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!

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.