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!

The Story Contiunes… August 10, 2015

Filed under: Fantasy Books,Romance — bhomel @ 9:40 pm
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Series Spoiler Alert Ahead!

If you haven’t read the first 3 books of The Selection Series, stop reading this and go check them out now!

Kiera Cass’ book covers are amazing! The cover of The Heir adorns a new girl – Princess Eadlyn.

Daughter to Prince Maxon and the first born of his family, Princess Eadlyn is the heir to the throne. Times have changed in Illéa. It’s 20 years after Prince Maxon chose “The One” during “The Selection.”

The caste system is gone but that hasn’t created peace in the country. Prince Maxon and Queen America decide one way to bring Illéa together is to bring back The Selection after all this time. They decide Princess Eadlyn needs to find the perfect match to wed and help run the county when it’s her time to take the crown.

Much like her mother, Princess Eadlyn doesn’t want to be a part of The Selection. In fact, she doesn’t even see herself ever getting married. Princess Eadlyn enters The Selection tough as nails and refuses to let her guard down for anyone. Although this is a very different story, it is a must read if you’ve read the other books in the series!

Straight from Kiera Cass’ mouth: there will be ONE MORE book in The Selection series and that’s it!

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That’s me meeting Kiera Cass and getting my book signed!


She Must Kill Him To Save Everyone November 19, 2014

She was raised to be the hope for her kingdom and the revenge of her mother. All that was required would be her death. Nyx has knows since she was nine her life was not her own. Her kingdom of Arcadia has been cursed for over nine hundred years and it is up to her to be the one to break that curse. To do so, she only has to marry a monster and then find a way to kill him.

imgresOnce Nyx meets her demon lord husband, she is surprised by the contradictions in him. Ignifex, as he asks her to call him, can look so human, it disturbs Nyx. But then she meets, Shade, who is the shadow of Ignifex and seems to want to help Nyx in her quest to destroy the demon lord. If only Nyx can find what she needs to trace her sigils to break the curse. However, the house of the demon lord changes daily, with locked rooms and keys she needs to get in order to carry out her duty.

As time goes on, Nyx begins to realize that Ignifex might not be the monster she always thought. But what difference will that make, since her kingdom is still cursed and she is still the only one who can save everyone?

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge is for anyone who loves the story of Beauty and the Beast, Blue Beard and mythology since this book has it all.

Recommended for 8th grade and up.


Can Love Endure Over Multiple Centuries? March 18, 2014

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 12:32 pm
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The winner of the 2013 Printz Award, Midwinter Blood, is a wildly imaginative exploration of folk ritual, human connection, and enduring love.  The book opens in 2073, when Eric Seven travels to the isolated island of Blessed.  He is a reporter who has been assigned to uncover the secrets of a rare breed of orchid flower, which seems to give the island’s inhabitants eternal youth.  Nothing is as it first appears, however, and readers are taken farther and farther into the past through seven fantastic stories connected with this ethereally beautiful, but dangerous, island.Image


Book Two in His Fair Assassin Series April 18, 2013

DarkTriumphA few weeks ago, I posted about how amazing Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers is.  I am now about halfway through Dark Triumph, the second book in her His Fair Assassin series, and I am so thrilled that the second book is just as good as the first!!!  Dark Triumph is also concerned with d’Albret’s malicious plotting against the young Dutchess of Britony.  Instead of Ismae’s perspective however, we are now getting the story from her Sister in Death, Sybella.  Sybella, who was half crazy and suicidal when first sent to the convent of Saint Mortain to train as an assassin, has now been sent to shadow d’Albret and foil any plans of his to assassinate the Dutchess or aid France in overthrowing her kingdom.

But as we soon learn, Sybella’s fragile emotional state was the result of her mental and physical as a daughter of d’Albret.  Will this mission prove to be too difficult, causing one of Death’s handmaidens to take her own life instead of the life of her target?  I can’t wait to find out!!

Coming soon will be Mortal Heart, from the point of view of Annith, stuck like a prisoner in the convent awaiting her role as next Seer.  What an awesome, addicting new series!!!!


Do you believe in FAIRY TALES? February 27, 2013

Cinder (Book 1) and Scarlet (Book 2) 

By: Marissa Meyer

Genre: Fantasy

Welcome to the Lunar Chronicles! An admitted non-fan of Science Fiction/Fantasy, I was coerced into listening to a fabulous audiobook (Thank You Mrs. Squires) by the name of Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I have always enjoyed the various stories and versions of Cinderella (my favorite fairy tale) and thought- why not give it a try??  And I must say, I easily fell in love! The young lady who narrated the audiobook was fabulously entertaining and of course I found myself not wanting to leave my car after endless commutes just so I could finish and find out what was going to happen to our beloved Cinder, a modern day mechanic in a futuristic society.

Yes, this book definitely had counterparts that coincided with the story of Cinderella, but did so in such a way that I felt was incredibly creative and unlike many other pieces I had been reading at the time. As I have continued and gotten more into the Science-Fiction/Fantasy genre, I will still say that this is one of my favorites. I have recommended it to many students, boys and girls included and I could not wait to hear and see what happens as Cinder, a now fugitive would make of herself and the world she lived in as the man she had feelings for, none other than Prince Kai, was forced to potentially come together with the evil Queen Levana in order to save her life….

And then Scarlet (Book 2) came out and I could not wait to get my hands on it. Despite it being a little lengthy, I was ready for the challenge. We now meet Scarlet, when she finds that her grandmother has gone missing, a take on a new fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Scarlet comes into contact with a “wolf-like” character and hence the story begins.

I thought it was interesting to finally see how Cinder and Scarlet’s stories intersected, as the book continually shifts back and forth to what was currently happening with the two ladies. While Cinder is trying to escape and stay away from Queen Levana who will do nothing else than to find her and kill her, Scarlet is on a mission to find her missing grandmother. What might you ask could these two ladies have in common? Well, without giving away too much, I will say that secrets are finally out in the open and some unsolved mysteries from the first book in the series were solved!

Finally, a series that although there is a commanality with both books, still has something inventive, creative and unknown within the second book! I am looking incredibly forward to book three and even four! 🙂




Ever Want a Do-Over? January 24, 2013



What if one day you looked up and saw someone watching you, like they knew you? But the next moment they were gone? Anna is mystified in the book Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
when this happens to her one early spring morning while she is running. A boy appears to be sitting in the bleachers at the track, but the next moment gone. When she goes up to investigate, the snow on the bleachers is undisturbed…except where the boy was sitting. Adding to the mystery, she goes to school and meets the very same boy, although he acts like he’s never seen her before, and denies being at the track that morning.

Quickly, Anna, realizes there is something strange going on with Bennett. He is at first friendly, then cold and harsh. Anna has no idea what is going on with him, but honestly, the truth is far stranger than anything Anna could come up with on her own. Bennett has the ability to travel through time and has to make decisions that will affect many peoples lives, including his own and Anna’s.

If you are looking for a romance that will keep you on your toes wondering how the pieces of the puzzle will fall, this is a great book for you. As with most time travel books, I felt like there were a few areas that were unclear, or didn’t totally make sense, but this is a fantasy after all, so some..okay, a LOT of suspension of belief is needed. I don’t think that will deter most readers though who are looking for a fun escape.

Recommended for 7th grade and up.


A Dragon World January 15, 2013

Filed under: Fantasy Books — kbradley123 @ 7:28 pm
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I feel like there are a lot of books about dragons but this book proves that the subject can still be just as fascinating. I listened to Seraphina by Rachel Hartman and feel in love with the world that was created here. This book has it all- intrigue, interesting characters and a wonderful setting. I was sad to have it end but was so excited to hear that the author is very busy writing the sequel now!


Seraphina lives in a world where dragons and humans have signed a treaty to live peaceful among each other. Dragons can change into human form but they are still very different as they don’t understand human emotions, religion, and art. The truce between the humans and dragons is shaky after 40 years, and now the head of the dragon’s is coming for a visit. As tension, secrets, and murder all pile up around her, Seraphina just wants to be unnotice and work on her music in the castle. That is not to be the case though as she might be the only one that can keep the treaty in place! With the the help of the royal family, the unearthing of her own secrets and the bravery of love, Seraphina has an adventure in the dragon world that keeps readers wondering what could be lurking around the corner while also keeping your heartstrings on edge!


Audio Books… Reading Books Without Reading! December 13, 2012

Filed under: Fantasy Books — kbradley123 @ 11:07 am
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I am a lover of audiobooks. I “read” them all the time while I am doing other things. You can also read the physical book while listening to the audiobook to give the words a voice. Audiobooks not only pronounce everything correctly ( especially those made

up words you aren’t quite sure about), they also give your favorite characters voices! They bring characters alive! It is different experience than just reading a book and highly recommend trying it at least once.

I just finished The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens on audiobook and loved it. This is a sequel to the Emerald Atlas and follows the adventures of three siblings on a search for magical books and their lost parents. There is tons of magical characters like elves, dragons and evil wizards set to destroy all regular humans. The book is action packed and sets the stage for the last book of the Books of Beginning series. Between the danger and the magic there is something here for every reader ( or listener)!



TTKU- Try to Keep Up… December 5, 2012

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lhorn1217 @ 9:00 pm
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What would you do to fit in? To what lengths would you go to find friends, especially the most popular friends in three_quarters_dead peckschool? In this novel Three Quarters Dead by Richard Peck, (though I listened to it), you meet Kerry, a dorky, lonely sophomore who finds herself with the “opportunity” to get exactly what she’s wished for: a group of friends. Even better, these are the three most beautiful and popular girls around school. As they plan an initiation of sorts for her during Halloween, you begin seeing the darker side of these three girls, with Tonya as their ring leader. Kerry continues to make excuses for why her friends leave her deserted at a girls house she was forced to sneak into and various other situations she is put in. Then, while Tonya is on the phone with Kerry, as they are driving to search for prom dresses, the three girls getting into a deadly car accident, leaving Kerry to face school and life without them- or so she thought? The fantasy book reminded me a ton of Mean Girls- especially in listening to the entertaining job of the person who performed on the audio version- which happens to be one of my favorite movies. There’s a good lesson in the end, a good read for all ranges of middle school students, and a good way to evaluate your true friendships. In Tonya’s repeated line to Kerry, “try to keep up!”


Fairy Tales Retold November 27, 2012


Traditionally the Thirteenth Fairy, enraged at not being invited to the royal christening of the infant princess, curses her to fall into a deep sleep on her sixteenth birthday, from which she will never wake.  The royal family, including the beautiful and gentle princess, are made to suffer at the hands of a malicious and jealous witch.  In Yolen’s Curse of the Thirteenth Fey retelling, however, readers get the fairy’s side of the story.  The “thirteenth fairy” is actually the youngest in a family of fairies, all bound to the selfish royal family who use the fairies as performers for their own amusement.  Unlike the rest of her clan, “The Shouting Fey”, Gorse is a shy and awkward bookworm.  On the day of the princess’ christening, Gorse is late and in hurrying to the castle, falls down a hole into a cave, where she meets two banished fairy princes.  In trying to save them all, she unwittingly unleashes the curse that created the legend of Sleeping Beauty.  Perfect for fans of Robin McKinley’s Beauty or the fractured fairy tales of Gregory McGuire.