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!

What Do You See When You Look Up? April 15, 2014

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 8:30 pm

Eden doesn’t star gaze much, well, really at all. She leaves all that up to her best friend Connor. They’ve been friends forever. Growing up in England on the coast her whole life, Eden has several close friends, but no one special, other than Connor.

One day though, close to the end of her final year of school, a new boy arrives at school. His name is Ryan. Right away, Eden finds herself fascinated imgresby this boy and by how strange he can be at times. For example, the first day in lunch, he doesn’t recognize pizza. Eden thinks this is very bizarre, since hello, who doesn’t know what pizza is? As she spends more time with Ryan, she falls more in like with him. However, after a visit to his house one afternoon, everything Eden thinks she knows about the world and even her best friend Connor, changes.

 After Eden by Helen Douglas is a romance with a nice twist. What would you give up for the person you love?

Recommended for grades 7 and up.


What happened if you woke up as a new person each day? March 13, 2014

Title: Every Dayimgres

Author: David Leviathan

Think about the relationships you have and the comfort of knowing someone is constant in your life. You have a routine, you have a family you are a part of, and a support system you have around you. What would happen if that all vanished? What would happen if each day you managed to wake up as a new person, embedded within someone else’s life, only to stay for a single day? Could you ever fall in love?

This is exactly what is occurring within the text, Every Day, a beautiful written and enlightening story that I really feel the reader can’t help but be reflective on their own lives. Since the main character changes to a different person each day, this person doesn’t technically have a specific gender, as he has transformed into both males and females. One day while inhabiting the body of Justin, he makes an immediate connection with Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. Since “he” can’t seem to stop thinking about her, the contact continues. But he will then be contacting her as someone else. To what lengths will “he” go to try to continue this connection? Is it a possibility? Will he share his secret?

You’ll definitely have to read it to figure it all out!


Raised by Wild Animals March 6, 2014

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — ghahn2012 @ 9:05 am
Tags: , , , ,

Into That Forest by Louis Nowra Image

Our public library hosted a fantastic event at both of the middle schools where they donated tons of new novels that are in the process of being published to our students.  I was fortunate enough to get my hands on this title.  

In the novel, two girls survive a terrible storm in which the narrator’s (Hannah) parents drown.  The girls are rescued by two Tasmanian tigers that raise them and teach them to hunt and survive in the wilderness.  Eventually, they lose their humanity and seem to be more animal than human.   The story is absolutely fascinating and really makes the reader think.  Would wild animals, especially predatory animals like tigers, ever raise human children as their own?  In the story the female tiger recently lost a litter to hunters, which supports the idea of accepting the children as her own.  It leaves the reader to question, if we were taken out of civilization would we revert to being more like the animals?  

This novel is a quick and easy read.  The reader will get caught up in the story of Hannah and Becky.  As a reader, I wanted to connect more with Hannah.  Her experience was very traumatizing, but it is told from Hannah’s perspective as an old woman, which puts distance between the experience and the story.  I felt like Nowra could have written Hannah differently to pull the reader into the story more.  On the other hand, Nowra gives Hannah an almost animalistic perspective, which sets her apart from the reader and makes her interesting in a different way.

I absolutely recommend Into That Forest for animal lovers and readers looking for something a little bit different.  


Switcheroo +skating = Fun Read February 26, 2014

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — kbradley123 @ 2:31 pm
Tags: , ,

Being Sloane Jacobs

by Lauren Morrill

Sloane Emily Jacobs has elite figure skating camp all summer. It is an escape from the spotlight of her senator dad and her family’s issues. Sloane Devon Jacobs is forced to go to hockey summer camp in order to stay on her high school team. She too, is looking for an escape from her family as her mom is temporarily is gone from her household. When the two Sloane Jacobs literally run into each other the night before both camps, they strike a plan to switch lives for the summer.  Each camp is far different than what each novice expects and of course each experiences a little bit of romance while pretending to be someone they are not.

This fun adventure has sports, romance, and adventure. Each chapter is from another Sloane’s perspective and is clearly labelled. This switcheroo really brings out high jinks and each girl has their own adventure in their new city and sport. It is a fun read that keeps you wanting to know what happens next!

  If you liked the Parent Trap or books where people switch lives this one is for you! It is a thoughtful reminder of what it is like to glide in someone else’s skates.       


What would you do if you were constantly on the run? February 15, 2014

Don’t Turn Aroundimgres-6

By: Michelle Gagnon

Tags: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Science Fiction

Our two main characters here are Noa and Peter. We begin with Noa- a foster kid who doesn’t have a family to call her own. The book starts with a heightened sense of thrill when Noa wakes up on a table in a warehouse in nothing but a hospital gown. In not recollecting anything that had taken place beforehand, she instantly tries to escape. Using her incredible street-smarts she’s picked up while primarily caring for herself for so long, she is able to do so.

Then, we meet Peter- a rich kid who takes pleasure in computer-hacking and not his parents money. When he begins to search through his father’s secret files one night, a man breaks into his home, steals his computer, and leaves.

How do these two stories come together? Well, when Peter continues to delve into this program that obviously has some restrictions and danger, he reaches out to other computer hackers for assistance, which happens to be none other than Noa. As they both continue to explore their own situations, they begin to see how their stories really do intertwine.

This story has a lot of complexity in following along the various plot lines, but the intensity, suspense, and smart creativity used along the way is like none other. As Noa and Peter continue to try to solve this mystery, get the “bad guys” while also potentially saving other people’s lives, they continue to ask themselves if it will be enough. The book ends rather abruptly with a lot of unanswered questions, which is why I cannot wait to begin the sequel: Don’t Look Now! Read if you dare!


How can one bug disturb an entire campus?

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lhorn1217 @ 10:49 am
Tags: , , ,


imgres-5By: Chris Wooding

After a student is bitten by a bug and taken to the school nurse, who knew that this would change the entire campus of students and teachers involved. We find out that this bug and other creatures, have been infected with a virus that will turn flesh into metal and thus turning people into mindless, but killing machines.

With a variety of characters and points of view along the way, the story can become slightly confusing at times, but also keeps things interesting. One science teacher tries to rally up as many students as he can to help them protect themselves from these machines that are beginning to crawl all over campus looking to infect and produce more flesh-eating machines. A few students begin to gather together to create a united front and fight against these machines. Although some of the characters make poor decisions and risk their lives, there are others that rise in the face of danger and show their true leadership skills.

Although in a genre that typically is not deemed my favorite, the horror and suspense that was created, was something I couldn’t walk away from. I definitely appreciated the perspectives included, as well as the ending where we can see the whole story come together.


What to do when the odds are stacked against you…

Standing Against the Wind

imgres-3By: Traci Jones

A rather quiet book that can be relatable to many. It all begins with the bullying that 13-year old Patrice from the boys that live in her Chicago-neighborhood building. We find that Patrice’s mother is in jail, and was put there just a short time after moving Patrice from her wonderful location of Georgia, where she resided with her grandmother. Patrice has always been a girl who keeps to herself, does what she is asked and tries hard in school.

Things begin to change for her when her principal urges her to apply for a scholarship for an esteemed-boarding school for young African American students. She runs into a problem when in order to apply she needs to get her mother to sign-off on the paperwork. During the time that Patrice is filling out the application, writing her essays, taking care of her siblings, and tutoring Monty’s (a friendly neighbor of hers) younger brother, Patrice begins to figure out some of the more important things in life. After continually getting bullied by Monty’s supposed “friends” Patrice finally seeks Monty out for support, and a relationship begins to bloom.

All in all, a very cute and quiet story, with a heartfelt message. In order to find out what occurs with Patrice, her scholarship, her mom and even Monty, read this book!


Who Will Come Out on Top? January 5, 2014

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lpitrak @ 4:05 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

ImageThis final book in Lu’s Legend trilogy has all of the intrigue, action, and danger found in the first two volumes.  June has been chosen by new Elector Anden to serve as one of three Princeps-Elect, his closest government advisors.  Meanwhile, Day is acting as a commander in the military, but suffering from severe headaches and black-outs as a result of the experimental tests run on him by the government.  Day and June have not seen each other since the conclusion of Prodigy, and now June is urgently requesting to see Day.  However, despite his continued love for her, the favor June has to ask might be too much….  Like Lu’s previous books, this one is intelligent, fast-paced, and heartbreaking. 


Student Blogger Samantha H. Reviews UGLIES: SHAY’S STORY November 24, 2013

Uglies: Shay’s Story by Scott Westerfeld is the story of Shay’s life in Uglyville. Shay thinks that “This whole game is just designed to make us hate ourselves.” When the teenagers of Uglyville turn 16, they get the operation called “the Surge”. It turns them into Pretties and moves them into New Pretty Town where all day long they get to do whatever they want, whenever they want. Shay meets David and finds out that getting “the Surge” isn’t her only option. She can stay ugly forever, but it comes with a price. To have a life of perks being a Pretty or stay Ugly and have the rewards of being real – which would you choose?

I liked this science fiction graphic novel a lot because it was super short. Personally, I was able to read it in a day. Uglies: Shay’s Story also gave me a different view on the book Uglies since it was told by Shay instead of Tally. This book would be great for anyone that wants a short book to read, and/or for someone who likes graphic novels/ science fiction. If you liked Uglies, then you will like this book.


The Selection – Review by Taima – An 8th Grade Guest Blogger November 13, 2013

Filed under: Science Fiction Books,Student Book Reviews — oneilllibrary @ 12:02 pm

urlIn the book, The Selection by Kiera Cass, America, the main character of the book, was forced by her mother and her secret boyfriend to enter the selection.  It is a competition between all girls who wanted to enter for a chance to be one of 35 girls to win the prince’s love. America was one of the 35 girls that made the selection.  That meant she had to leave her boyfriend that no one knows about. When she meets the prince she becomes one of his favorites. When she becomes an elite with five other girls, she finds out that her old secret boyfriend has became a guard in the castle.  At the end, she start’s trying to make a decision on who she is going to pick, the prince or the guard.

I like this book because it made me interested and excited about who America is going to pick. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes love stories.



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