Middle School Summer Reading List (page 3)

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

Our 2009 Middle School Summer Reading Picks

The Prince of Fenway Park by Juliana Baggott. It's been a seriously long time since the Red Sox won a World Series. Eighty-six years, in fact. Rumor has it they're cursed, and twelve-year-old Oscar Egg can relate, because he feels like he's cursed, too. When Oscar is foisted off on his usually absent dad for the summer, he finds out that the curse is real, and that the secret to breaking it lies somewhere below Fenway Park. Oscar's dad and the rest of the Cursed Creatures have been doomed to live out life below the park until the curse is broken. Strange thing is, Oscar knows he's the one to break it... This book is a homerun for any kid, girl or boy, with an interest in baseball. But Baggott hits it out of the park with a tight plot, fantastic characters, and a riveting story full of suspense. Even if sports are of no interest, your child will find it hard to put this magical book down. (HarperCollins, 2009, $16.99) 

Escape Under the Forever Sky by Eve Yohalem . Lucy dreams of becoming the next Jane Goodall. Her mom is the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, so you'd think she'd have her pick of adventures. But instead of allowing her to explore the exotic world around her, Lucy's mom restricts her movement to school and the ambassador's residence. Sick of living under strict rules, Lucy sneaks off to a local music club and the unthinkable happens...she gets kidnapped. Can her passion for life in the African bush and her knowledge of the animals that live there help her escape? From sleeping in trees to avoid a pack of screeching hyenas, to a close encounter with a pride of lions, this slim book will keep your middle schooler's heart racing, while providing a fascinating glimpse into a far-flung part of the world. (Chronicle, 2009, $16.99)

The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem. 14-year-old Medford Runyuin has never quite fit in on the island where he washed ashore as a baby, where Useful things are valued above all else and Useless things that serve no practical purpose (like seabirds, fun, and artistic expression) are scorned and sometimes forbidden. He is training to become a Carver, but can't help himself from creating beautiful embellishments that are not only Useless, they are Unnameable. And in the island syntax where cows are referred to as "Great Horned Milk Creatures," the Unnameable is a serious threat. When a stranger arrives on the island, trailing chaos behind him, the insular island community will have to confront the unnameable in this engaging page-turner that introduces questions of aesthetics and growing up, with plenty of unique characters and plot twists to keep readers guessing until the very last page. (Harcourt Children's Books, 2008, $16.00)

House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones. Charmain Baker is smart. But because her parents have sheltered her from absolutely everything, she doesn't know how to do anything by herself, except eat (huge piles of pasties and pies) and read. When a distant relative gets ill, she's nominated to watch over his house until he recovers. Trouble is, the distant relative is a wizard. Charmain finds herself in a house with invisible hallways, talking rooms, and mysterious spell books. Full of quirky twists, interesting characters, and unusual plot turns, this sequel to the very popular Howl's Moving Castle, is a cozy read to stick in a pocket and curl up with when the mood strikes. Imaginative and delightful. (HarperCollins, 2008, $17.99)

Peeled by Joan Bauer . Hildy Biddle is the go-to reporter for The Core, Banesville's high school newspaper. When a break-in and a dead body materialize, the town's fears of a long-abandoned haunted house begin to stir up all sorts of speculation, and Hildy is on the case. Throw in a less-than-ethical town newspaper reporter, a group of greedy developers, a cute new boy in school, and a possible ghost, and you've got a kid-friendly journalistic romp that's fit for front page news. (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2008, $16.99) 

What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy by Gregory Maguire. Three siblings have been surviving on whatever food and water they can scavenge after a natural disaster leaves them stranded. With their parents gone and only a distant cousin there as guardian, the humble party distracts themselves with the cousin's story of the skibbereen, also known as tooth fairies. The story details the growing pains of one orphaned skibbereen named What-the-Dickens, as he learns of a skibbereen's life mission: to deliver wishes to humans. On his adventures, he makes the acquaintance of a house cat, a bird, a tiger, a lonely boy, and a fellow skibbereen named Pepper, who teaches him love, friendship, and the ins-and-outs of the job. This quirky story from the author of Wicked makes for a fun summer read, while also encouraging readers to make deeper thematic links between two story lines--great practice for the literary analysis to come in high school. (Candlewick, 2007, $8.99) 

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