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!

Ever Just Take a Swing? December 6, 2013

She wasn’t sure she could do it. The golf part was no problem, and she wanted that, but, could she join the all boys varsity golf team at her school, and fit in? After all, being a girl from the Rez, or Indian Reservation, wasn’t exactly a ticket to the popular crowd at her school. It had been hard enough of a transition just going to the mostly white school with just a few other kids she’d grown up with. So when she gets the chance to join the golf team, Fred decides she can’t pass it up, even if it means there will be some big challenges.

imgresRyan is beyond mad when he finds out his best friend, Seth, and partner on the golf course has been kicked off the team. Sure Seth wasn’t great, but to be replaced by a girl, a girl from the Reservation no less, is more than a guy can take sometimes.

However, both Fred and Ryan are caught off guard by the feelings they start to have for each other, Ryan quickly realizes that Fred is an amazing golf player and comes to respect her quiet thoughtfulness. Fred, on the other hand, sees more to Ryan than she thought there ever was to the popular and handsome blonde guy.

As these two try to find their way toward each other, others around them aren’t so sure they should.

Hooked by Liz Fichera is a great book for anyone who wants to while away a few hours in a teen romance.

Recommended for grades 7 and up.


Hoax or Reality? November 25, 2013

Filed under: Fantasy Books — oneilllibrary @ 9:36 am
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Everyone is seeing the videos on YouTube and hearing the reports, but really, zombies? How true can it really be? B is just trying to get along. After all, with a father who is clearly a racist and a mother who is trying to survive domestic violence, B knows to duck and cover when things start to get heated between them. B also knows not to let on that B has a friend who is black and has for many years. As B goes to school and keeps hearing more about the supposed zombies, life just goes on. However, B starts to question the racist beliefs that have been such a part of B’s upbringing. After a visit to a historical museum, B really begins to question things. Particularly, what does Be really believe? Is it an act to be a racist or what B really believes?

Then, zombies appear at B’s school and all bets are off. Can B survive this Zombie apocalypse, or is B doomed to go down with the rest of the world?imgres-1

 Zom –B by Darren Shan shows he is back with what appears to be the start of another horror series. With a twist I didn’t see coming and an ending that will leave you gasping you will be hungering for the next.

Recommended for 8th grade and up because of lots of gruesome violence – we are talking zombies after all!



$300 Or Your Life November 18, 2013

Filed under: Historical Fiction — oneilllibrary @ 9:41 am
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imgresIn the midst of the Civil War, a young girl named Claire, is about to have her safe, comfortable world shaken. Lincoln has announced the beginning of a draft. However, if you could pay $300.00, basically the equivalent of a working person’s year salary, you could avoid it. Or get a substitute to go for you. The working class of New York City had no way to pay that kind of money, or pay someone to go for them.

Claire is biracial – her mother is an Irish immigrant and her father a free black man.  They have plans to buy the inn they work in, hopefully soon in the future. However, when we first meet Claire and her family, there is unrest in the city streets. Irish immigrants, worrying of the possible influx of free blacks from the south who will compete for the few jobs there are, and feeling the unfairness of the draft policies, begin rioting against any wealthy or black people they see walking on the streets.

For Claire, who has had both Irish and black friends growing up, the first time someone comes at her because she is mixed is a shock to her. She begins to question how her family has gone on as they have and wonders what will happen when the riots are finally put down. Will things ever go back to the way they were?

Riot by Walter Dean Myers looks at the beginning of segregation in New York City, and the seeds for divisions between races and class. Told in a screenplay style, this novel is a quick read about a very tumultuous time in our country’s history.

Recommended for grades 6 and up.