After you have read the book assigned by the English teachers, you might be looking for something else to read.  This list contains titles that have been popular in the Middle School.  I have tried to include something for everyone, and I think that you’ll enjoy the books included.  However, you should think of this as a jumping off point, a place to start on your quest for a good book.  Feel free to read other titles that appeal to you.  All of the books listed here are available in the Mahopac Middle School Library and at the Mahopac Public Library.  After each one I have listed in parentheses the section of the public library where you would find the book.  J stands for Juvenile and YA for Young Adult.  In some cases, the books will be found in the biography or non-fiction (N-F) section.

Adventure, Mystery & Suspense

10 True Tales of World War II Heroes by Allan Zullo

Ten true stories of real-life heroes from World War II! Pfc. Jack Lucas -- just a teenager -- is on patrol on Iwo Jima when two grenades land at his feet. Can he save his comrades' lives? Lt. Col. James Rudder and his Rangers are climbing a 100-foot-high cliff on a secret D-Day mission. Can they survive the Nazis' devastating firepower? Sgt. Forrest Vosler is blinded and wounded from an attack by German fighter planes on his crippled bomber. Can he make it home? The world was saved by these and many more real-life heroes. You will never forget their incredible true stories.  (J)

The Black Circle by Patrick Carman

A mysterious telegram sends Amy and Dan Cahill off to Russia, where they search for a treasure stolen by the Nazis, the truth about the end of the Romanov dynasty, and information about the death of their parents.  (J) 

 Blood Will Tell  by April Henry

Teen Portland Search and Rescue team member Nick Walker becomes a prime suspect in a murder.  Now his friends Alexis and Ruby must find a way to clear his name before it’s too late.  (YA)

 Boy X by Dan Smith

When twelve-year-old Ash McCarthy wakes up after his father's funeral, he finds that he has been kidnapped to an island off the coast of Costa Rica, caught in the middle of a secret and deadly project named Kronos in which his mother is somehow involved, and he must find a way to save them both--and the only person he is sure he can trust is a Spanish girl his own age named Isabel.  (J)

 Catch You Later, Traitor by Avi

It's 1951, and twelve-year-old Pete Collison is a regular kid in Brooklyn, New York, who loves Sam Spade detective books and radio crime dramas. But when an FBI agent shows up at Pete's doorstep, accusing Pete's father of being a Communist, Pete is caught in a real-life mystery.  (J)

 The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox

In 1940, during the Blitz, Katherine, Robbie and Amelie Bateson are sent north to a private school in Rookskill Castle in Scotland, a brooding place, haunted by dark magic from the past--but when some of their classmates disappear Katherine has to find out if the cause is hidden in the past or very much in the present.  (J)

 Dive! By Deborah Hopkinson

Following the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States entered World War II in December 1941 weakened and outnumbered. With the Pacific battleship fleet decimated by the Pearl Harbor attack, it was up to the feisty and heroic sailors of the US Submarine Force to halt the sweeping Japanese invasion across the Pacific.  (J NF)

 Found by Harlan Coben

Mickey Bolitar and his friends continue to investigate the Abeona Shelter, while Mickey searches for answers about his father's tragic death.  (YA)

 Framed! By James Ponti

In Washington, D.C., twelve-year-old Florian Bates, a consulting detective for the FBI, and his best friend Margaret help thwart the biggest art heist in United States history.  (J)

 I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

Best friends Libby Deaton and May Harper invented Princess X when they were in fifth grade, but when the car Libby is in goes off a bridge, she is presumed dead, and the story came to an end--except now, three years later, Princess X is suddenly everywhere, with a whole underground culture focused on a webcomic, and May believes her friend must be alive.  (YA)

 Ink and Ashes by Valynne E. Maetani

When Japanese-American Claire Takata finds out that her deceased father was once a member of the yakuza, a Japanese crime syndicate, danger enters her life that could end up killing someone.  (YA)

 The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz

A peasant girl and her holy greyhound, a religious man on a mission from his monastery, and a young Jewish boy travel across medieval France to escape persecution and save holy texts from being burned.  (J)

 Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter by Beth Fantaskey

Isabel Feeney is one of the few newsgirls working in 1920s Chicago, during the era of guns and gangsters. Every day, while she sells copies of the Tribune, she dreams of being a journalist. So when Isabel stumbles upon a murder scene on her own street corner, she's determined to solve the case.  (J)

 The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge

On an island off the south coast of Victorian England, fourteen-year-old Faith investigates the mysterious death of her father, who was involved in a scandal, and discovers a tree that feeds upon lies and gives those who eat its fruit visions of truth.  (YA)

 Lost in the Pacific, 1942 by Tod Olson

World War II, October 1942: a plane carrying eight Americans crashes into the middle of the Pacific Ocean. With only four oranges and no fresh water between them, the crew had to band together and rely on each other for survival. What they thought would be only a few hours or days before they were rescued turned into weeks lost at sea fighting off sharks, dehydration, hunger, and extreme heat.  (J NF)

 Nobody’s Secret:  A Novel of Intrigue and Romance by Michaela MacColl

When fifteen-year-old Emily Dickinson meets a charming, enigmatic young man who playfully refuses to tell her his name, she is intrigued--so when he is found dead in her family's pond in Amherst she is determined to discover his secret, no matter how dangerous it may prove to be.  (J)

 The Odds of Getting Even by Sheila Turnage

Dale's father breaks out of jail before his kidnapping trial. Then, several robberies occur. Mo wants to believe Dale's claim that his dad isn't the thief, but she's doubtful.  (J)

 Poison is Not Polite by Robin Stevens

Best friends Daisy and Hazel spend their school holidays at Daisy's family's estate. When a visitor dies after falling ill during a party, the girls suspect murder - and someone in the house is the culprit!  (J)

 Russian Roulette by Anthony Horowitz

Presented with an unexpected assignment, Alex Rider's greatest nemesis, Yassen Gregoravich, recalls his life and the path that led him to become an assassin while his one-time friend, Alex's uncle, became a spy.  Part of the Alex Rider series.  (YA)

 The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart

When twelve-year-old Reuben finds a peculiar, magical watch that has the power to turn its wearer invisible, he's propelled on the adventure of a lifetime.”  (J)

 Secret Letters by Leah Scheier

Sixteen-year-old Dora travels to London to meet Sherlock Holmes, who might be her biological father, and ask his help for her cousin who is being blackmailed over some stolen letters, but although Holmes dies before she arrives, a handsome young detective comes to Dora's aid.  (YA)

 Shouldn’t You Be In School by Lemony Snicket

Young Lemony Snicket investigates a rash of fires that have plagued the town of Stain'd-by-the-Sea, revealing secrets that involve the Department of Education and the notorious villain Hangfire.  (J)

 Slathbog’s Gold by Mark Forman

When young orphan Alex Taylor sees an odd sign in a shop window and goes inside to investigate, he is sent on a quest to defeat an evil dragon, and in the process he confronts his fears and learns about his future and his past.  (YA)

 Sunker’s Deep by Lian Tanner

While Sharkey struggles to overcome the lie on which his charmed life is based in order to meet the challenges of a tragedy, Petrel, Fin, and the crew of the Oyster confront the Devouts to restore lost knowledge to the world. 


Fairy Tales, Magic, and Things That Go Bump in the Night

 The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma Trevayne

At age twelve, grave robber Thomas Marsden discovers a boy who looks just like him in an unmarked grave and begins a journey of discovery as he learns of faeries trapped in London and their hope that he can return them to their realm.  (J)

 Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull

Because Dragonwatch, an ancient group of wizards, enchantresses, and dragon slayers, is crumbling, an uprising of dragons threatens to destroy the magical preserves as well as overrun the non-magical world.  (J)

 The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblicki

Staying with their aunts over the summer, Neil Cady, his sister Bree, and their new friends Wesley and Eric, set out to explore Greylock Hall, an abandoned psychiatric hospital which is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of Nurse Janet.  (J)

 The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

An epic fantasy about a young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, who must unlock the powerful magic buried deep inside her.  (J)

 Graceful by Wendy Mass

Possessing a magical ability to alter the fates of others, young Grace follows instructions in books by the magician Angelica to correct magical imbalances in Willow Falls and protect her friends from magic-related pizza accidents.  (J)

Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman

In a medieval kingdom, Grayling finds self-confidence when her mother is turned into a tree by evil forces and Grayling must venture into the wilds to reverse the spell.  (J)

 In Darkling Wood by Emma Carroll

When Alice goes to stay with her grandmother she discovers the magical Darkling Wood, where she meets a strange friend and discovers letters written between a brother and sister during WWI.  (J)

 Liv, Forever by Amy Talkington

Soon after an art scholarship gets Liv a place at prestigious Wickham Hall, she becomes the latest victim of a dark conspiracy spanning 150 years, but her ghost, aided by friend Gabe and boyfriend Malcolm, tries to put a stop to the killing.  (YA)

 Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood

When Miss Ellicott mysteriously disappears along with all the other sorceresses in the city, it is up to Chantel and her friends to save the Kingdom.  (J)

 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

A horrific family tragedy sends sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of an old orphanage that was home to children who were more than just peculiar, but possibly dangerous--and who may still be alive. Illustrated with vintage found photographs.  (YA)

 A Most Magical Girl by Karen Lee Fox

When Annabel's mother abruptly leaves her with her two mysterious aunts, she is thrust into a magical side of Victorian London she never knew existed and discovers that she is the key to saving it from an evil wizard bent on destroying all good magic.  (J)

 The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary

When thirteen-year-old Saki Yamamoto unintentionally invokes a death curse, she must enter the dangerous spirit world at the Night Parade and attempt to perform deeds that can break the curse.  (J)

 School of the Dead by Avi

For most of Tony Gilbert’s life, he has thought of his uncle as “Weird Uncle Charlie.” That is, until Uncle Charlie moves in with Tony and his family. Uncle Charlie is still odd of course—talking about spirits and other supernatural stuff—but he and Tony become fast friends, and Tony ends up having a lot of fun with Uncle Charlie. When Uncle Charlie dies suddenly, Tony is devastated. Then he starts seeing Uncle Charlie everywhere! It doesn’t help that Tony switched schools—it was Uncle Charlie’s dying wish that Tony attend the Penda School, where Uncle Charlie himself went as a kid. The Penda School is eerie enough without his uncle’s ghost making it worse. On top of that, rumors have been circulating about a student who went missing shortly before Tony arrived. Could that somehow be related to Uncle Charlie’s ghost? (J)

 Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly

Camellia's adopted mother wants Cam to grow up to be just like her. Problem is, Mom's a seriously wicked witch. Cam is used to stopping the witch's crazy schemes for world domination. But when the witch summons a demon, he gets loose -- and into Devon, the cute new boy at school. Suddenly Cam's got bigger problems than passing Algebra. To stop the demon before he destroys Devon's soul, Cam might have to try a spell of her own. But if she's willing to work spells like the witch...will that mean she's wicked too?  (YA)

 A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

When her unusual powers mark her as the one destined to lead the war against the seven Ancients, Henrietta trains to become the first female sorcerer in centuries--though the true nature of her ability threatens to be revealed.  (YA)

 Took:  A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn

Moving to West Virginia is bad enough before Daniel and his little sister, Erica, learn that a witch lives close by. Daniel thinks it's just a tall tale...until Erica vanishes.  (J)

 The Trap by Steven Arntson

In 1963, when twins Henry and Helen and their best friends, Alan and Nicki, try to find Alan's missing brother, Carl, they stumble into the knowledge of their "subtle forms" that can separate from their physical bodies, and into a criminal's plot to make himself immortal--at any expense.  (J)


 Family Tales (you gotta love ‘em)

 All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor

Born and raised in a prison where is mother is incarcerated, Perry T. Cook is taken to live with a foster family, where he feels trapped and out of place, and works to find a way to be reunited with his mother.  (J)

 Brilliant by Rachel Vail

Sixteen-year-old Quinn struggles to maintain her image as a brilliant, good girl when her mother's major error at work leads to financial and legal troubles that turn Quinn's and her younger sisters' world upside-down.  (YA)

 Cheating for the Chicken Man by Pricilla Cummings

High school freshman Kate has a lot on her mind, what with taking care of her heartbroken mother and looking after the family chicken farm in Maryland, but she promised her dying father to look after her older brother who is just back from juvenile detention--and this year that seems to involve paying off the bullies at school by doing their school work.  (J)

 Children of Exile by Margaret Peterson haddix

A twelve-year-old girl raised in a foster village is returned to her biological parents, and discovers home is not what she expected it to be.  (J)

 Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Twelve-year-old genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect with other people and find a surrogate family for herself after her parents are killed in a car accident.  (J)

 Dream On, Amber by Emma Shevah

Abandoned by her father at a young age, half-Japanese, half-Italian middle schooler Amber Miyamoto must dream up a way for her and her sister to make it on their own while making friends at her new school.  (J)

 Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblink

Harassed at her middle school, not taken seriously at home, and with a "perfect" older brother to live up to, thirteen-year-old Claire has always felt like her life was cursed. Then one morning, when she and her beloved father are talking at breakfast, her father suddenly falls over with a stroke, and suddenly everything changes.  (YA)

 Miracle’s Boys by Jacqueline Woodson

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.  (YA)

 Moo by Sharon Creech

When twelve-year-old Reena, her little brother Luke, and their parents move to Maine, Reena doesn't know what to expect. She's ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents "volunteer" Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, and a snake named Edna - and one very ornery cow named Zora.  (J)

 Rebel McKenzie by Candice F. Ransom

When feisty twelve-year-old Rebel McKenzie, an aspiring paleontologist, goes to spend the summer taking care of her older sister's seven-year-old son at the mobile home park in Frog Level, Virginia, she never expects to enter a beauty pageant or meet a hand model.  (YA)

 Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Sydney's charismatic older brother, Peyton, has always been the center of attention in the family, but when he is sent to jail, Sydney struggles to find her place at home and the world, until she meets the Chathams, including gentle, protective Mac, who makes her feel seen for the first time.  (YA)

 Untwine by Edwidge Danticat

Identical twin teenagers Giselle and Isabelle Boyer have always been inseparable, and expected to stay that way even though their Haitian American parents are separating--but when when the entire family is caught in a car crash, everyone's world is shattered forever.  (YA)


 Friends, Enemies and Other Relationships

 Also Known as Elvis by James Howe

While his friends Bobby, Joe, and Addie are spending the summer on exciting adventures, thirteen-year-old Skeezie Tookis must get a job and help around the house, and things only get worse when his long-lost father appears.  (YA)

 Armstrong & Charlie by Steven Frank

During the pilot year of a Los Angeles school system integration program, two sixth grade boys, one black, one white, become best friends as they learn to cope with everything from first crushes and playground politics to the loss of loved ones and racial prejudice in the 1970s.  (J)

 The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell

Rory Rooney likes to be prepared for anything, but when he inexplicably turns green and finds himself in an experimental hospital ward with his nemesis, school bully Tommy-Lee "Grim" Komissky, everyone is baffled but Rory believes he and Grim have become superheroes.  (J)

 Finding Perfect by Elly D. Swartz

With some help from her siblings and friends, Molly is able to face her OCD and be strong enough to get help for it.  (J)

 Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

As Bridge makes her way through seventh grade on Manhattan's Upper West Side with her best friends, curvaceous Em, crusader Tab, and a curious new friend--or more than friend--Sherm, she finds the answer she has been seeking since she barely survived an accident at age eight: "What is my purpose?"  (J)

 In the Sun by Lisa Graff

As Trent Zimmerman struggles to move past a traumatic event that took place several months earlier, he befriends class outcast Fallon Little, who helps him understand that he can move on.  (J)

 Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you're in the eighth-grade. Norbert Dorfman, nicknamed Dunkin Dorfman, is bipolar and has just moved from the New Jersey town he's called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse. One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.  (YA)

 Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Andersonb

Loving their gifted teacher, three boys are dismayed when the teacher falls ill and leaves for the rest of the school year, a situation that compels them to share their stories while cutting class and journeying across town together on a fateful day.  (J)

 Nothing But Trouble by Jacqueline Davies

Two smart girls in one small town use their combined genius to liven up their world--one prank at a time.  (J)

Slob by Ellen Potter

Picked on, overweight genius Owen tries to invent a television that can see the past to find out what happened the day his parents were killed.  (J)

 Summerlost by Allyson Braithwaite Condie

Following the sudden deaths of her father and autistic younger brother, Cedar Lee spends the summer working at a Shakespearean theater festival, making a new friend, and coming to terms with her grief.  (J)

 Trouble the Water by Frances O’Roark Dowell

In the segregated south of Kentucky in 1953, 12-year-olds Callie, who is black, and Wendell, who is white, are brought together by an old dog that is clearly seeking something or someone, but they not only face prejudice, they find trouble at a haunted cabin in the woods.  (J)

 Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

In Queens, New York, in 1969, twelve-year-old Julian Twerski writes a journal for his English teacher in which he explores his friendships and how they are affected by girls, a new student who may be as fast as Julian, and especially an incident of bullying.  (J)

 Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail

Set in the tumultuous world of eighth grade, Rachel Vail's delightful take on Cyrano de Bergerac is laugh-out-loud funny, but also perceptive and touching.  (J)

 When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin

Seventh-grader Ben has never been one for making friends. As a former foster kid, he knows people can up and leave without so much as a good-bye. Ben prefers to spend his time with the characters in his favorite sci-fi books...until he rescues an abandoned mutt named Flip. Flip leads Ben to befriend fellow book-lover Halley, who convinces Ben to write a novel with her. But as their story unfolds, Ben's life begins to unravel.  (J)

 You’re Bacon Me Crazy by Suzanne Nelson

Tessa loves working at the trendy food truck her aunt runs in their native San Francisco. Serving yummy BLTs to her classmates after school, Tessa feels like she's living the dream. Then the dream turns into a nightmare. Popular, arrogant Asher starts working at the truck! He can't make a sandwich to save his life, and he's frustratingly cute. But when the city's big food-truck festival is canceled, the future of the truck is suddenly at stake. Can Tessa and Asher set aside their differences and work together to save the truck? And will Tessa finally admit to himself how she really feels...about Asher?  (J)


 Past and Present (A Mix of Historical and Contemporary Stories)

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

An eighth-grader who dreams of performing in a Broadway musical concocts a plan to run away to New York and audition for the role of Elliot in the musical version of  "E.T."  (J)

 The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

In October, 1942, seventeen-year-old Helmuth Hübener, imprisoned for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets, recalls his past life and how he came to dedicate himself to bring the truth about Hitler and the war to the German people.  (YA)

 Boys in the Boat (adapted) by Daniel James Brown

Out of the depths of the Great Depression comes the astonishing tale of nine working-class boys from the American West who at the 1936 Olympics showed the world what true grit really meant. With rowers who were the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington's eight-oar crew was never expected to defeat the elite East Coast teams, yet they did, going on to shock the world by challenging the German boat rowing for Adolf Hitler.  (J Non-Fiction)

 Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

Eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child in Buxton, Canada, which is a haven for slaves fleeing the American South in 1859, uses his wits and skills to try to bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family's freedom.  (J)

 The Gallery by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

In 1929 New York City, twelve-year-old housemaid Martha O'Doyle suspects that a wealthy recluse may be trying to communicate with the outside world through the paintings on her gallery walls.  (J)

 My Name is Not Friday by Jon Walter

Samuel and his younger brother, Joshua, are free black boys living in an orphanage during the Civil War, but when Samuel takes the blame for his brother's prank, he is sent South, given a new name, and sold into slavery--and somehow he must survive both captivity and the war, to find his way back to his brother.  (J)

 One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams

In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to  attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.  (J)

 The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pickney

After her tribal village is attacked by militants, Amira, a young Sudanese girl, must flee to safety at a refugee camp, where she finds hope and the chance to pursue an education in the form of a single red pencil and the friendship and encouragement of a wise elder.  (J)

 The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall

On a bitter November day in Washington, D.C., when everything felt metallic - when the sky was gray and the wind stung and the dry leaves were making death-rattle sounds in the alleys - Thirteen-year-old Arthur Owens picked up a brick from the corner of a crumbling building and threw it at an old man's head.  (J)

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Very short for her age, Julia grows into her sense of self while playing a munchkin in a summer regional theater production of The Wizard of Oz.  (J)

 Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

In 1890 Washington the only family Joseph Johnson has left is his half-wild Indian pony, Sarah.  So when she is sold by a man who has no right to do so, he sets out to get her back--and he plans to let nothing stop him in his quest.  (J)

 Things Too Huge to Fix by Saying Sorry by Susan Vaught

A family mystery leads Dani Beans to investigate the secrets of Ole Miss and the dark history of race relations in Oxford, Mississippi. 


School Days

 Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Extra Credit by Tom Greenwald

Bright but unenthusiastic middle school student Charlie Joe Jackson signs up for the school play in an attempt to get straight As on his last quarter report card in order to avoid having to go to Camp Rituhbukkee over the summer.  (J)

 Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Ally has dyslexia, and can no more read like everyone else than a fish can climb a tree. Tired of being called slow and a loser, Ally finds that in her latest new school her teacher understands her limitations and actually sees in her a creative, intelligent side. New friends with their own learning disabilities help Ally see that she can achieve success and find happiness.  (J)

 Ghost of Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen

(If you liked reading Spirit Bear in school, try this sequel.)  After a year in exile on an Alaskan island as punishment for severely beating a fellow student, Cole Matthews returns to school in Minneapolis having made peace with himself and his victim--but he finds that surviving the violence and hatred of high school is even harder than surviving in the wilderness.  (YA)

 The Homework Strike by Gregory K. Pincus

Now in seventh grade, Gregory K. is frustrated by all the homework that leaves him no time for writing. So he decides to go on a homework strike, and with his history teacher's encouragement he learns a valuable lesson in civics and standing up for what you believe in.  (J)

 The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern

Eleven-year-old Maggie Mayfield is an A-plus student with big plans for herself, but at this moment she is also facing a lot of problems--like starting middle school and figuring out how to help her father who is out of work and in a wheelchair.  (J)

 Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes

A series of poems describes all the baffling changes at home and at school in twelve-year-old Joylin's transition from tomboy basketball player to not-quite-girly girl.  (J)

 Scenes From the Epic Life of a Total Genius by Stacey Matson

Eighth-grader Arthur Bean's life has taken a turn for the adventurous - two girlfriends to deal with, and a blockbuster film to co-write, produce and direct. How crazy can one school year get?  (J)

 School for Sidekicks by Kelly McCullough

Superhero geek Evan survives a supervillain's death ray, and is sent to the Academy for Metahuman Operatives. Unfortunately, instead of fighting bad guys, Evan finds himself blacklisted, and on the wrong side of the school's director. Can he convince his semi-retired has-been mentor to become a real hero once again?  (J)

 Science Fair by Dave Barry

The president of Kprshtskan is plotting to infiltrate the science fair at Hubble Middle School in Maryland in order to take over the United States government, but when Toby Harbinger, an ordinary student, makes up his mind finally to win the fair, the terrorists' plans go awry.  (J)

 Slacker by Gordon Korman

When eighth-grader Cameron Boxer creates the Positive Action Group at school he intends it as a diversion to fool his parents, teachers, and sister into letting him continue to concentrate on his video games - but before he knows it, other kids are taking it seriously. Soon he finds himself president of the P.A.G., and involved in community service. Suddenly the boy who never cared about anything is now the center of everything, whether he likes it or not.  (J)

 Under Locker and Key by Allison K. Hymas

Eleven-year-old Jeremy Wilderson teams up with his rival crime fighter to stop the stealing spree that's wreaking havoc on Scottsville Middle School.  (J)

 The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry

When the eighth grade civics class of Miami's Culver Middle School goes on a trip to Washington, D.C., Wyatt Palmer finds himself in deep trouble before the plane even lands because his best friend, Matt, has decided the men sitting behind them are terrorists and it is up to the boys to stop them.  (J)


 Science Fiction and Fantasy

 Beauty and the Beast:  Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, Lost in a Book follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast's library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. There, Belle is befriended by a mysterious countess who offers her the life she's always dreamed of. But Nevermore is not what it seems, and the more time Belle spends there, the harder it is to leave. Good stories take hold of us and never let us go, and once Belle becomes lost in this book, she may never find her way out again.  (J)

 The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

In 1665 London, fourteen-year-old Christopher Rowe, apprentice to an apothecary, and his best friend, Tom, try to uncover the truth behind a mysterious cult, following a trail of puzzles, codes, pranks, and danger toward an unearthly secret with the power to tear the world apart.  (J)

 Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

When Neverfell, who has no memory, arrives in Caverna, her facial expressions make her very dangerous to the people who live with blank faces or pay dearly to learn to simulate emotions.  (YA)

 The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

Canaan is a quiet city on an idyllic world, hemmed in by high walls, but every twelve years the town breaks out in a chaos of bloody violence, after which all the people undergo the Forgetting, in which they are left without any trace of memory of themselves, their families, or their lives--but somehow seventeen-year-old Nadia has never forgotten, and she is determined to find out what causes it and how to put a stop to the Forgetting forever.  (YA)

 Frogkisser!  by Garth Nix

Princess Anya has a big problem: Duke Rikard, her step-stepfather, is an evil wizard who wants to rule the kingdom and has a habit of changing people into frogs. Her older sister Morven, the heir, is a wimp - so with the help of the librarian Gotfried (who turns into an owl when he is upset), and the Royal Dogs, she must find a way to defeat Rikard, save her sister, and maybe even turn Prince Denholm back into a human being.  (J)

 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling

As an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and a father, Harry Potter struggles with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs while his youngest son, Albus, finds the weight of the family legacy difficult to bear.  (J)

 The Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson

By the year 2213, Earth has been destroyed by the sun, which has started going supernova much sooner than scientists predicted. On Mars, the last humans scramble to prepare for a 150-year journey to the nearest star with possibly habitable planets--because Mars, too, is doomed. Liam Saunders-Chang and his friend Phoebe, are preparing to board the last starliner to depart, but before they do, they will make a series of discoveries about the nature of time and space itself that points to a more sinister cause for the sun's accelerated demise.  (J)

 The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier and Douglas Holgate

After a monster apocalypse hits town, average thirteen-year-old Jack Sullivan builds a team of friends to help slay the eerily intelligent monster known as Blarg.  Also read the follow-up, The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade. (J) 

 The Leveller by Julia Durango

Nixy Bauer, a sixteen-year-old self-made video-game bounty hunter, gets in over her head when she attempts to rescue a game developer's son from a virtual trap.  (YA)

Railhead by Philip Reeve

In a world of drones and androids Zen Starling is a human thief, but mostly he just likes to ride the Interstellar Express, the sentient trains that travel through the K gates from planet to planet, something only the Guardians understand--but now the mysterious Raven wants him to steal the Pyxis, an object that could either open up a new gate, challenging the Guardians, or put the entire gate system, and the universe itself in danger.  (YA)

 Redwall by Brian Jacques

When the peaceful life of ancient Redwall Abbey is shattered by the arrival of the evil rat Cluny and his villainous hordes, Matthias, a young mouse, becomes determined to find the legendary sword of Martin the Warrior which, he is convinced, will help Redwall's inhabitants destroy the enemy.  (YA)

 Scythe by Neal Shusterman

In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed ('gleaned') by professional reapers ('scythes'). Two teens must compete with each other to become a scythe--a position neither of them wants. The one who becomes a scythe must kill the one who doesn't.  (YA)

 The Six by Mark Alpert

Adam, crippled by muscular dystrophy, and five other terminally ill teenagers sacrifice their bodies and upload their minds into weaponized robots to battle a dangerously advanced artificial intelligence program bent on destroying humanity.  (YA)

 What Came From the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt

In a desperate attempt for survival, a peaceful civilization on a faraway planet besieged by a dark lord sends its most precious gift across the cosmos into the lunchbox of Tommy Pepper, sixth grader, of Plymouth, Massachusetts.  (J)



 Baseball Genius by Tim Green and Derek Jeter

An average kid with an above average talent for predicting baseball pitches tries to help his favorite player out of a slump.  (J)

 Booked by Kwame Alexander

Twelve-year-old Nick loves soccer and hates books, but soon learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams.  (J)

The DH by John Feinstein

Embarking on a baseball season marked by his parents' divorce, Alex is confronted by unexpected rival Matt, a disgraced athlete who has been given another chance after taking steroids and who wants to steal the affections of Alex's crush.  (J)

 Fast Break by Mike Lupica

Since his mother's death, Jayson, twelve, has focused on basketball and surviving by himself.  Then he is found out and placed with an affluent foster family of a different race and must learn to accept many changes, including facing his former teammates in a championship game.  (J)

 Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Ghost, a naturally talented runner and troublemaker, is recruited for an elite middle school track team. He must stay on track, literally and figuratively, to reach his full potential.  (J)

 The Great Quarterback Switch by Matt Christopher

Twelve-year-old Michael, confined to a wheelchair after an accident, uses mental telepathy to communicate football plays to his quarterback twin brother Tom, then suddenly finds himself on the field in his brother's place.  (J)

Legends by Howard Bryant

From Wilt Chamberlain to LeBron James, from the Celtics dynasty led by Bill Russell to the Bulls dynasty led by Michael Jordan---here is the ultimate hardwood-court handbook of NBA champions and superstars.  (J-NF)

 New Kid by Tim Green

A troubled kid finds his bearings in a new school after a baseball coach offers him a spot on the team.  (J)

 Saving the Team by Alex Morgan

After moving to California, seventh-grader Devin is afraid she will not make the soccer team but finds, instead, a team is so bad that she is compelled to take the lead and turn it into something the players and coach can all be proud of.  (J)

 The Sixth Man by John Feinstein

New kid Max Bellotti has the talent to lead The Lions basketball team straight to victory, but Max also has a secret that could disrupt their winning streak once it's exposed.  (J)

 Soar by Joan Bauer

Jeremiah is the world's biggest baseball fan, and he knows just about everything there is to know about his favorite sport. So when he's told he can't play baseball following an operation on his heart, Jeremiah decides he'll do the next best thing and become a coach. Jeremiah and his father Walt have just moved to Hillcrest, a town known for its championship baseball team. But Jeremiah finds the town caught up in a scandal and about ready to give up on baseball. It's up to Jeremiah and his can-do spirit to get the town - and the team - back in the game.  (J)

 The Way Home Looks Now by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

After his older brother is killed in a car crash, Peter Lee's mother is paralyzed by grief and his traditional Chinese father seems emotionally frozen; but Peter hopes that if he joins a Little League team in Pittsburgh he can reawaken the passion for baseball that all the members of his family used to share.  (J)


 Series Books

 Sometimes you want to keep reading about certain characters or story lines.  Here are a few series that have been popular at the Middle School, along with the first title in the series (in parentheses).

 The Ape Quartet (Threatened) by Eliot Schrefer

Luc is an orphan, living in debt slavery in Gabon, until he meets a professor who claims to be studying chimpanzees.  They head off into the jungle, but when the professor disappears, Luc has to fend for himself and join forces with the chimps to save their forest.  (J)

 The Great Library (Ink and Bone) by Rachel Caine

In a world where the Great Library of Alexandria governs the flow of information to the people, Jess discovers that those who control the Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than human life after his friend inadvertently commits an act of rebellion.  (YA)

 House of Robots (House of Robots) by James Patterson

Fifth-grader Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez struggles to fit in when his inventor mother requires him to take her latest creation, a robotic “brother,” to school with him to learn to become a student.  (J)

 House of Secrets (House of Secrets) by Chris Columbus

Cordelia, Brendan, and Eleanor Walker, aged fifteen to eight, must rely on a mysterious book to face the Wind Witch and her father, the Storm King, who have kidnapped Dr. and Mrs. Walker and taken them to a strange world of magic.  (J)

 I Survived. . . (I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic) by Lauren Tarshis

Excited to board the Titanic with his aunt and little sister, ten-year-old George begins to explore the ill-fated ship's first-class storage cabin when the ship is rocked by a collision with an iceberg and begins to sink.  (J)

 Jackaby (Jackaby) by William Ritter

Newly arrived in 1892 New England, Abigail Rook becomes assistant to R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with the ability to see supernatural beings, and she helps him delve into a case of serial murder which, Jackaby is convinced, is due to a nonhuman creature.  (YA)

 Loot (How to Steal a Fortune) by Jude Watson

When Alfie McQuinn, the notorious jewel thief, is killed on a job, his last words to his son, March, are to "find jewels" and this instruction leads the boy to Jules, the twin sister he never knew he had--and the perfect partner to carry on the family business.  (J)

 Magisterium (The Iron Trial) by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Warned away from magic all of his life, Callum endeavors to fail the trials that would admit him to the Magisterium only to be drawn into its ranks against his will and forced to confront dark elements from his past.  (J)

 Middle School (The Worst Years of My Life) by James Patterson

When Rafe Khatchadorian enters middle school, he teams up with his best friend, "Leo the Silent," to create a game to make school more fun by trying to break every rule in the school's code of conduct.  (J)

 Seeds of America Trilogy (Chains) by Laurie Halse Anderson

After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.  (J)

 Seven Wonders (The Colossus Rises) by Peter Lerangis

Teens Jack, Marco, Aly, and Cass begin a quest to find seven pieces of Atlantis' power that were hidden long ago and that will, if returned to Atlantis, save them from certain death due to the genetic abnormality that also gives them superior abilities.  (J)

 The Trials of Apollo (the Hidden Oracle) by Rick Riordan

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. He must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus's favor.  (J)

 Wing and Claw (Forest of Wonders) by Linda Sue Park

When an injured bat crashes into Raffa's life, he invents a cure from a rare crimson vine that he finds deep in the mysterious Forest of Wonders. The powers of the vine are stronger than Raffa could have imagined. His remedy saves the animal but also transforms it into something much more than an ordinary bat, with far-reaching consequences.  (J)

 The Winnie Years ( Ten) by Lauren Myracle

Winnie celebrates her unique style through her first year with a double-digit age as she has many new experiences, from the high of spending time in New York City with her aunt and big sister, to the low of her two best friends suddenly becoming interested in boys.  (J)

 The Zodiac Legacy (Convergence) by Stan Lee and Stuart Moore

Follows the experiences of a Chinese-American teen who is thrown into the middle of an epic global chase involving the release of twelve magical superpowers.  (YA)