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!

Is it Chance or Destiny that Rules Your Life? January 20, 2020

Filed under: Fantasy Books — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

It starts with a glass slipper and ends with a battle. Or a few battles actually! You knowdownload the story of Cinderella, of course, but do you know what happened after she left her ugly stepsisters and stepmother? What became of them?

Both Octavia and Isabelle, to please their mother, tried in vain to fit their large feet into the glass slipper the prince and the Grand Duke brought to their house. However, it was clear it would never work, unless they removed a bit of their foot. So, both Tavi and Isabelle make the sacrifice for their mother, although neither of them truly wants to marry the prince. For Isabelle, it is a matter of being worthy again. When she was a young girl, the world seemed a wonderful adventure waiting to happen. But one day she was called ugly by a man who came to see her stepfather, and from then on, all Isabelle could think of was how to become pretty. How to be the person that her mother wanted her to be and it appeared the world as well.

After Ella leaves to marry the prince, Isabelle and Tavi are resented by all in their small village and the only things that Isabelle every truly loved are gone. But one night as she visits the linden tree on her way from closing up the barn for the evening, she meets the fairy queen, Tanaquill. Tanaquill says that Isabelle summoned her, and she wants to know what is Isabelle’s true heart’s wish. Of course, she wants to be pretty. If she becomes pretty, all of her problems will be over. Tanaquill tells her to collect the three missing pieces of her heart and then the queen will grant her wish. The question is, what are the pieces she is missing?

What Isabelle doesn’t know is that she life is already being played with, by Fate and Chance. Both these immortals want to dictate or change, the map that has already been drawn of Isabelle’s life. She has no idea that Fate will stop at nothing to keep Isabelle’s life short and unfulfilled, whereas Chance seems to believe there is more in store for the young woman if only given a chance!

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly is a fabulous read with lots of twists and turns and just when you don’t see a way out, something surprises you. This author has always delighted me with her work, and this one is on par with her best. You will not be disappointed if you pick up this fairytale.

Highly recommended for 7th grade and up.


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