the summer of 1955, Emmett Till gets on a train and leaves Chicago and goes to visit his relatives in Mississippi for the summer. As he arrives in Mississippi, Emmett, Simeon, and the rest of their cousins are having fun and enjoying Emmett’s visit until one morning when they all go to a little market called Bryant’s Grocery. Emmett wanted to get some bubble gum and soda because it was so hot. So he went into the store by himself. Simeon and the other cousins were worried because there was a white lady named Carolyn Bryant who was working as the cashier for the market. Simeon went into the store and in the book he stated that Emmett did not have any physical contact with Mrs. Bryant nor talked to her. After Emmett and Simeon left the store, they were standing in the front of the store goofing around until Mrs. Bryant walked out a few minutes behind them. She headed to her car and then Emmett whistled at Mrs. Bryant. The cousins knew Emmett was in danger so they all fled back home before something happened.

Two days later. in the middle of the night when the family came back from downtown Mississippi, two white men knocked on the door and Emmett’s uncle answered the door. It was Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam. They ordered to have Emmett Till come with them so they abducted Emmett. The family was so scared for Emmett and did not know what to do but call thImage result for simeon's storye cops. A week later, a detective came to the home where Emmett got abducted and told the uncle of Emmett Till that they found his body in the Tallahatchie River. The family saw the body. They said that they could not recognize the body because he was so beaten, they couldn’t tell it was him. They were mourning for days and had a funeral back in Chicago. Then the trial started.

In my opinion, I think Simeon’s Story  by Simeon Wright was very interesting and hard to put down. I learned a lot about how Emmett Till got abducted and murdered. And I learned more about how Emmett’s personality was before the abduction.


I Heart You, You Haunt Me – A Review by 8th Grader Tyra J.

Filed under: graphic novel,Mystery and Ghost Stories,Romance — bhomel @ 1:12 pm

Image result for I heart you you haunt me

In I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder, Ava was really sad because her boyfriend, Jackson, died. She blames herself for daring him to jump off a cliff. When she goes to school, Ava is very sorrowful that teachers don’t let her do as much of the work. Her mom sometimes ask her friends to come over and maybe bring gifts just to try to get her out of the house. Jackson comes back as a ghost and gets her attention by making her cold or blowing the windows wide open. Jackson tells her she doesn’t want her to be sad about that day. Then the days proceed though that she grows tired of Jackson not wanting her to leave the house. Until the day Jessa pleaded that she wanted Ava to go to the party but the party was where everything had happened.  When Jessa leaves Ava by herself, Ava spots Lyric and ask for his phone so she can go home. But he offers her a ride home. When Ava realized that she is miserable that’s when Jackson comes around. When she noticed that she was miserable, she made a change and started hanging out with her friends.

I would rate this book 10 out of 10. The author didn’t tell you what happened to the boyfriend until the very end but at the start she always brought it up but never told what happen. I like the way the author described how Ava felt when Jackson comes into her room.


Ms. Marvel – A Review by 8th Grader Mia B.

Filed under: Fantasy Books,graphic novel — bhomel @ 1:06 pm

Cover artIn Ms. Marvel  by G. Willow Wilson and and Adrian Alohona, Kamala Khan is a teenage girl from Jersey City, New Jersey who has unique powers. Kamala is finding out that it’s harder to be a superhero and teenager at the same time. While balancing school and her power, she wants to have her dream life. That involves being a famous superhero and meeting someone that will understand her. She meets Kamran, someone that she thinks that she can trust, until he kidnaps her. She faces a situation where if she doesn’t join Lineage (the bad guy), her family will be in harm’s way.
I rate this book 4 out of 5  because as much as I like it it didn’t catch my attention that well. If you like superheroes and action, then I recommend you read Ms. Marvel.


Wild Boy – A Review by 7th Grader Kamille E.

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles,Student Book Reviews — bhomel @ 11:02 am

Image result for wild boy book

The Wild Boy has been wild all his life in the forests. The Wild Boy was only like a human by walking like a regular person, but still acted like a animal. When he acted like an animal, he dug from the dirt and roots to get food. Then the Wild Boy would walk around naked. People from the Village of Lacaune saw him and tried to rescue him, because they wanted to know and get full knowledge of how he became wild. Whenever people from the village caught him, the wild boy ended up escaping again. Usually when people captured him, they put the Wild Boy on display for everyone to see. The Wild Boy gets put into an orphanage and Dr. Itard takes him. Dr.Itard tries to see if he had any family background and helped him talk and ask for things he wanted. Dr.Itard tried his best to teach him how to communicate, but the Wild Boy was not close to understanding on how to communicate. As the Wild Boy then grew up to be a full adult, he leaves back into the wild, and continues his life in the wild. They all knew he would try and come back to visit, and he lived in freedom his whole life.

In the book Wild Boy by Mary Losure, I thought the book had a great meaning to it. In my opinion, I liked the book a little bit, it wasn’t the best book I read, but the book had a terrific beginning to where you wanted to find out how he became wild. I had a great time enjoying the book Wild Boy.


Roller Girl – A Review by 7th Grader Grace S. December 14, 2016

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson is about a 12 year old girl named Astrid who became interested in roller derby. She became very interested that she decided to join the Rose Buds camp in summer. She asked her best friend Nicole if she would like to do it, but Nicole wanted to do ballet camp instead. So when Astrid’s mom tells her that Nicole’s mom would be picking her and Nicole up after the camp was done for the day, Astrid would walked home by herself.

Image result for roller girl book

Nicole decided that she would rather spend time with Rachel, who was mean to Astrid when they were in kindergarten. Rachel was also going to ballet camp as well. This gave Nicole a friend to have at her ballet camp because she knew that Astrid would never do anything with ballet. So both Nicole and Rachel started to hang out together after the camp. Now Nicole was best friends with Rachel instead of Astrid.

All has never been good between Astrid and Rachel and she can’t believe that Nicole would hang out with Rachel because she even knew that she was mean. Astrid was very mad when she saw this and decided that she would get back at Rachel when she was with Nicole so that she can see how mean Rachel really is.

I would rate this book 5 out of 5 stars because it is a really good read. If you like graphic novels, then this is a great book for you. Once I started reading this book I couldn’t put it down.