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Suggestions for Middle School Readers

 

Avi. The Seer of Shadows. HarperCollins, 2008. In this intriguing historical ghost story set in New York City in 1872, Horace Carpetine becomes an apprentice to a local society photographer and learns more about deception, ghosts, and photography than he could ever have imagined.

 

Bauer, Joan. Close to Famous. Viking, 2011. Twelve-year-old Foster dreams of growing up to become a celebrity chef despite her reading disability. Can the quirky townsfolk of tiny Culpepper help Foster succeed?

 

Birdsall, Jeanne. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette. Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. When the three younger Penderwick sisters go to Maine with Aunt Claire and are separated from oldest sister Rosalind for the first time in their lives, an uncertain Skye is left in charge as the OAP – oldest available Penderwick. Series

 

Bowen, Fred. Throwing Heat. Peachtree, 2010. Eighth-grader Jack Lerner relies on pitching fast balls until a young college coach teaches him that throwing the heat may not be the best way to win games.

 

Burg, Shana. A Thousand Never Evers. Delacorte, 2008. Addie Ann Pickett, an African American girl in 1963 Kuckachoo, Mississippi, journals about her family, the racial injustices they face, and her fears for her older brother Elias when he goes missing due to her own carelessness.

 

Calkhoven, Laurie. Will at the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863. Dutton, 2011. In 1863, twelve-year-old Will, who longs to be a drummer in the Union army, is stuck in his sleepy hometown of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. However, when the Union and Confederate armies meet right there in his town, he and his family are caught up in the fight, and Will learns about the horrors of war. Series

 

Cody, Matthew. Powerless. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. Soon after moving to Noble's Green, Pennsylvania, twelve-year-old Daniel learns that his new friends have super powers that they will lose when they turn thirteen, unless he can use his brain power to protect them.

 

Compestine, Ying Chang. Revolution is Not a Dinner Party: A Novel. Holt, 2007. During the Cultural Revolution in China, Ling struggles to make sense of injustice and severe losses of freedom that both she and her well-educated family must endure.

 

Connor, Leslie. Waiting for Normal. Katherine Tegen, 2008. Addie would like a normal life. Not only does she live in a trailer in Schenectady, New York, with her mother, who is not at all responsible or parental, but also she is separated from her kind and loving stepfather and younger half-sisters. Schneider Family Book Award, 2009

DeFelice, Cynthia. Wild Life. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. A gripping adventure story about a boy named Erik and a rescued dog living in the Middle of Nowhere, North Dakota, with grandparents he hardly knows, while his parents have been deployed to Iraq.

 

Dowd, Siobhan. The London Eye Mystery. David Fickling Books, 2007. When Ted and Kat's cousin Salim disappears from the London Eye ferris wheel, the two siblings must work together--Ted with his brain that is "wired differently" and impatient Kat--to try to solve the mystery of what happened to Salim.

 

Draper, Sharon. Out of My Mind. Atheneum, 2010. Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient, young girl with cerebral palsy discovers a way for her to speak for the first time.

 

Dubosarsky, Ursula. The Word Snoop. Dial Books, 2009. Brimming with humor, puzzles, and more, this book offers an entertaining look at the English language, from the origins of the alphabet to texting.

 

Engle, Margarita. Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba. Holt, 2009. Escaping from Nazi Germany to Cuba in 1939, a young Jewish refugee dreams of finding his parents again, befriends a local girl with painful secrets of her own, and discovers that the Nazi darkness is never far away.

 

Erskine, Kathryn. Mockingbird: (Mok’ing-burd). Philomel, 2010. Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father.

 

Flanagan, John. The Emperor of Nihon-Ja. Philomel, 2011. The tenth and final volume of the Ranger’s Apprentice series brings Will, Halt, Horace, Alyss, and Evanlyn together to help defend the wise yet vulnerable emperor of Nihon-Ja from the renegade Senshi (samurai) force that threatens to overthrow his rule. Series

 

Fleischman, Sid. Escape! The Story of the Great Houdini. Greenwillow, 2006. Born Ehrich Weiss into a poor and struggling family, Harry Houdini sought out fame and went on to perform some of the world’s most astonishing magic tricks. Houdini’s story is a classic rags-to-riches story with plenty of personality to spare.

 

Fleming, Candace. The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P.T. Barnum. Schwartz & Wade, 2009. Filled with reproductions of old photographs, circus posters, and museum flyers, this fascinating biography of the life of showman Phineas Taylor Barnum will both engage and entertain readers.

 

Grant, Katy. Hide & Seek. Peachtree, 2010. A survival story set in the isolated Arizona mountains involving a boy, geocaching, and a puzzling message.

 

Hahn, Mary Downing. Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story. Clarion, 2007. When thirteen-year-old Ali spends the summer with her aunt and cousin at the family's vacation home, she stumbles upon a secret that her mother and aunt have been hiding for over thirty years.

 

Hiaasen, Carl. Scat. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. Nick and Marta are determined to find what happened to the biology teacher after she disappears on a school field trip to Black Vine Swamp. The result is a fast paced ecological mystery involving the Florida Panther and a cast of unique characters.

 

Holm, Jennifer L. The Trouble with May Amelia. Atheneum, 2011. Set on a farm in Washington State in the year 1900, May Amelia is the only girl in a Finnish family with seven brothers, so she is often the one in trouble and is looking to gain her Papa’s respect, despite his feeling that girls are useless.

 

Jackson, Ellen. The Mysterious Universe: Supernovae, Dark Energy, and Black Holes. Houghton Mifflin, 2008. A fascinating and mysterious look at the universe with beautiful photographs, this book discusses various space phenomena.

 

Kelly, Jacqueline. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Holt, 2009. Calpurnia struggles with growing up as she spends more of her free time with her grandfather, an avid naturalist, examining the beauty of nature, while at the same time her mother wants to teach her the responsibilities of a young woman during the turn of the century in Central Texas. Newbery Honor, 2010

 

Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. The Reinvention of Moxie Roosevelt. Dial Books, 2010. Tired of her ordinary self, Moxie complicates her life and runs into trouble when she decides to take on a variety of personas at her new boarding school.

 

Mass, Wendy. The Candymakers. Little, Brown, 2010. Four gifted twelve-year-olds, including Logan, the candymaker's son, are set to be contestants in the Confectionary Association's national competition to determine the nation's tastiest sweet, but nobody anticipates that a friendship will form between the children.

 

Miller, Sarah. Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller. Atheneum, 2007. This is Annie Sullivan’s story of challenge and determination as she tries to become a teacher of the child Helen Keller, who is blind, deaf, and overindulged by her desperate parents.

 

Napoli, Donna Jo. Bound. Atheneum, 2004. In a novel based on Chinese Cinderella tales, fourteen-year-old stepchild Xing-Xing endures a life of neglect and servitude as her stepmother cruelly mutilates her own child’s feet so that she alone might marry well.

 

Olson, Tod. How to Get Rich in the California Gold Rush: An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fabulous Riches Discovered in 1848. National Geographic, 2008. A fictional account of the adventures and experiences of young Thomas Hartley as he and his two companions set off in 1850 for the California gold fields.

 

Prineas, Sarah. The Magic Thief. HarperCollins, 2008. Conn's life is forever changed when he tries to pick the pocket of the wizard Nevery and gets a strong jolt of magic. Instead of punishing the boy, Nevery takes Conn under his wing, teaches him magic, and enlists his help in finding the person responsible for stealing the city's dwindling magic supply. Series

 

Rex, Adam. The True Meaning of Smekday. Disney-Hyperion, 2007. Aliens called “The Boov” abduct Gratuity “Tip” Tucci’s mother, leading Tip to begin a wild adventure to rescue her mother with the help of her cat named Pig and a friendly Boov named J.Lo.

 

Ryan, Pam Muñoz. The Dreamer. Scholastic, 2010. A fictionalized biography of the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who grew up a painfully shy child, ridiculed by his overbearing father, but still became one of the most widely-read poets in the world.

 

Selznick, Brian. Wonderstruck: A Novel in Words and Pictures. Scholastic, 2011. Rose and Ben are deaf children living fifty years and worlds apart, yet both marvel and connect with the world around them. The American Museum of Natural History links their separate stories – one narrated in text and the other through cinematic illustrations.

 

Shearer, Alex. Canned. Scholastic, 2006. Fergal Bamfield has a unique hobby: collecting tin cans without labels. He meets Charlotte, a fellow can collector, and they find some gruesome things inside the cans, like an ear and a human finger! Together, Fergal and Charlotte set out to learn the origins of these mysterious cans. Despite the macabre subject matter, Canned is a funny, quirky read.

 

Smith, Roland. Tentacles. Scholastic, 2009. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, Marty and Grace go to live with their scientist uncle and accompany him on what soon becomes an increasingly dangerous expedition to New Zealand to track a giant squid.

 

Stanley, Diane. The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy. HarperCollins, 2008. Zoe and her twin brother J.D. and big sister Franny are all accepted to Allbright Academy, an elite boarding school training the country’s future leaders. While everything appears perfect, Franny uncovers a mystery involving the students’ perfection.

 

Stephens, John. The Emerald Atlas. Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. Using an enchanted atlas, Kate, Michael, and Emma battle evil as they seek to be reunited with their parents in a magical world. Series

 

Tanner, Lian. The Museum of Thieves. Delacorte, 2010. Goldie, an impulsive and bold twelve-year-old, escapes the oppressive city of Jewel, where children are required to wear guardchains for their protection. She finds refuge in the extraordinary Museum of Dunt, an ever-shifting world where she discovers a useful talent for thievery as well as mysterious secrets that threaten her city and everyone she loves. Series

 

Thor, Annika. A Faraway Island. Delacorte, 2009. Living with two separate host families on a small island off the coast of Sweden in order to escape the Nazis, two German Jewish sisters, Nellie and Stephanie, face daily life without their parents. Each sister adapts differently to their challenges, not knowing if they will see their parents as planned or when the war will end.

 

Tubb, Kristin O’Donnell. Selling Hope. Feiwel and Friends, 2010. This story, set in 1905, is about a smart, savvy girl named Hope who travels the vaudeville circuit with her magician dad and a cast of quirky characters (including Buster Keaton and his family) and invents anti-comet pills in an effort to make money and to save people from Haley’s Comet which some people believe is about to hit the earth.

 

Wiles, Deborah. Countdown. Scholastic, 2010. As eleven-year-old Franny Chapman deals with drama at home and with her best friend in 1962, she tries to understand the larger problems in the world after President Kennedy announces that Russia is sending nuclear missiles to Cuba.

 

Suggestions for Advanced Middle School Readers

 

 Aguirre, Ann. Enclave. Feiwel and Friends, 2011. Following her 15th birthday, Huntress Deuce is sent with topsider Fade to determine the fate of a neighboring enclave. After a shocking discovery, the pair is banished by their own enclave’s elders and must face the darkness and dangers unlike any ever seen.

 

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Chains. Simon & Schuster, 2008. After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War. Series

 

Arbuthnott, Gill. The Keepers’ Tattoo. Chicken House, 2010. Months before her fifteenth birthday, Nyssa learns that she is a special member of a legendary clan, the Keepers of Knowledge, as she and her uncle try to escape from Alaric, the White Wolf, who wants to use lines tattooed on her scalp to destroy the rest of her people.

 

Aronson, Marc. Robert F. Kennedy: A Twentieth-Century Life. Viking, 2007. This is a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how the “runt” of a wealthy and powerful political family came to represent the poor in the race for the presidency in the late 1960s.

 

Asimov, Isaac. The Stars, Like Dust. First published 1951. At the death of his father, Biron Farrill becomes involved in the plot to rebel against the Tyranni who have conquered many worlds.

 

Bacigalupi, Paolo. Ship Breaker. Little, Brown, 2010. In a futuristic world, teenager Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living. When he finds a beached clipper ship with a girl in the wreckage, he has to decide if he should strip the ship for its wealth or rescue the girl. Michael L. Printz Award 2011

 

 

Bradford, Chris. Young Samurai: The Way of the Warrior. Disney-Hyperion, 2008. Orphaned by a ninja pirate attack off the coast of Japan in 1611, twelve-year-old English lad Jack Fletcher is determined to prove himself despite the bullying of fellow students. A legendary sword master who rescued Jack begins training him as a samurai warrior. Series

 

Brande, Robin. Fat Cat. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. Overweight teen Catherine embarks on a high school science fair project in which she decides to emulate the ways of hominids, the earliest ancestors of human beings, by eating an all-natural diet and foregoing technology as much as possible.

 

Bryant, Jen. Pieces of Georgia: A Novel. Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. In journal entries to her mother, a gifted artist who died suddenly, thirteen-year-old Georgia McCoy reveals how her life changes after she receives an anonymous gift membership to a nearby art museum.

 

Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game. First published 1985. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, who spends his childhood at military school in outer space, believes he is playing computer-simulated war games. However, he comes to realize he is really commanding the last great fleet of Earth. Hugo Award; Nebula Award. Series

 

Carter, Ally. Heist Society. Disney-Hyperion, 2010. A group of teenagers uses its combined talents to re-steal several priceless paintings and save fifteen-year-old Kat Bishop's father, himself an international art thief, from a vengeful collector. Series

 

Chatterton, Martin. The Brain Finds a Leg. Peachtree, 2009. In Farrago Bay, Australia, thirteen-year-old Sheldon is recruited by a new student, Theo Brain, to help investigate a murder which is tied not only to bizarre animal behavior but also to a diabolical plot to alter human intelligence.

 

Chibbaro, Julie. Deadly. Atheneum, 2011. New York City in 1793 is reeling from typhoid fever and sixteen-year-old Prudence is hired, against convention, by the Sanitation Department to discover how the disease is being spread.

 

Chima, Cinda Williams. The Demon King. Disney-Hyperion, 2009. The first in a high fantasy series that tells of the intertwining fates of former street gang leader Han Alister and headstrong Princess Raisa as Han takes possession of an amulet that once belonged to an evil wizard and Raisa uncovers a conspiracy in the Grey Wolf Court. Series

 

Christie, Agatha. And Then There Were None (alternate title: Ten Little Indians). First published 1940. Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to a lonely mansion on Indian Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. And then, one by one, they begin to die.

 

Cummings, Priscilla. Red Kayak. Dutton, 2004. Living near the water on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, thirteen-year-old Brady and his best friends J.T. and Digger become entangled in a tragedy which tests their friendship and their idea about right and wrong.

 

Dendy, Leslie A. The Guinea Pig Scientists: Bold Self-Experimenters in Science and Medicine. Holt, 2005. Recounts the true and amazing stories of ten scientists and medical researchers who endured extreme hardship and discomfort in order to test new discoveries and inventions in the fields of medicine and science.

 

Deuker, Carl. Gym Candy. Houghton Mifflin, 2007. Freshman running back Mick Johnson works hard to make his dream of football stardom come true, finding the edge he needs to become bigger, stronger, and faster with the help of steroids despite consequences to his health and social life.

 

Dionne, Erin. Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet. Dial Books, 2010. Hamlet's attempts to be a "normal" eighth grader become increasingly difficult when her genius seven-year-old sister and her eccentric Shakespeare scholar parents both begin to attend her school.

 

Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir. The Hound of the Baskervilles. First published 1902. Sherlock Holmes is asked to investigate the tale of a mysterious death and a hound that haunts the lonely moors around the Baskervilles' ancestral home.

 

Doyle, Marissa. Bewitching Season. Holt, 2008. Persephone and Penelope, seventeen-year-old twins, are to be presented at court in London and meet Princess Victoria when they suddenly are catapulted into a romantic adventure involving their governess (a magician tutor), and a sinister Irish magician. Series

 

Draper, Sharon M. Fire from the Rock. Dutton, 2007. In 1957, honor student Sylvia Patterson is thrilled to be chosen to be among the first African American students to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, but threats of violence by racist mobs cause Sylvia to reconsider.

 

Dumas, Alexandre. The Three Musketeers. First published 1844. Young d’Artagnan comes to Paris to join the Musketeers who serve King Louis XIV and try to foil the evil plots of Cardinal Richelieu.

 

Engle, Margarita. The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom. Holt, 2008. Using free verse poetry, Rosa tells her story of healing, revolution, slavery, survival, and hope for freedom during three revolutions in Cuba between 1868 and 1898.

 

Eulberg, Elizabeth. Prom & Prejudice. Point, 2011. For Lizzie Bennett, a music scholarship student at Connecticut's exclusive, girls-only Longbourn Academy, the furor over prom is senseless, but even more puzzling is her attraction to the pompous Will Darcy, best friend of her roommate's boyfriend.

 

Fisher, Catherine. Incarceron. Dial Books, 2007. Finn is struggling to escape from the Inside of Incarceron, a prison controlled by technology, while Claudia, the privileged warden's daughter, is trapped in a forced seventeenth century world on the Outside. Series

 

Fleischman, Sid. Sir Charlie Chaplin: The Funniest Man in the World. Greenwillow, 2010. Charlie Chaplin, who was raised by a mentally ill mother and an alcoholic, mostly absent, father, spent his childhood in the depths of poverty but grew to international fame as perhaps “the funniest man in the world” in vaudeville, silent movies, and finally “talkies” at the end of his career.

 

Flinn, Alex. Beastly. HarperTeen, 2007. Kyle Kingsbury, a vain, spoiled, private school student who judges others by their appearances, is turned into a frightening monster by a girl he humiliates. In order to break the spell, Kyle must find true love.

 

Freedman, Russell. The War to End All Wars: World War I. Clarion, 2010. This is a narrative history of World War I that features archival photographs and describes how advanced military weaponry impacted the course of the war.

 

Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard Book. HarperCollins, 2008. Toddler Bod, short for Nobody, crawls into a graveyard after his family is brutally murdered. He is then raised lovingly and carefully to the age of eighteen by the graveyard’s ghosts and otherworldly creatures. Newbery Award 2009

 

Gardner, Sally. The Red Necklace: A Story of the French Revolution. Dial Books, 2007. In the late eighteenth-century, Sido, the twelve-year-old daughter of a self-indulgent marquis, and Yann, a fourteen-year-old Gypsy orphan raised to perform in a magic show, face a common enemy at the start of the French Revolution. Series

 

Gier, Kerstin. Ruby Red. Translated from the German by Anthea Bell. Holt, 2011. Sixteen-year-old Gwyneth Shepherd unexpectedly travels through time to the eighteenth century where she discovers a mystery about her real birth date and finds to her dismay that she must work with Gideon -- another time traveler who hates her!

 

Gleitzman, Morris. Once. Holt, 2010. After living in a Catholic orphanage for nearly four years, a naive Jewish boy runs away and embarks on a journey across Nazi-occupied Poland to find his parents.

 

Gonzalez, Christina Diaz. The Red Umbrella. Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. In 1961, fourteen-year-old Lucia’s comfortable life in Cuba ends when communists take control of the country. Lucia and her younger brother are sent by their parents to live with a foster family in Nebraska and must adapt to a new language and way of life.

 

Green, Tim. The Big Time: A Football Genius Novel. Harper, 2010. Troy has a talent for predicting professional football teams’ plays, but his talent complicates his own seventh grade team’s drive to the Georgia State Championship, especially when the father he never knew shows up.

 

Grimes, Nikki. Planet Middle School. Bloomsbury, 2011. 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.

 

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Uprising. Simon & Schuster, 2007. Newly arrived in New York from Italy in 1911, Bella gets a job at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory working long hours under terrible conditions alongside hundreds of other immigrants. When a spark ignites a bit of cloth, the factory becomes engulfed in flames.

 

Hale, Marian. Dark Water Rising. Holt, 2006. While salvaging and rebuilding in the aftermath of the Galveston flood of 1900, sixteen-year-old Seth proves himself in a way that his previous efforts never could; but he still must face his father man-to-man. Actual eyewitness accounts are incorporated into the story.

 

Hardinge, Frances. The Lost Conspiracy. Harper, 2009. When all the magical Lost are mysteriously killed on Gullstruck Island, retribution is taken violently against the impoverished Lace clan. As a result, the Lace sisters Hathin and Arilou are running for their lives and, ultimately, looking for revenge.

 

Higgins, F. E. The Eyeball Collector. Feiwel and Friends, 2009. Homeless and orphaned after his father is blackmailed and dies, Hector seeks revenge against the creepy con man who ruined them and follows him to the mansion of the cruel Lady Mandible.

 

Hinds, Gareth. The Odyssey: A Graphic Novel. Candlewick, 2010. Homer's epic tale of Odysseus - the ancient Greek hero who encounters witches and other obstacles on his journey home after fighting in the Trojan War - is retold in graphic novel format.

 

Hoffman, Alice. Green Witch. Scholastic, 2010. A year after her family and world are destroyed, Green and her fellow survivors go on a quest for answers about life, love, loss, and their future.

 

Ibbotson, Eva. A Countess Below Stairs. Speak, 2007. First published 1981. Anna, a young Russian countess forced to flee to England with her governess during the Russian Revolution, conceals her past in order to gain a much-needed job as a maid in the Westerholme household. The growing attraction between her and Rupert, the handsome Earl of Westerholme, begins to cause trouble.

 

Kipling, Rudyard. The Jungle Book. First published in magazines, 1893-1895. This is a collection of stories which center on Mowgli, a “man-cub,” raised by wolves. His journey to adulthood is aided by Baloo the bear and Bagheera the black panther. Also included is the story of a mongoose, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.

 

Kirby, Matthew. The Clockwork Three. Scholastic, 2010. As mysterious circumstances bring Giuseppe, Frederick, and Hannah together, their lives soon interlock like the turning gears in a clock and they realize that each one holds a key to solving the others' mysteries.

 

Korman, Gordon. Pop. Balzer + Bray, 2009. Lonely after a midsummer move to a new town, sixteen-year-old high school quarterback Marcus Jordan becomes friends with a retired professional linebacker who is great at training him, but whose childish behavior keeps Marcus in hot water.

 

Lane, Andrew. Death Cloud. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010. In 1868, with his army officer father suddenly posted to India, and his mother mysteriously "unwell," fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes is sent to stay with his eccentric uncle and aunt in their vast house in Hampshire, where he uncovers his first murder and a diabolical villain. Series

 

Le Guin, Ursula K. A Wizard of Earthsea. First published 1968. After pride causes him to unleash a demon, Zed is compelled to either chase or escape from the ever-pursuing shadow. Series

 

Leavitt, Martine. Keturah and Lord Death. Front Street, 2006. Lord Death comes to claim sixteen-year-old Keturah when she is lost and starving in the King's Forest, but she charms him with her story and is granted a twenty-four hour reprieve in which to seek her one true love.

 

Lee, Y.S. A Spy in the House. Candlewick, 2010. Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan and thief Mary Quinn is offered a place at Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls where she is trained to be part of an all-female investigative unit called The Agency. At age seventeen, she infiltrates a rich merchant's home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. Series

 

Li, Moying. Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of Age in China during the Cultural Revolution. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. Studying at a prestigious language school in Beijing, Moying Li seems destined for a promising future until the Cultural Revolution sweeps across China and student Red Guards orchestrate brutal assaults, public humiliations, and forced confessions throughout the country.

 

Lu, Marie. Legend. Putnam’s, 2011. In a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations, fifteen-year-olds Day, a famous criminal, and prodigy June, the brilliant soldier hired to capture him, discover that they have a common enemy.

 

Morris, Paula. Ruined. Point, 2009. When Rebecca moves to New Orleans to stay with her aunt in a scary old house while her father is traveling, and while most kids at school treat her poorly, a mysterious girl named Lisette shows her the hidden nooks of the city and reveals shocking truths about Rebecca's own history.

 

Mull, Brandon. A World Without Heroes. Aladdin, 2011. Fourteen-year-old Jason Walker is transported to a strange world called Lyrian, where he joins Rachel and a few rebels to piece together the Word that can destroy the malicious wizard emperor.

 

Mulligan, Andy. Trash. David Fickling Books, 2010. A group of fourteen-year-old boys -- who make a living picking garbage from the outskirts of a large city -- finds something special and mysterious that brings terrifying consequences.

 

Murphy, Jim. The Real Benedict Arnold. Clarion, 2007. A comprehensive biography and history of Benedict Arnold that examines many of his heroic deeds and contributions to the Revolutionary cause before he decided to switch sides.

 

Nelson, Peter. Left for Dead: A Young Man’s Search for Justice for the USS Indianapolis. Delacorte, 2002. Fifty years after the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis at the end of World War II, a young boy helps the survivors set the record straight, bringing to light the Navy cover-up and an unfair court-martial of the ship’s captain.

 

Ness, Patrick. A Monster Calls. Candlewick, 2011. Troubled by the recurring nightmare that started with his mother’s cancer treatments, twelve-year-old Conor is shocked by a monster in the form of a giant yew tree that appears at his window -- a monster who has three stories to tell and who wants “the truth” from Conor.

 

Nye, Naomi Shihab. You & Yours. BOA Editions, 2005. Nye’s poetry is filled with small moments in her Texas home and many larger themes from the war-torn Middle East.

 

O’Brien, Caragh M. Birthmarked. Roaring Brook, 2010. Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, a midwife who dutifully delivers at least three babies a month and hands them over to the Enclave, a community within walls where the children are adopted and live with conveniences which are not available to the outside world, begins to question her loyalty to the group after her mother is brutally taken away from her by the people she serves.

 

O’Neal, Eilis. The False Princess. Egmont USA, 2011. Nalia has been raised as the Princess of Thorvaldor, but on her sixteenth birthday she learns that her real name is Sinda and that she is part of a complicated plot that would change the future of her country forever.

 

 

Park, Linda Sue. A Long Walk to Water. Clarion, 2010. Young Salva survives many dangers growing up in war-torn Sudan and dedicates his life to making a difference for those who live in his native land. Based on a true story.

 

Pearson, Mary E. The Adoration of Jenna Fox. Holt, 2008. In the not-too-distant future, when biotechnological advances have made synthetic bodies and brains possible but illegal, a seventeen-year-old girl, recovering from a serious accident and suffering from memory lapses, learns a startling secret about her existence.

 

Petersen, David. Mouse Guard, Volume 1: Fall 1152. ASP Comics, 2007. A graphic novel about the world of Mouse Guard, mice with capes and swords defending themselves against their enemies as if they were Knights of the Round Table. Series

 

Reeve, Philip. Fever Crumb. Scholastic, 2009. Foundling, Fever Crumb, has been raised as an engineer although females in the future London, England, are not believed capable of rational thought. At age fourteen she leaves her sheltered world and begins to learn startling truths about her past while facing danger in the present. Series.

 

Rice, Condoleezza. Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me. Delacorte, 2011. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice shares stories of growing up in a black middle class family during the racially turbulent 1950s and 1960s.

 

Riggs, Ransom. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Quirk Books, 2011. Sixteen-year-old Jacob, having traveled to a remote island after a family tragedy, discovers an abandoned orphanage, and, after some investigating, he learns the children who lived there may have been dangerous and quarantined and may also still be alive. Haunting vintage photographs are dispersed throughout the book, giving the story a hint of creepiness.

 

Riordan, Rick. The Red Pyramid. Disney-Hyperion, 2010. Siblings Carter and Sadie Kane, who have been living apart the six years since their mother’s death, are reunited with their Egyptologist father who takes them to the British Museum where he disappears in a fiery explosion. Carter and Sadie try to save their father by embarking on a dangerous pursuit which leads them to the source of a secret order that goes back to the time of the pharaohs. Series

 

Ruiz Zafón, Carlos. The Prince of Mist. Little, Brown, 2010. In 1943, in a seaside town where their family has gone to be safe from war, thirteen-year-old Max Carver and sister, fifteen-year-old Alicia, with new friend Roland, face off against an evil magician who is striving to complete a bargain made before he died.

 

Rylant, Cynthia. Boris. Harcourt, 2005. The narrator of these nineteen poems speaks directly to her cat, Boris, about his life and her own since his arrival at her door. This book is a good introduction for newcomers to poetry and is especially appealing to cat lovers.

 

Sachar, Louis. The Cardturner: A Novel About a Queen, a King, and a Joker. Delacorte, 2010. When his wealthy uncle, a champion bridge player who has lost his vision, asks seventeen-year-old Alton to be a cardturner for him, Alton has no idea how much he will ultimately learn from his eccentric relative.

 

Schmatz, Pat. Bluefish. Candlewick, 2011. Longing for the country and his missing dog Roscoe, Travis tries to survive in a new school while living with his alcoholic grandfather and burdened by a painful secret. Hope comes in the form of a teacher and a new friend named Velveeta.

 

Schmidt, Gary D. Trouble. Clarion, 2008. Fourteen-year-old Henry, wanting to honor his brother Franklin's dying wishes, sets out to hike Maine's Mount Katahdin with his best friend and dog. However, fate adds another companion -- the Cambodian refugee accused of fatally injuring Franklin.

 

Scieszka, Jon. Knucklehead: Tall Tales & Mostly True Stories About Growing Up Scieszka. Viking, 2008. Part memoir and part scrapbook, this book is a very funny autobiography of growing up in a family of six boys in the 1950s.

 

Sepetys, Ruta. Between Shades of Gray. Philomel, 2011. On a calm, beautiful night in 1941 Lithuania, fifteen-year-old Lina’s life is torn apart as she and her family are forced from their home and sent to work in labor camps along the harsh Arctic Circle as part of Stalin’s forced relocation program.

 

Shulman, Polly. The Grimm Legacy. Putnam’s, 2010. High school student Elizabeth gets an after-school job as a page at the "New York Circulating Material Repository." When she gains coveted access to its Grimm Collection of magical objects, she and the other pages are drawn into a series of frightening adventures involving mythical creatures and stolen goods.

 

Shusterman, Neal. Unwind. Simon & Schuster, 2007. Three teens embark upon a cross-country journey in order to escape from a society that salvages body parts from children ages thirteen to eighteen.

 

Smiley, Jane. The Georges and the Jewels. Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. Seventh-grader Abby Lovitt grows up on her family's California horse ranch in the 1960s, learning to train the horses her father sells and trying to reconcile her strict religious upbringing with her own ideas about life. Series

 

Smith, Roland. Independence Hall. Sleeping Bear Press, 2008. Quest and his stepsister Angela are thrust into the dangerous world of the American Secret Service and the Israeli Mossad when they learn Angela's real mother was a former Secret Service agent who was killed by a terrorist group.

 

 

Springer, Nancy. The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline: An Enola Holmes Mystery. Philomel, 2009. In late nineteenth-century London, fourteen-year-old Enola Holmes, much younger sister of detective Sherlock Holmes, turns to Florence Nightingale for help when her investigation into the disappearance of her landlady grows cold. Series.

 

Stiefvater, Maggie. The Scorpio Races. Scholastic, 2011. Some race for fame. Some race for fortune. Then there is the story of Puck Connolly who, for the sake of her family, willingly risks her life as she races the legendary water horses in the bloody and brutal Scorpio Races.

 

Stork, Francisco X. The Last Summer of the Death Warriors. Arthur A. Levine, 2010. Seventeen-year-old Pancho is bent on avenging the senseless death of his sister. After he meets D.Q, who is dying of cancer, and one of D.Q’s caregivers, Marisol, both boys find their lives changed forever.

 

Stroud, Jonathan. The Ring of Solomon. Disney-Hyperion, 2010. Bartimaeus, a wise-cracking djinni, finds himself in the tenth century and at the court of King Solomon with an unpleasant master and a sinister servant, and he gets himself into trouble with King Solomon's magic ring. Series

 

Supplee, Suzanne. Somebody Everybody Listens To. Dutton, 2010. When Retta Lee Jones graduates from high school and leaves her small town in search of a big break in Nashville, she encounters warmth and kindness along with cruelty and violence.

 

Swanson, James L. Chasing Lincoln’s Killer. Scholastic, 2009. This is a nail-biting and detailed telling of the assassination of Lincoln and all the accompanying chaos of the struggle to catch his killer.

 

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit, or There and Back Again. First published 1937. Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return. Series

 

Valente, Catherynne M. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. Feiwel and Friends, 2011. The narrator tells a story, not unlike the perils of Alice in Wonderland and Dorothy (in Oz), of a twelve-year-old girl named September who is whisked away to Fairyland to retrieve the golden sword for the cruel Marquess.

 

Verne, Jules. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. First published 1869. This is a nineteenth-century science fiction tale of an electric submarine, its eccentric captain, and an undersea world.

 

 




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