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!

Ghost children live here October 8, 2017

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories — lpitrak @ 3:35 pm
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Coraline and her parents move into a giant mansion that has been separated into many different apartments,

 each containing a different family. There is only one apartment that is empty, and Coraline finds herself strangely curious to open the door to explore this place. The mice in the building pass along the message for her to NOT go through the door… but Coraline is home alone one day and cannot contain her urge to pass through. Beyond the door, Coraline finds an apartment that is much like the one she just left—it is layed out the same way, and there are even two parents known as Other Mother and Other Father. They are loving and pay attention to her, cook her amazing food, and show her tiny wonders such as dolls and books that come to life. Coraline is pretty thrilled when Other Mother invites her to stay permanently—until Other Mother tells her that in order to do so, Coraline will have to allow her to sew buttons over her eyes. Horrified by this, Coraline tries to run away, and discovers the trapped children who Other Mother turned into ghosts. Can Coraline free their souls, save her real parents from the wrath of Other Mother and Other Father, and make it out alive?



Can a monster hunter become a monster himself?

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the  one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me… and the one who cursed me.


These words open this strange and terrifying book by Rick Yancey. They are taken from the journal of Will Henry, an orphan and apprentice with an unusual specialty—Will is apprencticed to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a man who has spent his life both studying and hunting horrifying different species of monsters that most humans aren’t even aware exist. When Will is approached by a strange grave robber who has stumbled upon

the remains of a young girl who died with the monster that was eating her still attached to her body, Will’s world is about to change forever. The dead monster is an Anthropophagus–a headless monster that feeds through a mouth in its chest. This one was a baby when it killed the girl; but there are more who are now full grown… and if the mostrumologists can’t kill them, nothing can.







Who will be Queen?

Filed under: Fantasy Books — lpitrak @ 2:41 pm
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On the island of Fennbirn, every generation three triplets are born. These three girls are separated from each other once they turn six years old, and from then on are trained according to their natural abilities. One girl always has been born as a Naturalist—she has the affinity to communicate with animals, trees, and flowers, and also to control them. A second girl always is born as an Elemental—she has the power to

wield the elements of water, fire, wind, and earth; Elementals can create a gentle rain as easily as an earthquake. Finally, the third triplet is born as Poisoner who is immune to poison in all forms—Poisoners are gifted healers, but also stealthy murderers. After years of training, when these sisters turn sixteen, they enter into a battle… they are given a year to use their talents and training to face one another as adversaries. The triplet who is still alive at the end of one year is crowned Queen. Every generation for as long as anyone living can remember, a Poisoner has sat on the throne. But now, Arsinoe, Katherine, and Mirabella are about to turn sixteen and begin the most terrifying year of their lives—all three are talented, ambitious, and deadly… so may the best sister win.


Who is the Prince of Mist? October 4, 2016

It is 1943, and Max and Alicia Carver are growing up in Spain while World War II is raging around them.  For the family’s protection, their father decides to relocate from the city in which they live to a small coastal town.  From the first day they move into their new home, however, Max and Alicia can sense an eerie, ghost-like presence.  Their younger sister finds a cat with giant golden eyes who seems to have a connection with the house.  Max discovers an overgrown sculpture garden made up of statues of creepy-looking circus performers that form a circle around a terrifying stone clown- a stone clown whose position changes overnight and who Alicia saw in her dreams before the family moved.  In addition, Max and the prince of mist cover.jpgAlicia see the dreamlike outline of a ship in the mist over the ocean… but it seemingly appears and disappears at random.  After Max and Alicia meet a friend in town named Roland, the three start to uncover a horrifying mystery involving the spirit of Jacob Fleishman- a young boy who drowned off the coast of their house, a boat which capsized almost thirty years earlier that was full of traveling carnival performers, and a legendary figure known as the Prince of Mist- a man capable of granting wishes, but demanding horrible payments in return.  This novel is part mystery, party ghost story, part horror… and will keep you creeped out and looking over your shoulder the whole time you are reading!





How can one bug disturb an entire campus? February 15, 2014

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lhorn1217 @ 10:49 am
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imgres-5By: Chris Wooding

After a student is bitten by a bug and taken to the school nurse, who knew that this would change the entire campus of students and teachers involved. We find out that this bug and other creatures, have been infected with a virus that will turn flesh into metal and thus turning people into mindless, but killing machines.

With a variety of characters and points of view along the way, the story can become slightly confusing at times, but also keeps things interesting. One science teacher tries to rally up as many students as he can to help them protect themselves from these machines that are beginning to crawl all over campus looking to infect and produce more flesh-eating machines. A few students begin to gather together to create a united front and fight against these machines. Although some of the characters make poor decisions and risk their lives, there are others that rise in the face of danger and show their true leadership skills.

Although in a genre that typically is not deemed my favorite, the horror and suspense that was created, was something I couldn’t walk away from. I definitely appreciated the perspectives included, as well as the ending where we can see the whole story come together.


Hoax or Reality? November 25, 2013

Filed under: Fantasy Books — oneilllibrary @ 9:36 am
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Everyone is seeing the videos on YouTube and hearing the reports, but really, zombies? How true can it really be? B is just trying to get along. After all, with a father who is clearly a racist and a mother who is trying to survive domestic violence, B knows to duck and cover when things start to get heated between them. B also knows not to let on that B has a friend who is black and has for many years. As B goes to school and keeps hearing more about the supposed zombies, life just goes on. However, B starts to question the racist beliefs that have been such a part of B’s upbringing. After a visit to a historical museum, B really begins to question things. Particularly, what does Be really believe? Is it an act to be a racist or what B really believes?

Then, zombies appear at B’s school and all bets are off. Can B survive this Zombie apocalypse, or is B doomed to go down with the rest of the world?imgres-1

 Zom –B by Darren Shan shows he is back with what appears to be the start of another horror series. With a twist I didn’t see coming and an ending that will leave you gasping you will be hungering for the next.

Recommended for 8th grade and up because of lots of gruesome violence – we are talking zombies after all!



The Angels are Coming…RUN! June 24, 2013

Filed under: Fantasy Books,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 11:52 am
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imgresIt has only been six weeks. Six weeks and everyones lives have been turned upside down, and flipped and well, Penryn can’t even count all the ways her life has gone to hell…or should we say, to the Angels. Six weeks ago, the apocalypse began with Angels coming down to earth…and killing humans and destroying cities around the world.

Penryn is 17 years old in the book Angelfall by Susan Ee and trying to keep her small family together after this momentous change on earth. Her mother, at the best of times a lucid caring mother, and at the worst of times, a woman haunted by demons she believes are real, hasn’t had her medication for paranoid schizophrenic for some weeks now, and it is showing. Paige, Penryn’s disabled younger sister of 7, is in a wheelchair ever since her legs were injured in an accident years before. But how do you outrun an Angel? Or Angels as the case may be?

As Penryn and her small family begin to make a run for the hills outside of Silicon Valley, CA, they encounter not one Angel, but six. Five of them appear to be attacking one, one with snowy white wings, wings that Penryn watches being cut from his body as she and her mother and sister huddle behind an abandoned parked car. Paige’s small gasp of empathy for the wingless Angel draws attention to them and as Penryn attempts to help the downed Angel, another snatches her baby sister from her wheelchair and carries her away.

Her mother has run off, her darling baby sister has been taken by an Angel, and Penryn realizes her only hope of finding her again is to take the bleeding, dying Angel from the street and get him to talk, by any means necessary.

Of course, this appears to be the first book in a series, but I have to tell you, this is one that I’ll pick up the second book, because this first one was a great nonstop read.

Recommended for mature 8th graders and up.