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!

One + One = Two December 14, 2016

Image result for one by sarah crossan

Being twins, Tippi and Grace have a very close relationship and are joined at the hip – literally. They are conjoined twins who look separate from the waist up and share one body from the waist down. For most of their lives, they have been safe at home. Their mom chose to home school the twins to protect them from society but Tippi and Grace have to attend public school for the first time because of money issues. The twins friend two outcasts at school – Yasmeen and Jon. It’s the first time the twins have friends and have a life outside of each other.

As the twin’s social life begins to get better, Grace’s heart takes a turn for the worst. The twins must be separated to save their lives. It’s a risky operation but not having the surgery is even riskier.

One by Sarah Crossan is a novel in verse. I was interested in reading this book because I’ve never read a book about conjoined twins before. Grace and Tippi’s stories are definitely interesting. . You have to read and find out what happens in the end!

I would recommend this book to mature 7th and 8th grade readers.

 

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.

 

A Phone Call You Can’t Ignore… January 6, 2015

imgresAt first Eric didn’t pay much attention to the call. It was strange and vague and didn’t make much sense. It was the email that really got his attention. An email that showed part of his room. How did someone get a picture of his room? Suddenly, the voice on the phone made Eric sit up and pay attention. The voice wanted him to do something that would get him into trouble, but for Eric, what the voice had on him was way worse if it should get out.

Cold Calls by Charles Benoit looks at three teens whose lives are changed by a voice on the phone. Each has a secret they want to hide, one that will change their lives if it gets out.

By a chance encounter, the three realize they are being harassed by the same person. They only have a limited amount of time to figure out who has their secrets before the secrets are exposed to the world. Can they stop the person before it is too late?

Recommended for 8th grade and up.

 

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!

 

Mother Knows Best…or Does She? June 9, 2014

imgresGrowing up helping her mother run a porcelain doll shop in a coastal town in California might not be the most exciting life, but it is the only one Caymen knows. Now that she is starting her senior year of high school, she is having to make some decisions about her future. She knows her mother relies on her to help run the store, which always struggles to make enough money to keep them afloat. All her life, Caymen has heard the story of how a rich boy ran out on her mother, leaving her pregnant with Caymen and little else.

So when a rich boy comes in to pick out a doll for a relative, Caymen instantly recognizes his “type.” The type her mom has always said is no good. Quickly though, and without Caymen even realizing it, the rich kid, Xander, is working his way into Caymen’s life, and slowly, into her heart.

However, how can she talk to her mom about this “rich” kid who stands for everything her mother can’t?

Caymen looks for a way to keep her mom happy, herself, and at the same time begins to dream of a future that doesn’t include working full time in a doll shop. The question is, can she make that dream a reality, or does life always get in the way?

The Distance Between Us  by Kasie West is a great romance that shows how what you want and what your parent(s) might want can make for a pretty rough road to travel.

Recommended for grades 7 and up.

 

Have you ever written a letter to an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend? April 26, 2014

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Beforeimgres

Jenny Han

Jenny Han certainly doesn’t disappoint in this realistic fiction story of three sisters and father, who continue to make their family dynamic after having lost their mother many years ago. As Margot, the oldest, gets ready to go across the world for college, that leaves Lara Jean to be the woman in charge. Despite starting off on a rocky foot, while attempting to take over her sister’s duties, Lara didn’t think it could get much worse. However, letters she addressed to her old boyfriends or simply boys she had crushes on in her past, got sent. To who? None other than each gentlemen she had addressed it to.

Can you imagine writing a letter to help get over a break-up and rid yourself of the negativity and heartbreak you were feeling, and having it sent to that very person years later? Well, that is exactly what happens with Lara Jean. As the story continues, we see her try to dig her way out of the mess that has been created, finding and forming new relationships, while also helping to find herself through it all!

 

Can a boy and a girl truly be JUST friends? April 5, 2014

Title: Better Off Friends

imgres-1Author: Elizabeth Eulberg

Genre: Realistic Fiction

After having read all of Elizabeth’s books including The Lonely Hearts Club, Prom & Prejudice, Take a Bow, and Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality, I was incredibly excited to read her latest Better Off Friends. Macallan and Levi become best friends instantly. Although Macallan is still dealing with the heartache of her mother’s death, she is slowly able to let Levi’s friendship in. Throughout their time in middle school, people are constantly asking them if they are dating, yet they haven’t even explored the idea.

As the two enter high school, they do begin to date other people, and even still they are constantly fielding questions about their relationship. The question is, will these two stay just friends, or will they become more than friends, like others have speculated?

Elizabeth creates a very realistic scenario that many high school and adults can attest to in having close friends of the opposite sex. As the story continues, Elizabeth goes an excellent job in intertwining perspectives of both Macallan and Levi throughout the story to enhance the overall text structure and perception for the reader.

 

Being Popular Has a Price – Can You Pay? June 27, 2013

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 2:35 pm
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So, pretty much everyone has wanted to be popular at some point in their lives. Maybe at school, at a sport they love, at a job, or party. Jordan in The Prank by Ashley Rae imgres-1Harris is no exception. She’d like to be popular partly because the boy she has been crushing on for ever, Charlie, belongs to that group.

One day, completely out of the blue, Jordan gets an invite to hang with the popular crowd after school one day. She finds out they are plotting some pranks against their rival school before a big football game. At first Jordan feels a little weird and backs out at the last minute. Unfortunately, she gives them her bike to use and they leave it at the scene of the crime. Turns out, someone gets badly hurt during the prank, and no one is sure exactly how it happened. Charlie and Jordan get drawn more and more into pranks that at first don’t seem too bad, until right in front of their eyes a classmate dies. Is it all just some horrible coincidence, or is there something more sinister at work? Time is running out for everyone involved in the pranks as the clock ticks down toward game time.

This is a great fast read. Recommended for students 6th grade and up.

 

 

3 Perspectives, 3 Life-Changing Moments June 19, 2013

Take Me There

By: Susane Colasanti

After a student of mine, Rose, checked out all the books by this author from the library, I knew I had to see what all the fuss was about. As my previous post about the same author’s book, Keep Holding On,  suggests, obviously I too was hooked. While listening to the audio version of Take Me There, it was interesting because it tells three different overlapping stories from the three main characters in the book. I originally thought that it was going to be some typical high school girly book, but all of a sudden when I heard a male voice come over my radio- I knew there was more to the story.

Susane does a fabulous job really getting you hooked into her books, as she has very relatable characters and concepts of what occurs in high school. What was interesting is that we started with Rhiannon who is devastated after a break up with her boyfriend. We see how she interacts with her two best friends, James and Nicole during this difficult time. Then, just as we are waiting to see what happens next withDownloadedFile Rhiannon’s story, Susane plunges into James and Nicole’s stories of that same period of time we just heard Rhiannon talking about. So it was really interesting seeing the three very different perspectives and perceptions of what occurred during that time. It made me think of how often people can witness the same event but have a completely different perspective on what happened and how it affected them.

As the story continues, Susane definitely surpasses your “typical” high-school romance and drama, while digging into high school bullying, how what definitely goes around comes back around, and even some inappropriate relationships that have occurred or may be occurring. I think though she pushes the envelope, she isn’t afraid to take risks and she does so in a tasteful way that will make it okay for me to have this book in my middle school classroom.

All in all, you will love this book and definitely won’t want to put it down!

 

When is enough, enough?

Keeping Holding On

By: Susane Colasanti

I love how this book sucks you right in during the first chapter where our main character Noelle is fumbling over her words with her serious high school crush, Julian. Of course as the story begins to unravel we see that Noelle doesn’t have your typical, happy teenage lifestyle. Noelle finds herself in very dark spots with an immense amount of bullying at school, a very harsh home life- where her mom tells her what a mistake she was, and not a lot of self-confidence. You really begin to feel for Noelle and will definitely find your inner-insecure teenager as you read along with her.

DownloadedFileThere are moments where things start to look up for Noelle just for someone, like the biggest school bully or her former best friend, to bring her right back down. As the story continues, Noelle begins to let in on her secret home life scenario with some people she deems as close friends and she begins to see how good it feels to reach out and talk to someone, though incredibly hesitant at first.

This is a great book that will definitely make you think about some of your actions and how your actions effect others. You will continue to root for Noelle, her high school crushes, and her ability to find herself as the story progresses, and things might just look up for her toward the book’s conclusion.