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!

Rebound Book Review by 7th Grader Evan May 9, 2018

RBRebound by Kwame Alexander is about a kid named Charlie who always talks back to his mom and gets in trouble a lot. He talks back to his mom because his dad died. Charlie’s mom said we are going to Disney World because he felt sad. He said no, so he went to his grandpa’s house and he learned how to play basketball.

One night, Charlie, his friend Skinny, and Skinny’s cousin Ivan were going to a convenient store. They saw these cans on an old lady’s porch and Skinny had an idea. His idea was to take the cans and turn it into money so they took the cans and turned it into money and they went to the convenient store to get junk food. Charlie spends the whole summer at his grandparent’s house. If it wasn’t for his grandpa, he wouldn’t have learned how to be a basketball player. This book is called rebound because Charlie is good at rebounds.

This is a good basketball book and interesting book but you should read The Crossover first before you read Rebound.



Solo Book Review by 8th Grader Jimena May 7, 2018

soloIn Solo By Kwame Alexander Blade is a kid that is being lied to a lot by his father Rex and he’s just trying to make sense of all his problems in his head. Blade finds a horrifying truth about him and his family and doesn’t  know what to do next so he runs. Blade runs to Africa to find someone important to him that will change the way he sees life. Blade will find someone equally as important or maybe more important who will give him the answers to all his questions so he can make peace with himself as well as with his family. He doesn’t know who he is and his whole life he has been judged because of his father and has been compared to him as well. Blade has been told that he will do alcohol and drugs like his dad without people giving him the benefit of the doubt. When Blade finds out about his family’s secret, he can’t believe all the things he had to go through, like embarrassment and the comparison to his dad. When Blade left, he left to find answers and to find out who he really is. Will he finally find the answers to all his questions.

I considered this book to be fantastic because it makes you more aware of the people around you. I feel like it also teaches you to choose the people who you want in your life wisely because they can end up stabbing you in the back. In my opinion, Solo shows you to appreciate the life you have and the people you have in your life because while you have it bad, there might be someone who has it even worse.



First Crossover, Then Rebound April 4, 2018

Rebound by Kwame Alexander is the prequel to the book The Crossover.  Rebound goes back in time to tell the story of Charlie “Chuck” Bell and how basketball became his life before he grew up, settled down, got married, and had Jordan and Josh Bell, the main characters in The Crossover.

RBCharlie Bell is hit hard by his father’s sudden death. Anger and confusion change Charlie’s outlook and his relationship with his mom. Things at home get bad and Charlie’s mom decides to ship him off to his grandparent’s house for the summer. Grandpa Bell is ready to put Charlie, or as he calls him – Chuck, to work! Charlie just wants to read comics all day but Grandpa isn’t having that! Aside from hard labor, Charlie tags along to the Boys and Girls Club (similar to the YMCA) with his Grandpa and Roxie, his cousin. Roxie is a dedicated basketball player. Charlie doesn’t even like basketball, in fact, he’s terrible at it! Charlie is coerced into filling in a spot during a 3 on 3 game and that is the beginning of his new found interest in the game. Over the summer, Charlie learns a lot about basketball, his family, and himself. Chuck turns things around and is able to rebound on the basketball court and in his life.

If you’ve already read The Crossover, this is a must read! I read The Crossover several years ago but it all came back to me as I read Rebound. I was able to make connections between both books. When I got to the end, there was a great surprise waiting that I did not expect! I loved The Crossover and LOVED Rebound even more, and I’m not even a basketball fan!

The author, Kwame Alexander, mixes up this novel in verse by throwing in some comic strip pages throughout the story. Get your hands on this book because it will not disappoint!



Reads Like a Rap Song February 9, 2015

Crossover: When an offensive player dribbles the ball from one side of his body to the other, as if he is going to move in that direction, then switches the ball back to the other side of his body to catch the defensive player off balance (


The Crossover by Kwame Alexander definitely catches a few characters off guard and takes them for a spin. Josh Bell is a junior high basketball star. Basketball talent runs in his family – his twin brother, Jordan, is on the team and their father is a retired professional player. Josh faces several challenges in his game and family.

You don’t have to be a basketball pro to read this book – written in novel in verse, it’s a fast paced read about family and growing up to be the best person you can be.