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!

Blood Tells All November 14, 2022

Filed under: Fantasy Books,Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

Blood is important in Mare’s society. It tells who has the power, and who doesn’t. And Mare’s family, theydownload-14 don’t have the power, or the money or the standing in society. Because their blood is Red. Not Silver. The Silvers have special powers that can make people do things, or even control elements.  Mare tries hard to make up for the fact she knows she is a disappointment to her family. After all, she has no special skills. She basically steals things since no one has picked her to be an apprentice. And that means she’ll follow in her three older brothers’ footsteps and head off to war once she turns 18, which is coming up fast. Still, at least her younger sister has a skill and she will be able to save the family, or so Mare hopes.

But when Mare finds out that her best friend, who she thought was safe from heading to war, has lost his apprenticeship, she is desperate to find a way to save him. When a way presents itself, the cost is huge, but Mare still thinks it might be possible. The problem is, she has no idea just how much she will have to pay in the end.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard is the first book in a series that is both Fantasy and Science Fiction. Mare is thrown into a world she is unprepared for, yet must find a way to fit in or die. Or perhaps it would just be easier to bring down the entire ruling family? As with most beginnings to series, there are lots of ways the story could go. If you like impossible odds, and lots of twists this would be a good book for you!

Recommended for grades 8 and up.


What Made Them Different Could Save Them July 11, 2022

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

downloadAnaya feels she is allergic to the world! Each year she seems to get allergic to something new and it all makes her life not so much fun. Especially as a teenager. Nothing great about acne that won’t stop, asthma all the time, and what seem to be the most limited diet of foods, while somehow still actually surviving. Anaya thinks if she could only still have friends, at least things would be a bit better. But no, after having a falling out with her one best friend a few years ago, she feels alone. At least she has her parents.

Seth is alone, but he’s hoping that his latest foster placement is going to work out, long term. He’s been bounced around so much. This family seems to need and want him, but he knows how quickly things can change. And there really is no point in getting to know the students at school – not that anyone is going out of their way to reach out to him anyway.

Petra is also allergic, but her allergy is to water. Yup, water. If she gets regular water on her skin it burns and get all irritated. She and Anaya used to be best friends, but things changed as they got older. Now they seem to be enemies.

All three of these teens lives change and converge after one crazy rainstorm. After that storm, plants that grow at an alarming rate spring up everywhere. At first they just seem to be a nuisance. But quickly it appears the plants might be harmful. Like bad enough to actually kill people. The strange thing is, Seth, Anaya and Petra don’t appear to be impacted by these plants at all. It’s almost like they have immunity to them. But how can that be?

Bloom by Kenneth Oppel is the first book in the Overthrow trilogy. The book keeps the reader and the characters on their toes, because things keep changing and fast!

Recommended for 6th grade and up.


Ship Bound August 17, 2020

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 8:00 am

Poe has vengeance in her heart and at times it seems her very blood. The person shedownload loved most in the world was killed, murdered, by the raiders. Ever since that moment two years ago, Poe has worked hard to make it impossible for the raiders to ever board another Outpost dredge. She has designed armor for the outside of the last dredge that moves and makes it impossible for any of the raiders to make it onboard the ship, alive. She is responsible for a lot of deaths.

But now the leader of the Outpost, the Admiral, has just told Poe she will be going on the next voyage. He doesn’t say why she will be going this time, only that she must go. Poe knows something must be up, but she has no idea what. The dredge’s sole purpose is to get gold out of the river bed and then return to the Outpost. Why would she be needed to do that? She decides to take a gamble and says she will go, but she is going to be the captain. And that is how she ends up captaining the last Outpost dredge, at the age of 17, with a crew who also aren’t sure why this trip seems different than all the others. It turns out there has been a plan, a secret plan, all along that Poe might find out about too late.

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie is a futuristic book about how things change, and how they stay the same. Humans are humans, and how does a person overcome a horrible tragedy? Poe has to discover if her life will only ever be about the death of someone, or if there might be more for her.

Recommended for grades 7 and up.


It Started with a Bus Ride August 5, 2018

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 2:50 pm

It seemed like another ordinary day for Eddie – in the ordinary village of Wellcome download-3Valley located in the middle of nowhere England. But when his school bus stops to pick up a new student – a girl named Scarlett – something in the day seems to shift. For reasons that Eddie can’t fathom, Scarlett is interested in him – well, interested in what happened to his mom, who died when he was just an infant in a car accident. Yet, when Eddie tries to ask Scarlett anything about her life, or why on earth her family is in Wellcome Valley, she shuts him down and tells him she can’t talk about it. Mystified and captivated, Eddie decides to accidentally run into her one day when he’s out riding his bike – in the rain – just in case she’s where she said she’d be. And she is! But she’s hiding behind their history teacher’s house and when he asks what she’s up to, she shushes him and they watch as the teacher digs up part of the backyard, buries a book, then digs it back up moments later in another part of the backyard!

Clearly, something is going on, and Scarlett knows what, but she won’t tell him! Quickly, though, Eddie finds himself caught up in a world he can’t fathom –  let alone realize he and his dead mother (or is she dead after all) might play a pivotal role in!

No True Echo by Gareth P. Jones takes the reader on a wild ride, through time and back again, snapping us quickly between them so that what is truth and what isn’t become increasingly  blurred. Great book for looking at different perspectives and playing with the idea of if there are alternative time paths, how can you determine which one is the real reality?

Recommended for 8th graders and up due to the complexity of the book.


The Compound Book Review by 7th Grader Juan May 9, 2018

Filed under: Science Fiction Books,Student Book Reviews — bhomel @ 10:05 am
Tags: ,

c At the start of The Compound, an explosion happens and some of the family members enter the compound but Gram and Eddy are left out there. The family inside the compound believe the world they left behind is now gone. All their food and milk come from cows. Suddenly the cows begin to die off, including their offspring. Eli and his family have no meat now and milk. Some time passes and Eli talks to his brother Eddy who is alive and well. Eli knows the truth now and tries to get out of the compound with his family alive but his father won’t let him.

In my opinion, The Compound by S. A. Bodeen is a great book. It has a decent ending. I really liked the part where Eli was in The Compound because of the explosion. Who doesn’t like explosions? I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. 


Shatter Me! April 25, 2018

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lpitrak @ 10:45 am

Shatter me

“I’ve been locked up 264 days.

I have nothing but a small notebook and a broken pen and the numbers in my head to keep me company. 1 window. 4 walls. 144 square feet of space. 26 letters in an alphabet I haven’t spoken n 264 days of isolation.

6,336 hours since I’ve touched another human being.”

This is how this amazing book opens. Narrated from the point of view of Juliette, who has been a prisoner of the Reestablishment for almost one year. In this future world, incurable diseases are killing people at an alarming rate; food is scarce for everyone and because of this is severely expensive; birds have lost the ability to fly; and the sky changes to violent, unnatural colors. With so much going on in this world, no one thought too much when Juliette was found with a dead body– she swore over and over that it was an accident; that all she did was touch him, and he died. No one cared what she said, and the Reestablishment government locked her away as a murderer. Now, however, the government is reconsidering her situation. Is Juliette telling the truth that her touch really is fatal? And if so, can they use her as a weapon? Or is she just insane? Is she a monster?

Read this amazing apocalyptic fantasy novel to find out!



Mrs. Kennedy’s Take on The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen January 25, 2018

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — bhomel @ 8:52 am
Tags: ,

The GardenerMason is a teenager living with his single mother in Melby Falls, Oregon. He was mauled by a dog who ripped off half his face when he was five years old, and now bears the grisly scars that make him different. While visiting his mother at the nursing home where she works, he meets a beautiful girl. The girl longs to escape, and Mason is happy to help. Mason soon realizes that he is being followed and that he must protect the mysterious girl.

Their plight leads them to The Gardener, a man who holds the keys to helping the girl and ending starvation for humans. But at what price?


Mrs. Ferroli’s Review of The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — bhomel @ 8:42 am
Tags: , ,

The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen is a fantasy/science fiction novel. It is told from the The Gardenerperspective of Mason, the male protagonist. I felt an immediate connection to Mason and therefore, I wanted to continue reading. I was able to read the book in three days so it was a quick read, but highly engaging. This book contained some romance, some action, and really causes the reader to think about how we have treated the planet in the past and what we can do to survive in the future! 


Virtual Reality Gladiators December 12, 2017

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lpitrak @ 12:16 pm

Warcross is a virtual reality game, televised through smart-lens glasses and made available for anyone to watch for free. Because of this, it is a global sensation, and millions all over the world tune in every evening to watch Warcross players compete in gladiator-style combat. Emika Chen is a self-taught hacker and bounty hunter; she earns money capturing people who place illegal bets on Warcross fights. However, she is still heavily in debt due to her beloved late father’s gambling addiction, and out of fear of eviction, Emika tries to hack into the opening game of the Warcross Championships. Her attempt at stealing a virtual weapon that would sell for big money on the Warcross Black Market ends up entering Emika into the games; catching the attention of the young genius who created Warcross; and positioning Emika to spy on the Warcross champions. Hideo Tanaka, the young creator of Warcross, trusts Emika to spy on the champions to find information on who is stealing valuable Warcross secrets. But, Hideo does not know that Emika is really a hacker and thief herself. And Emika does not know how dangerous the world of Warcross really is until she is inside and it is too late to get out….


Unwind – a Book Review by Chase H. May 22, 2017

Do you know what Unwound means? Unwound means to have a surgery of getting your body parts removed but you’re still alive and you’re able to feel everything even once someone else gets that body part. So say your parents didn’t want you anymore, or there wasn’t enough room for you in the world then people would take you to Happy Jack to get Unwound.  What is Happy Jack? Happy Jack is a place where you get Unwound, they will treat you like animals and detain you there until you’re ready to go to the Chop Shop. The Chop Shop is the inner part of where the surgery of the Unwinding is. Guards would drag you into the Chop Shop and that’s where you would become Unwound. Do you know what Tithe means? Tithe means that you believe in god so much that you are giving your body to others to get Unwound. You would either get this from your parents because they have either taught you to believe in god. Even to give your own body up.

Connor, Risa, and Lev are all tied together, stuck in this one huge hole. They first met from an accident that Connor started, traffic, highway, and then disaster. Lev doesn’t want Connor and Risa to take him, he wants to be Tithe. That all goes away once Connor and Risa kidnap him, then he is stuck with two AWOL Unwinds. As they go through a bust of trouble with the Juvey-cops, High School, a Baby, the Parents, and even getting betrayed they end up splitting apart. When they get to the safety of the Graveyard, they meet new AWOL Unwinds, including the Admiral, leader of the Graveyard. As the book closes to the end, Connor, Risa, and Roland get sent to Happy Jack farm to get Unwound, the thing is, they don’t know when they will get Unwound.


Unwind by Neal Shusterman is a great book that I really enjoyed. It had me on end, I never wanted to set the book down. I’ve realized that I like to read Science Fiction, so I’d have to say that this is one of my favorite books. I have to point out that it did give you goose bumps and a part where you may just be disgusted, and maybe even want to just not think about it. I For sure would recommend this book.