Too-Good-to-Miss Books: Middle School

Check out one of these too good to miss titles for readers in 6-8th grade!


Compiled by:
Becky F.
Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon

Steve Sheinkin
(Adult Nonfiction - 623.45119 She)

In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.


Chains

Laurie Halse Anderson
(Juvenile Fiction - J Anderso)

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


Counting By 7s

Holly Goldberg Sloan
(Juvenile Fiction - J 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.


The Crossover

Kwame Alexander
(Juvenile Fiction - J Alexand)

Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health.


Dead End in Norvelt

Jack Gantos
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gantos)

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


The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding

Alexandra Bracken
(Juvenile Fiction - J Bracken)

Prosper is the only unexceptional Redding in his old and storied family history-that is, until he discovers the demon living inside him. Turns out Prosper's great-great-great-great-great-something grandfather made-and then broke-a contract with a malefactor, a demon who exchanges fortune for eternal servitude. And, weirdly enough, eight-hundred-year-old Alastor isn't exactly the forgiving type.The fiend has reawakened with one purpose--to destroy the family whose success he ensured and who then betrayed him. With only days to break the curse and banish Alastor back to the demon realm, Prosper is playing unwilling host to the fiend, who delights in tormenting him with nasty insults and constant attempts to trick him into a contract. 


The First Rule of Punk

Celia C. Perez
(Juvenile Fiction - J Perez)

Twelve-year-old María Luisa O'Neill-Morales (who really prefers to be called Malú) reluctantly moves with her Mexican-American mother to Chicago and starts seventh grade with a bang--violating the dress code with her punkrock aesthetic and spurning the middle school's most popular girl in favor of starting a band with a group of like-minded weirdos.


Flipped

Wendelin Van Draanen
(Young Adult - Y Vandraa)

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


Goodbye Stranger

Rebecca Stead
(Juvenile Fiction - J Stead)

As Bridge makes her way through seventh grade on Manhattan's Upper West Side with her best friends, curvacious 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?"


The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gaiman)

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.


Hello Universe

Erin Entrada Kelly
(Juvenile Fiction - J Kelly)

Lives of four misfits are intertwined when a bully's prank lands shy Virgil at the bottom of a well and Valencia, Kaori, and Gen band together in an epic quest to find and rescue him. Virgil feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia is deaf, smart, and loves everything about nature. Kaori is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so that he can concentrate on basketball. They aren't friends. But when Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well, Kaori, Gen, and Valencia begin a quest to find the missing Virgil.


The House of the Scorpion

Nancy Farmer
(Juvenile Fiction - J Farmer)

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


Life as We Knew it

Susan Beth Pfeffer
(Young Adult - Y Pfeffer)

Through journal entries, sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family's struggle to survive after a meteor hits the moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.


The Marvels

Brian Selznick
(Juvenile Fiction - J Selznic)

The journey begins on a ship at sea in 1766, with a boy named Billy Marvel. After surviving a shipwreck, he finds work in a London theatre. There, his family flourishes for generations as brilliant actors until 1900, when young Leontes Marvel is banished from the stage. Nearly a century later, Joseph Jervis runs away from school and seeks refuge with a reclusive uncle in London. Albert Nightingale's strange, beautiful house, with its mysterious portraits and ghostly presences, captivates Joseph and leads him on a search for clues about the house, his family, and the past.


Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

James Patterson
(Juvenile Fiction - J Patters)

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


The Night Gardener

Jonathan Auxier
(Young Adult - Y Auxier)

Irish orphans Molly, fourteen, and Kip, ten, travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what it seems to be, and soon the siblings are confronted by a mysterious stranger and secrets of the cursed house.


A Northern Light

Jennifer Donnelly
(Young Adult - Y Donnell)

In 1906, sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiance, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. Based on a true story.


Rain Reign

Ann M. Martin
(Juvenile - J Martin)

Struggling with Asperger's, Rose shares a bond with her beloved dog, but when the dog goes missing during a storm, Rose is forced to confront the limits of her comfort levels, even if it means leaving her routines in order to search for her pet.


The Ruins of Gorlan

John Flanagan
(Juvenile Fiction - J Flanaga)

When fifteen-year-old Will is rejected by battleschool, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt, and winds up protecting the kingdom from danger.


The Schwa was Here

Neal Shusterman
(Juvenile Fiction - J Sh)

A Brooklyn eighth-grader nicknamed Antsy befriends the Schwa, an "invisible-ish" boy who is tired of blending into his surroundings and going unnoticed by nearly everyone. Anthony, also known as "Antsy," is fascinated by "The Schwa Effect"--the fact that no one ever sees Calvin Schwa. Even when acting weird and dressed like a total freak, The Schwa is only barely noticed. The two boys form a partnership and get away with all kinds of mischief, from conducting experiments at school to confounding opponents on thebasketball court. When The Schwa senses that even Antsy is beginning to lose sight of him, he vows to do something that will make him so visible, no one will ever forget him.


The Screaming Staircase

Jonathon Stroud
(Juvenile Fiction - J Stroud)

In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall's legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?


Serafina and the Black Cloak

Robert Beatty
(Juvenile Fiction - J Beatty)

In 1899, a twelve-year-old rat catcher on North Carolina's Biltmore estate teams up with the estate owner's young nephew to battle a great evil and, in the process, unlocks the puzzle of her past.


Ship Breaker

Paolo Bacigalupi
(Young Adult - Y Bacigal)

In a futuristic world, teenaged Nailer scavenges copper wiring from grounded oil tankers for a living, but 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.


Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth

Boyce Cottrel
(Juvenile Fiction - J Cottrel)

Separated from his aging caregiver grandfather and placed in a foster home, Prez forges an unusual friendship with an alien who appears as a dog to everyone else and entreats Prez to help compile a list of Earth's redeeming qualities toprevent the planet from being destroyed.


The Sword of Summer

Rick Riordan
(Juvenile Fiction - J Riordan)

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother's mysterious death, he's lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he is tracked down by a man he's never met -- a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants, and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.


The Thief

Megan Whalen Turner
(Juvenile Fiction - J Turner)

Gen flaunts his ingenuity as a thief and relishes the adventure which takes him to a remote temple of the gods where he will attempt to steal a precious stone.


The Unicorn in the Barn

Jacqueline Ogburn
(Juvenile Fiction - J Ogburn)

Fifth-grader Eric's life transforms when he encounters a unicorn in the woods around Chinaberry Creek and discovers a special veterinary clinic that cares for "supernatural exotic patients.