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!

A Secret Society, or Something Else? December 20, 2013

Filed under: Mystery and Ghost Stories — oneilllibrary @ 12:34 pm
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It is hard to start at a new school. Always. But for Mickey, it has been really hard. His father was killed in a car accident, his mother hasn’t been able to cope with the death and has been doing drugs. As a result, she is in a rehab place and Mickey is forced to live with his Uncle Myron.

imgresSo life is pretty miserable for Mickey. The only bright spot has been another new student whose name is Ashley. Ashley and Mickey begin sort of dating, but suddenly, Ashley has disappeared. Just as disturbing, an old woman tells Mickey one day on his way to school that his father is still alive! Just hearing that as a possibility gets Mickey’s heart racing. Could it be true? And how would this old woman know anything about his father?

Nothing is making sense. So it is up to Mickey and some friends he makes along the way to try to piece together what happened to Ashley and if his father is still alive. Shelter by Harlan Coben is a mystery for mystery fans. But be prepared. Not all will be revealed, because –  of course –  this is the first book in a series.

For grades 7 and up.


Holmes and Stoker team up in an amazing mystery adventure!!! October 7, 2013


This first book in the new Stoker & Holmes series is an addicting read!!! In 1889 London, beautiful and wealthy young women have been turning up dead, their bodies arranged to look like suicides. But a few things aren’t adding up- namely that each is found to be carrying an intricate scarab dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet. Infamous Miss Irene Adler (one of the few people to ever outsmart Sherlock Holmes) is requested by Princess Alexandra to get to the bottom of these murder/suicides by any means necessary. Miss Adler commissions Evaline Stoker, vampire hunter, socialite, and sister to Bram Stoker, as well as Mina Holmes, brilliant scientist, observer, and niece to Sherlock, to infiltrate the upper circles of London society to discover how all of these young women are linked, and who would want them dead. What follows is a hilarious, action-packed adventure filled with opium dens, steampunk gadgets, time travel and a dangerous goddess cult. Best of all, readers get to see a real partnership develop between the vivacious but headstrong Evaline and the brilliant but overly blunt Mina. I can’t wait for book two!!!


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.


Triplets or Clones? June 14, 2013

Filed under: Romance,Science Fiction Books — lhorn1217 @ 7:54 pm
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DownloadedFile-2The Originals By Cat Patrick

After such fabulous reads from Forgotten and Revived, I was incredibly excited to read Cat Patrick’s next book, and it definitely did not disappoint! This book draws you in from the very start, as we meet the three main characters that are all sharing one life, as a result of a cloning experiment trying to be kept underwraps. As the girls are maturing and meeting more people in their high school, they start questioning their identities start wanting to know more about how they came to be. Could you imagine only going to school for part of the day, only to have your sister finish out the rest of the day for you? Could you imagine having to stay in during the nighttime while your third sister was out taking other courses? All definitely questions that these three sisters or clones asked themselves. Finally, the idea of dating comes into the picture- would you want to share the same guy with your other two sisters? Probably not… as these girls later come to find out. This book has a lot of great dimensions, is relatable to what most teens go through on a regular-basis, just heightened, and will engage you all the way to the book’s conclusion. There is a ton of great mystery embedded into the book along with drama, romance, and of course some science-fiction! A great read that won’t leave you disappointed!


What Could You Open…With the Right Key? December 11, 2012

I don’t know about some of you out there, but frankly, I’m really sick of series and trilogy books. I’m beginning to feel like authors are just writing stories they think can be pushed out into a longer story without really having a clear plan. Let’s face it, as much as I loved Hunger Games, Catching Fire was pretty much more of the same, and Mockingbird could have been shorter. The whole trilogy could have been done in at most 450 pages, and that is what seems to pass for an ‘average book’ these days. So imagine my pleasure reading this book, Trash. This is a tight book without extras thrown in for “filling” and amazingly – it is one book! Yes, and not even 250 pages!

images-4One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, or at least a nice sized chicken! That is all Raphael thinks when he finds a leather bag, map, key and some eleven hundred pesos in Trash by Andy Mulligan. And that means enough for a nice chicken for a dump boy and some of his relatives and friends in the Behala dump site. But when police come swarming over the dump site that night asking if any of the trash pickers have found anything of “interest” Raphael and his friend Gardo realize quickly this was no ordinary bag. And so in order to find out why the police are so interested in this bag, the boys will risk their very lives to put an old wrong right, and in the process help themselves a bit too.

The characters in Trash are authentic and you will be trying to solve the mystery along with them. It is interesting how they work the ‘system’ to get what they need and yet at the same time have an honor among thieves, so to speak. If you are looking for an engaging mystery, with lots of twists, try out Trash. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Recommended for students in grades 7 and up due to some violence.


Starters…the “new” Hunger Games?

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lhorn1217 @ 11:18 am
Tags: , , , , ,
startersnewI was instantly drawn to this book Starters by Lissa Price, and I have to say it had everything to do with the cover! I had seen it laying around the library and on my students’ desks and I kept picking it up and I am SO glad that I did! This nail-biter from the first page, had me hooked. There were so many interesting events, relationships, and twists and turns along the way that kept me wanting more- even up until the final pages! When (of course) I found out that there would be a second novel in the series, that luckily for me came out today!
This is a science-fiction book in a utopian/dystopian society where a war has broken out and taken and “kill” the main character’s parents. She is then left to fend for herself and younger brother on the streets. In search of money and a better way of life for she and her younger brother who has grown quite ill, she hears about a place called the “body bank” where young teenagers are able to rent their bodies out to elders in search of their youth and recapturing their “best” days. As she grapples with this decision, her brother is getting worse, they are forced to leave their hiding spot and are now “squatting” in an abandoned building. She doesn’t seem like she had much of a choice and decides to go through with the rental… As she undergoes the process, she thinks that things are going really well. Until she enters her third rental that is due to last a full month- that’s a full month that her mind is sleeping, while someone else whom she has never met gets to go around acting like a careless teenager. This is when everything goes wrong!
This is a fabulous high-energy intense novel that really keeps you enthralled the ENTIRE way through! A great book for both boys and girls, especially ones that enjoy trying to solve mysteries and circumstances, especially dealing with creative science and technology! 🙂

What’s the Harm in a Tiny Little Lie….? November 15, 2012

What if you were asked to lie, about something fairly small; a lie that really didn’t make your life worse, or anyone else’s, but brought you wonderful things? This is the dilemma Maud faces in A Drowned Maiden’s Hair: A Melodrama by Laura Amy Schlitz. Maud is an orphan living the not so happy life of one around the turn of the century. In fact when we first meet Maud she is locked in the outhouse because she has been bad, again. While in the privy, she has a conversation with a woman outside the door, who, to Maud’s utter amazement and delight chooses to adopt her minutes later. Maud is taken back to live with the woman, whose name is Miss Hyacinth, and Hyacinth’s two sisters. Quite quickly Maud is asked to conceal her existence from anyone outside of the sisters’ house. While Maud enjoys the new perks of her life – pretty clothes, lots of food and quite a bit of freedom – she realizes quickly that the sisters’, and Hyacinth in particular want something from Maud. Maud has to decide if she can play along with what they want, or find out if she does have a conscience after all.

Maud is one of those characters you just begin to pull for right away. She has tons of street smarts and knows right away something is off about these old women – after all they adopted her! She knows she isn’t a good catch! So why have they done this? However, even Maud can’t figure out just how bizarre their plan is until she is right smack in the middle of it, and wondering how she can get out. This book has lots of twists and just when you think you have it figured, BAM, something jumps out at you.

Recommended for 6th grade and up.