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!

Unwind – a Book Review by Chase H. May 22, 2017

Do you know what Unwound means? Unwound means to have a surgery of getting your body parts removed but you’re still alive and you’re able to feel everything even once someone else gets that body part. So say your parents didn’t want you anymore, or there wasn’t enough room for you in the world then people would take you to Happy Jack to get Unwound.  What is Happy Jack? Happy Jack is a place where you get Unwound, they will treat you like animals and detain you there until you’re ready to go to the Chop Shop. The Chop Shop is the inner part of where the surgery of the Unwinding is. Guards would drag you into the Chop Shop and that’s where you would become Unwound. Do you know what Tithe means? Tithe means that you believe in god so much that you are giving your body to others to get Unwound. You would either get this from your parents because they have either taught you to believe in god. Even to give your own body up.

Connor, Risa, and Lev are all tied together, stuck in this one huge hole. They first met from an accident that Connor started, traffic, highway, and then disaster. Lev doesn’t want Connor and Risa to take him, he wants to be Tithe. That all goes away once Connor and Risa kidnap him, then he is stuck with two AWOL Unwinds. As they go through a bust of trouble with the Juvey-cops, High School, a Baby, the Parents, and even getting betrayed they end up splitting apart. When they get to the safety of the Graveyard, they meet new AWOL Unwinds, including the Admiral, leader of the Graveyard. As the book closes to the end, Connor, Risa, and Roland get sent to Happy Jack farm to get Unwound, the thing is, they don’t know when they will get Unwound.

 

Unwind by Neal Shusterman is a great book that I really enjoyed. It had me on end, I never wanted to set the book down. I’ve realized that I like to read Science Fiction, so I’d have to say that this is one of my favorite books. I have to point out that it did give you goose bumps and a part where you may just be disgusted, and maybe even want to just not think about it. I For sure would recommend this book.

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Face that Can’t Lie May 10, 2017

Caverna is an opulent, gigantic underground city, and her residents are not ever allowed above ground. They know secrets– how to bake pastries that invoke colors and music, how to mull wines to make a person hallucinate or forget painful memhttps://i2.wp.com/www.franceshardinge.com/images/book_covers/afacelikeglass.jpgories, how to mix perfumes to induce sleep or trust or love– and these secrets cannot leave the city. Caverna has another dark, dangerous secret; her residents do not have natural facial expressions. Facial expressions, displays of anger, fear, sympathy, and more, must be learned. The wealthiest members of Caverna’s high society are taught hundreds of facial expressions, while the lower castes are taught only a handful– and usually ones of submission. One day, a five-year-old girl appears in the depths of Caverna’s tunnels. She has no memory of who she is or where she came from, and her face registers all of her internal emotions naturally. Re-named Neverfell, this girl is dangerous, and though she is unaware, could cause the internal workings of Caverna to crumble. Teens who love dark, lengthy fantasies and dystopian novels will fall in love with A Face Like Glass.

 

Across the Universe May 3, 2017

In the future, colonization of other planets is possible. Amy, a normal high school girl with friends, a boyfriend, and a spot on the cross country team, is not into space travel. But, her mother is a leading genetic scientist, and is chosen to be part of a special mission called “Project Ark Ship”. This mission seeks to colonize a brand new planet called CentauriEarth– a planet that is not very hospitable. The best of Earth’s scientists, engineers, mathematicians, artists, and writers are all gathered to travel to this new world, and essentially will recreate Earth. Amy, her mother, her father, and 2,312 other chosen passengers are cryogenically frozen and placed on board a space craft that will travel three hundred years into the future. When they land on CentauriEarth, they will be unfrozen by the chosen “Eldest” and won’t have aged at all. But, strange things start happening almost immediately. As Amy is being frozen, she overhears lab techs talking about how the project is going to be delayed a year or more—but none of the passengers were made aware of that. They will all be frozen and stored in a facility going nowhere for a whole year. Then, Amy horrifically realizes that she hasn’t lost consciousness like she was supposed to. Worst of all, Amy is woken early, while her family and all of the other passengers still sleep. Someone tried to kill her! But who else is even awake on the ship? This intriguing blend of science fiction, dysoptian, mystery-thriller will alternately intrigue and terrify readers.

 

 

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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