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!

Escape Is Not an Option April 13, 2016

Filed under: Historical Fiction,Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 3:01 pm

When Nazis have invaded your country and limited what you can do, it is the small imgresdefiances against them that keep you going. Hanneke takes anything that she does against the German’s as a point in her favor. Because when her country, the Netherlands,  was taken over, she lost the boy she loved. Bas died on the front lines against the German army machine, and she can’t forgive herself for it. She feels responsible for his death.

So when she goes to work for the local funeral owner and he asks her to start making “special deliveries” she doesn’t hesitate. Even though if she is caught by the Nazis conducting this black market work, she’ll be punished and maybe even her parents will suffer.

On one such delivery during a cold winter afternoon, Hanneke is asked to help an elderly woman who confesses she’s been hiding a young Jewish girl in her pantry. The girl seems to have vanished in thin air. The woman begs Hanneke to use her contacts to try to locate this girl.

At first, Hanneke wants nothing to do with this search. After all, it could get her in so much trouble, it might even get her killed. But then she begins to become intrigued with what could have happened to the girl. After all, her city of Amsterdam is large, but there aren’t many places to hide from the Nazis these days.

Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse is a story of loss, hopefulness and despair in the midst of one of humanities worst times in history. Hanneke is tragically trapped in the past, and this might be her one chance to escape it.

Recommended for mature 7th grade and up readers.


A-“Head” of Technology February 24, 2016

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — bhomel @ 3:02 pm

imgresIn my own genre classification system, Noggin is part science fiction and part realistic fiction. It’s a book that made me both laugh and cry.

Non-spoiler alert: Travis, the main character, dies. But this is nothing compared to what happens during the rest of the book…Travis comes back to life!

Travis had terminal cancer and was dying – his brain was healthy but his body was sick. Scientists were working on a cryogenics program. Travis signed up to have his head cut off and frozen in hopes that in the future it can be reattached to a healthy body.

Science doesn’t let Travis down. Travis “wakes up” five years after his death. For him, it only seems like he was only asleep for a few days but everyone around him has mourned his death. Time continued on. His friend and girlfriend are five years older than him and his parents have been through a lot. Needless to say, Travis is having a hard time keeping a clear head among all the changes.

Noggin is written by John Corey Whaley. Recommended for 8th grade and up.


It’s the End of the World

Filed under: Romance,Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 1:22 pm

Emerson and Vince have been on the streets together for over a year. Vince has been on his own for longer. Together they are struggling but their lives are about to change, as in end. Because a large astroid is heading right for North America and is due to hit in the Northwest in the next 24 hours. So what are two homeless teens to do? imgres

They have to decide what they want to do with the time they have left. A chance encounter with a stranger changes their trajectory, and they begin to help individuals with sort of last requests before everyone dies. They meet a girl whose never been kissed, a young guy who wants to be rock star and a woman who put off a trip to Paris a little too long.

All We Have Is Now  by Lisa Schroeder makes the reader ponder what they would do faced with the same options as Emerson and Vince. Would you want to reconnect with people you’d lost touch with in your life, be by yourself, do something you always wanted to?

As the time ticks down, Emerson and Vince both have to make last minute decisions for themselves, and they might not be what the other has in mind.

Recommended for 8th grade and up.




Her Mind Erased January 27, 2016

Filed under: Romance,Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 11:09 am

This was Sarah’s chance. A chance to start fresh with no bad memories of her past. At imgresleast that is what the doctors tell her. She doesn’t remember, good or bad memories. She doesn’t even know if Sarah is her real name or not. All she remembers is this hospital in the middle of no where with only a few patients. Patients like her, who are there because they have had something so traumatic happen to them that they all want it out of their minds, forever.

As Sarah is going in for her last treatment, the power goes out in the building. While the power is down in the operating room, someone sneaks in and puts a small plastic bag in Sarah’s hand. Once the power has been restored, the doctors decide to hold off on the rest of the operation. When Sarah is returned to her room, she finds out that a major snow storm is about to hit the area and most of the staff have cleared out.

Once Sarah is alone in her room, she is able to look at the small plastic bag. It contains three gel pills and a note. It is then, that Sarah realizes more is going on than she could ever imagine. And she is right. Because the blizzard is only the beginning of how chaotic things are about to become.

Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin is for readers who love Science Fiction, but are tired of the typical dystopian novels that have been coming out the last few years. It is a fast paced, action adventure with nice twists of Science thrown in for good measure. A really great read that you’ll have a hard time putting down.

Recommended for 8th grade and up.



Nothing Can Stop It December 17, 2015

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 8:59 am

Five students at a boarding school in England are about to have their lives completely changed forever. In fact, one won’t make it out of the next 24 hours alive.

It all starts with a Science class outside examining the flora and fauna as well as any insects that might wander into the students’ assigned area. Paul and Adam are put in a group together, and it only take a few minutes before they are fighting each other. No surprise. Paul is the mysterious newer kid and Adam is well known as the school bully.

What is surprising is a silver-ish beetle that is found roaming the grounds of the school. Pretty imgressoon, Mark and some other boys are investigating the beetles. They seem almost mechanical in nature. As Mark goes in to get a picture, a beetle flies up and breaks his camera. Then other beetles begin biting some of the students.

Quickly, it becomes apparent that once you are scratched or bitten by one of these silver beetles, you start to become one of them. Not a beetle, but something mechanical and altered so you aren’t yourself anymore.

Faster than anyone can believe, the academy becomes overrun by humans turned into mechanical beasts who only want to bite and kill everyone.

Silver by Chris Wooding is a fast paced Science Fiction thriller. As the reader, you are trying to figure out who will make it, if anyone.

Recommended for 7th grade and up.


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.



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