Type of Book
TL - Traditional Literature
RF - Realistic Fiction
HF - Historical Fiction
SF - Science Fiction
F - Fantasy
B - Biography
I - Information Book
S - Series or Sequel

101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher

by Lee Wardlaw - Steve “Sneeze” Wyatt is proud to be known for his fabulous inventions,but, unfortunately, they are also the reason his parents have decided that he should skip a grade and leave all of his friends behind in junior high! There's no way the resourceful Sneeze is going to let that happen. He's on a mission to think of 101 surefire ways to get under his teachers' skin . . . and fast. And not even a worrisome case of inventor's block, or fear of his history teacher Ms. “Fierce” Pierce, will deter him from his clever plan. RL - Humor

Among the Hidden

by Margaret Peterson Haddix - Luke has never been to school. He's never had a birthday party, or gone to a friend's house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend. Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police. He's lived his entire life in hiding, and now, with a new housing development replacing the woods next to his family's farm, he is no longer even allowed to go outside. Then, one day Luke sees a girl's face in the window of a house where he knows two other children already live. Finally, he's met a shadow child like himself. Jen is willing to risk everything to come out of the shadows — does Luke dare to become involved in her dangerous plan? Can he afford not to? S

Call of the Wild

by Jack London - Part St. Bernard, part Scotch shepherd, Buck is a sturdy crossbreed canine accustomed to a comfortable life as a family dog -- until he's seized from his pampered surroundings and shipped to Alaska to be a sled dog. There, the forbidding landscape is as harsh as life itself during the gold rush of the 1890s. Forced to function in a climate where every day is a savage struggle for survival, Buck adapts quickly. Traces of his earlier existence are obliterated and he reverts to his dormant primeval instincts, encountering danger and adventure as he becomes the leader of a wolf pack and undertakes a journey of nearly mythical proportions. Superb details, taken from Jack London's firsthand knowledge of Alaskan frontier life, make this classic tale of endurance as gripping today as it was over a century ago. One of literature's most popular and exciting adventure stories, The Call of the Wild will enrich the reading experience of youngsters, and rekindle fond memories of a favorite among older generations. TL

The City of Ember

by Jeanne Duprau - The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she's sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must decipher the message before the lights go out on Ember forever! This stunning debut novel offers refreshingly clear writing and fascinating, original characters.SF


by Wendelin Van Draanen - The chapters of this clever novel alternate between two narrators—Julianna and Bryce—who meet after first grade when they become neighbors. Julianna takes to Bryce immediately, but he dislikes her eagerness to become friends and avoids her for years. Then in middle school, he sees her with new eyes as smart, entrepreneurial and committed to what she believes in. Telling incidents and perfectly pitched middle-school voices reveal how these characters' positions flip. From Book Magazine RF

The Giant Rat of Sumatra: or Pirates Galore

by Sid Fleischman - A swashbuckling pirate ship cuts through the early morning fog. Crouching like a tiger about to spring, her figurehead is a huge and ferocious rat with crooked teeth and gouged-out eyes. When the daring Giant Rat of Sumatra drops anchor in San Diego, twelve-year-old cabin boy Shipwreck only wants to begin his long journey home to Boston. Instead he encounters: snarling mutineers, barefoot bandits, hairbreadth escapes, duels, cunning barkeeps, simmering revenge, secret identities, scrappy orphans, betrayals, lost loves, old enemies, new villains, heroic last stands and razzle-dazzle treasure so well hidden that only someone as quick and clever as Shipwreck could keep up with it. Plucked from the sea by the most notorious pirate in the Pacific, Shipwreck discovers his adventure is only beginning. HF

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup

by Sharon Creech - Twelve-year-old Rosie and her best friend, Bailey, don't always get along, that's true. But Granny Torrelli seems to know just how to make things right again with her warm words and family recipes. She understands from experience that life's twists and turns can't rattle the unique bond between two lifelong pals. Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech cooks up a delightfully tender novel, filled with homemade dishes and secret recipes. It's easy to remember what's important about love, life, and friendship while Granny Torrelli makes soup. RF

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince takes up the story of Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at this point in the midst of the storm of this battle of good and evil. The author has already said that the Half-Blood Prince is neither Harry nor Voldemort. And most importantly, the opening chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has been brewing in J.K. Rowling's mind for 13 years. F

The Hobbit

by J.R.R. - Whisked away from his comfortable, unambitious life in his hobbit-hole by Gandalf the wizard and a company of dwarves, Bilbo Baggins finds himself caught up in a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. F

Pictures of Hollis Woods

by Patricia Giff - A troublesome twelve-year-old orphan, staying with an elderly artist who needs her, remembers the only other time she was happy in a foster home, with a family that truly seemed to care about her. RF


by Carl Hiaasen - Unfortunately, Roy's first acquaintance in Florida is Dana Matherson, a well-known bully. Then again, if Dana hadn't been sinking his thumbs into Roy's temples and mashing his face against the school-bus window, Roy might never have spotted the running boy. And the running boy is intriguing: he was running away from the school bus, carried no books, and -- here's the odd part -- wore no shoes. Sensing a mystery, Roy sets himself on the boy's trail. The chase introduces him to potty-trained alligators, a fake-fart champion, some burrowing owls, a renegade eco-avenger, and several extremely poisonous snakes with unnaturally sparkling tails. RF

P. S.Longer Letter Later

by Ann M. Martin - If opposites really do attract, this explains why Elizabeth and Tara*Starr are best friends. Not only are their personalities different, but their family backgrounds are a lesson in socio-economic diversity. When Tara*Starr's family moves to another town, the letters that she and Elizabeth write regularly become even more important. Their correspondence chronicles the joys, hopes, fears, and sometimes pain, of two girls coming of age. RF

The Meanest Doll in the World

by Ann M. Martin - Annabelle Doll is eight years old -- she has been for more than a hundred years. Not a lot has happened to her, cooped up in the dollhouse, with the same doll people, day after day, year after year ... until one day the Funcrafts move in. Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, with the help of Brian Selznick's remarkable illustrations, bring to life two wonderful families who prove that dolls are people, too! F

Mississippi Bridge

by Mildred Taylor - During a heavy rainstorm in 1930s rural Mississippi, a ten-year-old white boy sees a bus driver order all the black passengers off a crowded bus to make room for late-arriving white passengers and then set off across the raging Rosa Lee River. TL

Olive's Ocean

by Kevin Henkes - Olive Barstow was in Martha Boyle's class until she was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding her bicycle. Martha didn't know Olive -- not really. But after Olive's mother gives her a section from Olive's journal, Martha knows they could have been, would have been friends. And now Martha and her family are going to visit Godbee, Martha's grandmother, on Cape Cod for the rest of the summer -- as they do every year. The Boyles descent of Godbee's small house in a flurry of exuberance, mini-crises, diapers, and humor all mixed together. The ocean is still there. And the five Manning boys still live nearby. There is Jimmy Manning with his ever-present video camera. Jimmy Manning, who gives Martha her first kiss. And Tate, who seems to follow Martha with his eyes. And then there is Olive, who had always wanted to see the ocean, and who now haunts Martha's thoughts and dreams. RF

Or Give Me Death

by Ann Rinaldi - With their father away most of the time advocating independence for the American colonies, the children of Patrick Henry try to raise themselves, manage the family plantation, and care for their mentally ill mother. HF

The Other Side of the Truth

by Beverly Maidoo - Smuggled out of Nigeria after their mother's murder, Sade and her younger brother are abandoned in London when their uncle fails to meet them at the airport and they are fearful of their new surroundings and of what may have happened to their journalist father back in Nigeria. RF

Red Midnight

by Ben Mikaelsen - When guerrilla soldiers strike Santiago's village, they destroy everything in their path -- including his home and family. Santiago and his four-year-old sister escape, running for their lives. But the only way they can be truly safe is to leave Guatemala behind forever. So Santiago and Angelina set sail in a sea kayak their Uncle Ramos built while dreaming of his own escape. Sailing through narrow channels guarded by soldiers, shark-infested waters, and days of painful heat and raging storms, Santiago and Angelina face an almost impossible voyage hundreds of miles across the open ocean, heading for the hope of a new life in the United States. HF


by Anthony Horowitz - They told him his uncle died in a car accident. Fourteen-year-old Alex knows that's a lie, and the bullet holes in his uncle's windshield confirm his suspicions. But nothing prepares him for the news that the uncle he always thought he knew was really a spy for MI6—Britain's top secret intelligence agency. Recruited to find his uncle's killers and complete his final mission, Alex suddenly finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse. RF/Suspense/Mystery

Surving the Applewhites

by Stephanie Tolan - Will anyone take on Jake Semple? Jake Semple is notorious. Rumor has it he burned down his old school and got kicked out of every school in his home state. Only one place will take him now, and that's a home school run by the Applewhites, a chaotic and hilarious family of artists. The only one who doesn't fit the Applewhite mold is E.D. -- a smart, sensible girl who immediately clashes with the unruly Jake. Jake thinks surviving this one will be a breeze ... but is he really as tough or as bad as he seems? RF

Swear to Howdy

by Wendelin Van Draanen - Joey Banks is a walking adventure. He's funny, daring, mischievous--and frequently in trouble. Or he would be if anyone found out about half the stuff he's done. But Rusty Cooper knows how to keep a secret. And Joey's the best friend he's ever had. But then comes a secret that is at once too terrible to tell and too terrible to keep. A secret so big it threatens to eat them alive. What would a true friend do now? RF

Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse

by Kate DiCamillo - Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other's lives. And what happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out. F

The Thief Lord

by Cornelia Funke - Prosper and Bo are orphans on the run from their cruel aunt and uncle. The brothers decide to hide out in Venice, where they meet a mysterious character who calls himself the "Thief Lord." Brilliant and charismatic, the Thief Lord leads a ring of street children who dabble in petty crimes. Prosper and Bo relish being part of this colorful new family. But the Thief Lord has secrets of his own. And soon the boys are thrust into circumstances that will lead them, and readers, to a fantastic, spellbinding conclusion. F

Treasure Island

by Robert Louis Stevenson - First published over a century ago, this extraordinary tale of long-lost treasure and revenge remains one of the most memorable in classic literature. In this unabridged gift edition, two-time Cladecott Medal-winning illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon capture perfectly the grandeur, beauty and perils of Captain Nemo's underwater world. TL

Trouble Don't Last

by Shelley Pearsall - Samuel, an eleven-year-old Kentucky slave, and Harrison, the elderly slave who helped raise him, attempt to escape to Canada via the Underground Railroad. HF

Wenny Has Wings

by Janet Lee Carey - Is there life after death? Will North thinks so. He and his little sister, Wenny, both died when they were hit by a truck. Will remembers seeing Wenny flying ahead of him toward a golden light. He almost followed her, until he remembered his parents and was pulled back into life. But now Will is angry. He blames himself for Wenny's death, believing there must have been something he could have done to prevent the accident. He's mad at his grieving parents, who act as if they can never be happy again. And he is furious with Wenny, not only for insisting on going with him to the store on the day of the accident, but also for leaving him behind. Will thinks that talking about his near-death experience may comfort his parents and help heal his family. But no one seems willing to listen to him. RF
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Back to Main Page - Summer Reading List - Middle School
Created By Mary M. Silgals, MLIS

June 1, 2006
Annotations by publishers except where noted.