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!

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
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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.


Across the Universe May 3, 2017

In the future, colonization of other planets is possible. Amy, a normal high school girl with friends, a boyfriend, and a spot on the cross country team, is not into space travel. But, her mother is a leading genetic scientist, and is chosen to be part of a special mission called “Project Ark Ship”. This mission seeks to colonize a brand new planet called CentauriEarth– a planet that is not very hospitable. The best of Earth’s scientists, engineers, mathematicians, artists, and writers are all gathered to travel to this new world, and essentially will recreate Earth. Amy, her mother, her father, and 2,312 other chosen passengers are cryogenically frozen and placed on board a space craft that will travel three hundred years into the future. When they land on CentauriEarth, they will be unfrozen by the chosen “Eldest” and won’t have aged at all. But, strange things start happening almost immediately. As Amy is being frozen, she overhears lab techs talking about how the project is going to be delayed a year or more—but none of the passengers were made aware of that. They will all be frozen and stored in a facility going nowhere for a whole year. Then, Amy horrifically realizes that she hasn’t lost consciousness like she was supposed to. Worst of all, Amy is woken early, while her family and all of the other passengers still sleep. Someone tried to kill her! But who else is even awake on the ship? This intriguing blend of science fiction, dysoptian, mystery-thriller will alternately intrigue and terrify readers.



The Power to Kill? February 22, 2017

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lpitrak @ 3:04 pm
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This latest from Neal Shusterman imagines a world where human beings have conquered everything– the lack of environmental issues, disease, old age, accidents and poverty means people are literally living in a world without death. However, the Earth’s capacity to sustain human life has not increased, and without any natural deaths, the mortality rate must be stabilized… and this is the duty of the Scythes. To be chosen as a Scythe is an honor, as well as a huge responsibility. They are charged with “gleaning” the population– killing individuals to keep the population size stable. Highschoolers Citra and Rowan are both chosen as apprentice scythes, handpicked to be killers because of their morality and compassion. As they are soon to discover, though, not all Scythes have retained their sense of goodness and integrity. Can Citra and Rowan survive intense training, lies, secrets, and deep betrayal during their year as apprentices? And even if they can… what will happen once they are initiated? This newest by Neal Shusterman is a brilliant, action-packed book which questions what makes us human, and what meaning is contained in a life with no death.