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 http://www.buzzsprout.com/229361 and enjoy!

Writer’s Block September 26, 2022

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

download-4So it is a real thing. Not being able to write. And R.M. Haldon’s got it bad. So bad that maybe he needs to think outside the box to get something written, anything written to finish up his epic fantasy series, Swords and Shadows. After all, he has fans waiting, and waiting and really waiting for him to tie up all those loose ends. So why can’t he, when the first books came so easily to him?

Bridget, his assistant, knows that he is stuck, but she’s sure that he will be coming around soon. Or she at least hopes he will. Still, she has no trouble re-reading all his other books in the series. It keeps her going. And it feels like a connection she still has with her mother who died from cancer. After all, reading the books together was their thing. Still, it is strange that Bob (as she calls him, since that is his name) hasn’t been contacting her as much lately. Or at all. Typically when he’s writing, he likes to check in with her. And as crazy as it seems since she is a teenager, she really is an amazing assistant because she knows all of his books, inside and out, and can help him keep the continuity of the stories going. So what is going on? Is he really writing, or has something happened to him? And if so, is there anything Bridget can do to help him?

Eyes of the Forest by April Henry is a look at just how far some people will go to get what they want – even if it is the end of a series book written! As is typical for Henry’s stories now, this book has multiple points of view, which helps to move the story along. But, as with the last Henry book, she is beginning to focus a lot on inserting lots of information that she’s learned as the author into her books, and at times it can be a bit distracting from the pace of the book. Still, if you are looking for a mystery, it is hard go wrong with an April Henry book.

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Trapped in another Time August 22, 2022

Filed under: Fantasy Books,Mystery and Ghost Stories,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

download-3Abe has always had a “thing” for Mitzy, but has never been able to do more than just nod her way as he walks by her on his way home from school. Not that there is anything¬† waiting for him at home. Just the every day life of one of the many who blend in and go about their lives.

But today, for some reason, he decides to take a little detour and go into a store front shop. There he meets a woman who says she will tell him his fortune. Not that he thinks he has anything fortunate to look forward to, but what the heck. Only what she says surprised him, and even more so, when he goes to leave the shop, he blacks out, or thinks he does. When he comes to, he is in London of all places and not in his own time! In fact, it appears he has traveled back in time to the exact moment that the infamous Jack the Ripper first strikes! And perhaps most surprising of all, is that he finds out Mitzy has also been transported back in time. The question is, how do they get back? Both have been told something by the fortune teller, but neither of them has any idea how they can complete what she has said they need to.

Ripped Away by Shirley Reva Vernick is a quick, interesting read. While the book does center around the crimes of Jack the Ripper, both Abe and Mitzy are more concerned with how to get back to their “real” lives and not the ones they find themselves suddenly inhabiting. Instead of lingering on the gruesome murders committed, the book focuses on how a Jewish person was suspected of being responsible for the murders due to the pervasive prejudice against Jews. The fact that this prejudice played a role in the case with the Ripper will probably be new information for many readers. Ripped Away also gives an idea of just how limited the lives of people living in London during this period must have been and how the lives of younger people have changed.

Recommended for grades 6 and up.

 

The House Wants Them July 25, 2022

Filed under: Horror,Mystery and Ghost Stories — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

She knows everyone thinks she is “crazy Poppy” but she really does see a girl in the mirror – in any mirror- that she looks into. And not only that, but the girl gives her things. Things that Poppy sees in the mirror and then finds in real life. But Poppy has no idea who she is and why she appears only to Poppy.

And Marcus has for years heard music that he must play- music that only he can hear. But it drives hisdownload-1 mother nuts because she doesn’t like to hear Marcus play. It reminds her too much of her dead brother, who was a musician too.

Azumi has lost her sister in a woods in Japan, and it has been over a year, but she can’t let go of her. In fact, she is sleep walking. Then there are Dash and Dylan, two popular television stars who have their own secret story.

What do all of these kids have in common? They have all been summoned to the house called Larkspur, all seeming to be an answer to all their problems, but have they solved them, or just found themselves locked in a sinister house that has no plans on letting them out alive?

The Gathering by Dan Poblocki is the first book in the Shadow House series and is a really good, creepy read for anyone who enjoys worrying when the lights go out!

Recommended for grades 6 and up.

 

No Solution April 27, 2022

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories — oneilllibrary @ 3:00 pm

downloadStevie can’t wait to get away from her parents – parents who don’t share the same beliefs that she does. They work for a Senator that Stevie can’t stand. So when she finds out about an old Cold Case – a murder that hasn’t really ever been solved, and it is at a school – she decides she has nothing to lose and applies to it. However, Ellingham Academy is filled with students who are exceptional in some way. And Stevie isn’t sure how she made it in. Other than the fact that she is pretty obsessed with the Ellingham murders.

As she meets her house mates, two other girls and three boys, she wonders if she’ll end up being true friends with any of them. Luckily, she was able to chat with two of them over the summer leading up to their arrival at the school, but still. As the school year gets underway, Stevie is fascinated to be at the place where the murders happened – or at least the kidnappings. She decides to make it her school project to solve the murders. But deciding something and doing it are two different things entirely!

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson is truly devious in that the book creates not one but two mysteries to solve…and doesn’t deliver on either one of them. Instead the reader is left at the end of the book with two cases with some idea of what might have happened, but nothing clear cut. In fact it ends with the dreaded “to be continued.” Ugh. I have to say, as a reader I was seriously annoyed by this fact. However, if you as a reader, love series, then this is the book to start reading, because you will undoubtably want to read the next one.

Recommended for 8th graders and up.

 

Finding Your Way Back April 4, 2022

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

Mia’s family is moving back to the place she grew up in Vermont, after having lived in Boston for a fewdownload years. Mia is happy to leave Boston and its painful memories behind. Having been sidelined with a badly broken arm is enough to make anyone question going back into gymnastics, but Mia has no such issues. She wants nothing to do with the sport anymore. She’s just happy she gets to be back with her Gram again and helping her with the business she runs. Mia’s mom though, wants Mia to be “involved” this summer and that means Mia can’t just park herself in front of the television and watch all the seasons of her favorite shows.

What she doesn’t expect is to find two really awesome camps and a Gram who is convinced someone is trying to take down her business – a business that is about selling crickets for human food. After all, who on earth would want to do that? But as more and more strange things begin to happen, Mia thinks her grandmother is onto something. The question is, what can Mia do to help her Gram, and maybe even herself in the process?

Chirp by Kate Messner is part mystery, part finding yourself after something traumatic has happened but all of it is a good, fast enjoyable read!

Recommended for grades 6 and up.

 

Who Was It? August 30, 2021

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

When she heard the news, it took her breath away. She was just getting to know Grant, and now, suddenly, he’sdownload-1 dead. Shot by one of his best friends on a hunting trip. But who did it and why? Kate, and everyone else, can’t wrap their heads around the fact that one of the most popular boys in their small community has died and no one is saying who pulled the trigger.

But people, especially Grant’s parents, want answers. What happened in the woods that morning where five best friends went out and only four lived to tell the tale. But that was the problem. No one was talking. Kate is in a unique position because her senior year internship has her working for the District Attorney’s Office and the lawyer she helps out has just been charged with figuring out who did pull the trigger.

Kate has her own reasons for wanting Grant’s killer brought to justice since she had been getting so close to him. So close that she was almost at the party the night before he died. But the closer she gets the more she uncovers about Grant, and he certainly wasn’t who she thought he was. Still, can she help find the killer before someone else dies?

This is Our Story by Ashley Elston is a really good read that will have some nice turns in it for you. While you might not guess who the killer was, in many ways it doesn’t matter, since the read to get there is so enjoyable!

Recommended for 8th grade and up.

 

Be Aware All the Time March 29, 2021

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

Savannah is pretty sure she and her mom are going to be moving again. Because, once AGAIN, the man of her mom’s dreams download-2 12.45.11 PMhasn’t turned out to be the man of her dreams. And for Savannah, this move is going to be hard, because she likes it here. She is taking Kung Fu classes and loves it. She tries to get along with her mom’s boyfriend, but one night, just before she’s about to head off to Kung Fu class, she gets into a fight with Tim, and he takes her phone after accusing her of back-talking to him. Her mom is at work, so it is hard for Savannah to see how it won’t be just her word against Tim’s. And since they live in his house, she can only guess who her mom will side with.

At practice that night she worries so much about what will happen when she gets home, and when she and her mom will probably be leaving since the situation seems to be getting worse and worse by the day. She isn’t paying much attention when she leaves the studio.  And that turns out to be possibly the biggest mistake of her life.

The Girl in the White Van by April Henry is another great mystery from a great author. The perspectives that Henry gives the reader from all sides keeps the suspense and the storying moving at a break neck pace. Any reader who enjoys a good mystery and suspense book will inhale this story.

Recommended for grades 7 and up.

 

Creepy Stories January 4, 2021

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

Imagine walking home at night and seeing a little girl coming toward you. She’s lost and needs to be walked download-1home, but as you are walking her home, something seems off. Or what about finding someone to help you up your game of basketball, only to realize they aren’t all there. Or what happens if you “tease” the wrong woman and she turns out to be a witch.

The Puppet’s Payback and Other Chilling Tales by Mary Downing Hahn is a collection of creepy, strange and frightening tales of what can happen when you mess with the wrong people or put yourself in a bad situation! If you like ghost stories, creature stories or just the unexplained, this short quick read is for you!

Recommended for grades 6 and up.

 

Time Is Ticking December 7, 2020

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

download-4Six students all walk into a high school, over a week before school is going to start for the year. Each one brings with them a backpack filled with important pieces that make up who they are. Or who they think they are.

Yet just after noon, the school is rocked by an explosion that shatters parts of the school. Diana, Frankie, Tad, Cas, Z and Rashid are all trapped in different parts of the school as explosion after explosion rips through their high school. Now, for some of them, their bags mean everything, and for others it will expose exactly who they are. As the students begin to pair up to help each other, it becomes known that one of them might be responsible for all the death and destruction. The question is who, and will the others be able to escape with their lives?

Time Bomb by Joelle Charbonneau is a quick and exciting read that will have many guessing until the end.

Recommended for grades 8 and up.

 

They Had a Plan September 28, 2020

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

Chloe and Finn had been friends ever since Chloe moved next door. Now that is a bit relative, since they live in the country, so next door wasn’t quite as close as in the suburbs or for sure the city, but still, close enough. While Finn is pretty happy with life and how things are going, Chloe always seems to want more. And when a college counselor comes to the school and starts talking about how to get noticed by colleges, Chloe starts to get an idea. An idea that at first Finn things is a joke, but it turns out Chloe is serious.

downloadThe plan seems harmless enough, until things start to go wrong and then Finn begins to wonder just what Chloe’s plan was from the beginning. And if the part Finn thinks she was to play, is the same as what Chloe had planned for her.

Accomplice by Eireann Corrigan takes the idea of friendship and shows just how far someone will go to preserve it and how little another will go to lose it.

Recommended for 8th grade and up.