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!

The Woods are Bleeding January 12, 2018

Filed under: Fantasy Books,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 11:10 am

Screenshot 2018-01-02 at 10.37.04 AMWinter isn’t your typical teenager. She does well in school, has a good friend, but that is where normal stops and strange begins. Winter has a destiny bequeathed to her on her birth. Her father and his father before him and so on, have been guardians of the Wood dating back to the 1200s. This means they roam their part of the magical wood and send anyone who might accidentally walk through a portal back to their own time. Winter has been training for her “job” since she was ten. However, two years ago, her training was brought to an abrupt halt. Her father disappeared and never came out of the Woods. It has been told Winter and her mother that her father stepped off the path. But Winter knows better. That isn’t possible. So what could have really happened to her father.

When Winter comes across a determined a young man traveler who keeps coming into the Woods, she makes a drastic decision. Never are travelers allowed into the guardians current time and place. That could have devastating impacts on history and change things in ways no one can begin to understand. However, this young man, Henry, says his own parents have disappeared, and he thinks that Winter’s missing father might be the key to finding his own. As much as Winter knows she is breaking all the rules, she can’t pass up the opportunity to learn more about what really happened to her father.

Not only that, but something is happening to the Woods. They are dying. Winter knows she only has a limited amount of time to figure out what is happening before everything she knows is destroyed. Can Henry be the one to help her? Can she trust him?

The Woods by Chelsea Bobulski is an interesting read in the fantasy genre and felt fresh.  Recommended for mature 6th graders and up.


Who will be Queen? October 8, 2017

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 2:41 pm
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On the island of Fennbirn, every generation three triplets are born. These three girls are separated from each other once they turn six years old, and from then on are trained according to their natural abilities. One girl always has been born as a Naturalist—she has the affinity to communicate with animals, trees, and flowers, and also to control them. A second girl always is born as an Elemental—she has the power to

wield the elements of water, fire, wind, and earth; Elementals can create a gentle rain as easily as an earthquake. Finally, the third triplet is born as Poisoner who is immune to poison in all forms—Poisoners are gifted healers, but also stealthy murderers. After years of training, when these sisters turn sixteen, they enter into a battle… they are given a year to use their talents and training to face one another as adversaries. The triplet who is still alive at the end of one year is crowned Queen. Every generation for as long as anyone living can remember, a Poisoner has sat on the throne. But now, Arsinoe, Katherine, and Mirabella are about to turn sixteen and begin the most terrifying year of their lives—all three are talented, ambitious, and deadly… so may the best sister win.


Modern Retelling of Snow White September 19, 2017

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 3:51 pm
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This is a very inventive reimagining of the classic fairy tale Snow White. Mina, daughter of a cruel magician, has not known love since her mother died when she was a young girl. Even if her mother was still living, however, Mina might not be capable of love. Her outer beauty conceals a very dark secret—a heart made of glass. To save her life, her father removed her diseased heart and replaced it with one of cold, perfect glass. While she is alive, though, this has left her unable to feel emotions. Through scheming
Image result for girls made of snow and glassMina finds herself marrying King Nicolas, moving to Whitespring Castle, and becoming stepmother to a two-year-old little girl with a dark secret of her own; Princess Lynet has been sculpted from snow by Mina’s father, who is now blackmailing the king by threatening to reveal this to the entire kingdom. When Princess Lynet turns sixteen and her father announces his plans to name her Queen in Mina’splace, the two are positioned to fight to the death. But, is it possible that a stepmother with a heart of glass and a princess made of snow might actually love each other more than they love power, money, and their royal positions?


Far From Home July 26, 2017

Filed under: Fantasy Books — oneilllibrary @ 4:24 pm

Tess and her little brother Max (although he’s only a year younger so not by much) are living with their Aunt Evie in England. Their mother is sick at home and has to get a lot of treatments and with their father being a photojournalist who is often sent to war torn areas, it was decided that the children would be sent off to boarding school. In Switzerland. While Tess and Max accept all this with relative ease, Tess is befuddled by a downloadboy that she meets when Tess and Max go stay with their Aunt in England after school lets out for the year.

At first Tess thinks he’s ordinary, but the more she really thinks about it, nothing about her entire encounter with William seemed right. First there was the long walk up to the castle, and then there was the gate, that couldn’t be walked around, even though there was no fence on either side of it. And lastly was the key Tess found which appeared old and rusted – just like the gate which seemed to have no keyhole either – until she moved the key close to the gate. That’s just the beginning of the magic!

The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron is a quick and easy read that doesn’t really give us anything new in the fantasy world. Still, it is an okay introduction for anyone looking to escape for a few hours one afternoon by dipping their toes into fantasy.

For grades 6th and up.


Face that Can’t Lie May 10, 2017

Caverna is an opulent, gigantic underground city, and her residents are not ever allowed above ground. They know secrets– how to bake pastries that invoke colors and music, how to mull wines to make a person hallucinate or forget painful mem, how to mix perfumes to induce sleep or trust or love– and these secrets cannot leave the city. Caverna has another dark, dangerous secret; her residents do not have natural facial expressions. Facial expressions, displays of anger, fear, sympathy, and more, must be learned. The wealthiest members of Caverna’s high society are taught hundreds of facial expressions, while the lower castes are taught only a handful– and usually ones of submission. One day, a five-year-old girl appears in the depths of Caverna’s tunnels. She has no memory of who she is or where she came from, and her face registers all of her internal emotions naturally. Re-named Neverfell, this girl is dangerous, and though she is unaware, could cause the internal workings of Caverna to crumble. Teens who love dark, lengthy fantasies and dystopian novels will fall in love with A Face Like Glass.


Spirits Attracted to Art? April 11, 2017

Sierra is an artist, and looking forward to a summer break of painting and parties in her New York City neighborhood. Sierra doesn’t paint on canvas or paper though; she creates fantastic, huge murals on the walls of the city. Her latest creation is a five-story fire breathing dragon that towers over the local junk lot, as well as the new luxury condo development. But, right as Sierra is about to kick summer break off with a huge party with all her classmates, strange things begin to happen. Her grandfather Lazaro, a very recent stroke victim, begins speaking again… but just very short fragments, saying he is sorry and mentioning a woman named Lucera. Then, her grandfather’s friends come to visit her, urging her to finish her dragon mural quickly, but won’t say what the rush is. Then, other neighborhood murals, once so brightly colored and vibrant, seem to wash out and fade overnight. Finally, a zombie-like creature chases Sierra and her crush through the neighborhood asking for Lucera– the same name her grandfather mentioned. What is going on in Brooklyn? Is it possible that rumors of spirits who have died there– some innocent and some intent on evil– have stayed around? And is it further possible that they are drawn to art, murals, music, and stories, that are connected to the city? And if all of these things are possible, what do they have to do with a highschool girl who just wants a fun summer?


Torn Between Angels and Monsters January 6, 2017

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 2:45 pm
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In this amazing fantasy novel, there are two parallel universes– the one our Earth is a part of, and then the one that holds the planet of Eretz, where the monsters live. Karou appears to be a normal high school art student, but in reality, she works for a chimera named Brimstone, in a workshop that is a portal between the two worlds. As long as she daughter-of-smoke-and-bone.jpgcan remember, Brimstone has sent Karou to collect teeth– sometimes from animals and sometimes from humans. These teeth are often given willingly, and sometimes she knows they have been procured by grave robbery, museum theft, or acts even more sinister. Karou never questions what Brimstone does with these teeth, until the day she tries to enter the portal to his shop and finds the door permanently locked, with a scorched black handprint on the front. Now, she is on the run to find her monster friends, battle an army of murderous avenging angels, and discover what the connection between teeth and wish magic really is. This first in an amazing trilogy will keep you up reading all night long!