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!

Bad Time for a Walk in the Woods December 9, 2014

When the three of them met up, they had no idea this would end that way it does. After all, Alexis, Ruby and Nick are teen volunteers for the Portland County Search team and don’t have much experience. They are still taking the classes and haven’t become certified yet. Even so, when they meet up to look for an autistic man who has gotten lost in one of the many area forested parks, they don’t think they’ll be in the middle of anything much.

imgres-1It is Alexis who finds the girl’s body. Even though they were all instructed to stay together, Alexis, Ruby and Nick all get spread out along the trail. Alexis thinks at first it is the man they are searching for, but when she gets closer, she realizes it is a teenage girl and she’s dead. Ruby and Nick come at her whistle, and Ruby confirms the girl is indeed dead.

Without realizing it, they have all stumbled upon a murder, a murder they all want to help the police solve. They realize they might have seen the killer on the trail, and if they did, could he be coming after one of them next?

April Henry‘s newest mystery, The Body in the Woods won’t disappoint her fans. Told from multiple perspectives, including the killer, this book will have you up reading late at night to finish.

Recommended for grades 7 and up.


7th Grade Guest Blogger – Sophia G. May 8, 2014

The Girl Who Was Supposed To Die By April Henry

This book is a page turner. Have you ever dreamt of being kidnapped or about to be killed? Well in this book it actually happens to her. But the thing is, sheimgres doesn’t know who she is, where she came from, where she is, and why do three strange men want to kill her. And they wont stop in till they do. The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die is suspenseful and interesting. You never know what could happen next. I definitely recommend this book to boys and girls ages 13 and up.

Did she escape? Do they kill her? You have to read it to find out.


Who Am I? December 29, 2013

Waking up and not knowing where you are can happen sometimes. But what about waking up, not knowing where you are, or WHO you are? And to make matters even imgresworse, what the girl hears upon waking up is that two men are planning to kill her.

What would you do? She struggles to get away from the men who want her dead, and she is able to escape, but now who can she turn to for help? Who will believe her? And more importantly, who can she trust? As she tries to stay alive, more questions come up. Where is her family, why are people trying to kill her, and what made her lose her memory?

 The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry is a fast paced, twisty mystery that will have you dying to finish and find out, does she live, or die?

April Henry is becoming my new go to author for great mysteries. Recommended for grades 7 and up.


Girl, Stolen by Guest Blogger: Amy B. – 8th Grader November 4, 2013

What would you do if you were kidnapped, had pneumonia, and left alone blind? You couldn’t see where you are and you are lost. Not knowing why you are there or your surroundings is what Cheyenne Wilder suffers with. She was kidnapped and cannot tell where she is. Her kidnapping was an accident, all Griffin wanted was the car. Roy, Griffin’s father, isn’t too happy about this at all. Griffin and Cheyenne become friends and help each other stay alive throughout the book.

Will Cheyenne escape? What will happen when they find out her dad is the head of a very powerful company? What will they do with Cheyenne?

I like Girl, Stolen by April Henry because it was a great mystery and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I never set it down. I recommend this book to any middle-schooler looking for a great mystery and wonderful book.


Mysteries R Us! January 5, 2013

For a good portion of break, I have been reading, or at least attempting to read mystery novels that I can recommend to my students. I have compiled quick summaries and comments about the ones that I enjoyed. I have also mentioned ones that were “misses” according to my opinion. 🙂

12013031The Night She Disappeared written by: April Henry

After reading April’s book Girl, Stolen I must say I was intrigued. It was a quick read that told the story of a girl who was blind that was indeed stolen. I enjoyed how fast-paced the novel was and how it sucked you in from the very beginning. I might add that it was a rather short novel, which is helpful in a sea of books that continuing increasing their page allotments. I had heard from a couple colleagues that The Night She Disappeared  was even better and I would have to agree whole-heartedly! This book takes the point of view of a variety of different characters that are telling the story of Kayla’s mysterious disappearance. Through their stories, ideas, and help from the police, you’ll see this fast-paced thrilled come to life! A great, quick read for both boys and girls!


Confessions of a Murder Suspect 

written by: James Patterson

I have not read much by James Patterson, but after reading this, I would definitely like to change that. The book starts out with the murder of the main character’s parents. Together, with her other siblings, while the rest of the city seems to be trying to pin the murder on one of them, they are attempting to put the pieces together about what happened to their parents. Along the way, they learn more about their own pasts, the secret lives of their parents, and how to work together. All if all, a 4 out of 5, was a little slow at times (another thick book) BUT I think will intrigue middle school students, especially ones looking for a thrilling mystery!

fake id

Fake ID written by: Walter Sorrells

Admittedly so, I am usually not a fan of books that seem “old” or ones that have been written in anything more than the past few years- but I will say I was both surprised and impressed with Fake ID. The main character in this novel is struggling with her mom that had disappeared. Along with that, she has been forced to take on a variety of identities for as long as she can remember. Now that her mom has disappeared, she has to rely on herself and the help of some friends, to help figure out who she is, and why her mom is gone. This story has a few different unexpected twists and turns that make the book even more intriguing, all the way up to the final few pages. A great book again for boys and girls, who especially love solving puzzles and attempting to put all the pieces together to see the bigger picture!


I Hunt Killers written by: Barry Lyga

During this dark phase of my winter break, while reading a variety of mystery and murder books, I also have come to watch the show Dexter, (a show about a member of the Miami Police Unit- that is actually a serial killer himself). I Hunt Killers was the first book I read and it seems that I have become somewhat numb of the dark and severely disturbing acts that take place not only in this book but others as well. So forgive me, if I have a different opinion of this book than others! But I believe this is one of my favorite books that I have read in a long time! What would you do if your dad was a serial killer and shared all the specific details of his kills with you? That’s the exact position Jazz is in. His quest is to not become like his father, so instead he shows up on crime scenes secretly to attempt to catch other killers. A serial killer is on the lose and Jazz, with help from his best friend, are trying to find this killer before he hits again. An intense journey into Jazz’s life and history, a thrill that will keep you reading. Definitely some rough, more intense parts that should be read by more mature students.

Honorable Mention:

Accomplice written by: Eireann Corrigan– two girls come up with a plan of one their not-so-mysterious disappearances in order to gain recognition in their city and have a unique story to help them stand apart on their college applications. Pretty predictable but an interesting idea for a story.

Taken by Norah McClintock– some good parts but a very predictable kidnapping story.

Abandoned Books (for now anyways):

Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn

Eleven by Patricia Reilly Giff

**Nothing new, nothing exciting to keep me interested**