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!

Across the Universe May 3, 2017

In the future, colonization of other planets is possible. Amy, a normal high school girl with friends, a boyfriend, and a spot on the cross country team, is not into space travel. But, her mother is a leading genetic scientist, and is chosen to be part of a special mission called “Project Ark Ship”. This mission seeks to colonize a brand new planet called CentauriEarth– a planet that is not very hospitable. The best of Earth’s scientists, engineers, mathematicians, artists, and writers are all gathered to travel to this new world, and essentially will recreate Earth. Amy, her mother, her father, and 2,312 other chosen passengers are cryogenically frozen and placed on board a space craft that will travel three hundred years into the future. When they land on CentauriEarth, they will be unfrozen by the chosen “Eldest” and won’t have aged at all. But, strange things start happening almost immediately. As Amy is being frozen, she overhears lab techs talking about how the project is going to be delayed a year or more—but none of the passengers were made aware of that. They will all be frozen and stored in a facility going nowhere for a whole year. Then, Amy horrifically realizes that she hasn’t lost consciousness like she was supposed to. Worst of all, Amy is woken early, while her family and all of the other passengers still sleep. Someone tried to kill her! But who else is even awake on the ship? This intriguing blend of science fiction, dysoptian, mystery-thriller will alternately intrigue and terrify readers.

 

 

Is Ali losing her mind… or is a spirit haunting her lake house? October 4, 2016

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories — lpitrak @ 10:33 am
Tags: , , ,

Ali and her mother don’t have a close relationship.  Her mom is forgetful and withdrawn- always staring into space, or locking herself alone in her room.  Because of this, Ali is excited to spend the summer with her fun Aunt Dulcie, who is a painter, and her sweet little cousin Emma.  Right before she is set to leave for the summer lake house, where her mom and Aunt Dulcie used to spend the summer every year when they were kids, Ali finds an old photograph of three girls.  She recognizes the beautiful, smiling girl as her mother, and the goofy, grinning girl as Aunt Dulcie, but who is the third person who has been partially torn out of the picture?  This mysdeep-and-dark-and-dangeroustery will become more important as Ali spends more time getting to know the lake house and a girl from the neighborhood, Sissy, who seems to hate Ali immediately.  Strange things begin to happen- doors open without anyone touching them, wet puddles appear on the floor in the middle of sunny days, Aunt Dulcie’s paintings turn dark and violent (almost as if someone else is guiding her hand as she paints) and sweet Emma has been having hysterical tantrums after spending time with Sissy.  Ali knows there is some connection between all these strange occurrences, something that happened when her mom and Aunt Dolcie were kids, something that turned her mom from fun-loving and happy to the miserable adult she is today…. Did someone hurt her mom and aunt?  Or did they hurt someone else?

 

 

 

 

Who is the Prince of Mist?

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!

 

 

 

 

The Last Place on Earth August 18, 2016

Have you ever thought about what you would do if there was a plague in the United States?  Would you run?  Try to escape it?  Just give in?

Daisy and Henry are best friends.  They do everything together and hang out ever51SOWRv9jWL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_y day.  Then one day Henry is gone- just gone.  Daisy goes to Henry’s house to investigate and no one is there, but she finds a note that says, “Save me.”  Daisy convinces her brother to help her follow the clues on a rescue mission into the mountains where everything gets even crazier.  Daisy unknowingly falls into Henry’s biggest secret- a fallout shelter.  Daisy always knew Henry’s family liked camping on weekends, but it turns out they are full out survivalists who have prepared for the end of the world.    People have started getting sick at home and Henry’s mom has decided that THIS is the big one, so they have gone off the grid.

The Last Place on Earth by Carol Snow is a fun novel that takes a different take on the end of the world theme.  Daisy is a sarcastic story teller who the reader really connects with as she describes this alternate life style.  There are a lot of interesting characters, a little bit of romance, and just enough twists and turns to keep the story moving.

 

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.

 

Bodies and Tweets, piling up! July 10, 2014

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories — oneilllibrary @ 1:07 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thinking this new school will be her chance to break free of her old self, Brianna heads back to MacHale after winter break with mixed feelings. She thought going to the private arts boarding school would allow her to finally get out from under her mom’s thumb and get into acting. However, after the fall session, she isn’t sure anyone will take her seriously as an actress or even as a friend.

When she gets to her room for the beginning of the Winter session, she is surprised to find it full, of not only her roommate but some of the most influential upper classmen guys on campus. Including, Eric, the guy she’s been secretly crushing on since her arrival months ago. Eric is an amazing actor, and Brianna hopes her try out for Hamlet will land her a starring role, opposite Eric.

However, her hopes are quickly dashed when the old director dies, and a new teacher comes in. His style is very different and Brianna gets a role of being the play’s imgressocial media person. The new director wants her to tweet about the show and all the happenings. Very quickly though, the production is plagued by bad luck, and some cast members actual die! Brianna grows more paranoid as tweets from a mysterious person seem to predict these dire events. More and more of her classmates seem to think Brianna is the one behind these awful events.

Can Brianna figure out who is really behind the tweets and the murders before she finds herself caught in the murderer’s sights?

Followers by Anna Davies is a mystery that will leave you with some questions at the end, but if you want a mystery, grab this one for a quick read.

 

7th Grade Guest Blogger – Sophia G. May 8, 2014

The Girl Who Was Supposed To Die By April Henry

This book is a page turner. Have you ever dreamt of being kidnapped or about to be killed? Well in this book it actually happens to her. But the thing is, sheimgres doesn’t know who she is, where she came from, where she is, and why do three strange men want to kill her. And they wont stop in till they do. The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die is suspenseful and interesting. You never know what could happen next. I definitely recommend this book to boys and girls ages 13 and up.

Did she escape? Do they kill her? You have to read it to find out.

 

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.

 

Sometimes taking a risk can change your life… February 15, 2014

Goldenimgres

By: Jessi Kirby

I was hooked during the very first few pages of this text! Wrapped with hints of Robert Frost metaphors and questions connecting to our lives, I knew this romance was going to capture me whole, and it didn’t disappoint. We start our story with Parker, a studious, rule-follower, who takes pride in her choices and her hard work. As a senior TA for an English teacher whom she admires, she is given the task to postage and send out senior journals that were written 10 years ago. This teacher gives the assignment each year for his seniors to compose entries in a black composition notebook about what they will make out of their lives and the various plans they have and foresee, and then will send them to his former students ten years later. When Parker discovers a particular journal, she can’t help but read it- the first risk she’s taken in her life, upon taking it for her own viewing pleasure.

This special journal that she took was none other than the seemingly perfect Ashley, whom actually was reported missing, and presumed dead, when she and her equally perfect boyfriend, Shane, took a terrible spin during a bad snow storm a day after graduating. Their car was found in shambles, as were their belongings, and that was how their love-story ended. As Parker initially wants to read the journal because of her fascination and assumed thoughts for a perfect love story, she begins to uncover new ideas that she never had dreamt about Ashley or Shane’s relationship. As she begins to discover these new ideas around her life currently, Parker seems to piece together a different puzzle that she has indeed become infatuated with.

This story really connects with taking chances, self-discovery and taking risks. But will there be the “happy ending” that Parker desires, like in her Nicholas-Spark fantasy romances? This is definitely a must-read for all romantics out there, and those that are willing to take time to think about many messages that come about through the contexts of this journal prompts, and with help from Robert Frost of course. Stay Golden…

 

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.