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!

The Power to Kill? February 22, 2017

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — lpitrak @ 3:04 pm
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This latest from Neal Shusterman imagines a world where human beings have conquered everything– the lack of environmental issues, disease, old age, accidents and poverty means people are literally living in a world without death. However, the Earth’s capacity to sustain human life has not increased, and without any natural deaths, the mortality rate must be stabilized… and this is the duty of the Scythes. To be chosen as a Scythe is an honor, as well as a huge responsibility. They are charged with “gleaning” the population– killing individuals to keep the population size stable. Highschoolers Citra and Rowan are both chosen as apprentice scythes, handpicked to be killers because of their morality and compassion. As they are soon to discover, though, not all Scythes have retained their sense of goodness and integrity. Can Citra and Rowan survive intense training, lies, secrets, and deep betrayal during their year as apprentices? And even if they can… what will happen once they are initiated? This newest by Neal Shusterman is a brilliant, action-packed book which questions what makes us human, and what meaning is contained in a life with no death.

 

When Tests Turn Deadly October 7, 2013

Can’t get enough of The Hunger Games? Well then the next book on your list should be The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau.  I have to admit I was so involved with this book that I stayed up  late to finish it because I just could not wait.  Now that I have said that, I’m ready to be a little bit critical.  This is another YA dystopian novel- I’m not sure how original you can get, but this one is very similar to The Hunger Games (they aren’t even trying to hide it- just check out the cover!).  This can be looked at as a positive or negative thing, because after all, THG was a huge success.  The Testing is a well written fast paced read; so get past the cover and give it a chance.

The main character Cia is chosen upon graduating for the privilege of taking the test to go to university in the capitol, Tosu City.  She has dreamed of following her father’s footsteps and going to university for her entirelife, but when she is accepted her father tells that his specific memories were erased but lingering nightmares from his own testing still haunt him.  These words foreshadow the rest of the novel as the stakes could not be higher- her life.

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8th Grade Student Guest Blogger March 18, 2013

The book Gone by Michael Grant is the first book in the six-part Gone Series. Now I know six books may sound intimidating, but these books are so good you can’t put them down. Six books won’t seem like enough! The story starts in Perdido Beach, California with Sam Temple. Sam’s a pretty regular kid. He loves to surf with his

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best friend, Quinn, and he has a crush on a girl named Astrid. However, Sam has noticed something odd that’s happened to him, he can create and shoot light with his hands. If that isn’t freaky enough, on a seemingly ordinary day in Perdido Beach all the adult disappear. No explosion, no magic spell, just gone. After all the initial chaos dies down, Sam discovers he isn’t alone. Other kids have amazing powers just like him. One girl can teleport, another has the ability to cancel gravity. Most kids use their powers to help the kids in town, but not everyone. The power-hungry Caine and other kids at Coates Academy are working against Perdido Beach. They want control but if they have it, they’ll abuse their power. Oh yeah, and all these kids are trapped by an impenetrable dome.

Review by Claire O’Meara

 

Do you believe in FAIRY TALES? February 27, 2013

Cinder (Book 1) and Scarlet (Book 2) 

By: Marissa Meyer

Genre: Fantasy

Welcome to the Lunar Chronicles! An admitted non-fan of Science Fiction/Fantasy, I was coerced into listening to a fabulous audiobook (Thank You Mrs. Squires) by the name of Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I have always enjoyed the various stories and versions of Cinderella (my favorite fairy tale) and thought- why not give it a try??  And I must say, I easily fell in love! The young lady who narrated the audiobook was fabulously entertaining and of course I found myself not wanting to leave my car after endless commutes just so I could finish and find out what was going to happen to our beloved Cinder, a modern day mechanic in a futuristic society.

Yes, this book definitely had counterparts that coincided with the story of Cinderella, but did so in such a way that I felt was incredibly creative and unlike many other pieces I had been reading at the time. As I have continued and gotten more into the Science-Fiction/Fantasy genre, I will still say that this is one of my favorites. I have recommended it to many students, boys and girls included and I could not wait to hear and see what happens as Cinder, a now fugitive would make of herself and the world she lived in as the man she had feelings for, none other than Prince Kai, was forced to potentially come together with the evil Queen Levana in order to save her life….

And then Scarlet (Book 2) came out and I could not wait to get my hands on it. Despite it being a little lengthy, I was ready for the challenge. We now meet Scarlet, when she finds that her grandmother has gone missing, a take on a new fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Scarlet comes into contact with a “wolf-like” character and hence the story begins.

I thought it was interesting to finally see how Cinder and Scarlet’s stories intersected, as the book continually shifts back and forth to what was currently happening with the two ladies. While Cinder is trying to escape and stay away from Queen Levana who will do nothing else than to find her and kill her, Scarlet is on a mission to find her missing grandmother. What might you ask could these two ladies have in common? Well, without giving away too much, I will say that secrets are finally out in the open and some unsolved mysteries from the first book in the series were solved!

Finally, a series that although there is a commanality with both books, still has something inventive, creative and unknown within the second book! I am looking incredibly forward to book three and even four! 🙂

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Shusterman Fanatics February 8, 2013

If you haven’t read any of Neal Shusterman’s books, you need to pick one up!  I recommend starting with Unwind.  At Herrick our seventh grade teachers have absolutely started a Shusterman craze and students and teachers just can not get enough of him.   All of the teachers started by teaching Full Tilt.  Full Tilt is a fast paced novel that takes place at a super natural carnival. The main character is forced to figure out different puzzles in the form of rides to save himself and his friends from being stuck in the carnival forever.  This book is so popular with the students that the unit was expanded into an author study which currently includes The Eyes of Kid Midas and Unwind.  As I said Unwind is one of my favorite Shusterman books.  I worked with a small group who loved it just as much.  When UnWholly came out in the fall we all ran to get it.  Shusterman is one of the few authors who writes sequels that are even better than the original.  I can not wait until Unsouled comes out next fall.  It will mostly definitely be the book everyone is reading come October.  Currently, I’m working my way through the Skin Jacker Trilogy.  If you have ever wondered what happens after you die, read these books!

 

What if you could create the Adam to your Eve? December 6, 2012

UnknownThis engrossing sci-fi book, Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate, hooked me from the first line. I would drop anything that I was doing in the past two nights just to sneak a peek and read through the very quick chapters! The story alternates perspectives from the female lead of Eve, who we see get into a bad accident at the start of the novel. Her mom just so happens to be a part of a hospital/company that helps people recover in a variety of ways. And she sure does that for Eve. As she tries to distract her daughter from the secretive past of her company and workers, she creates a simulation of sorts where Eve can create her perfect man. A lot of thought goes into his features, besides just his appearance. She is able to think about and see how certain qualities and traits would thus alter this piece of perfection. And thus, Eve has created Adam. Yet, Eve’s male counterpart is a gentlemen named Solo, both of which take turns narrating the various chapters, whom is completely bitter towards Eve’s mom and knows the truth of what’s really going on, as has been for some time. As the story unfolds, romances begin, loyalties are tested, and the truths that we thought were out there, well were potentially underdeveloped. This book was an amazingly fast read that definitely kept me wanting more in it’s 300 pages! I’d recommend this to anyone looking to uncover secrets, fascinating plot lines within plot lines, and one that keeps you on the edge of your seat!

Novel written by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate-

husband and wife right?