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!

Life in the Death Shop February 19, 2015

Filed under: Romance,Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 8:36 am
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Her life had been pretty predictable up to this point. Aria had her close group of friends, her mother, Luna, and well, the Realms. Life in the Realms made everything seem fine. Until her mother has to leave their pod and go to another settlement called Bliss to do her research, leaving Aria behind. Still, not the end of the world, until contact is lost to Bliss. In an effort to find out what has happened to her mother, Aria befriends the son of the Head of Security, Soren, thinking he must know something. However, things go very wrong when Soren decides to break into a part of their pod that hasn’t been used for years. He and some of the boys start a fire and then attack Aria and her friend Paisley. Out of the burning night a person appears, an outsider, who rescues Aria from Soren’s attack.

imgresPeregrine is stunned to see the waste in the pod and doesn’t understand the attack on the girl. He saves her life from the fire, and take the strange eye piece that she was wearing over her eye. He returns to his tribe and back into conflict with his older brother Vale. Quickly Peregrine knows he will have to leave again, since he can’t get along with his brother. However, people from Aria’s pod come and kidnap Peregrine’s little nephew and demand to have the eye piece from Aria back. Peregrine is able to escape, barely but he knows he must leave his tribe to try to find a way to get his nephew back.

Little does he know that his actions back at the pod have created problems for Aria leading to her expulsion from her society. Aria, forced outside of the comfort and familiar surroundings of the pod, finds herself dropped into the middle of the Death Shop, where rumor has it there are a million ways to die. Never having been outside of four walls before, she isn’t sure how she will survive. Peregrine comes across her not long after she has been thrown out and he sees her as a way to get his nephew back.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi is a fast paced action story of what could happen in a future where the sky has turned on the earth, and what the humans are trying to do to live.

Great book for anyone looking for a futuristic earth – without zombies – and a nice romance too! Recommended for grades 8 and up.


If You Liked Hunger Games, Give this Series a Try… June 16, 2013

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — bhomel @ 2:02 am
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Legend by Marie Lu starts Day (Daniel) and June’s stories, each coming from opposite sides of the Republic. The Republic is the western part of what’s left of North America after severe flooding from melting ice in the north. The United States is no more in this futuristic novel.

Day is poor and forced to a life of crime to survive, help his family, and stop the advances of war. He’s a wanted criminal on the run, hiding out while still keeping watch over his family. Day’s antics have made him a legend in the Republic.

June is from an elite and wealthy family. She’s considered a prodigy for being the only one to get a perfect score on her trials. The trials are tests run to find the best soldiers for the military. June is on her way to securing a high ranking spot in the Republic’s military.

Day and June’s paths cross and both characters face good and bad events. They are each forced to question their own allegiance to family and their country. They must figure out who they can trust when things begin to get dangerous.

Check out Mrs. Squires review of Legend here:

Prodigy is the follow up book to Legend. In Prodigy, Day and June are no longer on opposite sides of society. Both are forced to work together to survive and figure out if their allegiance belongs to the Republic, the Colonies, or the Patriots.

I read both books back to back because one of my students, Jayla, has raved about these books for months! She said they were full of action and I have to agree with her! If you are looking for a story full of action right from the beginning – read Legend & Prodigy! Both books alternate chapters between Day and June but tell the entire story from both of their perspectives. Not only do they contain lots of action, there’s also a bit of romance too so both male and female readers can enjoy this series.

The finale to the Legend trilogy, Champion, will be released November 5, 2013. I know Jayla is eagerly anticipating that day to find out how this story wraps up.

In interviews, the author, Marie Lu, has mentioned that Legend is being worked on for a future movie!


The Futuristic World of The Bachelor May 13, 2013

The Selection (Book 1) & The Elite (Book 2) 

By: Kiera Cass

Finally, The Bachelor (a favorite reality television show of mine for years) has come into play in YA literature! I had heard about The Selection from many of my female students this year. They urged me to wait until the second book (The Elite) came out to read them right after one another, as Kiera tended to leave things in a cliff hanger. Sure enough, I could not put either book down when reading.


The Selection takes place in a futuristic world where the prince is looking for his princess. 35 girls are selected to go through a “Bachelor-type” process and fight for the prince’s love. All the while, the society is built into a caste system where girls from all castes are able to apply. Our main character, America, ends up being part of the Selection, despite having little confidence in herself, nor interest in the prince. America remained one of the only lower-caste young ladies in the process. She cleverly showed her true colors very early on to Prince Maxon, as she gave him the idea for her to be a “friend” in the process, since she was in love with someone else (Aspen); one who could help weed through the large amount of young ladies. However, as time progresses, America is beginning to become jealous of the other girls and their relationships with Maxon- and why would that be? Could she be interested in him as more than a friend? The first book ends up with Maxon cutting the Selection numbers down to The Elite, which are the six remaining girls.

As the story unfolds in Book two, I was interested to see where the story was going to go. I was thoroughly impressed with the writing, as it continued to entice me and want to keep reading, as there were many twists and turns along the way that I did not see coming. Without giving too much away, America finds herself in the middle of a love triangle, in a physical altercation with another contestant, fighting for her friend’s life and love, and standing up for herself and her country unlike anyone else has ever dared. Again, Book Two leaves you on the edge of your seat wondering just what will become of Maxon and who his princess will be. I know many of my students and I are counting down the days until Book three comes out!

**Also, it may be that there will be a television show on the CW of the book series. Fingers crossed!**


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.