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!

Are You Born a Killer? September 24, 2016

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 1:26 pm

imgres-3IN the future, crime has gotten so bad, that scientists have gone looking for the gene that might help determine if a person is likely to commit murder. And one has been found. The majority of people who kill are HTS carriers – they have the gene that many murders have. Now many in the general population are being tested before they can have certain jobs, or go to schools, etc.

Davy is living a pretty awesome life. She comes from a wealthy family, goes to a private school, has been accepted into Julliard in New York because of her fabulous musical ability and has the best boyfriend a girl could want. What could possibly go wrong. Turns out, quite a lot.

Everyone in Davy’s school was tested for the HTS gene and unfortunately for Davy, she has tested positive for it. This means her school kicks her out and she must now attend public school with five other “carriers.” At first she can’t believe she has anything in common with this potential killers. But as time goes on, and her friends and boyfriend all pull away and commit the ultimate betrayal, Davy begins to realize her only hope of surviving in this new reality is to face the truth rather than living in her past fantasy. One HTS carrier named Sean, just might be the only one who can help her.

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan is a scary, possibly not so distant future of what could happen when people get scared and let their fear rule their actions. It also is a fascinating look at nature versus nurture.

Recommended for 8th grade and up.


It Waits in the Woods June 26, 2016

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 3:12 pm

No one likes a bully, often not even the bully. However, all Marshall can think about is the “meeting” he is going to have after school, with the school bully – Chad. And by “meeting” he knows Chad is planning to beat him up. So rather than take his usual walk home with his neighbor, Tamaya, Marshall ops for the “short cut” through the woods. At least that is what he tells Tamaya, who is two years younger than he is.

Unfortunately, the short cut doesn’t save Marshall from Chad, who follows him into the woods and then imgresproceeds to do just what he threatened. Tamaya has to intervene and save Marshall by taking a handful of mud and smashing it into Chad’s face. So for Marshall, the humiliation is complete. No only did he NOT escape from Chad, but a younger girl had to save him from getting more beat up! As he wallows in his misery, he doesn’t pay any attention to Tamaya and leaves her as soon as they both get out of the woods.

Tamaya can’t stop thinking about what happened in the woods, especially since the hand the she used to pick up the mud and smash it into Chad’s face seems to be developing some kind of weird rash. She figures it will just go away, but the next day it looks awful and begins to blister and weep blood. Tamaya is beginning to realize that “mud” wasn’t just regular mud. When the school administration lets the students know that Chad is missing, Tamaya gets the horrible feeling he is still trapped in the woods, suffering because of the mud she flung at him.

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar shares the story of three students, all coming together during one horrible event and somehow they manage to help divert an even bigger disaster.

Recommended for students 6th grade and up.


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.