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!

Return to Salem February 3, 2017

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 11:58 am

Mather. That is Sam’s last name. Not a big deal in any city in the country, except for Salem Massachusetts. Because in Salem, during the witch trials, Sam’s ancestor played a large role in the hanging and deaths of many of the people living in Salem. And to this day, the name is not popular.

Sam had never been to Salem, even though her grandmother had lived there till she died. Sam’s father never wanted to go back to that place after Sam’s mom died. So Sam never knew or even met her grandmother. But now Sam finds herself not only in Salem but in the house that her dad grew up in, and the house her grandmother had owned when she died. However, the reason they are back isn’t a happy one. Sam’s dad is in a coma and has been for the last three months. For some reason he won’t wake up, but Vivian, Sam’s stepmother, says they have to move to Salem because the hospital bills in New York were way too high to keep their apartment and care for her father.

Right away, students in school have a problem with Sam, and a group called the 514rynizsl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Descendants (who are ancestors of people who were killed during the witch trials) make it very clear they want Sam gone, and are willing to do almost anything to make her go.

Things get more
complicated  when a spirit named Elijah shows up and begins demanding she also leave. However, Sam is trapped in more ways than one, and slowly she comes to the realization that not only her family has suffered, but all the Descendants as well. Could it be that they are all caught up in a curse? A curse that only Sam can solve and break?

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather is an interesting look at how the past of a place can totally impact the present and what happens when old bad habits repeat and repeat. Can a cycle truly ever really be broken?

Recommended for 8th grade and up.



A Shocking Discovery January 5, 2017

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 8:11 am

All her life this is what Olivia believed – that her father killed her mother, then took Olivia imgres-1to a Walmart and left her there to be found hours later. That is what the police believed after her mother’s body was discovered in the woods where her family had gone to cut down a Christmas tree. And since only her mother’s body had been found, and her father’s truck was later found in an airport parking lot, what other conclusion could there be?

Except, now, fourteen years later, Olivia, living on her own after many failed foster homes and a disrupted adoption, gets a visit from the police. A bone has been found and it has been identified as that of her father through DNA testing. So, this changed everything. Her father clearly didn’t kill her mother if he was dead too. The question is, who did? And who took a three year old Olivia to a store and left her there for someone to find?

Olivia wants answers. She heads down to her father’s funeral, but doesn’t tell anyone who she really is. She decides she is going to look into the murder of her parents on her own, and see if she can’t put together what the police haven’t been able to…who killed her parents 14 years ago, but spared her. And why?

The Girl I Used to Be by April Henry is a haunting book with lots of turns as the reader and Olivia try to figure out what happened all those years ago. Another fabulous mystery from master mystery writer April Henry.

Recommended for 7th grade and up.


I Heart You, You Haunt Me – A Review by 8th Grader Tyra J. December 15, 2016

Filed under: graphic novel,Mystery and Ghost Stories,Romance — bhomel @ 1:12 pm

Image result for I heart you you haunt me

In I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder, Ava was really sad because her boyfriend, Jackson, died. She blames herself for daring him to jump off a cliff. When she goes to school, Ava is very sorrowful that teachers don’t let her do as much of the work. Her mom sometimes ask her friends to come over and maybe bring gifts just to try to get her out of the house. Jackson comes back as a ghost and gets her attention by making her cold or blowing the windows wide open. Jackson tells her she doesn’t want her to be sad about that day. Then the days proceed though that she grows tired of Jackson not wanting her to leave the house. Until the day Jessa pleaded that she wanted Ava to go to the party but the party was where everything had happened.  When Jessa leaves Ava by herself, Ava spots Lyric and ask for his phone so she can go home. But he offers her a ride home. When Ava realized that she is miserable that’s when Jackson comes around. When she noticed that she was miserable, she made a change and started hanging out with her friends.

I would rate this book 10 out of 10. The author didn’t tell you what happened to the boyfriend until the very end but at the start she always brought it up but never told what happen. I like the way the author described how Ava felt when Jackson comes into her room.


A Deadly Read by 7th Grader Dianna P. December 9, 2016

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Student Book Reviews — bhomel @ 3:05 pm

imagesIn the book The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington, Jade and her brother moved into a new house with her dad and stepmother, but Jade and her brother are noticing very strange things going on around there new house. One day Colby (Jade’s Brother)  tells Jade that he has a girl in his room, but he says that the girl is not imaginary. Jade thinks that Colby is just lying but she has also noticed that things in the house are very strange. Jade is trying to figure out what is going on with the house or if it’s just her imagination. Jade finds out that this girl had lived in the house before Jade and she had died some how in the house but no one knows why. Jade finds out some deep secrets about the house and Kayla Sloane.

I really loved this book, it had so many great events in it. I really recommend it to the people who really like mystery.


Truly, Madly, Deadly Review by 7th Grader Ryan H.

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Student Book Reviews — bhomel @ 10:42 am

Sawyer is a high schooler and she recently experienced the death of her boyfriend, she is having a tough time recovering. A few days after the death, she gets a note in her locker that says, “You’re Welcome.” Then Sawyer goes to a party and she is in the back when she hears a scream. She runs around the front and her best friend Chloe has a huge slash across her face. They check Chloe’s car and someone put something in her car that wouldn’t let her use the brakes, luckily she didn’t go into the car. She then gets in a huge fight with her “friend” Maggie. The next day, Chloe comes to her house and says,  “Come on, come with me you need to see this.” She takes her to Maggie’s house and finds out that Maggie committed suicide. Sawyer still doesn’t know who is writing her notes and it’s not Maggie because she is dead. Who is writing her these notes?

Truly Madly Deadly By Hannah Jayne was a really good book if you like mystery.  It is a very intense book and there is always something happening right from the beginning.  If I were to rate it I would give it a 4-5 stars.



Am I Missing? A Book Review by 7th Grader Alejandro A. December 7, 2016

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Student Book Reviews — bhomel @ 3:13 pm

After a girl, named Janie Johnson, is eating lunch one day, she sees that her friend has a milk carton with a picture of a missing child. She suddenly realizes that the child looks like her! She is confused as to how she was kidnapped from a shopping mall in New Jersey 12 years ago. And the reason she is confused is because she might think that her own Image result for the face on the milk cartonparents kidnapped her and changed her name.

The Face on the Milk Carton by: Caroline B. Cooney  is a good read for people who like mysteries. This book is so mysterious because I wanted to know if Janie was really kidnapped and who her parents really are and how was she kidnapped 12 years ago from a Shopping mall in New Jersey.



If She Only Knew October 12, 2016

Filed under: Historical Fiction,Mystery and Ghost Stories — oneilllibrary @ 9:08 pm

imgresWhen the Benevolent Home for Necessitous Girls burns down, Katie is sent off into the world, with little more than the clothes on her back, and a few small possessions.  She is also given an old newspaper clipping of a photograph taken at least fifteen years before by the woman who runs the orphanage in Canada. Katie knows nothing about the parents who gave her up when she was an infant, but she is sure this newspaper clipping can’t have anything to do with her. In fact, she almost throws it away.

Katie dreams of becoming a big time newspaper journalist. Her only problem – it is the 1960s and making it as a woman journalist is a difficult proposition. When Katie gets turned down and told she would need to have a great story to get a good job, she decides to investigate the newspaper clipping – hoping it will lead her to a great story. It leads her to an old murder, and to the grave of the supposed murderer. However, as Katie begins to question events of the past in this sleepy little Indiana town, people get worried Katie is turning over secrets best left alone.

My Life Before Me by Norah McClintock is some of her finest writing. As always, McClintock is a master at drawing the reader in and weaving complex themes and ideas into a fabulous, accessible story that will have you turning pages as fast as you can. While the story is set close to sixty years in the past, current events will show you how much and how little has changed.

Recommended for 7th grade and up. A truly remarkable book and a great mystery.