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!

She Sees Ghosts Or Does She? June 27, 2019

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories — oneilllibrary @ 1:38 pm

Adele is struggling. She takes medicine for her diagnosed schizophrenia, which both herdownload  mother and her grandmother had as well. Adele has been on the medication since she was young and a few weeks ago, she forgot to take one of her pills at night. The next day she felt so awake! It seemed that she’d been sleeping through life while on her medication. She’s paying attention in class and actually answering questions, she’s interacting with other students at school…and so she decides to not take her medicine that next night as well. She’s now been two weeks without her meds, and she feels great.

Until she takes her normal short cut home though the park on Monday after school. That’s when her hallucinations begin again. Or so she thinks. After all, that was why she started taking the medication. Because she would see things that no one else could see.

In the park she sees Tori. A girl she used to be good friends with, long ago in elementary school, but who just on Saturday night, screamed at Adele to leave the party at Tori’s house.  So what is Tori doing here in the park, in the dress she wore to her party on Saturday night? And why is she talking to Adele like it is no big deal that she’s sitting in the park and not wondering why she’s there? Adele gets a sick feeling that she is seeing Tori because Tori is actually dead.

The Lonely Dead by April Henry is not only a ghost and mystery story, but it brings up the larger issue of mental health, questioning if people who have been diagnosed simply see things that others don’t. Adele must figure out how to navigate this world she now thinks she can be a part of, and yet still try to keep the people who are important to her, in her life.

Recommended for grades 7 and up.


Always Running July 17, 2018

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories — oneilllibrary @ 3:58 pm

A new house, a new town, a new school. Cameron has done it all before, multiple times. In fact, he’s getting so tired of the same old story, that he’s beginning to question whether his mom is making things up. Maybe his dad wasn’t quite as bad as she remembers. Maybe if Cameron did contact him, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. After all, he hasn’t talked to him or seen him in years.

The latest move has put Cameron and his mom in a tiny town in the middle of And not only that, but the house they move into is strange. It is an old farmhouse in the middle of cornfields, with some woods off to one side. Quickly, Cameron realizes he won’t fit in at school, and his mom seems to be pretty wrapped up in her new job. When Cameron starts seeing a boy, he wonders if something is going on with him. His mom is worried about his behavior and Cameron realizes he doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing all the time.

After hearing some rumors about the house he now lives in, Cameron does some investigating and finds out that a long time ago a little boy and his mother disappeared from the house. One woman in town claimed they had been murdered, along with her cousin. But no bodies were ever found and it became part of the town lore. But Cameron keeps having strange dreams about a boy, a boy he comes to believe is the boy who disappeared. Is Cameron losing it after all these years of running? Who can he trust? Maybe it’s time to let his dad back into his life.

The Dogs by Allan Stratton is a mystery of who did it back then, and who can you trust now. Readers who like a bit of suspense and uncertainty will enjoy this book.

Recommended for 7th grade and up.


Once a Liar, Always a Liar? July 10, 2018

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 12:50 pm

Kay has a close knit group of friends at her boarding school, a school where she escaped after tragedy struck her home years before. A tragedy she can’t help feeling a part of…because of a series of lies she told. At Bates, the boarding school, many of the studentsdownload-1 appear to have a golden life, but as a student there on scholarship, Kay has to walk a fine line and keep her grades and her place on the soccer field perfect, or it can all slip away.

One night, as Kay and her friends are about to have their annual skinny dip in a pond on campus after a Halloween party, they make a grisly discovery. A girl has beat them to the pond, but she won’t be coming out on her own. She is dead. Quickly, rumors of a suicide turn into rumors of murder. When Kay gets a mysterious email that sends her to a website, she knows that her time might be up. Basically, if she doesn’t force other members of the school out, her own terrible secret will be out. Kay has limited knowledge of computers and hacking, so she turns to a girl named Nola to help her before time runs out and her secret is revealed.

As Kay and Nola begin to unravel the pieces of the website, it quickly becomes clear that lots of others at Bates have things to be weary of, and as Kay works to save her own skin, she begins taking down members of her own group of friends. The question becomes, who is next? And could the website be setting Kay up to take the biggest fall of her life?

People Like Us by Dana Mele is a book that most readers will enjoy. I was a little confused at times by Kay and her romantic indecision when it came to some of the people in her life. Kay’s secret also seemed a bit much, but other readers will be able to forgive that if they enjoy the rest of the story.

Recommended for mature 8th graders and up.


Frozen Charlotte Book Review by 7th Grader Leslie May 10, 2018

f.jpgFrozen Charlotte is by Alex Bell.

This story is about a group of girls who live in a boarding school and they play with a doll called Frozen Charlotte.  The doll was created when the school mistress gave them scraps of fabric and ribbons from the sewing room. They practice their sewing skills by making little dresses and bonnets. They also made a doll with the scraps. The doll is possessed with a spirit and becomes a killer.  

I really like this book because it’s based on a horror book and I like to watch horror movies when I am at home or at the movie theater.



Crime Travelers Book Review by 8th Grader Joseph May 8, 2018

cIn Crime Travelers Brainwashed by Paul Aertker, Lucas Benes is more than just a normal boy. Lucas and his adopted sister, Astride, are spies who work for his dad’s company. They are getting ready to protect their country and other countries while they are in training. But while they are in training, Coach Creed sends them on a mission to go save children that are about to get kidnapped in France.

If you like mysteries, this book is for you because it has a lot of mystery and action. I liked this book because it tells the different sides or perspectives of the main characters.


Bull’s Eye Book Review by 7th Grader Addy C. April 12, 2018

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Student Book Reviews — bhomel @ 9:10 am
Tags: ,

BullsBull’s Eye by Sarah N. Harvey is about a girl named Emily who finds out a huge secret that changes her life!

Emily’s life was all normal and then Emily’s mom hands her a box full of stuff from her aunt. A picture falls from the bottom of the box and it is a picture of Emily’s mom and her aunt standing outside the Hotel in Vancouver’s West End. A minute later, she looks at it and noticed that her aunt is very pregnant and her mom that she is living with now is not. This picture was taken not long before the day she was born. Emily wants to go find her real mom and her real dad. So she went to the Hotel in Vancouver to stay there. During the day, she would go looking for them. Emily searched for her parents for a week but it wasn’t easy to uncover the truth.

I think that everybody who likes mystery books would really like this book. I really liked this book because there were a lot of twists in this book. There were things I didn’t see coming. There are some mature words in this book so I think 7th and 8th graders should read this.


Revelations in the Elevator March 25, 2018

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Novels in Verse — oneilllibrary @ 4:48 pm

downloadIt has happened again. Someone close to him has been taken, by violence. Gun violence. Will knows what he has to do. After all, there are rules that have to be followed. For example, no matter how you are really feeling, you can’t cry. You can’t snitch and you must – MUST – get Revenge.

Will’s older brother, Shawn has been killed. Gunned down in the street on his way back from getting special medical cream for their mother. And this isn’t the first important person to be lost in Will’s life to guns. Will knows who did it, who killed his brother. And now, according to the rules, he needs to seek Revenge.

Will finds a gun in his brother’s drawer and knows it is now or never. He has to get revenge. But as he listens to his mother crying, and thinks of what he must do, he worries if he’ll be able to complete his revenge. After all, he’s never even shot a gun before.

Still, he heads down in his apartment building’s elevator, ready to do what needs to be done. Once on the elevator, he is surprised when a man gets on and begins talking with him, and when Will recognizes who it is, he begins to question his sanity.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds takes a hard look at the cost of violence in many communities around the United States, and what it is like to have certain rules in your life. Can young people really have the courage to break the rules that have governed their lives for so long, or are they doomed to keep repeating the same events over and over?

Recommended for grades 7 and up.


A Missing Mother February 19, 2018

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 11:58 am

For ten years, Sami has been haunted by the last memory she has of her mother. She said she would see Sami on Wednesday, but her mother never came back. Instead, Sami was found by herself, scared. But she doesn’t even recall that. All she knows is that her father is under suspicion for her disappearance. Every so often a post card arrives in the mail, appearing to be from Sami’s mother. Sami is frustrated and mad that her mother would just disappear and only send post cards once in a while. Yet her father has been faced with hostility from the community for years because of his possible involvement. In all the years though, Sami has believed her father had nothing to do with any foul play against her mother – even though they were divorced.

Now, however, Sami’s mother’s cold case file has taken a new turn. A body – possibly the body of a woman named Trina has been found. It turns out that Trina was once married to Sami’s father – a fact he never mentioned to her. Now, Sami begins to question her own father and if it would be possibly for him to be connected to not just one woman’s disappearance, but two.  Could it be that the man she’s been living with and loving for her whole life, is a killer?

Splinter by Sasha Dawn is a fast moving book that takes you on a ride! So many twists and turns happen in this book, it can be hard to keep them all straight! But because it moves along so quickly, you don’t feel too lost. This is a book that held my attention and that is saying a lot!

Recommended for mature 7th graders and up only because the text can get complicated at times.


Ghosts in the Graveyard… November 29, 2017

Filed under: Historical Fiction,Mystery and Ghost Stories — oneilllibrary @ 2:47 pm

It can be difficult moving to a new house and a new school. So Annie is worried when she starts school in September of 1918 that she might not make any friends right away. It turns out, she makes a friend too fast and that creates problems. After all, have you ever had someone want to be your friend and you don’t think you want to be theirs? A girl named Elsie immediately grabs Annie for herself and won’t let Annie go on the very first day. Annie doesn’t know quite what to think, only that the other girls in the class clearly don’t like Elsie and Elsie despises them right back.

When Elsie invites herself to Annie’s house the first night after school, Annie is horrified to realize that her new “friend” is very mean spirited, even without the other girls from school around. Elsie continues to dog her at school, and won’t let Annie have a moment free to chat with anyone until one week Elsie is sick and Annie is able to break free and forge new friendships. Much to Elsie’s dismay when she returns to school. When tragedy strikes, Annie feels shame in her role but it isn’t until one terrifying night in the graveyard that she realizes just how truly sorry Elsie will make her.

One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn is set during the horrible fall of 1918 when just as the Great War was ending, a terribly plague was racing around the world – the Spanish flu – which killed millions of people world wide, and took a huge toll on the United States as well.

This book is great for anyone who is a fan of ghost stories and of Mary Downing Hahn, who is true to form in this work.

Recommended for grades 6 and up.


Who Did IT? November 12, 2017

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories — oneilllibrary @ 3:41 pm

Five teens that seem to have all had a prank pulled on them. One teacher that never allows phones in his class, finds phones on all of the kids- phones they say aren’t even theirs! Still, a rule is a rule, so they all get detention after school.

It is an unlikely bunch – the school drug dealer, the class valedictorian (or almost), the rising baseball star who will probably sign an MLB deal right out of high school, and the homecoming queen. Plus Simon. Simon is the interesting one. He, after all, knows all the dirt in the school. He knows stuff that no one else knows, and what makes it all crazy is that it is true. Simon publishes it all on a app that everyone has, so everyone knows all the secrets they shouldn’t.

No one understands why they are there. Until one of them isn’t. Simon has an allergic reaction and is rushed to the hospital…where he later dies. It turns out, someone must have slipped him some peanut oil – which he was deathly allergic to – with leathal consequences. Everyone in the room suddenly becomes a suspect.

And it turns out everyone had a motive because Simon was about to post a damaging message to his app that concerned all of the detention students. The question becomes, who did it, how and why?

Bronwyn, Addy, Nate and Cooper all find themselves placed under suspicion by the police and by their fellow students. Could one of them really have hated Simon so much that they killed him for it? As their lives begin to unravel with all that is revealed, it begins to look like there is no way to escape Simon, even after his death.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus is a fast paced suspense book that will keep you hanging till the end. Make sure you have a nice long weekend to devote to this book, because once it gets going you won’t want to stop. Recommended for middle of the year 8th graders and up. Enjoy! I sure did!