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!

Are Zombies Real????? July 17, 2015

Filed under: Nonfiction Titles — oneilllibrary @ 3:54 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Lots of books, movies and TV shows are focusing on Zombies these days, and while we know they are fantasy, some people think that zombies really could come about. So is there any truth to that? Are there any “zombies” in nature right now?

Zombie Makers: True stories of Nature’s Undead by Rebecca Johnson takes this question very seriously. Could something “take over” an animal or insect and control them? Could something invade an animal or insect and change its nature? This book is chalk full of examples where either another insect, fungus or virus is able to alter the animal or insect it comes into contact with. imgres

Read how an ant becomes the perfect host for a fungus that eventually grows out the top of the dead ant’s head. Or how a worm takes over crickets and forces them to drown themselves. Or how a caterpillar becomes a zombie like bodyguard wasp protector and starves rather than let the little wasp cocoons be eaten, and then the caterpillar dies.

Yes, nature is already providing us with some examples of how animals and insects can be taken over but nothing so far shows how something can die and then come back to life. Those are still in the realm of fantasy, and let’s hope it stays there!

Recommended for grades 6th and up.


Hoax or Reality? November 25, 2013

Filed under: Fantasy Books — oneilllibrary @ 9:36 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Everyone is seeing the videos on YouTube and hearing the reports, but really, zombies? How true can it really be? B is just trying to get along. After all, with a father who is clearly a racist and a mother who is trying to survive domestic violence, B knows to duck and cover when things start to get heated between them. B also knows not to let on that B has a friend who is black and has for many years. As B goes to school and keeps hearing more about the supposed zombies, life just goes on. However, B starts to question the racist beliefs that have been such a part of B’s upbringing. After a visit to a historical museum, B really begins to question things. Particularly, what does Be really believe? Is it an act to be a racist or what B really believes?

Then, zombies appear at B’s school and all bets are off. Can B survive this Zombie apocalypse, or is B doomed to go down with the rest of the world?imgres-1

 Zom –B by Darren Shan shows he is back with what appears to be the start of another horror series. With a twist I didn’t see coming and an ending that will leave you gasping you will be hungering for the next.

Recommended for 8th grade and up because of lots of gruesome violence – we are talking zombies after all!



The Monster Within October 22, 2013

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — oneilllibrary @ 11:08 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

What if you had something inside you that was destroying you? Alex has a brain tumor that she and her aunt have been trying to “kill” for almost 2 years. Nothing is working, not special treatments, not chemo, not radiation. Time is almost out for Alex and she knows it, even if her aunt doesn’t.

imgresSo rather than continue with treatments that aren’t working and in fact, make her sick, she ops out. As in no more treatments. As in she knows her life is ending, so she wants it to end on her terms. She has been putting off for years taking her parents ashes and spreading them in Lake Superior, as was their wish. Her parents died in a helicopter crash and it was shortly after this that she was diagnosed with the brain tumor. Alex decides she is going to go hiking and take her parents remains along to finally disperse them in the lake. However, before she can accomplish this mission, something catastrophic happens in the woods and later she realizes, around the world.

A harsh pulsing, dreadfully painful feeling grips Alex while she is in the woods, along with a man who has just come along the trail with his granddaughter, Ellie. The man, Jack, dies very quickly, and now Alex must pull herself together and get her and Ellie out of the woods. However, on their trip to a ranger station, they encounter two other teens, but something is horribly wrong with them. Alex now realizes that whatever that pulse of pain was, it has affected some people in terrible ways.

Alex and Ellie must struggle to survive in a world that appears to have turned upside down and people can’t be counted on at all. How will they make it back to civilization, and the questions becomes, should they even try?

Ashes by Ilsa Bick is a fast paced, what would you do, story that will pull you in. However, be prepared to read more because this book ends with a total cliff hanger. This book is the first book in a trilogy.

Recommended for 8th grade and up.


A Little Dead Can’t Hurt Anybody January 8, 2013

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — kbradley123 @ 6:18 pm
Tags: , ,

A recent post said zombies are in right now. So in right now, that I too am going to recommend a zombie book. Dead City by James Ponti is unlike other zombie books you might have read. In New York, there are three levels of zombie living mostly underground. Level 1 are just like you

and me but dead. Level 2 are a little paler and a bit more mad about being dead. Level 3 are not to be messed with, as they are the ones that will kill you if you upset them. Molly just learned that zombies exist and had a run in with a Level 3!

Molly is your usual 7th grader. Except Molly likes to hang out in a morgue, read science books for fun and basically has no friends. After her run in with the Level 3, Molly realizes that there is a group out there committed to protect and police the zombie population. They are called the Omegas. Molly, along with 3 other teenagers form  a group of Omegas who are trying to figure out all things zombie. However, when Molly’s dead mom’s past comes up when fighting zombies, Molly’s world is turned upside down!


Zombies and a Love Story January 6, 2013

Filed under: Science Fiction Books — bhomel @ 12:02 am
Tags: , ,

Zombies are a pretty popular nowadays. This was my very first zombie story. It also happens to be the first time I listened to a book on CD. (I recommend trying the audiobook!)

If you are looking for a mild and not too gory zombie story, try The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.

The unconsecrated, aka the zombies, are contained by fences. Humans can’t get too close to the fence or they will be scratched or bitten by the unconsecrated. Once bitten, you are infected and turn into an unconsecrated yourself.

Mary’s life is turned upside down the day her mother gets a little too close to the fence. Her mother becomes a part of the forest of hands and teeth! Mary’s brother, Jed, disowns her and no suitors have spoken for her hand in marriage. She is forced to join the sisterhood and starts to question all the secrets that the sisterhood holds. All along, Mary has loved Travis but Travis is betrothed (engaged) to Mary’s best friend Cass. If that isn’t enough drama, Travis’ brother Harry comes and asks for Mary’s hand in marriage! Talk about a love triangle!

Things really go bad when there’s a breech in the fence and the unconsecrated take attack on the humans in the village! Mary, Jed, Travis, Cass, and Harry run for their lives. They unlock one of the secrets held by the sisterhood and try to find somewhere safe to go.

If you are looking for a happy ending, this might not be your book – it is a zombie book after all! According to Wikipedia, this book is scheduled to be a movie in 2013.