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!

When Good Enough…Isn’t December 12, 2013

Beth knew it was totally unlikely, and after pining away for Salva for over 5 years, she knew it wouldn’t happen. So when, out of the blue, Salva actually seeks her out and asks for her help in passing their AP English class, she is stunned and doesn’t think she should take him up on the offer. After all, if she has to see him every week, that will just make her crush that much worse, right? What if she actually falls for him more? How awful will it be when he still doesn’t even pay attention to her?

imgresSalva can’t believe it! Why is the principal making him take AP English? Who knew that taking freshman English in 8th grade would come back to haunt him. What a ridiculous rule that you had to have four years of English IN high school. If only he’d known. And to get stuck with the hardest English teacher in the whole school, also not fair. As if he doesn’t have enough pressure from being the star quarterback on the school’s football team, being the president of student council,  and trying to be the first in his immigrant family to go off to college and be successful. He feels tremendous pressure from his dad to do well in school and to live up to the expectations of his dead mother.

On the surface, Beth and Salva couldn’t be more different, but as they spend more time together, Salva is struck by how much Beth gets what he’s going through, and how she keeps pushing him to go further than he ever thought he could. But what if she pushes to much and makes him feel too much and makes him long too much? Can Beth and Salva ever really have a relationship?

Salvation by Anne Osterlund is everything you want in a high school romance. Try it, and you won’t be disappointed!

Recommended for grades 7 and up.


Fantasy, or Reality? April 23, 2013

Ever think it would be cool to have a clone? Someone who could do all the things you don’t want to do? What if that person was your identical twin? Would you consider that person a clone? What makes you an individual if another person in the world shares your exact DNA? Brendan is struggling with finding his own identity in The Shadowed Unicorn by Sheila Kelly Welch. Being a twin is hard enough, but being the responsible twin gets old at times. Nick never seems to care what others think, and it’s Brendan who feels he needs to worry about everything. When the family moves to a small farm in the countryside of Pennsylvania after their father is killed, Brendan’s sister Ami seems to be coming apart at the seams. Brendan begins to question her grasp on reality as she becomes swept away in a fantasy world.

imgres-1As Brendan moves through his life, worrying about his sister, his mother, and even his twin brother at times, the reader is drawn into his world. How can he keep everyone safe and moving forward after the devastation of losing their father? And what will happen if he can’t control everything and everyone around him. The Shadow Unicorn gives you a fantastic look at a family trying to survive and move beyond a crisis and shows how each member of a family can deal with pain and loss in their own personal way.

Highly Recommended for grades 6 and up.


The Day Before February 12, 2013

Filed under: Novels in Verse — bhomel @ 10:08 pm
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The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder is the type of book you have to keep reading to find out what’s really going on. It’s a quick read because it’s written in verse. If you are like me, you can finish the story in one day, especially because this story will capture your attention from the very start.

In the beginning we meet Amber and it’s obvious she has huge problems in her life. One morning, she packs her bags with her most important things and leaves a note for her family. We don’t really know what exactly is going on with Amber but you can tell, it’s not good.

This is Amber’s big day, it’s the day before – tomorrow her life will change and never be the same. She’s not looking forward to tomorrow and just wants to be alone. She planned to spend the day by herself. Her day takes a turn for better when she meets Cade, a striking young man who she wants to get to know more.

Amber knows something is up with Cade too – and to escape their tomorrow, they both decide to spend the day together with no worries. As the “day before” tomorrow goes on, they both reveal what is in store for them tomorrow. They only have this one day.

Amber and Cade form a special bond on their one “day before” together. If you want to find out what’s in store for Amber and Cade tomorrow, check out this book!