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. Enjoy!

Modern Retelling of Snow White September 19, 2017

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 3:51 pm
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This is a very inventive reimagining of the classic fairy tale Snow White. Mina, daughter of a cruel magician, has not known love since her mother died when she was a young girl. Even if her mother was still living, however, Mina might not be capable of love. Her outer beauty conceals a very dark secret—a heart made of glass. To save her life, her father removed her diseased heart and replaced it with one of cold, perfect glass. While she is alive, though, this has left her unable to feel emotions. Through scheming, Mina finds herself marrying King Nicolas, moving to Whitespring Castle, and becoming stepmother to a two-year-old little girl with a dark secret of her own; Princess Lynet has been sculpted from snow by Mina’s father, who is now blackmailing the king by threatening to reveal this to the entire kingdom. When Princess Lynet turns sixteen and her father announces his plans to name her Queen in Mina’s place, the two are positioned to fight to the death. But, is it possible that a stepmother with a heart of glass and a princess made of snow might actually love each other more than they love power, money, and their royal positions?

Image result for girls made of snow and glass

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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 memhttps://i2.wp.com/www.franceshardinge.com/images/book_covers/afacelikeglass.jpgories, 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.

 

Spirits Attracted to Art? April 11, 2017

Sierra is an artist, and looking forward to a summer break of painting and parties in her New York City neighborhood. Sierra doesn’t paint on canvas or paper though; she creates fantastic, huge murals on the walls of the city. Her latest creation is a five-story fire breathing dragon that towers over the local junk lot, as well as the new luxury condo development. But, right as Sierra is about to kick summer break off with a huge party with all her classmates, strange things begin to happen. Her grandfather Lazaro, a very recent stroke victim, begins speaking again… but just very short fragments, saying he is sorry and mentioning a woman named Lucera. Then, her grandfather’s friends come to visit her, urging her to finish her dragon mural quickly, but won’t say what the rush is. Then, other neighborhood murals, once so brightly colored and vibrant, seem to wash out and fade overnight. Finally, a zombie-like creature chases Sierra and her crush through the neighborhood asking for Lucera– the same name her grandfather mentioned. What is going on in Brooklyn? Is it possible that rumors of spirits who have died there– some innocent and some intent on evil– have stayed around? And is it further possible that they are drawn to art, murals, music, and stories, that are connected to the city? And if all of these things are possible, what do they have to do with a highschool girl who just wants a fun summer?

 

Torn Between Angels and Monsters January 6, 2017

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 2:45 pm
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In this amazing fantasy novel, there are two parallel universes– the one our Earth is a part of, and then the one that holds the planet of Eretz, where the monsters live. Karou appears to be a normal high school art student, but in reality, she works for a chimera named Brimstone, in a workshop that is a portal between the two worlds. As long as she daughter-of-smoke-and-bone.jpgcan remember, Brimstone has sent Karou to collect teeth– sometimes from animals and sometimes from humans. These teeth are often given willingly, and sometimes she knows they have been procured by grave robbery, museum theft, or acts even more sinister. Karou never questions what Brimstone does with these teeth, until the day she tries to enter the portal to his shop and finds the door permanently locked, with a scorched black handprint on the front. Now, she is on the run to find her monster friends, battle an army of murderous avenging angels, and discover what the connection between teeth and wish magic really is. This first in an amazing trilogy will keep you up reading all night long!

 

 

Keys to the Kingdom January 5, 2017

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 4:39 pm
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Arthur Penhaligon has terrible, dangerous asthma. He has to keep an inhaler with him at garth-nixall times, and has been warned to not engage in physical that will make him breathe too hard. However, on his first day at a new school, the gym teacher yells at him for not keeping up with the rest of the class during a run. He tries, and collapses when his throat begins to close! Arthur is sure he is going to die and experiences a dream or hallucination in which an old, stooped man is pushing a young, handsome man in a wheelchair. The handsome man hangs Arthur a key fashioned to look like the minute hand on an antique clock, and tells him it will help him breathe. When Arthur comes to after this strange dream, he is still clutching the key, a mysterious locked book, and is now able to control his breathing. Weirder things begin to happen… a plague seems to be spreading, and Arthur is being hunted by men with the faces of dogs and blood-covered wings who want the key he was given back. They have been sent by the dark Mister Monday who still has the Hour Hand key and needs the Minute Hand key back in order to keep ruling a mysterious old house that might contain a universe within itself… Can Arthur, along with his two best friends, steal the other key from Mister Monday and save the universe? This exciting book for fans of Harry Potter will keep you guessing until the very end!

 

Vampires- Glamorous, Cruel, or Both? October 4, 2016

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 10:24 am
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Tana lives in an ordinary town, exceptional only for its proximately to a Coldtown.  Coldtowns are walled off sealed cities, in which people who have been bitten by vampires are sent to live.  Once being turned into a vampire, a person becomes more beautiful, more powerful, and immortal… So it is no surprise that Coldtowns are actually seen as glamorous places, where champagne is always flowing, playing music and dancing in the streets is common, and the parties never end.  Life inside of Coldtowns is so mystifying that savvy journalists set up live televised feeds, so that normal mortals can have 24/7 access viewing to these cities where the fun lasts forever.  But Tana knows, because she witnessed her own mother undergo the transformation into a vampire, that there is extreme brutality, cruelty, and boredom at the heart of these vamthe_coldest_girl_in_coldtown_coverpire civilizations.  One night, after a party where most of her highschool class is in attendance, Tana wakes up in a pool of blood and sees her classmates slaughtered around her.  She is the only one still alive, besides her ex-boyfriend who is now one of her best friends, and a mysterious, dark stranger… both of whom seem to have been bitten.  Tana knows she has to get them to a Coldtown before they turn and become a danger to themselves, to her, and to the rest of her town…. But getting them there means traveling into the heart of a vampire Coldtown as a mortal girl. This awesome book brings a huge twist to vampire legend and mythology, and is dark, creepy, and funny in all the right ways!  Perfect for reading before Halloween!!!

 

 

 

 

In a World of Heroes, an Antihero is Very Welcome! August 30, 2016

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 12:01 pm
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clarielGoldenhand

Coming in October is the release of Goldenhand, Garth Nix’s chronological continuation of his beloved Old Kingdom series. In anticipation of this dive back into the intoxicating realms of magic, duty, and sacrifice, I would like to recommend my personal favorite of this series. Clariel is the only book in the Old Kingdom series which is not a continuation of the storyline, but rather a journey into the origins of elemental magic.

Clariel is set 600 years before Sabriel, and the Old Kingdom is very different from what it will come to be in the future. Due to generations of prosperity and relative safety from Free Magic creatures, members of the Charter have grown lax. King Orrikan shirks all royal duties, hiding in his palace, while the Abhorsen is rumored to fear his connection and rightful control over the realms of Death. Seventeen-year-old Clariel, who is capable and brave, is utterly uninterested in politics, material possessions, and the intricacies of the Charter. She lives for the wild solitude of the Great Forest. However, due to blood ties to both the King and the Abhorsen, many conspire to use her for their own purposes. Clariel as constantly torn between a sense of duty, a desire to forge her own path, and a raw “berserk” nature. In contrast, Free Magic entities are presented not as villains, but ethereal, elemental beings whose understanding of morality differs greatly from humans. Savvy readers will figure out what Clariel is to become long before the change occurs in the novel. However, this sensitive rendition gives readers a greater understanding as to how a strong force such as Clariel is ultimately drawn to the untamable power of Free Magic and necromancy.