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.

 

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.

 

 

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 Sweet Read December 5, 2016

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction,Romance — bhomel @ 1:32 pm
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Image result for love and gelato

In the book Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch, Lina’s entire life changes! Her mom’s dying request was for Lina to go to Italy and live with the mysterious Howard. During her seventeen years of her life, Lina has never met Howard and she presumes he’s her long lost father. A new country and a new dad are a lot to take in!

Once in Italy, Lina meets Ren – who happens to be half Italian and half American. Lina and Ren become friends quickly and he agrees to show her the sites of Italy. Lina is given an old diary written by her mother. As she starts reading the diary, she discovers secrets about her mom! Lina and Ren trace her mom’s adventures from when she lived in Italy a short time before Lina was born. The secrets lead Lina to finding out more about her father and it’s a huge surprise!

Along the way, Lina finds a love interest in Italy to make her trip even sweeter than gelato! (Get it?!) Love and Gelato is a good read for people who like to read stories that have lots of ups and downs in life and romance fans. Lina’s life is full of adventures and that kept me reading – I had to find out what was going to happen to Lina, Howard, and Ren. The ending was great and I was very happy. I would love to read a sequel!

 

As She Was Drowning…She Heard A Voice November 11, 2016

Filed under: Fantasy Books,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 9:18 am

Eighty years ago, Kahlen was traveling with her family on a plush steam liner on the ocean, when her ship began to sink. Not only that, but people were pulled by an unseen force into the water, happily! However, Kahlen, who heard the “call” to come to the Ocean, also began to fight the pull and begged to live. A beautiful woman heard her cries and asked her if she would be willing to serve the Ocean for 100 years in exchange for her life. She agreed.

What Kahlen didn’t realize was she was committing herself to the Ocean to be a killer for Her. The Ocean feeds off thimgrese deaths of humans, and if enough don’t die each year to sustain Her, her Sirens must call people to their deaths. Kahlen becomes Her most beloved siren. Kahlen loves the Ocean but at the same time despises what she is called to do – kill people. As the end of her sentence approaches, Kahlen finds herself spiraling into a depression she can’t seem to shake. And that is when she meets Akinli – a boy at a college she and the other sirens are living near.  While Kahlen can’t speak to anyone other than the sirens, Akinli doesn’t seem to mind and proceeds to charm Kahlen with his sweet spirit. She even agrees to go on a date with him. However, on the date, she realizes she feels too strongly for him, and knows there can be no future. Forcing herself to leave him is the hardest and most painful thing Kahlen has ever had to do. Until she is asked to take down an entire cruise ship by Her.

The Siren by Kiera Cass is a stand alone novel (which I thank her for!) and has a sweet romance that many will enjoy plus lots of lore about sirens – or at least the ones that Cass has created.

Recommended for 7th grade and up.