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. Enjoy!

Thirteen and a half years of memories– wiped out in one instant! June 4, 2017

Chase Ambrose wakes up in a hospital bed, with no recollection of who he is, why he is there, or what happened in his life leading up to this point. He is told that he fell off of his roof and the resulting injury to his head caused amnesia. Thirteen and a half years of life– wiped out in one instant! While he doesn’t remember

anything about his life, Chase thinks he has a pretty good idea of who he is from pictures he finds on his phone– he’s a football star, a popular student with lots of friends, and a brother. However, as he begins to pick up on other people’s reactions to him (his four-year-old half sister is terrified of him; students at school cower in fear when he walks down the hallway; a girl dumps a whole bowl of frozen yogurt over his head), he realizes that he might have been a bully. “New Chase” doesn’t feel like a bully though. He truly enjoys his (court ordered) community service at the senior center, hanging out with the video club, and creating a relationship with his arch-enemy Shoshanna. Now Chase is torn– can he go back to his old life now that he has seen the person he could be? Even though this book’s topic is serious, it is executed in Korman’s signature hilarious style. Crazy stunts meant to turn viral on YouTube, pranks, a cranky Korean War veteran, and more will keep middle school students laughing until the happy ending.

 

 

Sloan has been bra-napped! May 24, 2017

In this light and funny novel, sixth-grade Becca Birnbaum thinks her life is over when a wild volleyball serve breaks the arm of the coolest, most popular eighth-grade girl. Sloan “Selfie” St. Clair has a huge group of friends, a walk-in closet of designer clothes, a country club membership, and a vacation home in Switzerland. Rumors are that getting on her bad side is social suicide. But, as Becca is soon to find out, Selfie is friendly, kind, and fun– and sometimes more than a little irresponsible. When Becca and Sloan are caught in a hilarious mix-up involving the principal’s missing bra, they have to work as a team to stop the school year’s biggest prank. Complementary illustrations in the style of hand-drawn doodles add a laugh-out-loud component to this endearingly off-the-wall beach read.

 

 

Forget Me Not May 14, 2017

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This novel about a girl trying to hide her Tourette Syndrome is written mostly in verse, with short prose vignettes interspersed throughout. Calliope Snow hates her last name– her father died in a car accident during a snowstorm, so being called “Snow” seems like a cruel joke. Because her grief-stricken mother has spent the last few years in a whirlwind of failed relationships, moving after every breakup, Calli is forced to begin at a new school each time and never has time to make a real friend. But this time (the TENTH!) might be a little bit different. Calli meets a kind, friendly boy named Jinsong, who might actually like her. However, because her mother and pediatrician told her not to tell anyone about her Tourette Syndrome, she can’t explain why she is often compelled to make strange noises, faces, and jerky movements. She quickly becomes the joke of her new middle school. Jinsong, who is more interested in this intelligent, quirky, kind girl every day, is torn between wanting to stand up for Calli and wanting to remain friends with the popular students who are bullying her. Terry writes intelligently and creatively, and though the ending is bittersweet, middle schoolers will love seeing Calli and Jin learn to stand up for themselves and each other.

 

See You in the Cosmos March 20, 2017

See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng is an AMAZING novel told from the perspective of a space-loving eleven year old (who explains he is thirteen in maturity years :)). Alex Petroski loves space, and his idol is Carl Sagan. Just as Carl Sagan launched the Voyager Golden Records, which contain sounds and pictures of life on Earth, into space, Alex plans to lauSee You in the Cosmosnch his Golden iPod. This iPod contains Alex’s narration of his daily life, and he searches for people to interview who can explain the beauties and intricacies of what it means to be human for the alien life forms who will find his iPod after he launches it. This book follows Alex’s determination to build a rocket which will launch his iPod, his quest to find a “man in love” to interview, and his desire to unravel the mystery of why there is a record of a man with his deceased father’s same name and birthday living in Las Vegas. What follows is a roadtrip of epic proportions that will stay with you long after you close this book’s pages. Highly, highly recommended for any fans of realistic fiction!!!

 

 

The Good Braider May 17, 2014

Fourteen-year-old Viola lives in Juba, Sudan with her loving grandmother, strong-willed mother, and adoring littlethe good braider brother.  Although danger is constantly present in the form of land mines, armed soldiers, and starvation, Viola loves her family and community, and remembers the days when Juba was a lush paradise.  When she is raped by a soldier when walking home one evening, however, her family decides to make the treacherous journey from Sudan to Egypt to the United States.  Tragedy occurs along the way, and Viola finds herself torn between the luxuries found in America, and the high cost her family paid to get there.  Eventually, Viola discovers that she does not have to be defined by horrors in her past, and that she can live as a strong, proud Sudanese American woman.

 

Switcheroo +skating = Fun Read February 26, 2014

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — kbradley123 @ 2:31 pm
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Being Sloane Jacobs

by Lauren Morrill

Sloane Emily Jacobs has elite figure skating camp all summer. It is an escape from the spotlight of her senator dad and her family’s issues. Sloane Devon Jacobs is forced to go to hockey summer camp in order to stay on her high school team. She too, is looking for an escape from her family as her mom is temporarily is gone from her household. When the two Sloane Jacobs literally run into each other the night before both camps, they strike a plan to switch lives for the summer.  Each camp is far different than what each novice expects and of course each experiences a little bit of romance while pretending to be someone they are not.

This fun adventure has sports, romance, and adventure. Each chapter is from another Sloane’s perspective and is clearly labelled. This switcheroo really brings out high jinks and each girl has their own adventure in their new city and sport. It is a fun read that keeps you wanting to know what happens next!

  If you liked the Parent Trap or books where people switch lives this one is for you! It is a thoughtful reminder of what it is like to glide in someone else’s skates.       

 

All About the Music February 20, 2014

When HarrImagey is eight years old, a group of older neighborhood boys ties him to a tree… not knowing that an intense thunderstorm is on its way.  Lightning ends up striking the tree, leaving Harry severely burned, with facial scarring that turns him into a self-proclaimed “freak” and   “monster”.  Harry’s resulting depression lands him in therapy, where a music loving psychologist turns him on to all of the great bands of the 80s, and encourages Harry to learn to play the guitar.  The result is a misfit group of teens who call themselves “The Scar Boys”, and who actually have a great shot at touring.  Along the way, there are car disasters, fights, unrequited love, and some really amazing nights on stages all over the country.  And as Harry learns, even when the people in his life let him down and he is plagued with self-doubt and depression, “the music is always there”.