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!

Truly, Madly, Deadly Review by 7th Grader Ryan H. December 9, 2016

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories,Student Book Reviews — bhomel @ 10:42 am

Sawyer is a high schooler and she recently experienced the death of her boyfriend, she is having a tough time recovering. A few days after the death, she gets a note in her locker that says, “You’re Welcome.” Then Sawyer goes to a party and she is in the back when she hears a scream. She runs around the front and her best friend Chloe has a huge slash across her face. They check Chloe’s car and someone put something in her car that wouldn’t let her use the brakes, luckily she didn’t go into the car. She then gets in a huge fight with her “friend” Maggie. The next day, Chloe comes to her house and says,  “Come on, come with me you need to see this.” She takes her to Maggie’s house and finds out that Maggie committed suicide. Sawyer still doesn’t know who is writing her notes and it’s not Maggie because she is dead. Who is writing her these notes?

Truly Madly Deadly By Hannah Jayne was a really good book if you like mystery.  It is a very intense book and there is always something happening right from the beginning.  If I were to rate it I would give it a 4-5 stars.



Bad Time for a Walk in the Woods December 9, 2014

When the three of them met up, they had no idea this would end that way it does. After all, Alexis, Ruby and Nick are teen volunteers for the Portland County Search team and don’t have much experience. They are still taking the classes and haven’t become certified yet. Even so, when they meet up to look for an autistic man who has gotten lost in one of the many area forested parks, they don’t think they’ll be in the middle of anything much.

imgres-1It is Alexis who finds the girl’s body. Even though they were all instructed to stay together, Alexis, Ruby and Nick all get spread out along the trail. Alexis thinks at first it is the man they are searching for, but when she gets closer, she realizes it is a teenage girl and she’s dead. Ruby and Nick come at her whistle, and Ruby confirms the girl is indeed dead.

Without realizing it, they have all stumbled upon a murder, a murder they all want to help the police solve. They realize they might have seen the killer on the trail, and if they did, could he be coming after one of them next?

April Henry‘s newest mystery, The Body in the Woods won’t disappoint her fans. Told from multiple perspectives, including the killer, this book will have you up reading late at night to finish.

Recommended for grades 7 and up.


Can Anyone Ever Really…Disappear? November 12, 2014

In the latest rendition of herself, Meg (as she is called now) finds herself losing hope. Hope that her family will ever get out of this vicious cycle they seem to have found themselves in. They are caught up in the Witness Protection Program, and Meg isn’t sure why or how they ended up here, only that her father must have done something to cause them to lose everything.

After having moved six previous times, Meg decides she’s going to come up with a Plan. That “Plan” will include figuring out exactly why her family is running and what she can do to make it all stop. The “Plan” also involves NOT getting involved or close with anyone in their new town. Meg has suffered over the last 8 months with all these moves, making new friends only to have to disappear in the middle of the night. So she is done with that. Her younger sister, Mary, seems to be becoming only a shell of her former self, and her mom can’t stop drinking long enough to be a mom to them again.

With all this on her mind, she doesn’t quite know how to react when Ethan, a cute local boy, seems to want to beimgres friends, and maybe more, with her. Trying to remember the “Plan” is hard because she is drawn to Ethan. When he starts to ask questions that hit a little too close to home though, she can’t decide if she can trust him with her secrets or if it will risk his life if he knows too much. Because it turns out this placement is different than all the others. Meg is starting to remember why her family is in the program. And it scares her to death.

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston is a book you need to be ready to read all day long, it is that gripping and good.

Recommended for mature 7th graders and up.


Some Secret Admirers Will Kill For You February 19, 2014

Things have been really bad for Sawyer Dodd. First, her parents get divorced and her mom moves across the country, then her father remarries and Sawyer’s new stepmom is pregnant and they all move to a new house, in the middle of a new subdivision where they happen to be the only ones living there. The only saving grace – the fact that Sawyer can keep going to her old high school. At least that seems to be the only good thing. Until her boyfriend, Kevin, is killed in a car accident. Everyone believes Sawyer is torn up over his death, but only she knows her relationship with Kevin had become toxic and abusive.

At least she thinks no one knows. Coming back to school after Kevin’s funeral, Sawyer finds a note in her locker, telling her “You’re Welcome” with an imgresarticle about Kevin’s death, clearly implying someone killed Kevin…for Sawyer. Now Sawyer isn’t sure what is going on. As others around her begin to get hurt and some die, Sawyer slowly begins to question her own sanity. Who is responsible for all of this? And can she stop the person before he or she strikes again?

Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne will keep you turning the pages in this mystery thriller, trying to figure out who is ultimately responsible for all the death surrounding Sawyer.

Recommended for grades 8th and up.


Who Am I? December 29, 2013

Waking up and not knowing where you are can happen sometimes. But what about waking up, not knowing where you are, or WHO you are? And to make matters even imgresworse, what the girl hears upon waking up is that two men are planning to kill her.

What would you do? She struggles to get away from the men who want her dead, and she is able to escape, but now who can she turn to for help? Who will believe her? And more importantly, who can she trust? As she tries to stay alive, more questions come up. Where is her family, why are people trying to kill her, and what made her lose her memory?

 The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry is a fast paced, twisty mystery that will have you dying to finish and find out, does she live, or die?

April Henry is becoming my new go to author for great mysteries. Recommended for grades 7 and up.


Can a 2 Year Old be a Murderer…Twice? October 6, 2013

imgresIn the book If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney, a family has been torn apart by the youngest member. First, when Tristan was in-utero, their mother found out she had cancer. She made the decision to forgo treatment until after his birth, leaving her little time to fight the cancer, and ultimately to her death. The older three siblings have varying feelings about Tris, however, they all pitch in and try to help their father keep life going on.

Enter Aunt Cheryl, who isn’t really anyone’s aunt, but their mother’s halfhearted stepsister for about two years. However, Aunt Cheryl is determined to find her way into the heart of the family, or the house, since she seems more concerned with how things look than how things are. Unfortunately for the children in this family, another tragedy befalls them as their father is killed, and it appears by the very son who, in some ways, is responsible for the death of their mother.

Each child reacts in a different way. The youngest daughter, Smith, removes herself completely from the family by going off to boarding school. The oldest sibling, Madison, goes to live in another town with her godparents. Jack is the only one to stay with Tris and Aunt Cheryl, doing his best to keep things normal for the little boy the newspapers say is a double murderer.

The anniversary of their father’s birthday, or what would have been his birthday has all the siblings thinking, and one makes a startling discovery. Something that has her replaying her father’s death and looking at it with a new light. What did happen in the driveway that day?

As all three of the older children come back together, they begin to put aside their own troubles and focus on the youngest member of the family. Is he really responsible for the deaths of both of their parents? Or might someone else have had a hand in at least one?

Fast paced suspense story good for students grades 6th and up.


New House…New Horrors September 30, 2013

It was what she wanted, really, to move to a bigger town, with more people, more opportunities. So it seems so wonderful when imagesJade’s family is able to afford a house she never thought they could, in a nice suburb in a beautiful community. Quickly though, the kids at school let her know exactly why the house was so cheap. A girl fell to her death on the stairs in Jade’s new house.

Now her little brother is talking about seeing a girl in his room, people at school tell Jade that the girl was pushed to her death, and Jade’s relationship with her stepmother seems to be boiling over. Quickly, Jade realizes that her little brother isn’t just seeing an imaginary friend, but the ghost of the girl who lived in the house and died. Jade soon finds out, she isn’t a happy ghost either.

Can Jade convince the ghost to leave her littler brother and her family in peace? Or will Jade need to find the real killer and bring that person to justice before the ghost does something fatal to the living?

The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington is a fast paced ghost story that will keep you turning pages to find out if Jade can indeed save her brother from a malevolent ghost, and perhaps gain a boyfriend in the process.

Recommended for grades 7 and up.


A Murderer’s Daughter – A Victim’s Son August 31, 2013


imgresWhat happens when worlds collide? A son has seen his mother’s dead, murdered body, and now, ten year’s later, he watches through his window, as history seems to repeat itself. Finn, now 17, sees his stepmother shot and killed and watches his father wrestle with the killer, take the gun and kill that man. What Finn doesn’t know at the time is that this is the same man who went to prison ten years ago for killing his own mother. Why? Why has this man returned?

Lila is stunned, when days after her father is released from prison, police knock at their apartment and tell her, her father is dead. Killed after he murdered a woman – the second wife of the man whose wife he killed ten years before. That doesn’t make any sense to Lila as she begins to learn more about the father she knew only briefly out of prison before his death. Why would he talk about their future, her future, if he was planning to kill again?

As both Finn and Lila struggle with their own grief, each begins to question what really happened, both ten years ago and just a few days ago. Could there be more to the story than what the police believe? What will happen if Finn and Lila’s worlds collide? Who will survive?

Norah McClintock has created another suspenseful book with Guilty, looking at the complex nature of guilt, forgiveness, and betrayal.

Highly recommended for grades 7th and up.


What if someone else had your name? July 14, 2013

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 11:41 am
Tags: , , , , ,

imgresWhile one Wes Moore was growing on the East coast in New York City and in Baltimore, Maryland, there was another Wes Moore. However, one ended up being a Rhodes Scholar, graduating from John Hopkins College and the other was put in prison for life after participating in a robbery that killed an off duty police officer. How could two young men, both with many of the same struggles, end up with two very different lives?

This is the question Wes Moore asks in his book Discovering Wes Moore. When he was in South Africa on an exchange program during his final year in college, his mother told him someone with his name was being sought for murder. It began to haunt Wes. He wanted to know more about this other person with his name who was accused of something very wrong and tragic.

As we follow the life of Wes Moore, the author, we see his life had many ups and downs, and at no point in his early childhood did things look good for him. It wasn’t until he was in his early teens that things began to make sense to him a bit and his life did indeed change.

This is an incredible book for all the what ifs?

Recommended for grades 7th and up.



What if no one believes you? June 22, 2013

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 10:24 am
Tags: , , , ,

imgresIn a car. After a party. Two boys, one girl. Only survivor and witness to a double homicide. The girl. In the book She Said/She Saw by Norah McClintock Tegan was in the backseat of her friend Clark’s car when an unknown assailant kills both Clark and Martin, another boy, in the front seat. Tegan is left in the backseat untouched. She keeps reliving the horror of seeing her friends killed in front of her.

Now though, to make matters even worse, no one – from the police to the parents of the dead boys to her friends – believe she didn’t see who pulled the trigger. As Tegan plays that night over in her mind, and questions herself again and again if she did see anything, her younger sister Kelly begins to piece together what happened the night of the murders. Some things Tegan has said don’t make sense with what Kelly knows to be true. Others start casting more and more suspicion on Tegan and put more and more pressure on her till she makes a desperate decision.

What would you do if no one believed you?

Recommended for 7th grade and up.