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!

Frenimes January 19, 2017

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 12:55 pm

Can a friend ultimately be an enemy or an enemy, a friend? Can you really ever truly be friends with someone you compete with?

Grace is friends with Leigh, or as much as she can let herself be friends with anyone, and Leigh believes she and Grace are true friends. But both of them want a spot on the USA Gymnastics team for the Olympics and only five girls will be picked to be on the team. For Grace this is the moment that her whole life has been moving toward. For her, she has to make this team, there is no other option. Her father is her coach and pushes her till she feels she might break. Her only friend is Leigh, the girl who leads a pretty normal life. Her parents insist that she attend high school. Leigh, however, wishes she could have Grace’s life where she could focus 100% of her time on gymnastics. Both girls have a secret; but only Leigh has shared hers with Grace. Grace has a hard time even admitting her own secret to herself.

And then there is Camille, returning to another Olympic Trials at the age of 20 for her imgresmother and feels the pull from her boyfriend to quit gymnastics completely. Camille isn’t sure what she wants herself. Wilhemina is going for her first Trials at the age of 19 because she was too young four years previous and has had to try to keep her body strong and injury free for the past 4 years. But to keep her body whole she hasn’t trained  the way the Head of the Women’s Gymnastics team believes the girls should train. The could come back to haunt Wilhemina in the end.

Finally, little Monica, still excited and thrilled to be at her first Olympic Trials with no dreams of going to the actual Olympics because she doesn’t think she has a chance. It turns out she might have the biggest chance of all.

And how can all these top competitors support each other, even as they hope to beat each other? Tumbling by Caela Carter is a fantastic books about what it REALLY means to be friends with someone. How can you care and want the best for someone when you want that same thing, and only one of you can have it? The complexities of the characters, under the pressure cooker of the Olympic Trials, makes for an amazing read, cover to cover.

You’ll find yourself wanting all the girls to win, but at times intensely disliking one and then changing your mind. Each
girl has their own story, and each one is just as important as the other. This is a book you don’t want to end.

Recommended for mature 6th graders and up.


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