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!

Reconstruction Reimagined! November 5, 2018

Filed under: Fantasy Books — oneilllibrary @ 10:49 am

The war sort of came to an end, when both the Confederates and the Union decided it downloadwas more important to fight the UNdead (or shamblers they are popularly called) than each other. Of course, the country is still in a state of chaos and disorder, which means it is just right for new groups of politicians to rise. No longer are the Democrats or Republicans in power, but rather the Survivalists and the Egalitarians.

All this seems to be too lofty for Jane – she just wants to get back to her home, Rose Hill, where her mother and all her Aunties live. But Jane, along with all the other able bodied young Negros, have been sent to combat schools. It is believed that by training young black children in the art of fighting the shamblers, the whites will then be protected. Jane is a black child born to a white southern woman, a plantation owner no less. Jane was born just days before the shamblers began walking and killing in the United States, and while the Major – her mother’s husband – was off fighting for the Confederates. After the war, even though the enslaved were technically freed, not much seems to have changed.

Jane has been at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Maryland for three years now, and is learning all she needs to be an Attendant – someone trained to be a personal bodyguard for young white society girls. While she doesn’t really plan to become an Attendant, the skills she is learning she knows will help her back home at Rose Hill. However, as she gets closer to graduation, strange things begin happening. First, she hasn’t heard from her mother in year and she’s terribly worried something awful has happened at Rose Hill. Also, supposedly, most of the shamblers have been killed or driven away from the large cities, but Jane isn’t so sure this is actually true. One night when she and some other girls go to see a lecture, Jane sees something the makes her blood run cold. And it also brings her to the attention of the mayor of Baltimore, which in turn completely changes the trajectory of her life.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland is a fabulous book, and I’m not into zombies! This book had me not wanting to put it down because of the originality of the premise as well as the awesome character of Jane. While some of the events and things are based in history, Ireland’s reimagined possible past makes this a stand out read. While the book is set in Reconstruction, many of the same issues are still relevant today.

Highly recommended read for 8th grade and up.


Make a Wish July 14, 2018

Filed under: Fantasy Books — oneilllibrary @ 3:32 pm

downloadRed is old. In fact, he’s hundreds of years old. He’s seen a lot in his time. Well, as much as can be seen when you never move from one spot. Ever. He’s an oak tree, but a pretty special one. You see, years ago,  someone made a wish and wrote it on a piece of paper, tied it to one of Red’s branches and then, waited. Amazingly, the wish came true! And that is how the tradition started – with Red becoming the town’s wishtree. Each year on the first day of May, people come from all over to deliver their wishes – some for the year, some for right now, some for years in the future. And Red takes them all.

However, times are changing. Red’s deep roots are starting break up the sidewalks and get into the plumbing of the nearby houses. It looks like Red’s time as the wishtree might be coming to an end. Especially when something else happens to draw attention to the tree. Someone carves a word into the tree – LEAVE. Red has a feeling he knows who that word is directed toward. A little girl and her family, who have come from a long way away and are trying to make a new life, are different from others. The little girl, Samar, makes a wish one night, for a friend.

At that moment, Red and all his friends who live in him, decide that they will try to make this one last wish come true before Red’s time runs out.

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate is for anyone who has ever wondered “what if the trees could talk…and the animals…to us?” Or looked for a friend in an unconventional place. This is a heartwarming quick read about acceptance, tolerance and making new friends while keeping old ones.

Recommended for 6th grade and up.


Beauty and The Beast & Other Stories Book Review By 8th Grader Maddie May 9, 2018


Beauty & the Beast and Other Stories by Sarah Hines Stephens has three different stories about the same problem. In each of the stories, the princes have spells set upon them that they have to break to be human again.

Beauty as a child was very simply impressed by the littlest things. Her sisters, on the other hand, wanted everything handed to them. The merchant lost his money and the family was forced to move out of their mansion and into a little cabin. The merchant traveled out one night and didn’t make it home and was sure he would freeze before he got home. So he saw a mansion and decided what he saw was a weird creature . He asked the creature if he could stay the night. The creature would let him stay for something in return. The merchant will allow his daughter to marry the creature. Beauty didn’t like the giant but when he turned into a prince, she fell in love with him.

I think this book keeps you engaged and doesn’t stress you out over number of pages. I like the font of the words.


Frogkisser! April 24, 2018

Filed under: Fantasy Books,Humor — lpitrak @ 2:29 pm
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This book is perfect for any fantasy lover who is looking for something funny instead of dark! Anya is in a terrible situation. Since her father’s passing, she has been left with her evil stepmother– who has recently gotten remarried. So, she now has an evil stepmother AND an evil stepfather! On top of this, Anya has a super weird magical ability– she is able to break curses with a kiss. This might sound great, but she’s getting a little tired of kissing everyone in the kingdom who has been cursed and is now covered in gross pus-filled boils or who has been magically turned into animals (they don’t call her Frogkisser for no reason!).

But Anya is a princess and her duty to her people will always be more important to her than her own happiness. Now, though, her new evil stepfather has decided to claim the kingdom as his own. Her kingdom! Anya decides to leave on a quest to find a group of magical wizards who will free her kingdom for good. Along with a boy who has been turned into a newt and an amazing talking dog, Anya will prove that even the strangest abilities can give power to those who want to use them to do good.


Lady Midnight

lady midnight

This book is the first in a new series by the author of The Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, and Shadowhunters Academy series.

In this new series, angels, fairies, demons, and humans all live together on earth– but not always peacefully. Emma is what is known as a Shadowhunter; she is half-angel, half-human and an elite warrior. Emma and her partner Julian are the guardians of Los Angeles, where vampires and murderous fairies prey on humans. Shadowhunters try to keep the peace, but fight when needed. Recently, though, both human and fairy bodies have been showing up brutally murdered. The Shadowhunters know they must join forces with the fairies to catch whatever darker force is at work in the world.

Into this very dangerous war is thrown Kit, a mortal teenage boy who can see the creatures of the underworld that most humans cannot. The Shadowhunters want to use Kit as a weapon and a spy, but Kit’s moral father has his own plans that he plans to trap Kit in.

Read this amazing dark urban fantasy book to find out who is killing humans and magical creatures, and who is destined to save the city.


Whatever After Abby in Wonderland Review by 8th Grader Abby April 19, 2018

Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski is my favorite series in the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD!

This series is about a girl named Abby who just moved to Smithville with her family. When they moved to their new house, they saw a VERY old mirror. One night they heard a noise and they went to their basement and knocked on the mirror three times and they transported to a fairytale. Ever since that, they go into fairy tales EVERY midnight.


In the story Whatever After Abby in Wonderland, Abby, the main character,  went to her arch nemesis Penny’s house with her two great friends, Frankie and Robin. Abby is excited to go but she doesn’t like how Penny brags A LOT about how rich she is. When they all get there, they go outside and decide to play cards. While they’re playing, one of their cards flies away and lands by a hole in a golf park. Frankie goes and collects the card and she falls into the BIG HOLE! Abby gets scared and she goes after her with Robin and Penny. EW! When they land out of the hole, they find themselves in Alice in Wonderland. Robin and Penny are having A LOT of fun, While Abby is stressed out because they do not know her SECRET. Will she have to tell them her secret or will they ruin the story?

This book is very relatable because my name is Abby and the main character name is Abby. I love fairy tales, princesses, love, affection, and happy ending are my favorite! The author, Sarah Mlynowski, writes amazing fantasy which is up my alley. This book is a book that you would want to read in order of books to understand it, but if you don’t read them in order then it is ok. If you are into fairy tales and friendship then you will like this book and if you want to read the new book Whatever After Two Peas in a Pod is coming out on April 24, 2018!


The House of Hades Book Review by 8th Grader Josh April 18, 2018

The House of Hades is the fourth book in the Olympian Heroes series by Rick Riordan. JoshThe story is about how Annabeth is trapped in the underworld that was opened by a battle between Percy Jackson and Jason Grace. Percy tried to grab her hand but it was too late and she fell to the underworld. Percy is so worried about what is going to happen to Annabeth. Percy, Jason, and the others go on to their ship and make an adventure to the underworld.

The series is so good because it shows that they all care about each other and they help each other. This book is good because it reminds me back to the Percy Jackson series and how they always will save someone in a very dangerous conditions. The book really shows how Percy and Annabeth always care about each other and tells a very good love story in the book with good adventures to the underworld.

House of Hades by Rick Riordan is a fiction book. If you like anything with Greekology or Romanology, you must read this series! The series is about how both the Greek and Roman Mythology must come together and defeat Gaia Mother earth from destroying her children the gods like Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. This a thrilling series that I will continue to read until it ends. The book is so amazing that I like how the characters care each for other and Percy and Annabeth have a strong relationship. They have to fight all of the challenges they face against the underworld. It was so much adventure and romance. If you want to read anything besides the Olympian Heroes, then read the author’s Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard and this is about Noroseloy. This series is about how Magus Chase was supposed to be dead but was still alive and the Asgardians need his help to stop Loki the Asgardian of Misjiff. Read any of these books that this amazing authors writes.


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?