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!

Not Everything Comes Up Roses August 10, 2015

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 2:48 pm

Things were certainly looking up for Katie her senior year at the private boarding school, Whitney. Her boyfriend is gorgeous, sweet, and a star hockey player for the school. She has a wonderful best friend, Tessa, who has been with her since she first started at Whitney as a scared little freshman still trying to get over the loss of her father. Katie’s mother wasn’t really much help after her father died and finally decided that Katie going to Whitney would be good for both of them.

imgresIt is clear from the start that Katie’s friend, Tessa, doesn’t think that Mark is good enough for her and is just using her. For what, Katie can’t figure out. She is a nobody compared to Mark. Still, she has been close to Tessa for years now, and counts on her, so she tries not to make too many waves between the two of them.

The only things marring her happiness are the creepy nightmares that started a few months ago, where she keeps hearing her name in an erie tone, and also keeps smelling and seeing roses. It doesn’t make any sense to her.

Then one night and one party change everything. Mark is photographed looking to all the world like he’s cheating on Katie,with a girl who has a rose tattoo on her hand. While Katie struggles to decide if Mark is innocent and just the victim of a set up, she has a box delivered to her. A box that contains the hand of the girl in the picture. A hand the clearly came off after she was dead.

Very Bad Things by Susan McBride will have you wondering who is the innocent party and who might have more secrets than they are telling, or ever plan to tell.

Recommended for 8th grade and up.


Powerless by Matthew Cody May 7, 2015


12-year-old Daniel moves to a new town, and is immediately befriended by local kids.  Nothing about his new friends is ordinary however… They can fly, conduct electricity with their hands, turn invisible, and a bunch of other cool superhero tricks.  They use these powers to do good deeds in secret in their small town.  All are dreading the day they turn 13, because that is when their super powers will fade away, as will all their memories of having them in the first place.  Daniel is determined to help his new friends retain their special powers, so he begins investigating why the kids’ powers have started to disappear… What he discovers is a huge conspiracy involves an ancient meteor strike, and comic book from World War II, a mysterious witch who produces green flames with her hands, and Danny himself (who has no powers of his own).

Written  and recommended by the staff of the Downers Grove Public Library.


Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lpitrak @ 2:36 pm

“You are indestructible.” These are the last words that Jake’s foster father whispers to him in the midst of a violent car crash. Jake sThirteen days to midnighturvives the crash, his foster father does not, and soon Jake realizes that these were more than just words – he is now invincible. Jake and his friends begin testing and transferring the power, trying to unravel the mysterious life of Mr. Fielding and the origins of his indestructibility. More than just a superhero tale, this book delves deep into the philosophical questions and dark consequences of having control over life and death.

Written by guest blogger Maggie Thomann, Downers Grove Public Library



Atlantia by Ally Condie

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lpitrak @ 2:26 pm

Rio lives in the underwater city of Atlantia, inhabited by a group of settlers who left Above during the Divide. Atlantia is mystical, bubble-enclosed dwelling, populated by sirens and designed with ornate buildings and shimmering metal trees. Rio has aAtlantialways dreamed of sun and sky, and plans to eventually go Above but makes a promise to stay Below with her sister, Bay, after their mother dies. When Bay stuns Rio by taking the family’s only spot on a transport, Rio is left in Atlantia, alone, except for her eccentric siren-aunt Maire. Rio must come to terms with her own secrets and the truth of the city’s history, while finding a way to reach her sister Above. This is a quiet, reflective dystopian from the author of Matched that offers the reader a strong heroine with an unlikely mentor, and a uniquely beautiful world.

Post written by guest blogger Maggie Thomann, Downers Grove Public Library


What if the Nazis…Won? April 4, 2015

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 1:03 pm
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imgresZara has always known a world with the Nazis in it, because they won World War II, along with the Japanese and the Italians. As a result, the United States has been divided up by the three winning countries, and the rest of the world that wasn’t parceled up by the Axis Powers just tries to stay out of their way.

That is hard for Zara to do though. She’s lost her mother and her best friend to the Nazis; her mother because she was fighting in the Alliance to push the Nazis out, and her best friend because it was discovered a distant relative was Jewish. Zara wants more than anything to join in the fight with the Alliance, but her uncle is extremely hesitant. After her mother died, her uncle went from being a fighter to terrified about anything that could put him or Zara on the radar of the Nazis. And Zara has something very powerful that could indeed put her on the radar, and get her instantly killed as well!

The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline Tung Richmond will keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow Zara beginning to realize if she wants to make something happen to change her life and her world, she will need to do it herself, rather than waiting for someone to come along. The idea of what might have happened if the war didn’t end as it did will have you thinking for a long time after you finish this book.

Recommended for 8th grade and up due to violence.


Life in the Death Shop February 19, 2015

Filed under: Romance,Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 8:36 am
Tags: , , ,

Her life had been pretty predictable up to this point. Aria had her close group of friends, her mother, Luna, and well, the Realms. Life in the Realms made everything seem fine. Until her mother has to leave their pod and go to another settlement called Bliss to do her research, leaving Aria behind. Still, not the end of the world, until contact is lost to Bliss. In an effort to find out what has happened to her mother, Aria befriends the son of the Head of Security, Soren, thinking he must know something. However, things go very wrong when Soren decides to break into a part of their pod that hasn’t been used for years. He and some of the boys start a fire and then attack Aria and her friend Paisley. Out of the burning night a person appears, an outsider, who rescues Aria from Soren’s attack.

imgresPeregrine is stunned to see the waste in the pod and doesn’t understand the attack on the girl. He saves her life from the fire, and take the strange eye piece that she was wearing over her eye. He returns to his tribe and back into conflict with his older brother Vale. Quickly Peregrine knows he will have to leave again, since he can’t get along with his brother. However, people from Aria’s pod come and kidnap Peregrine’s little nephew and demand to have the eye piece from Aria back. Peregrine is able to escape, barely but he knows he must leave his tribe to try to find a way to get his nephew back.

Little does he know that his actions back at the pod have created problems for Aria leading to her expulsion from her society. Aria, forced outside of the comfort and familiar surroundings of the pod, finds herself dropped into the middle of the Death Shop, where rumor has it there are a million ways to die. Never having been outside of four walls before, she isn’t sure how she will survive. Peregrine comes across her not long after she has been thrown out and he sees her as a way to get his nephew back.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi is a fast paced action story of what could happen in a future where the sky has turned on the earth, and what the humans are trying to do to live.

Great book for anyone looking for a futuristic earth – without zombies – and a nice romance too! Recommended for grades 8 and up.


Teenage Superhero December 18, 2014

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lpitrak @ 2:35 pm

SteelheartA decade ago, a mysterious event known as the Calamity transformed ordinary people into powerful beings with incredible powers and abilities. Known as Epics, these corrupt superheroes have subjugated humanity and taken over the world, a different epic ruling each of the cities. As a child, David watched as his father was killed by an Epic. Now, ten years later, he joins the Reckoners, who are trying to eliminate the Epics and end their tyrannical rule.

Guest post by Debra Wischmeyer from the Downers Grove Public Library.



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