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!

An Illegal Alien August 16, 2018

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 8:11 pm

Jasmine has to be perfect. She needs to get the right grades, she has to be involved in extracurricular activities, and she needs to take her cheer team to Nationals this year, and win! If it means sacrificing having a lot of friends, or any meaningful social life, so be it. After all, her parents didn’t come from the Philippines to give their kids a better life only to have those kids squander it, right? So Jasmine is out of her mind with excitement when she finds out she has been awarded a National Scholarship award which will give her a full ride to whatever college she chooses. She knows this is amazing, because her family would have struggled to put her through college. But when she excitedly shares the news with her parents, she learns an awful, horrible truth. Jasmine, along with her whole family, have no legal right to be in the United States. Suddenly, everything Jasmine has worked her whole life for dissolves. Who is she really, without all her accomplishments? Do they go away because she finds out she is considered an illegal – a term she hates?

As Jasmine has to figure out what her new life might look like, she mets a boy named Royce who at first seems to be everything that she’ll never have. Royce is rich, has his future set AND just happens to be the son of a Congressman who is against illegal immigrants. Yet, Jasmine and Royce are drawn to each other, even though the odds are clearly stacked against them.

Something in Between by Melissa De La Cruz is a great book for understanding the constant uncertainty that someone in the United States lives with as an undocumented immigrant. Especially seeing how children who thought they were in the country legally might feel, only to find out, they aren’t. And the romance is good too!

Recommended for 7th grade and up.

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Monster Hiding in Plain Sight June 30, 2018

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 1:50 pm

downloadWhat do you do when all our life you’ve been told one thing and you believe it? Then, in a matter of minutes, you learn that life as you thought you knew it, wasn’t? For Janna, that comes one night in the basement of her friend’s house. Once “it” happens, she doesn’t know what to think, or who to turn to. Should she tell her friends, her mom, her older brother who as moved back in and now wants Janna to give up her room? Her dad, who is living hours away with this “new” family?

As Janna tries to deal with what happened by herself, life doesn’t stop moving forward at breakneck speed. Finals are coming up and she has to study tons, her older neighbor Mr. Ram seems to be getting more frail by the day, and is her best friend Tats, really hitting on Jeremy, the boy that Janna has been secretly crushing on for some time? Everything seems to start to spiral in on Janna as she struggles to make sense of her world, now that it has been thrown upside down, all the while trying to keep everything going.

Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali gives us an honest look at the realities of living as a teen while trying to balance life decisions with those of religion. Janna is a girl with crushes, friends, troubles and sometimes humiliations when her life intersects with her Islamic beliefs.

This book is recommended for 7th grade readers and up.

 

Strapped In and Trapped June 22, 2018

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 5:50 pm

This is the year for sure that Rachel thinks she’ll be able to start on her soccer team. She’s download-1.jpgbeen working so hard and she just knows it is possible. Starting 7th grade, starting on the team (maybe even as a forward,) everything seems to be right on track.

Except for one thing – her back. Rachel’s mother had scoliosis and had to have back surgery to straighten her spine. Rachel has been diagnosed with it, but up until this point, hasn’t had to do anything other than go for uncomfortable doctor appointments every six months since she was 8. All that changes before school starts when the doctor tells her she will need to wear a brace, 23 hours a day to prevent her spine from curving to the point where she’ll need surgery. For Rachel, this could mean the end of her soccer dreams, and perhaps just as devastating, if not more, the loss of her self as she tries to navigate what it means to be different and limited physically.

Braced by Alyson Gerber takes an honest look at how something can change your life quickly, and it also gives readers a feeling for what it is like to be on the inside of things and suddenly feel like that has changed.

Recommended for 6th graders and up.

 

Headline Only Tells Half the Story June 19, 2018

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 5:42 pm

downloadWhat we show to the world, and what is happening in our lives can be very different. Just because we look, or sound, or even act in one way, shouldn’t define everything about us.

Darrian Lopez lives in the world of headlines – because he wants to be a reporter someday. Each time he sees something or an event, he tries to encapsulate it into a headline. However, when he tells his counselor what he wants to be, he finds himself in Mr. Ward’s poetry class! Darrian doesn’t understand why he’s been placed in this class, when he wants to write about what really happens in the world – not fluffy poetry.

Darrian learns quickly though, that poetry might just be the ultimate truth as he gets to know his classmates and their lives through their poetry.

Between the Lines by Nikki Grimes is the long awaited and long hoped for sequel to Bronx Masquerade. For fans of the first book, you’ll be pleased Grimes has kept the same format, giving us glimpses of many different lives and showing how we are all more alike than different. This is a quick read and if you enjoy poetry, or not, still worth your time!

Recommended for mature 6th graders and up.

 

Beauty and The Beast & Other Stories Book Review By 8th Grader Maddie May 9, 2018

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Beauty & the Beast and Other Stories by Sarah Hines Stephens has three different stories about the same problem. In each of the stories, the princes have spells set upon them that they have to break to be human again.

Beauty as a child was very simply impressed by the littlest things. Her sisters, on the other hand, wanted everything handed to them. The merchant lost his money and the family was forced to move out of their mansion and into a little cabin. The merchant traveled out one night and didn’t make it home and was sure he would freeze before he got home. So he saw a mansion and decided what he saw was a weird creature . He asked the creature if he could stay the night. The creature would let him stay for something in return. The merchant will allow his daughter to marry the creature. Beauty didn’t like the giant but when he turned into a prince, she fell in love with him.

I think this book keeps you engaged and doesn’t stress you out over number of pages. I like the font of the words.

 

The Selection Book Review by 7th Grader Kaylin

sThe Selection by Kiera Cass is the best book ever! It’s about a girl named America and she joined a competition called The Selection. America was in love with someone else when she got selected. She reluctantly went to the competition where the Prince was choosing his wife from 35 girls. America didn’t think she would fall in love with the Prince but she couldn’t resist how nice he was.

The book is so suspenseful! I had so much emotion in the book than my whole life of living. Things would go good and then bad real fast. I fell in love with Aspen and then he made horrible decisions and then my heart went to the prince, Maxon. Maxon is now my NEW Shawn Mendes!

 

The Selection Book Review by 7th Grader Celeste

sThe Selection by Kiera Cass is the best book ever! This book has lots of suspense and a great love story. It’s about a girl named America and she was pressured to join a competition called The Selection. The Selection is a competition where the prince gets to choose his wife out of 35 girls. America was in love with someone else when she joined The Selection. She would have never expected what feelings she had for the prince with someone back home.

This is the best book I have ever read because there is such a great love story. This book also is so suspenseful. I fell in love with Aspen then he made a terrible decision that made me mad. Then after meeting Maxon, I fell in love with him and have not gotten over him since.