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!

A Letter from the Past October 18, 2017

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 1:52 pm

downloadON the anniversary of her father’s death, Claire likes to look at her father’s journal. This time though, she discovers a letter that was hidden in the binding of the book. Because it is written in Japanese – a language she doesn’t speak or write, but her father did – she isn’t sure what says. So she recruits her brothers and their friends to crack the code with her. What she doesn’t expect is to unearth a family secret – one that could very well put her and her family in harms way.

Ink and Ashes by Valynne Maetani takes readers on a ride through some Japanese customs and superstitions, as well as makes us all realize we might not know everything about the people we live with…that we think we do.

Recommended for 7th grade and up readers who are looking for an interesting mystery with a little romance thrown in for good measure.

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Ghost children live here October 8, 2017

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories — lpitrak @ 3:35 pm
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Coraline and her parents move into a giant mansion that has been separated into many different apartments,

 each containing a different family. There is only one apartment that is empty, and Coraline finds herself strangely curious to open the door to explore this place. The mice in the building pass along the message for her to NOT go through the door… but Coraline is home alone one day and cannot contain her urge to pass through. Beyond the door, Coraline finds an apartment that is much like the one she just left—it is layed out the same way, and there are even two parents known as Other Mother and Other Father. They are loving and pay attention to her, cook her amazing food, and show her tiny wonders such as dolls and books that come to life. Coraline is pretty thrilled when Other Mother invites her to stay permanently—until Other Mother tells her that in order to do so, Coraline will have to allow her to sew buttons over her eyes. Horrified by this, Coraline tries to run away, and discovers the trapped children who Other Mother turned into ghosts. Can Coraline free their souls, save her real parents from the wrath of Other Mother and Other Father, and make it out alive?

 

 

Can a monster hunter become a monster himself?

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the  one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me… and the one who cursed me.

 

These words open this strange and terrifying book by Rick Yancey. They are taken from the journal of Will Henry, an orphan and apprentice with an unusual specialty—Will is apprencticed to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a man who has spent his life both studying and hunting horrifying different species of monsters that most humans aren’t even aware exist. When Will is approached by a strange grave robber who has stumbled upon


the remains of a young girl who died with the monster that was eating her still attached to her body, Will’s world is about to change forever. The dead monster is an Anthropophagus–a headless monster that feeds through a mouth in its chest. This one was a baby when it killed the girl; but there are more who are now full grown… and if the mostrumologists can’t kill them, nothing can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mystery Close to Home July 10, 2017

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 3:54 pm

She didn’t even really know him, at least not until she was asked to get him out of his downloadbasement laboratory in the school during a fire drill. That is when Mori meets Lock. Sherlock Holmes to be exact. His parents had a wicked sense of humor. Mori has enough at home to deal with, to not get too involved in Lock’s eccentric ways, but when he approaches her with a murder mystery, she is intrigued. After all, since her mom died, there certainly hasn’t been anything to get interested about there.

Things take a strange turn however, when Mori and Lock attend the memorial of the man who was killed, and Mori sees a picture of her own mother with a few other people and the deceased. What could her mother possibly have had in common with the man who was stabbed in the park? Mori doesn’t mention the picture to Lock, and instead begins to do some of her own investigating.

Lock and Mori by Heather W. Petty takes place in England, but the writer appears to be American and at times it seems some of the English jargon is a bit jarring and out of place. As a reader, I struggled a bit with connecting to both Mori and Lock, and felt that sometimes things that should have been explained a bit more, or made more clear.

Overall, if you are looking for a fairly decent suspense book – the mystery isn’t that big of one since the reader and Mori figure it out pretty quickly who the murderer is – take a look at this title.

Recommended for 8th grade and up just because it tends to jump around a bit.

 

 

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.