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!

For all the GATSBY fans! July 6, 2014

Great  By Sara Benincasaimgres-1

If you enjoyed The Great Gatsby, then this modern-day retelling of the classic is right up your alley! With a famous blogger longing to meet the famous fashionista, all Naomi needed to do during her summer vacation was introduce the two ladies, and the rest was history. As time continues and the similarities between the original and this modern-day take unfold, even more scandalous and abrupt behavior ensues. Will Naomi find herself in the middle of inappropriate friendship? Will she find herself and the person that she has always desired to be, much to her mother’s pleasure? Or will she continue to be the rebellious teen that doesn’t have a ounce of care in the world, especially to fit in within the East Hampton social life? For all the scandal, thrills, and the sarcasm of Sara Benincasa, this is a definitely a book you won’t want to put down!

Appropriate for more mature readers- 8th grade and up!


Not your typical Summer romance…

We Were Liars By: E. Lockhart

This is a great read for summer, as the majority of the book takes place on an island near Martha’s Vineyard, where various families have come to spend time with one another. A group of four children, calling themselves the liars, become close, inseparable, and eventually as the time progresses they become teenagers.

imgresWith the passing of their grandmother, things on the island start getting tricky and difficult for the kids, as their parents, namely their mothers, are constantly putting the kids in the middle of their fights about land, houses, and opportunities for the family fortune. These liars decide they want to do something about this and decide to take action. How far will they go to save their families and regain their cherished summers?

There aren’t a lot of times that books come around that leave me speechless, but not only the plot line itself caught me off guard, but the way in which Lockhart writes is simply poetic. The format has some differences, as well as the language she uses paints beautiful pictures in the reader’s mind. The idea of our main liar, the narrator of the story Cady, also having an accident that she doesn’t recall, help us to see the true problems on the island and with the family that may not have come to a head before.

Definitely a book I’d recommend to read soon!


What lengths will you go to face your fears? April 5, 2014

Title: Panic

Author: Lauren Oliver

Genre: Realistic, Mystery

Overall, this is a fantastic, cleverly-written and intense story of a game called Panic. At the beginning of the text, many characters are introduced, but once you get further into the piece, it makes it easier to put all the story lines and relationships together.

Panic is a secret game that has occurred for many years in the poor town of Carp, basically stemming from the boredom of nothing to do. Seniors are the only ones that can enter the game, which follows a series of death-defying activities and games where the last man standing is proclaimed the winner of cash collected from each student at Carp High (each paying a $1 a day during the entire school year) and the title of Panic champ.

imgres-2Each chapter follows the storyline of the various characters intertwined focused specifically on Heather and Dodge and we first begin with Heather. After having her found out that her boyfriend cheated on her, she decided she didn’t have anything to lose and joined in on the games. Their first competition to show their seriousness was Opening Jump taking place the day after their high school graduation where they were expected to face their fear and jump off a cliff into the nighttime abyss.

Dodge is the next character we meet who has a specific agenda as to why he wanted to join in on Panic, which had to do with his sister’s accident that was caused by this very game.

Nat, or Natalie, Heather’s best friend also joins the mix. After having completed her Opening Jump, she spoke with Heather and the two decided they would split their winnings if either ended up the Panic champ. Nat also made the same alliance with Dodge, without his knowledge, that she really hadn’t planned on following through with. Along with Nat, the character of Heather’s male best friend, Bishop, who seems to always be there to help Heather and the others out whenever possible.

These are the main competitors that are followed throughout the competition, as they work hard to help one another out as the time continues and they face their individual fears along the way. Meanwhile, no one knows exactly who is creating these different games and plots, but they do intend on finding out, especially after an officer was killed during one of the Panic activities.

I could not put this book down, as there were many different twists and turns along the way and story lines that I wanted to see through. This intense book will definitely leave you satisfied at the end, while having fulfilled a successful understanding of each of the main characters. Lauren Oliver does it again with this standalone novel!


Switcheroo +skating = Fun Read February 26, 2014

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — kbradley123 @ 2:31 pm
Tags: , ,

Being Sloane Jacobs

by Lauren Morrill

Sloane Emily Jacobs has elite figure skating camp all summer. It is an escape from the spotlight of her senator dad and her family’s issues. Sloane Devon Jacobs is forced to go to hockey summer camp in order to stay on her high school team. She too, is looking for an escape from her family as her mom is temporarily is gone from her household. When the two Sloane Jacobs literally run into each other the night before both camps, they strike a plan to switch lives for the summer.  Each camp is far different than what each novice expects and of course each experiences a little bit of romance while pretending to be someone they are not.

This fun adventure has sports, romance, and adventure. Each chapter is from another Sloane’s perspective and is clearly labelled. This switcheroo really brings out high jinks and each girl has their own adventure in their new city and sport. It is a fun read that keeps you wanting to know what happens next!

  If you liked the Parent Trap or books where people switch lives this one is for you! It is a thoughtful reminder of what it is like to glide in someone else’s skates.