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!

Face that Can’t Lie May 10, 2017

Caverna is an opulent, gigantic underground city, and her residents are not ever allowed above ground. They know secrets– how to bake pastries that invoke colors and music, how to mull wines to make a person hallucinate or forget painful mem, how to mix perfumes to induce sleep or trust or love– and these secrets cannot leave the city. Caverna has another dark, dangerous secret; her residents do not have natural facial expressions. Facial expressions, displays of anger, fear, sympathy, and more, must be learned. The wealthiest members of Caverna’s high society are taught hundreds of facial expressions, while the lower castes are taught only a handful– and usually ones of submission. One day, a five-year-old girl appears in the depths of Caverna’s tunnels. She has no memory of who she is or where she came from, and her face registers all of her internal emotions naturally. Re-named Neverfell, this girl is dangerous, and though she is unaware, could cause the internal workings of Caverna to crumble. Teens who love dark, lengthy fantasies and dystopian novels will fall in love with A Face Like Glass.


The Power to Kill? February 22, 2017

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lpitrak @ 3:04 pm
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This latest from Neal Shusterman imagines a world where human beings have conquered everything– the lack of environmental issues, disease, old age, accidents and poverty means people are literally living in a world without death. However, the Earth’s capacity to sustain human life has not increased, and without any natural deaths, the mortality rate must be stabilized… and this is the duty of the Scythes. To be chosen as a Scythe is an honor, as well as a huge responsibility. They are charged with “gleaning” the population– killing individuals to keep the population size stable. Highschoolers Citra and Rowan are both chosen as apprentice scythes, handpicked to be killers because of their morality and compassion. As they are soon to discover, though, not all Scythes have retained their sense of goodness and integrity. Can Citra and Rowan survive intense training, lies, secrets, and deep betrayal during their year as apprentices? And even if they can… what will happen once they are initiated? This newest by Neal Shusterman is a brilliant, action-packed book which questions what makes us human, and what meaning is contained in a life with no death.


Who will be THE ONE? May 8, 2014

Filed under: Fantasy Books,Romance — lhorn1217 @ 5:53 pm
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The One (3rd book in The Selection series)

Kiera Cass


While this series has kept me on the edge of my seat, the much-anticipated third novel was probably the best yet. Now that we have really gotten to know the ins and outs of these characters and girls competing to win the prince’s heart, Kiera Cass focuses on the constant struggle between castes as well as the various rebels against the prince and his family overall.

Within the last book, we left the prince with just a handful of suitors left for him to choose from. As we continue to guess which girl who will ultimately end up with, we also get to know more about the responsibilities as a princess, as well as the struggles the individual girls face when some of their families become in danger due to the war going on around them. There are so many dynamic relationships, characters, conflicts, and events that you too won’t be able to put this book down!

It’s not too often that we see a series continually get better and better with each book and I’m so glad that Kiera Cass was able to do so!


When Tests Turn Deadly October 7, 2013

Can’t get enough of The Hunger Games? Well then the next book on your list should be The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau.  I have to admit I was so involved with this book that I stayed up  late to finish it because I just could not wait.  Now that I have said that, I’m ready to be a little bit critical.  This is another YA dystopian novel- I’m not sure how original you can get, but this one is very similar to The Hunger Games (they aren’t even trying to hide it- just check out the cover!).  This can be looked at as a positive or negative thing, because after all, THG was a huge success.  The Testing is a well written fast paced read; so get past the cover and give it a chance.

The main character Cia is chosen upon graduating for the privilege of taking the test to go to university in the capitol, Tosu City.  She has dreamed of following her father’s footsteps and going to university for her entirelife, but when she is accepted her father tells that his specific memories were erased but lingering nightmares from his own testing still haunt him.  These words foreshadow the rest of the novel as the stakes could not be higher- her life.



One Teen Against the System and One For It November 25, 2012

Filed under: Romance,Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 2:15 pm
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What do you do when your whole world is collapsing around you? That is what is happening for Day and for June. For Day, a wanted criminal in the Republic who has just found out his family has the plague he knows he must find a cure or watch them die. For June, her brother

and only family member left has been killed, supposedly by Day. She must bring Day in to avenge her brother, but what happens when things don’t go as planned for either of them? In Legend by Marie Lu, both June and Day are characters you are rooting for, wanting them to get beyond their own beliefs to see each other as we, the reader, does. June comes from a privileged background and has her life set before her, with only good things as far as she can see. It is only when her brother is killed that she begins to realize he was trying to let her in on some of the secrets surrounding the world she has never questioned before. Day, on the other hand, has seen the brutality of the world in which he lives and strives so hard to keep part of his humanity alive, even as it becomes harder day by day. Set in a future where the haves and the have nots are clearly defined, June and Day must navigate the world they find themselves in, without compromising who they are totally.

This book keeps you moving forward quickly and with enough twists that the end isn’t totally foreseen  Even in a time when, frankly, I’m pretty tired of the futuristic dystopian books that seem to be published on an hourly basis, this one had me caught almost from the very beginning.

Recommended for grades 7 and up.