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Middle School Reads

Allison, Jennifer. Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake
Gilda Joyce investigates the circumstances surrounding the drowning death of a student whose ghost supposedly haunts the campus at the private school she attends.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Fever 1793.
In 1793, Philadelphia, sixteen-year-old Matilda Cook, separated from her sick mother, learns about perseverance and self-reliance when she is forced to cope with the horrors of a yellow fever epidemic.

Appelt, Kathi. Kissing Tennessee and Other Stories from the Stardust Dance.
Graduating eighth graders relate their stories of love and heartbreak that have brought them to Dogwood Junior High's magical Stardust Dance.

Ashby, Amanda. Fairy Bad Day
High schooler Emma is devastated to learn that she may not follow in her mother's footsteps as a dragon slayer, but with an unlikely band of allies she discovers that she may, indeed, be more adept at slaying giant killer fairies.

Barron, T. A.  The Lost Years of Merlin 
A young boy, who, unknown to him is destined to become the greatest wizard of all time, has neither identity nor memory of his past washes ashore on the coast of Wales and finds his true name after a series of fantastic adventures.

Bauer, Joan. Close to Famous
Twelve-year-old Foster McFee and her mother escape from her mother's abusive boyfriend and end up in the small town of Culpepper, West Virginia, where they use their strengths and challenge themselves to build a new life, with the help of the friends they make there. 

Bell, Ted.  Nick of Time  
With the help of Lord Hawke, whose children have been taken by the evil pirate Captain Billy Blood, young Nick McIver uses a time machine to rescue the two children as well as change the course of events in two time periods, the Napoleonic Wars and World War II.

Bloor, Edward. Tangerine.
Twelve-year-old Paul, who lives in the shadow of his football hero brother Erik, fights for the right to play soccer despite his near blindness and slowly begins to remember the incident that damaged his eyesight.

Boyce, Frank Cottrell. Cosmic
12-year old Liam looks like he's thirty. Sometimes it's not bad; for example on the first day of school the principal mistakes Liam for a teacher or when he convinces a car dealer to let him test drive a Porsche. So feeling like he's stuck between two worlds, Liam cons his way into being the adult chaperone on the first space ship to take civilians into space. But when the ship is stuck 230,000 miles from home, being mistaken for an adult is not good.

Bryant, Jen. Pieces of Georgia
In journal entries to her mother, a gifted artist who died suddenly, thirteen-year-old Georgia reveals how her life changes after she receives an anonymous gift membership to a nearby art museum.

Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone Does My Shirts
A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.

Collins, Suzanne. Gregor the Overlander.
while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world and trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders

Curtis, Christopher Paul. The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963.
The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963.

Delaney, Joseph.  The Last Apprentice:  Revenge of the Witch 
Young Tom, the seventh son of a seventh son, starts work as an apprentice for the village spook, whose job is to protect ordinary folk from "ghouls, boggarts, and all manner of wicked beasties."  Twenty-nine apprentices have tried to become spooks, some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive. Only Thomas Ward is left.  1st in the series.

DuPrau, Jeanne. City of Ember (and sequels)
In the year 241, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions.

Edmund, Stephen.  Happyface
After going through traumatic times, a troubled, socially awkward teenager moves to a new school where he tries to reinvent himself. 

Farmer, Nancy. A Girl Named Disaster.
While fleeing from Mozambique to Zimbabwe to escape an unwanted marriage, Nhamo, an eleven-year-old Shona girl, struggles to escape drowning and starvation and in so doing comes close to the luminous world of the African spirits.

Farmer, Nancy. The House of the Scorpion
In a future where humans despise clones, Matt enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patron, the 142-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States.

Flake, Sharon G. Begging for Change.
Teenaged Raspberry Hill tries to sort out her confused feelings of disgust, shame, and love for her homeless, drug addicted father and worries that she may have inherited his lying and stealing ways.

Frost, Helen. Hidden
When fourteen-year-olds Wren and Darra meet at a Michigan summer camp, both are overwhelmed by memories from six years earlier when Darra's father stole a car, unaware that Wren was hiding in the back.

Funke, Cornelia. Inkheart.
Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can "read" fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.

Funke, Cornelia. Thief Lord.
Two brothers, having run away from the aunt who plans to adopt the younger one, are sought by a detective hired by their aunt, but they have found shelter with--and protection from--Venice's "Thief Lord."

Gaiman, Neil. Coraline
Coraline ventures through a mysterious door in her new house into a world that is similar, yet disturbingly different from her own, where she must challenge a gruesome entity in order to save herself, her parents, and the souls of three others.

Gaiman, Neil.  The Graveyard Book 
Nobody Owens is a normal boy, except that he has been raised by ghosts and other denizens of the graveyard.  2009 Newbery Award Winner.

Gantos, Jack. Dead End in Norvelt (2012 Newbery Award Winner)
In the historic town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Jack Gantos spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, twisted promises, Girl Scout cookies, underage driving, lessons from history, typewriting, and countless bloody noses.  Cathy says this is a got to read.

Gantos, Jack. Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key (and others in the series)
has trouble paying attention or controlling his mood swings when his prescription meds wear off and he starts getting worked up and acting wired.

Gier, Kerstin. Ruby Red
Sixteen-year-old Gwyneth discovers that she, rather than her well-prepared cousin, carries a time-travel gene, and soon she is journeying with Gideon, who shares the gift, through historical London trying to discover whom they can trust.

Grunwell, Jeanne Marie. Mind Games.
Each of the six seventh graders who are part of the Mad Science Club writes a report on their investigation of ESP for the science fair. Their project led them to win the Maryland State Lottery. The book includes charts, newspaper clippings and personal narratives from each student.

Hale, Shannon.  Goose Girl   
On her way to marry a prince she's never met, Princess Anidori is betrayed by her guards and her lady-in-waiting and must become a goose girl to survive until she can reveal her true identity and reclaim the crown that is rightfully hers.

Hale, Shannon.  Book of a Thousand Days 
Fifteen-year-old Dashti, sworn to obey her sixteen-year-old mistress, the Lady Saren, shares Saren's years of punishment locked in a tower, then brings her safely to the lands of her true love, where both must hide who they are as they work as kitchen maids.

Henkes, Kevin. Olive’s Ocean
While visiting her grandmother at cottage by the ocean, twelve-year-old Martha gains perspective on the death of a classmate, on her relationship with her grandmother, on her feelings for an older boy, and on her plans to be a writer.

Hesse, Karen. The Music of Dolphins.
After rescuing an adolescent girl from the sea, researchers learn she has been raised by dolphins and attempt to rehabilitate her to the human world.

Hiaasen, Carl. Hoot
Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy's attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site.

Horowitz, Anthony.  Stormbreaker  
After the death of the uncle who had been his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is coerced to continue his uncle's dangerous work for Britain's intelligence agency, MI6.  Alex Ryder series, book 1

Howe, James.  The Misfits 
Four students who do not fit in at their small-town middle school decide to create a third party for the student council elections to represent all students who have ever been called names.  If you liked The Revealers, try this.

Konigsburg, E.L. The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place
Upon leaving an oppressive summer camp, twelve-year-old Margaret Rose Kane spearheads a campaign to preserve three unique towers her grand uncles have been building in their back yard for over forty years.

Korman, Gordan. No More Dead Dogs
Eighth-grade football hero Wallace Wallace is sentenced to detention attending rehearsals of the school play where, in spite of himself, he becomes wrapped up in the production and begins to suggest changes that improve not only the play but his life as well.

Korman, Gordon.  Schooled  
Homeschooled by his hippie grandmother, Capricorn (Cap) Anderson has never watched television, tasted a pizza, or even heard of a wedgie. But when his grandmother lands in the hospital, Cap is forced to move in with a guidance counselor and attend the local middle school. While Cap knows a lot about tie-dyeing and Zen Buddhism, no education could prepare him for the politics of public school.

Lane, Andy. Death Cloud
In 1868,  when Sherlock Holmes was a teenager he was already involved in detecting.  Beginning  when he was fourteen, Sherlock  was sent to stay with his eccentric uncle and aunt in their vast house in Hampshire where he uncovered his first murder and a diabolical villain. 

Lowry, Lois. The Giver.
Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.

Lupica, Mike. Heat .
Pitching prodigy Michael Arroyo is on the run from social services after being banned from playing Little League baseball because rival coaches doubt he is only twelve years old and he has no parents to offer them proof.

Mack, Tracy. Drawing Lessons.
Twelve-year-old Rory begins to lose the passion for making art that she shares with her father after she finds him kissing his female model and fears for the safety of her parents' marriage.

Malley, G. M.  The Declaration   
In 2140 England, where drugs enable people to live forever and children are illegal, teenaged Anna, an obedient "Surplus" training to become a house servant, discovers that her birth parents are trying to find her.

Martin, Ann M. A Corner of the Universe
The summer that Hattie turns twelve, she meets the childlike uncle she never knew and becomes friends with a girl who works at the carnival that comes to Hattie's small town.

McKinley, Robin. The Hero and the Crown.
Aerin, with the guidance of the wizard Luthe and the help of the blue sword, wins the birthright due her as the daughter of the Damarian king and a witchwoman of the mysterious, demon-haunted North.

McMurchy-Barber, Gina. Free as a Bird
When Ruby Jean Sharp's loving grandmother dies, she is placed in an institution where she survives abuse, boredom and isolateion until the day a social worker comes into her life and changes everything.  Why?  Because she was born with Down Syndrom and in the 1950s, being developmentally disabled could mean getting locked up.  

Meyer, L. A. Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy
Reduced to begging and thievery in the streets of London, a thirteen-year-old orphan disguises herself as a boy and connives her way onto a British warship set for high sea adventure in search of pirates.

Neri, G. Ghetto Cowboy
Twelve-year-old Cole's behavior causes his mother to drive him from Detroit to Philadelphia to live with a father he has never known, but who soon has Cole involved with a group of African-American "cowboys" who rescue horses and use them to steer youths away from drugs and gangs.  Cathy says this was a wonderful book and the audiobook was a 2012 Odyssey Honor Audiobook. 

Oppel, Kenneth. Airborn
Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling with her chaperone, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth's surface.

Osa, Nancy. Cuba 15
Violet Paz, a Chicago high school student, reluctantly prepares for her upcoming "quince," a Spanish nickname for the celebration of an Hispanic girl's fifteenth birthday.

Park, Linda Sue. When My Name Was Keoko
With national pride and occasional fear, a brother and sister face the increasingly oppressive occupation of Korea by Japan during World War II, which threatens to suppress Korean culture entirely.

Paterson, Katherine. Bread and Roses, Too
Jake and Rosa, two children, form an unlikely friendship as they try to survive and understand the 1912 Bread and Roses strike of mill workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Paulsen, Gary.  How Angel Peterson Got His Name
Author Gary Paulsen relates tales from his youth in a small town in northwestern Minnesota in the late 1940s and early 1950s, such as skiing behind a souped-up car and imitating daredevil Evel Knievel.

Paver, Michelle. Wolf Brother
6,000 years in the past, twelve-year-old Tarak and his guide, a wolf cub, set out on a dangerous journey to fulfill an oath the boy made to his dying father--to travel to the Mountain of the World Spirit seeking a way to destroy a demon-possessed bear that threatens all the clans.

Peck, Richard. A Long Way from Chicago.
A boy recounts his annual summer trips to rural Illinois with his sister during the Great Depression to visit their larger-than-life grandmother.

Peck, Richard. The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts
In rural Indiana in 1904, fifteen-year-old Russell's dreams of quitting school and joining a wheat threshing crew are disrupted when his older sister takes over the teaching at his one-room schoolhouse after mean, old Myrt Arbuckle "hauls off and dies."

Perkins, Lynne Rae. Criss Cross.
Teenagers in a small town in the 1960s experience new thoughts and feelings, question their identities, connect, and disconnect as they search for the meaning of life and love.

Perkins, Mitali.   Monsoon Summer  
Secretly in love with her best friend and business partner Steve, fifteen-year-old Jazz must spend summer vacation away from him when her family goes to India during that country's rainy season to help set up a clinic.

Pierce, Tamora.  Alana, the First Adventure 
Eleven-year-old Alanna, who aspires to be a knight even though she is a girl, disguises herself as a boy to become a royal page, a learning many hard lessons along her path to high adventure.  Song of the Lioness book 1

Pratchett, Terry.  The Wee Free Men
A young witch-to-be named Tiffany teams up with the Wee Free Men, a clan of six-inch-high blue men, to rescue her baby brother and ward off a sinister invasion from Fairyland.

Reeve, Philip. Mortal Engines (The Hungry City Chronicles)
In the distant future, when cities move about and consume smaller towns, a fifteen-year-old apprentice is pushed out of London by the man he most admires and must seek answers in the perilous Out-Country, aided by one girl and the memory of another.

Riordan, Rick. The Lightning Thief
After learning that he is the son of a mortal woman and Poseidon, god of the sea, twelve-year-old Percy is sent to a summer camp for demigods like himself, and joins his new friends on a quest to prevent a war between the gods.

Rowling, J.K. The Harry Potter series: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Follow Harry's exploits at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Ryan, Pam Muñoz. Esperanza Rising
Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

Sachar, Louis. Holes.
As further evidence of his family's bad fortune which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself.

Sheth, Kashmira.  Keeping Corner 
In India in the 1940s, thirteen-year-old Leela's happy, spoiled childhood ends when her husband since age nine, whom she barely knows, dies, leaving her a widow whose only hope of happiness could come from Mahatma Ghandi's social and political reforms.

Spinelli, Jerry. Crash.
Seventh-grader John "Crash" Coogan has always been comfortable with his tough, aggressive behavior, until his relationship with an unusual Quaker boy and his grandfather's stroke make him consider the meaning of friendship and the importance of family.

Spinelli, Jerry. Maniac Magee.
After his parents die, Jeffrey Lionel Magee's life becomes legendary, as he accomplishes athletic and other feats which awe his contemporaries.

Staples, Suzanne.  Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind  
When eleven-year old Shabanu, the daughter of a nomad in the Cholistan Desert of present-day Pakistan, is pledged in marriage to an older man whose money will bring prestige to the family, she must either accept the decision, as is the custom, or risk the consequences of defying her father's wishes.

Stroud, Jonathan. The Amulet of Samarkand (and sequels)
Nathaniel, a magician's apprentice, summons up the djinni Bartimaeus and instructs him to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from the powerful magician Simon Lovelace.

Tolan, Stephanie S. Surviving the Applewhites
Rumor has it that Jake Semple burned down his old school. Only one place will take him now--a home school run by the Applewhites, a chaotic family of artists. Jake thinks surviving this one will be a breeze. But is he really as tough or as bad as he seems?

Van Draanen, Wendelin.  Flipped  
In alternating chapters, two teenagers describe how their feelings about themselves, each other, and their families have changed over the years.

Voigt, Cynthia. Homecoming.
Abandoned by their mother, four children begin a search for a home and an identity.

Weeks, Sarah. So B. It
After spending her life with her mentally retarded mother and agoraphobic neighbor, twelve-year-old Heidi sets out from Reno, Nevada, to New York to find out who she is.

Westerfeld, Scott. Uglies
Everybody gets to be supermodel gorgeous. What could be wrong with that? Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty. But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world -- and it isn't very pretty.

Wilhelm, Doug.  The Revealers  
Three seventh graders get back at the kids who are bullying them by writing their stories and distributing them through the school’s Internet.  Soon other students start revealing their own incidents of abuse and things start to change.

Woodson, Jacquelin.  After Tupac and D. Foster 
In the New York City borough of Queens in 1996, three girls bond over their shared love of Tupac Shakur's music, as together they try to make sense of the unpredictable world in which they live.

Woodson, Jacqueline. Hush
Twelve-year-old Toswiah finds her life changed when her family enters the witness protection program.

Woodson, Jacquelin.  Miracle’s Boys 
Twelve-year-old Lafayette's close relationship with his older brother Charlie changes after Charlie is released from a detention home and blames Lafayette for the death of their mother.

 

Questions or Comments?
Contact Cathy Lichtman, Teen Librarian