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!

Lightning Made Her, Or Did It? July 20, 2017

Filed under: Historical Fiction,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 7:05 am

Nothing much happens on the The Hill of Dust, the name of Teo’s town in Mexico. His family of indigenous people, the Mexteco, are used to being marginalized in all areas of their life. So when a caravan of roaming Romani (more commonly known as Gypsies) download-1show up, it is cause for everyone in Teo’s town to sit up and take notice. Everyone except for his mother however, who has been lost in her own world ever since Teo’s twin sister died the year before. Teo understands. After seeing his father killed years before, and not being able to save his sister, Teo feels like being sucked under with grief as well. Only his grandfather seems to be able to keep him afloat.

Until he meets Esma. Esma is a force unto herself. She is a Romani girl with a personality to light up the night sky! She has the most amazing voice and Teo finds his life linked with hers over a fortune read one night.

Teo and Esma know theirs is an improbable friendship. The Romani doesn’t trust outsiders and Teo’s people don’t understand the Gypsy way of life. However, something draws Esma and Teo together, despite these differences. The only question is, how can their friendship thrive in such a difficult world?

The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau is a powerful read on life beyond our borders and a glimpse into a time and way of life almost lost.

Recommended for anyone who likes powerful, quiet reads. Appropriate for grades 6th and up.

 

All Your Secrets OUT, for the World to See July 17, 2017

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 6:46 am

Sammy has the typical concerns. She’s worried about the four AP exams she’ll be taking in a few months, along with her driver’s license test and the SAT. PLUS, the prom is coming up, and she’s desperate for a promposal (the over the top prom proposals that get downloadrecorded for the world to see – although after seeing one in the cafeteria she decides she’d prefer the old fashion way of someone just asking her in private) from Jamie, the star lacrosse player at her school. She thinks he likes her, but it could be he only likes to copy her math homework. It’s all so much pressure on a girl. Plus, even though she’s always been a “good kid” her parents won’t let her go into the city to see her favorite band because a parent isn’t going along.

She decides that the concert is too important and devises a way to sneak with her best friends to see the show. But of course, it doesn’t all go as planned. She’s worried how she’ll cover up the fact that her mom’s sweater got vomit on it and how to clean it without her knowing!

All that changes when her father, who runs a world famous bank, divulges to the family that some protesters have hacked into secure information not only from the bank, but from their family. All their texts, emails, and to Sammy’s horror, her personal journal that she kept on her computer, are all about to become public for the world’s amusement. Sammy knows that she’s said some not so nice things about a lot of people in the journal, including her best friends, her infatuation with Jamie, AND the fact that she snuck out to the concert. She’s terrified of the consequences of her journal becoming public.

It turns out she has more than just her journal to worry about though, as a secret her parents have been keeping from her and her brother becomes public.

In Case You Missed It by Sarah Littman takes an honest look at all the pressures parents and society put on teens these days, from SATs to prom proposals, and lets the reader see what truly matters.

Recommended for 7th grade and up.

 

Recruited in 8th Grade! July 13, 2017

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 1:53 pm

downloadTravis thinks the only thing worth anything in the world is football. He spends all his time thinking about it and playing it. His older brother has set a great example by getting a scholarship to a Florida college to play football for their team. Travis is stoked when the coach comes and talks to Carter, Travis’ older brother about the offer. And Travis can’t pass up the opportunity to show off a bit for the coach – who is impressed!

Taking the coach’s offer up to send him some of his game footage, Travis is completely floored and shocked when the coach offers him a verbal commitment to Travis for when he graduates from high school to come play at the Florida school. Travis can’t believe it! After all, he’s only in 8th grade.

After getting the verbal offer, Travis sees his life change. His brother Carter, has a hard time seeing all the attention that his little brother is getting, especially as he’s trying to make it himself in the college scene.

But all that changes after one event brings things into perspective for Carter and later for Travis.

Top Prospect by Paul Volponi tells of an unusual situation, although not unheard of, where students as young as middle school have been made offers by colleges that are looking to have them in their sports program when they are older. The question is, does this put unreasonable pressure on these student athletes and their families? Can kids really keep performing at that level for so long?

This book is a great read for anyone interested in the world of football and some of the pitfalls of being really good at any sport.

 

Thirteen and a half years of memories– wiped out in one instant! June 4, 2017

Chase Ambrose wakes up in a hospital bed, with no recollection of who he is, why he is there, or what happened in his life leading up to this point. He is told that he fell off of his roof and the resulting injury to his head caused amnesia. Thirteen and a half years of life– wiped out in one instant! While he doesn’t remember

anything about his life, Chase thinks he has a pretty good idea of who he is from pictures he finds on his phone– he’s a football star, a popular student with lots of friends, and a brother. However, as he begins to pick up on other people’s reactions to him (his four-year-old half sister is terrified of him; students at school cower in fear when he walks down the hallway; a girl dumps a whole bowl of frozen yogurt over his head), he realizes that he might have been a bully. “New Chase” doesn’t feel like a bully though. He truly enjoys his (court ordered) community service at the senior center, hanging out with the video club, and creating a relationship with his arch-enemy Shoshanna. Now Chase is torn– can he go back to his old life now that he has seen the person he could be? Even though this book’s topic is serious, it is executed in Korman’s signature hilarious style. Crazy stunts meant to turn viral on YouTube, pranks, a cranky Korean War veteran, and more will keep middle school students laughing until the happy ending.

 

 

Sloan has been bra-napped! May 24, 2017

In this light and funny novel, sixth-grade Becca Birnbaum thinks her life is over when a wild volleyball serve breaks the arm of the coolest, most popular eighth-grade girl. Sloan “Selfie” St. Clair has a huge group of friends, a walk-in closet of designer clothes, a country club membership, and a vacation home in Switzerland. Rumors are that getting on her bad side is social suicide. But, as Becca is soon to find out, Selfie is friendly, kind, and fun– and sometimes more than a little irresponsible. When Becca and Sloan are caught in a hilarious mix-up involving the principal’s missing bra, they have to work as a team to stop the school year’s biggest prank. Complementary illustrations in the style of hand-drawn doodles add a laugh-out-loud component to this endearingly off-the-wall beach read.

 

 

Forget Me Not May 14, 2017

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This novel about a girl trying to hide her Tourette Syndrome is written mostly in verse, with short prose vignettes interspersed throughout. Calliope Snow hates her last name– her father died in a car accident during a snowstorm, so being called “Snow” seems like a cruel joke. Because her grief-stricken mother has spent the last few years in a whirlwind of failed relationships, moving after every breakup, Calli is forced to begin at a new school each time and never has time to make a real friend. But this time (the TENTH!) might be a little bit different. Calli meets a kind, friendly boy named Jinsong, who might actually like her. However, because her mother and pediatrician told her not to tell anyone about her Tourette Syndrome, she can’t explain why she is often compelled to make strange noises, faces, and jerky movements. She quickly becomes the joke of her new middle school. Jinsong, who is more interested in this intelligent, quirky, kind girl every day, is torn between wanting to stand up for Calli and wanting to remain friends with the popular students who are bullying her. Terry writes intelligently and creatively, and though the ending is bittersweet, middle schoolers will love seeing Calli and Jin learn to stand up for themselves and each other.

 

A Fast Horse Can Only Take You So Far May 8, 2017

Filed under: Novels in Verse,Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 10:45 am

downloadHer mother dying left a hole in Raesha that nothing seems to be able to fill. However, if she can ride her horse, Fancy, in the coming rodeo season and place high enough to maybe win Nationals, like her mother did, maybe that will bring her closer to filling that hole up.

Rae knows that everything counts when you are racing the clock in barrels, and anything she can do to help her horse be faster and lighter will make all the difference. That is when she starts thinking about how she can be lighter. So much lighter that Fancy will have to be able to go faster.

Rae’s best friend, Asia, is the first to notice that Rae isn’t eating much of anything, if at all. Rae’s boyfriend, Cody, doesn’t seem to have any idea of what is going through his girlfriend’s mind, and things between them are only complicated when a new girl moves into town, named Kierra, and seems to threaten their once stable relationship.

The Sky Between You and Me by Catherine Alene is a novel in verse that will capture your heart as you see how much Rae struggles to move beyond this growing despair she has in her life. The issue of eating disorders is portrayed in such a way that students will begin to understand how all encompassing this disease can become and how its impacts can be felt far and wide. An author’s note at the end will give readers even more perspective on how damaging and life threatening this can be to people.

Recommended for 8th grade readers and up due to the inferencing and text complexities of the text.