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!

Can Anyone Ever Really…Disappear? November 12, 2014

In the latest rendition of herself, Meg (as she is called now) finds herself losing hope. Hope that her family will ever get out of this vicious cycle they seem to have found themselves in. They are caught up in the Witness Protection Program, and Meg isn’t sure why or how they ended up here, only that her father must have done something to cause them to lose everything.

After having moved six previous times, Meg decides she’s going to come up with a Plan. That “Plan” will include figuring out exactly why her family is running and what she can do to make it all stop. The “Plan” also involves NOT getting involved or close with anyone in their new town. Meg has suffered over the last 8 months with all these moves, making new friends only to have to disappear in the middle of the night. So she is done with that. Her younger sister, Mary, seems to be becoming only a shell of her former self, and her mom can’t stop drinking long enough to be a mom to them again.

With all this on her mind, she doesn’t quite know how to react when Ethan, a cute local boy, seems to want to beimgres friends, and maybe more, with her. Trying to remember the “Plan” is hard because she is drawn to Ethan. When he starts to ask questions that hit a little too close to home though, she can’t decide if she can trust him with her secrets or if it will risk his life if he knows too much. Because it turns out this placement is different than all the others. Meg is starting to remember why her family is in the program. And it scares her to death.

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston is a book you need to be ready to read all day long, it is that gripping and good.

Recommended for mature 7th graders and up.


Clockwork Prince September 19, 2014

Filed under: Fantasy Books,Romance — oneilllibrary @ 2:36 pm
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Nimira feels stuck. She came to this new country to escape her old one where she had nothing but a broken father after the death of her mother. Her father, who used to be high up in rank within the structure of their society,  began losing all their money because of his sorrow.

Nimira however, has not found the great escape she was hoping for when she left her father and her old country behind. In fact, she struggles toimgres make ends meet as a young dancing and singing girl, commonly referred to as a trouser girl. Yet one night, a young, wealthy sorcerer comes to see her performance and asks her to come meet with him to discuss a business proposition. Nimira is hesitant at first, not sure she wants to become involved with sorcerers and the magic they can wield, but as she considers her circumstances, she realizes she needs to hear what this man, Hollin, has to say.

It turns out Hollin needs a singer to accompany his automaton – a clockwork man – who plays the piano. Hollin says he has hired other girls to sing, but they all ran away, saying the automaton was haunted. Intrigued, Nimira decides to take a chance and go to Hollin’s house to meet with the automaton. After just a little bit of time with this strange clockwork man, Nimira knows there is something living about this man, and she must do whatever it takes to help him.

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore gives us glimpses of what life would be like if fairies flew and sorcerers staffs really could have magic in them. This book gives you just the right amount of fantasy and romance as Nimira has to make hard choices that will ultimately impact the rest of her life.

Recommended for 7th graders and up who likes a bit of fantasy and romance.


Bodies and Tweets, piling up! July 10, 2014

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


Death – Everywhere June 30, 2014

At first, the reports from out East didn’t bother too many people in Oregon. After all, Pennsylvania and New York seemed almost a world away. It seemed that way to Cleo,imgres who was too busy trying to figure out what she should do with her life. After all, she couldn’t just hang around her brother Jack’s house forever, could she? But day after day, she felt no passion that inspired her.

When Jack and his wife, Lucy, go away on an anniversary trip to San Francisco, Cleo is forced to go stay at her school as a boarding student. Oh, the misery of living at the school full time. For the seventeen year old, nothing seems worse.

Until a trainload of soldiers from the east arrives, and the dreaded Spanish Flu is no longer just a problem to be dealt with in the east; now it is on Cleo’s doorstep. Quickly the city of Portland changes. Cleo’s school closes and Cleo, in a quick and crazy decision, decides to leave the school and go home by herself. There in the quiet of her home, she sees an ad placed by the local Red Cross, asking for help with the sick. Cleo, not even quite knowing why herself, goes to see what she can do to help.

A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier looks at a time in our history where a flu so devastating struck so many millions around the world. It was made more deadly by the fact it was happening during World War I, and the contagion spread throughout the world. Cleo, like so many of her time, had to watch the strong and healthy brought low by this terrible flu, and wonder, if she was next.

Recommended for anyone interested in the early nineteen hundreds, World War I, and historical fiction in general. For grades 6 and up.


Mother Knows Best…or Does She? June 9, 2014

imgresGrowing up helping her mother run a porcelain doll shop in a coastal town in California might not be the most exciting life, but it is the only one Caymen knows. Now that she is starting her senior year of high school, she is having to make some decisions about her future. She knows her mother relies on her to help run the store, which always struggles to make enough money to keep them afloat. All her life, Caymen has heard the story of how a rich boy ran out on her mother, leaving her pregnant with Caymen and little else.

So when a rich boy comes in to pick out a doll for a relative, Caymen instantly recognizes his “type.” The type her mom has always said is no good. Quickly though, and without Caymen even realizing it, the rich kid, Xander, is working his way into Caymen’s life, and slowly, into her heart.

However, how can she talk to her mom about this “rich” kid who stands for everything her mother can’t?

Caymen looks for a way to keep her mom happy, herself, and at the same time begins to dream of a future that doesn’t include working full time in a doll shop. The question is, can she make that dream a reality, or does life always get in the way?

The Distance Between Us  by Kasie West is a great romance that shows how what you want and what your parent(s) might want can make for a pretty rough road to travel.

Recommended for grades 7 and up.


What happened if you woke up as a new person each day? March 13, 2014

Title: Every Dayimgres

Author: David Leviathan

Think about the relationships you have and the comfort of knowing someone is constant in your life. You have a routine, you have a family you are a part of, and a support system you have around you. What would happen if that all vanished? What would happen if each day you managed to wake up as a new person, embedded within someone else’s life, only to stay for a single day? Could you ever fall in love?

This is exactly what is occurring within the text, Every Day, a beautiful written and enlightening story that I really feel the reader can’t help but be reflective on their own lives. Since the main character changes to a different person each day, this person doesn’t technically have a specific gender, as he has transformed into both males and females. One day while inhabiting the body of Justin, he makes an immediate connection with Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. Since “he” can’t seem to stop thinking about her, the contact continues. But he will then be contacting her as someone else. To what lengths will “he” go to try to continue this connection? Is it a possibility? Will he share his secret?

You’ll definitely have to read it to figure it all out!


When Grandma is Bad and the Wolf is Good! February 17, 2014

After growing up as one of the famous twelve dancing princesses, Princess Petunia is hoping to leave all that drama behind her. Now that she is 16, she is looking for a little more freedom. So when an invite comes from a Countess she stayed with when she was younger, Princess Petunia takes the opportunity to go for a visit.  After all, it isn’t far from her home, and two of her sisters are getting ready for their weddings so she won’t be missed. What the princesses don’t know, is the new King Understone is still looking for brides for his brothers and himself.imgres

So as Princess Petunia heads off to the Countess’ home, she certainly doesn’t expect to be attacked by the “wolves” that live in the forest. Wolves that turn out to be men, lead by a young earl, named Oliver, who is trying hard to keep his family together. After Princess Petunia finds herself kidnapped by Oliver, she and Oliver come to an agreement. Oliver quickly realizes that Princess Petunia is in danger, and he has to figure out a way to save a girl he hardly knows but feels a connection to. Will Oliver be able help save the princesses and especially, Petunia from King Understone and his brothers?

Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George extends the story started in Princess of the Midnight Ball. Anyone who likes fairytales will enjoy this book.

Recommended for students in grades 6 and up.


Action, Adventure and True Love! February 15, 2014


By: Jonathan Friesenimgres-4

I definitely wish I had the adrenaline-junkie vide that is created with our main character Jake in Rush, a definite surprising-action adventure that I couldn’t put down. With a touch of romance, as Jake’s love for his long-time best friend continues to grow, this book really does have it all, for both boys and girls!

When Jake is on the fast-track to become a fire-fighter and join a prestigious crew, his limits are definitely pushed and the rush that he receives is definitely heightened. It all boils down to how far he is willing to take his rush and how much he is willing to risk… In the end, I believe Jake learns not only an answer to this question, but a great lesson in pushing the limits.


When Good Enough…Isn’t December 12, 2013

Beth knew it was totally unlikely, and after pining away for Salva for over 5 years, she knew it wouldn’t happen. So when, out of the blue, Salva actually seeks her out and asks for her help in passing their AP English class, she is stunned and doesn’t think she should take him up on the offer. After all, if she has to see him every week, that will just make her crush that much worse, right? What if she actually falls for him more? How awful will it be when he still doesn’t even pay attention to her?

imgresSalva can’t believe it! Why is the principal making him take AP English? Who knew that taking freshman English in 8th grade would come back to haunt him. What a ridiculous rule that you had to have four years of English IN high school. If only he’d known. And to get stuck with the hardest English teacher in the whole school, also not fair. As if he doesn’t have enough pressure from being the star quarterback on the school’s football team, being the president of student council,  and trying to be the first in his immigrant family to go off to college and be successful. He feels tremendous pressure from his dad to do well in school and to live up to the expectations of his dead mother.

On the surface, Beth and Salva couldn’t be more different, but as they spend more time together, Salva is struck by how much Beth gets what he’s going through, and how she keeps pushing him to go further than he ever thought he could. But what if she pushes to much and makes him feel too much and makes him long too much? Can Beth and Salva ever really have a relationship?

Salvation by Anne Osterlund is everything you want in a high school romance. Try it, and you won’t be disappointed!

Recommended for grades 7 and up.


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.