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!

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. ūüôā

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**


25 Books on Bullying for Teens November 5, 2012

At DGPL, I was getting alot of questions from both parents and students about books focusing on bullying.  I decided to put together a list of great books on bullying for teens, with both fiction and nonfiction titles.  It was a sort of depressing last month of reading going through all of the titles, but I think I definitely have a much better understanding of the physical, verbal, and virtual bullying that some students encounter on a daily basis.  And how we as librarians and educators can help to combat it.