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!

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.


Why do Some Stay? July 20, 2020

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

Shelly and her grandmother have the ability to help ghosts to “move on” to whatever is next. As a Cree, all the women in Shelly’s family have the ability. ghost collectorThis includes birds, mice, people and even raccoons! It turns out, there are a lot of pets that end up “haunting” the place they used to live. All they need is someone to help them to leave. Shelly LOVES going with her grandmother to help people and animals move to the next phase, but her mother isn’t so sure Shelly should be spending so much time with the dead and little to none -outside of family members- with the living. After all, Shelly doesn’t really have any great friends at school, and this concerns her mom. But her mom is so busy trying to work and pay rent and provide for the three of them, it can be hard to carve out that time. Still, Shelly knows her mom loves her and wants the best for her, even if she isn’t totally supportive of the whole ghost hunting thing.

When something tragic happens though, Shelly takes all the words of wisdom that she has learned from her grandmother about ghosts and what they need and disregards them and the rules. After all, if her ability can’t help her to connect with the one person she most wants to in the whole world, maybe the rules are meant to be broken, at least in this case.

The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills focuses on the real and painful truth we must all go through at some point in our lives, and how we all end up dealing with it, in our own way.

Recommended for grades 6 and up.


Non Stop Anxiety! June 15, 2020

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

download-3Bex, otherwise known as Beth Ann, is always looking over her shoulder. Why? Because most people believe her father is the mysterious Wife Collector serial killer. When Beth/Bex was a young girl, she unknowingly turned over evidence that connected her father to the murders of multiple young women. She has lived with the uncertainty of her father’s guilt for the last 10 years. After her father was accused, he left and abandoned Beth/Bex. Everyone believes that proves her father was indeed the killer, but Beth/Bex still hold out hope that he is innocent.

Now, her grandmother has died and she has been sent to live with a foster family miles away from where she grew up – and it is a chance she hopes to leave behind the horrible memories of growing up as the daughter of a serial killer. It is why she has decided to change her name from Beth Ann to Bex. No one knows who she is in this new place, and she wants to keep it that way.

Unfortunately for Bex, not long after she begins to settle into her new life, it seems as if her old one has come knocking at her door. It could be that her father has finally decided to track her down and if he has, does that mean he is the killer, or not? Beth/Bex isn’t sure what to believe anymore.

Twisted by Hannah Jayne is one of those books that will not let the reader have one second to breath. If you like suspense books where the main character is constantly jumping out of their skin, making pretty dumb decisions and sees killers at every turn, this is the book for you!

Recommended for grades 8 and up.


Wandering, Lost May 25, 2020

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

downloadJerome has a tough time at school, mostly because of three boys who like to bully him on a daily basis. Still, he tries to put on a brave face for his parents and grandmother. Why worry them about something that they can’t change. But he has a plan for how to avoid them, most of the time. However, on this particular day, a new boy comes to school, named Carlos. Right away Jerome can tell, Carlos is going to be the bullies next victim. So, Jerome lets Carlos in on one of Jerome’s favorite hiding spots. It is in that hiding spot that something new happens. Jerome makes a friend.But later on that same day, Jerome is shot, and killed by the police. Jerome never leaves though, he haunts his old apartment, seeing his family grieve and change, hoping he will be able to leave, but still he stays. Until one day he sees a boy like him, only from a different time. It turns out this ghost boy has something to share with Jerome. Only Jerome isn’t sure he wants to hear it.

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes is a book about an all too common occurrence – black men and boys being shot and killed by the police.  It looks at the damage inflicted upon everyone involved in the horrible situation – including all the things that Jerome will now never be able to do – since he will never grow up. Thoughtful and thought provoking read.

Recommended for grades 6 and up.