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!

Would You WANT to be Someone Else? July 15, 2015

imgresFive freshmen are entering into Noble High School, and just trying to fit in to survive. Some of them have a plan, like Vanessa, who wants to win every award possible at school. She has her reasons for wanting to do well, and they have everything to do with her family. Of course she doesn’t realize that a boy could totally mess up her plans.  Sheridan wants to take the school by storm with her acting abilities and isn’t sure what she’ll do if she doesn’t get the lead in the fall play.  Duffy is all basketball, all the time and doesn’t realize that his next door neighbor, Lily is in love with him. Lily is so used to being homeschooled that life at a large public high school just might be too much for her, however any time she gets to spend with Duffy is a huge plus. Jagger just wants to have enough food for the next day and deal with the craziness that is his life. Yet, all converge to impact each others lives in ways they could never have predicted.

Pretenders by Lisi Harrison looks like it is the first book in possibly a series or a trilogy. The book only covers the first two months of school, and leaves the readers hanging for what will come later on in the school year, when everything appears to be unraveling at the end of this book.

Recommended for 8th grade and up.


She Never Expected This May 4, 2015

imgresGrowing up in Little, California is a great place for Carter Moon. Her family runs a cute little cafe, called, wait for it, Little Eats! The most exciting, or for Carter, disturbing thing to happen in her life is the fact that her older brother John has a gambling addiction that he doesn’t seem able to shake. Carter likes her small town, where everyone knows everyone, and she has no plans of leaving, ever.

Enter Adam Jakes, teen movie star and heart throb to thousands of girls around the country, and he has decided to shot a feel good Christmas movie in the sleepy little town of Little, CA. Carter’s best friend Chloe is over the “moon” about this because if there is a biggest fan of Adam Jakes, it is Chloe. Even though Chloe has a wonderful boyfriend, Drake, who is also best friends with Carter. The three of them spend all their time together, when Carter and Chloe aren’t taking shifts at Little Eats that is.

Carter isn’t planning to let Adam Jakes or his movie impact her summer at all. After all, they won’t be there filming for much past July 4th. However, much to her surprise, Carter gets a proposition she can’t refuse. She is approached by Adam Jake’s publicist to be his “fake” girlfriend for the time Adam is filming in Little. And offered a sum of money that Carter knows will help her brother out of his latest bind. She decides it is a chance she can’t afford to not take. However, she isn’t prepared to like Adam Jakes, let alone feel more for him.

Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson is for any romance junkie out there, who loves a good story and wonderful characters. Grab this for your next long weekend, or car ride. You won’t want to put it down!

Recommended for grades 8 and up.


Does Makeup Cover All? March 6, 2014

Lexi knows her life isn’t perfect. But that is how she has to present her little sister, Mackenzie, since her sister is in pageants. As in full glitz pageants, where the little kids wear tons of make-up, fake tans, and fake teeth! These pageants cost a ton of money, and Lexi has given up trying to talk her mom into moderation – even though it is impacting their lives in terms of money and lots of time.

imgresLexi’s bright spot is she gets to spend every weekend with the boy of her dreams…as he watches his girlfriend compete in pageants. So while she daydreams about Logan, she knows the fantasy will never become reality. Or will it? Lexi, with the encouragement of her two best friends, decides to do a little makeover on herself. The problem with that is, do people like her for who she is now on the outside, or who she is inside?

Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg has some fun moments. Lexi finally speaks her mind with lots of authority at the end of the book, but it isn’t realist. Still, it is always fun to root for the underdog.

For students in grades 7 and up.


Some Secret Admirers Will Kill For You February 19, 2014

Things have been really bad for Sawyer Dodd. First, her parents get divorced and her mom moves across the country, then her father remarries and Sawyer’s new stepmom is pregnant and they all move to a new house, in the middle of a new subdivision where they happen to be the only ones living there. The only saving grace – the fact that Sawyer can keep going to her old high school. At least that seems to be the only good thing. Until her boyfriend, Kevin, is killed in a car accident. Everyone believes Sawyer is torn up over his death, but only she knows her relationship with Kevin had become toxic and abusive.

At least she thinks no one knows. Coming back to school after Kevin’s funeral, Sawyer finds a note in her locker, telling her “You’re Welcome” with an imgresarticle about Kevin’s death, clearly implying someone killed Kevin…for Sawyer. Now Sawyer isn’t sure what is going on. As others around her begin to get hurt and some die, Sawyer slowly begins to question her own sanity. Who is responsible for all of this? And can she stop the person before he or she strikes again?

Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne will keep you turning the pages in this mystery thriller, trying to figure out who is ultimately responsible for all the death surrounding Sawyer.

Recommended for grades 8th and up.


Love? As IF! August 16, 2013

imgresSo what do you do when you are surrounded by people who want to make a big deal out of your birthday, when it already IS a big deal? As in, it is Valentine’s Day. Who wouldn’t love to have Valentine’s Day as their birthday? Piper, that’s who. She is anti romance, and she has her mother’s two failed marriages to back her up.

What does romance get you but a big headache? After all, just ask Piper’s friend Claire, who seems to not realize her boyfriend, Stuart, is about to dump her. Jillian, Piper’s other best friend, is determined to get them all great dates for the BIG day this year. However, Piper is doing everything she can to fight against this plan. Yet as the day gets closer, and Jillian’s plan, however strange and bizarre, seems to actually be having results, Piper has to decide if romance and love are really so horrible, or if she and those she loves, might actually have a shot at it

Love? Maybe. by Heather Hepler is a sweet (pun intended) book about a girl growing up and having a hard time doing it. Certainly a great book to pick up and enjoy!

Recommended for 7th grade and up.


When a Secret Becomes Too Big To Hide June 20, 2013

Filed under: Historical Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 11:46 am
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imgresEver wanted to go to overnight camp? Imagine how free it would be to not have to listen to your parents all the time. Amy in the book Camp by Elaine Wolf doesn’t want to go away for 8 weeks in the 1960s to a camp her uncle owns and runs. Why? She worries about leaving her little brother behind. He is different, and their mother doesn’t seem to know how best to deal with him. Amy fears what will happen to him if she leaves.

Much to her surprise, Amy’s mother relents and allows Amy to attend the camp in Maine, much to Amy’s dismay. Right away Amy feels like an outsider and the older girls at camp, one in particular named Rory, let her know she isn’t welcome. Even though some girls do reach out to Amy, they can’t stop the horrible initiation Rory has in store for Amy. Thus begins a miserable time for Amy at camp as she struggles to deal with the overt bullying of her bunkmate and her first taste of freedom from her mother’s overbearing and constant criticism.

As the summer unfolds so does the mystery surrounding Amy’s family, specifically, her taciturn mother. Can she confront her mother with all she has learned, or will she remain quiet and let the secrets go on?

Recommended for mature 8th graders and up.



Everyone Needs a Boost Now and Then…Right? February 21, 2013

I picked up this book on a recommendation by a 7th grader at my school who in five words described this book imgresBoost by Kathy Mackel with  – intriguing, sustaining, sad, astonishing, READ. She really loved the book and her enthusiasm for it made me want to read it. I’d had it on my list for a long time, but she gave me the push I needed. I’m always on the hunt for sports books, and this one is great because it is about a girl. Savvy who loves basketball lives for it, breathes it, and eats for it! Her family is undergoing a huge change though. Just having gone through a bankruptcy, her family moves in with Savvy’s great aunt in New Jersey on a sheep farm. Right away there are adjustments that no one feels ready to make, least of all her older sister Callie whom everyone treats with kid gloves.

As Savvy looks to get on a competative traveling basketball team, and Callie takes her place on the school cheerleading squad things appear to be looking up. That is until Savvy gets accused of something that can derail all her dreams for playing basketball in the big leagues!

Recommended for grade 7 and up.