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!

The Compound Book Review by 7th Grader Juan May 9, 2018

Filed under: Science Fiction Books,Student Book Reviews — bhomel @ 10:05 am
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c At the start of The Compound, an explosion happens and some of the family members enter the compound but Gram and Eddy are left out there. The family inside the compound believe the world they left behind is now gone. All their food and milk come from cows. Suddenly the cows begin to die off, including their offspring. Eli and his family have no meat now and milk. Some time passes and Eli talks to his brother Eddy who is alive and well. Eli knows the truth now and tries to get out of the compound with his family alive but his father won’t let him.

In my opinion, The Compound by S. A. Bodeen is a great book. It has a decent ending. I really liked the part where Eli was in The Compound because of the explosion. Who doesn’t like explosions? I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. 


Ms. Underwood’s Review of The Raft by S.A. Bodeen January 25, 2018

Filed under: Realistic Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction — bhomel @ 10:31 am
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The Raft had my attention from beginning to end. The Raft is a quick read, following The RaftRobie as she survives at sea after a devastating plane crash.  Robie is very relatable and easy to follow. She is independent, hopeful, and resourceful.  Robie also has a care for the environment and animal welfare. You can still relate to Robie, even as her mental state starts to diminish.

This book will catch the attention of any reader from beginning to end.  It reminded me of my time in Oahu, the fear on every turbulent plane ride, and those moments of sheer determination in an emergency situation.


Mrs. Kennedy’s Take on The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — bhomel @ 8:52 am
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The GardenerMason is a teenager living with his single mother in Melby Falls, Oregon. He was mauled by a dog who ripped off half his face when he was five years old, and now bears the grisly scars that make him different. While visiting his mother at the nursing home where she works, he meets a beautiful girl. The girl longs to escape, and Mason is happy to help. Mason soon realizes that he is being followed and that he must protect the mysterious girl.

Their plight leads them to The Gardener, a man who holds the keys to helping the girl and ending starvation for humans. But at what price?


Mrs. Ferroli’s Review of The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — bhomel @ 8:42 am
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The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen is a fantasy/science fiction novel. It is told from the The Gardenerperspective of Mason, the male protagonist. I felt an immediate connection to Mason and therefore, I wanted to continue reading. I was able to read the book in three days so it was a quick read, but highly engaging. This book contained some romance, some action, and really causes the reader to think about how we have treated the planet in the past and what we can do to survive in the future! 


Ms. Spring’s Review of The Detour by S.A. Bodeen

The DetourWhen I first picked up The Detour, by S.A. Bodeen, I was skeptical. The cover shows a bunker-like scene: concrete walls and ceiling, curtains and rod framing a cement wall, empty plate and half full glass on the floor. (Can you tell I’m a positive person? “Glass half full” rather than “Glass half empty”?) I do try to give most things the benefit of the doubt, and I’m glad I did in this instance. The tagline of “She’s Rich. She’s Famous. And She’s Trapped,” hits it dead center. The main character leaves a lot to be desired in personality when you start the book. Livvy displays a self-centered, unappealing monologue of thoughts – all about how her predicament is not her fault.

Throughout the story, layers of her inward-facing shell soften to reveal how she has come to this point. The unfortunate circumstances she faces – being a captive of a vindictive former writer – show the reader and the character that nothing is ever as it seems on the surface. Not only does poignant and descriptive language invite the reader to continue to turn pages, but a few plot twists, as well. In the end, there are lessons to be acknowledged regarding our own paths and how we influence others. I highly recommend diving into this book. Be sure to allow a couple hours’ freedom to spend with Livvy in the padlocked, basement room.