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!

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!


To Read the End First….or Just Take a Peek? October 23, 2012

Filed under: Fantasy Books — oneilllibrary @ 9:59 pm
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I just finished Bruiser by Neal Shusterman on the way home today. The last two mornings I’ve been in my car, sitting in the parking lot, not wanting to go in to work, because the story became so compelling. What if you didn’t have to feel pain, any pain. No physical, no emotional pain, ever. The only problem is that you don’t just get rid of it, you transfer it to another person. Would you still do it, or would you own your pain? Brewster, or Bruiser as most of his classmates know him, has tried to remain aloof from everyone except his younger brother, Cody. However, when a brother and sister enter his life, all that he knows and tries not to know changes.

As much as I loved this book (as I do just about every Shusterman book I’ve read) it got me thinking. I tend to look at the end of a book, you know, the last few pages, if I’m getting worried. Worried that an animal might die, worried that a favorite character might die, worried that the two people I want to stay together or end up together won’t. In general, I worry. So that is why I sometimes look at the end of the book..before I’ve finished reading. I have mentioned this a time or two to Mrs. Homel and Mrs. Casper, and both have yelled at me. They say I’ve ruined the book. I can’t help it, I need to be prepared for an ending I might not like.

The only time I’m unable to do that, is if I’m LISTENING to a book. Now, I can’t even tell you how many times I wanted to flip to the end of Bruiser to see what was going to happen. BUT I couldn’t! I was listening to the CDs in my car, as you might have picked up from my first sentence. When I listen to a book I can’t just “flip” to the end. I also find that I remember books that I’ve listened to more than books that I’ve read. Partly, because I tend to skim parts of a book that I don’t like, or want to rush ahead to the “good stuff.”

Okay, so my question to you is, have you ever flipped to the end of a book, and felt better because you did? 🙂