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 http://www.buzzsprout.com/229361 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.

 

Can Small Acts Of Good Really Make a Difference? October 3, 2014

Summer is stretching out in front of Nina as one long event, with not a lot going on to break it up. Her parents are super consumed with a big trail case they are preparing for, her older brother Matt is getting ready to head off to college by pulling further away, and her best friend and neighbor Jorie seems more different than ever. So what’s a girl to do?

imgresLying in the hammock in her family’s front yard, Nina sees a neighbor with a broken leg struggle to plant her flowers and then give up. She knows her neighbor always plants marigolds, but clearly she can’t with a broken leg. It is in that moment that Nina gets an idea. An idea that her grandmother, who died the year before, talked to her about many times. It’s the idea of Simple Truths (STs), that sometimes it’s the smallest things that end up meaning the most.

In that instant, Nina decides she will take each day that remains of summer, and do one small act of kindness for someone. She will focus on her neighborhood first.

The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days by Michele Weber Hurwitz will have you cheering for Nina and hopeful for her neighborhood, her family and her friends. This is the kind of book you want to rush through, but when it ends, you are sad. Take time to enjoy this fun, poignant gem.

Recommended for grades 6th and up with appeal to much older students.

 

School Has Been Taken Over September 28, 2014

imgresWhat would you do if your school had been taken over by a reality TV show? At first, Ethan doesn’t really think much of it. He wasn’t picked to be one of the contestants vying for the grand prize of a scholarship to an Arts college of his choice. He likes the fact that one of the contestants is a senior named Maura, so he can watch her without feeling creepy. After all, all of America is watching her on the TV show, and this show gives him the opportunity to do just that, in addition to feeding his fixation during English class, which he has with her also. Maura is the girl of his dreams, in that he’s never actually talked to her, but has had a crush on her for three years.

So while most everyone at school is just going along, Ethan is surprised when his best friend, Luke, begins to really pitch a fit about the show. He gets his other friends, Elizabeth and Jackson, riled up too. They all decide they will publish Luke’s scathing long poem about the vileness of the show, For Art’s Sake, which has taken over their school. With the assistance/ non assistance of their English teacher, BradLee, their poem creates a stir within the school and within the show, For Art’s Sake.

However, it quickly takes a turn none of the original four expected. The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer is a funny, serious, thoughtful look at growing up without knowing where you are going or how to get there. This has to be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.

Recommended for mature 8th graders with a fabulous vocabulary and up. Enjoy!

 

For all the GATSBY fans! July 6, 2014

Great  By Sara Benincasaimgres-1

If you enjoyed The Great Gatsby, then this modern-day retelling of the classic is right up your alley! With a famous blogger longing to meet the famous fashionista, all Naomi needed to do during her summer vacation was introduce the two ladies, and the rest was history. As time continues and the similarities between the original and this modern-day take unfold, even more scandalous and abrupt behavior ensues. Will Naomi find herself in the middle of inappropriate friendship? Will she find herself and the person that she has always desired to be, much to her mother’s pleasure? Or will she continue to be the rebellious teen that doesn’t have a ounce of care in the world, especially to fit in within the East Hampton social life? For all the scandal, thrills, and the sarcasm of Sara Benincasa, this is a definitely a book you won’t want to put down!

Appropriate for more mature readers- 8th grade and up!