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!

Thirteen and a half years of memories– wiped out in one instant! June 4, 2017

Chase Ambrose wakes up in a hospital bed, with no recollection of who he is, why he is there, or what happened in his life leading up to this point. He is told that he fell off of his roof and the resulting injury to his head caused amnesia. Thirteen and a half years of life– wiped out in one instant! While he doesn’t remember

anything about his life, Chase thinks he has a pretty good idea of who he is from pictures he finds on his phone– he’s a football star, a popular student with lots of friends, and a brother. However, as he begins to pick up on other people’s reactions to him (his four-year-old half sister is terrified of him; students at school cower in fear when he walks down the hallway; a girl dumps a whole bowl of frozen yogurt over his head), he realizes that he might have been a bully. “New Chase” doesn’t feel like a bully though. He truly enjoys his (court ordered) community service at the senior center, hanging out with the video club, and creating a relationship with his arch-enemy Shoshanna. Now Chase is torn– can he go back to his old life now that he has seen the person he could be? Even though this book’s topic is serious, it is executed in Korman’s signature hilarious style. Crazy stunts meant to turn viral on YouTube, pranks, a cranky Korean War veteran, and more will keep middle school students laughing until the happy ending.

 

 

Class Clown, or Class Savior? May 10, 2013

imgresAlways in trouble and loving it! That is how Donovan views his world in middle school. He sees something and does it without any thought to the future or the possible consequences of his actions. Such is the case one afternoon in detention for participating in a spitball war. Of course, Donovan was the only one caught, so he’s serving time alone. After being lured out of a window by his friends, he looks at a statue of Atlas holding up the world (a very old statue in front of the school) and thinks to take a whack at it with a stick. Gee, what could possibly happen, right?

Well, the “world” rolls off of Atlas and down the hill, in the process breaking the wall of the gym, destroying the gym floor and almost running some people over. The superintendent of the schools looks out and catches Donovan red handed and guilty. But that is when things get pretty funny and turned upside down in Ungifted by Gordon Korman because instead of being punished, by a fluke, Donovan finds himself going to the gifted school in his district and thinking he might be able to hide out for a while. But the question is how long can a really average kid hide among a group of geniuses and what happens when it all falls apart?

As with most of Korman’s books, humor is front and center. Donovan is a likable kid who, frankly just doesn’t think. He wrangles his very pregnant sister into the class of genius kids, turns their robotic team inside out and introduces one to youtube with hilarious results. I literally laughed out loud at parts.


Recommended for grades 6th and up.