Middle School Summer Reading List (page 2)

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based on 39 ratings
May 5, 2010
Updated on Apr 22, 2014

Our 2011 Summer Reading List

The Witches' Kitchen by Allen Williams. This is a great adventure, full of fantastical characters, grounded by one frog's complete disbelief at what is happening to her! Though full of fairy tale elements, this is no princess tale. Perfect for kids into fantasy or video games who may not be into reading, yet. Williams' detailed and creepy illustrations pepper the pages like sketches in an explorer's journal. Nothing is commonplace in the wild, thorny landscape of the Kitchen. (Little, Brown Books, $13.25)

Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve. London has been reduced to rubble by a battle between humans and an evolutionary offshoot called the Scrivens. When a dashing explorer arrives at the lab and asks for Fever's assistance on a project, she leaves the headquarters for the first time in her life and stumbles upon some dangerous secrets. Almost a coming-of-age story, but far more thrilling, this book appeals to middle schoolers with cinematic imagery, potent action, vivid characters and some well-placed wit. (Scholastic, $8.99)

Lost & Found: Three by Shaun Tan. All three different stories within this book prove that pockets of darkness can hold incredible treasure. Quirky, at times bleak, but always thoughtful, each story pulls the reader into a new world of expression, with inspiring images and visual details. A must for any aspiring artist's bookshelf. (Arthur A. Levine Books, $13.08)


The Boy at the End of the World by Greg van Eekhout. The world has evolved, but mankind hasn't exactly kept up. Fisher is on his own and, with unlikely companions, he has to find a way to survive. This moving story will keep your middle schooler engaged from the first page to the last. This book has everything wanted for summer escapism: adventure, humor, heart, and giant parrots. The great pace can't hurt either. (Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, $10.79)

The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow. It's 1930s Berlin. Karl Stern comes from Jewish lineage, but shares his mother's fair features, which keep Nazi sympathizers off his back. When Karl begins lessons with boxer Max Schmeling, an undefeated champ with Nazi affiliations, he must struggle to keep his heritage under wraps. Here is a heartbreaking -- but also hopeful -- introduction to the chaos of Third-Reich Germany for students just beginning to learn about the horrors of the Holocaust. (Harper, $11.21) 

Our 2010 Middle School Summer Reading Picks

The Game of Sunken Places by M. T. Anderson. Your kids have probably read a book where children arrive at a distant relative's house in the country, only to discover all is not what it seems. But they've never read a book quite like this one. This deliciously suspenseful, oftentimes creepy, and surprisingly funny fantasy hurtles forward from the very first sentence, keeping even the most reluctant reader guessing until the final page. The plot centers around two boys, Gregory and Brain, who travel to an uncle's remote Vermont mansion and discover an ancient board game that plays out in the real world—revealing its spaces as the game progresses. At stake? Only a centuries-old feud between two spirit nations, fighting for control. The boys must dodge ogres and befriend trolls as they negotiate the dark reaches of the heavily forested property and race to win the game before their time runs out. A gripping summer read for any reader. (Scholastic, $6.99)

Forest Born by Shannon Hale. The fourth installment in the Books of Bayern, a series by the acclaimed author of Princess Academy, this adventure blends the kind of strong heroines and inventive storytelling that make modern fantasy tales a success. Rin is "forest born," and can sense the language of trees .. but she senses other powers in herself that could turn her toward evil. When Rin accompanies the Fire Sisters Isi, Enna, and Dasha to protect the kingdom from the threat of a powerful usurper, she must learn to use her powers, or risk letting them use her. A great read with a hefty dash of friendship, romance and excitement, this series is sure to delight. Start with the first book, The Goose Girl, for an added treat! (Bloomsbury, $12.23)

Scat by Carl Hiaasen. What do an orphaned panther cub, a wounded soldier returned from Iraq, a Floridian swamp, a missing biology teacher and a would-be arsonist all have in common? They're all part of Carl Hiaasen's latest eco-thriller, Scat. When the despised Mrs. Starch goes missing during a fiery field trip to Black Vine Swamp, Nick Waters suspects Duane Scrod Jr. (aka "Smoke") is involved, and he intends to get to the bottom if it all. Meanwhile Drake McBride, a businessman as oily as his trade, decides to drill for oil in Black Vine Swamp, endangering the protected wildlife in his search for "black gold." Several plots converge into one gripping story that will delight both teens and adults. Hiaasen's wickedly witty prose and exceptionally entertaining plot twists don't distract from his timely and relevant message, which is what ultimately makes this book so captivating. (Knopf Books for Young Readers, $8.99)

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. With World War II in full swing, the Carver family decides to get out of the city and relocate to a small oceanside village. But something about their new house just isn't right. The cat who followed them home seems somehow human and the cobwebbed garden of statues just beyond Max's window seems to shift ever so slightly... or is that just his imagination? Soon Max, his sister Alicia, and their new friend Roland learn of a mysterious death that took place in the house and a dangerous being called The Prince of Mist. Full of spare, evocative writing and a pounding plot, this page turner from the author of the international sensation Shadow of the Wind feels deep, gentle, and frightening at the same time. For a mature middle school reader, it's a winner. (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $10.52)

The Case of the Gypsy Good Bye: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer. This is a great little mystery; the final book of a series featuring the brilliant and courageous Ms. Enola Holmes, who works sometimes in competition with, and sometimes in cooperation with, her more famous brother. Enola also happens to be just 15 years old, making her a perfect heroine for pre-teen girls. In this case, Enola is searching for the missing Lady Blanchefleur del Campo, while also trying to decipher a mysterious message from her estranged mother, and dodging her overbearing brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock. Smart writing takes the reader deep into a dark and elegant Victorian England. The vocabulary is tricky, and may require a couple of trips to the dictionary, but the reader is rewarded with a wry and deliciously witty tale. (Philomel, $10.19)

Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman. This book is a great guide to transitioning from middle school to high school, and pre-teens soon to bridge that gap will appreciate the very realistic look at one girl's struggle to fit in, be herself, and do the right thing. Charlie Heaney wants to start her high school career with a clean slate (read: without the influence of former "frenemies.") The year starts out well, she makes a new group of friends and scores a freshman column in the school newspaper. But it turns out drama isn't completely unavoidable, and when she discovers dangerous hazing rituals on the Lacrosse team, she is faced with a difficult moral decision. Told in candid and humorous first-person narrative, this is one protagonist any adolescent can identify with. (Putnam, $12.23)

The Farwalker's Quest by Joni Sensel. When a magical artifact boding of danger arrives in the sleepy seaside village of Canberra Docks, 13-year-old Ariel knows her world is about to change. After two mysterious strangers kidnap her, Ariel unwittingly starts on a quest that will lead her to the truth of the artifact's cryptic message and introduce her to a few unlikely friends along the way. Featuring talking stones, clairvoyant trees, and one very mischievous ghost, this fast-paced tale of adventure and courage is sure to suck readers in from page one. Endearing characters and plenty of action and suspense make it a great read for boys and girls alike. For those who fall in love with The Farwalker's Quest, don't miss its equally exciting sequel, The Timekeeper's Moon. (Bloomsbury, $7.99)

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