marjorielight (marjorielight) wrote,

Books, Books, and More Books!

This year I was fortunate enough to obtain some Advanced Reader Copies for my 7th students to read. They wrote some wonderful, detailed reviews, which I will feature here. In the meantime, here is a list featuring some of their favorite new releases, sprinkled with some tried and true novels they think those of you who like middle grade and YA novels should read. (This grand idea came from the brilliant KATE MESSNER, who wrote THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z.)

When my students started working on this project, our school librarian, Russell Puschak, shared a cool feature on the library's computer system: He could show them every book each student checked out during the course of the year! Since we have such a variety of books in our school's library, students are able to find something to suit their abilities and interests. Most of my students read voraciously. From their conversations, I think my class averaged over twenty books per student! Some of my top readers read fifty to sixty full-length novels in the past ten months! I am so proud of them all! (They were proud of themselves, too!)

Note: This list is just from their top five. There are MANY, MANY more books that they love, but there wasn't room to feature them here. Frequently, the books listed below appeared on ten to twenty student lists. Thanks authors for the wonderful writing you do for us. :-)

2010 Book Suggestions


Chasing the Falconers Book 1 in the On the Run series by Gordon Korman. Fast and full of action! A brother and a sister escape to Lake Champlain area in VT after they escape from a home. Their parents are in prison and they are trying to prove their innocence. (He has a lot of other popular books, too!)

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen. If you have not read this yet, you really need to! The survival theme is awesome and makes the book so suspenseful. 

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. This is great! A teen runs away and lives off the land. Very interesting survivalist novel. 

Rescue Josh McGuire by Ben Mikkelson. Adventurous & really rocks because it shows how you can bond with nature. Theme of dysfunctional familes. 

Touching Spirit Bear – Ben Michaelsen. Fast-paced, interesting plot,  

Zack’s Lie and Jack’s Run by Roland Smith. Suspenseful, while you are reading you are trying to solve the mystery. The plot is good because he has to move to a new neighborhood due to being in the witness relocation program. 


Bone Chiller by Graham McNamee. It is very suspenseful. It is a mystery that’s scary. Even though it has monsters, it seemed real. 

Captivate by Carrie Jones (Sequel = Need) This fantasy novel has werewolf romance and a dangerous pixie king stalking a girl. 

The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver. Very suspenseful, there surprises in the plot throughout. The book is filled with adventure and the setting is thousands of years ago. 

Coraline by Neil Gaimon. The author explains the plot and describes the setting so well. You feel as if you are there. 

Eighth Grade Bites #1: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod AND Ninth Grade Slays #2 by Heather Brewer. A great series for the mystery and great action.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zeven. An unusual take on what happens after you die. The main character isn’t happy with her death and won’t accept what happened.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimon. Freaky idea for a novel, very unique! The main character lives in a graveyard with ghosts.

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling. Simple awesome! Full of mystery, action, and fantasy. If you haven’t read them, now is the time. You also might want to use the summer read them again before the final movie comes out in theaters.

The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris D’Lacey. Most people could relate to the main character because if you have ever moved, you will know what it feels like to be the new person. The plot is adventurous.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan Book One of the Percy Jackson and the Last Olympians series. (see below)

A Nest for Celeste: A Story About Art, Inspiration, and the Meaning of Home by Henry Cole. A sweet book for lower level readers that features John James Audubon and how he learns to improve drawings from the little mouse Celeste.

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympians by Rick Riordan Adventure, action, and suspense in the plot, features Greek mythology in modern life. Great series!

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott. Talks about ancient characters from mythology (ie Joan of Arc).


Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (Humor) Funny, Illustrated, Few words, kids can relate to what happens, quick read

Heads or Tails and Jack’s Black Book by Jack Gantos. Based on the author’s life growing up in Florida, this books is hilarious about the odd situations the character Jack gets himself into in every chapter.

Joey Pigza Swallowed a Key and others in the series by Jack Gantos. Funny situations, had sad moments, deals with ADHD in a humorous way. So many goofy things happen in his school and at  home, you won’t believe it.

No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman. A funny book about a kid who gets in trouble with his English teacher for writing a negative essay about how so many books have dogs that die in the plot. What happens next is hilarious.

No Talking by Andrew Clemens. Has humor and you don’t know what is going to happen next. The plot is both funny and serious.

Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger. Is the origami guy magical? 6th gd students do experiments to see if it is or not. They way the book looks is really coo

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet by Erin Dionne. You think your parents are embarrassing? Hamlets love to dress from Shakespearean times and drop by her school. To make it worse, he little sister is a genius and gets promoted to Hamlet’s grade! (and Models Don’t Eat Chocolate Cookies)


Monster by Walter Dean Myer. About a prisoner and in a script format.


The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funk. Shows how you can betray someone, yet help them at the same time…similar to Robin Hood. Students also classify this as fantasy and adventure. (Higher-level readers) (Also read: Dragon Rider!)

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. Our whole class read this before author Rebecca Stead came to our school. We found out she won the Newbery award before she arrived! This book is good because of the twists in the plot and the hints about the mystery. Only a few people figured it out!


The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z by Kate Messner. Although there is the sadness of the theme with the grandmother, this book is really funny. Gianna is a procrastinating athlete who has a big project due or she can’t run in sectionals. The best thing? This EB White award winning teacher works at Stafford!

Going Bovine by Libba Bray. Throughout the main character is racing against time, trying to save the world. Higher level reading, as it can be confusing because the reader is unsure of the M.C.’s mental state. (Young Adult)

Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Mass. It makes you think about how you view yourself and shows that you can change the way you act

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Deals with day-to-day survival and looks at how your life can change by one little event. Shows how human we all are. It makes you appreciate what you have

Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes. Takes place on an Air Force Base. Shows students whose family is in the war and whose lives are changed by a quirky teacher who brings drama into the classroom.

Pretty Little Liars – Sara Shepard. Full of drama. The new television series is based on this book series. The books always have shocking endings, which makes the reader hardly able to wait to read the next one.

PS Longer Letter Later by Paula Danziger and Ann M. Martin. Two authors take turns writing letters back and forth as the two main characters. Real life problems and friendship.

Rules by Cynthia Lord. Everybody read this last year when the author came to our school. If you haven’t, make SURE you read this! We loved how the theme of disabilities, family, and friendship come together. 

Tangled by Carolyn Mackler. Four teens at a resort tell their stories. A look at relationships that is often funny. FOR TEENS.

Thirteen Plus One by Lauren Myracle. Her characters are really relatable because they are normal, but she still makes it fun.

TTYL by Lauren Myracle – the IM-style makes it a fast read.

Tweak by Nic Sheff. It teaches you a lot about how certain people hate themselves and shows how one person can change others (YA)

Waiting for Normal by Leslie Connor The main character works hard to fix her messed up life, created by her mother. Many emotions (happiness/sadness).


Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli. Sad & moving. A young kid during the Holocaust is doesn’t understand everything that is falling apart around him.

Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen. It gives insight into life in slavery told through the eyes of a twelve-year-old slave. We only wished it were longer! It is a fast read.

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes (Contemporary Historical) A story set during the tragedy in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

Soldier's Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers by Gary Paulsen. A short Civil War novel based on the life of a 15 yr old who fought in the war.


Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Suspenseful, with a theme of courage. Has cliff-hanger chapter endings, & very tense moments dealing with trust. The two sequels available: Catching Fire and Mockingjay.


A Child Called It by David Pelzer A true story about child abuse. Take our advice: Read with Kleenex!

Kids Cook by Betty Krofer. A cookbook for kids, has tasty, easy meals.


Bone by Jeff Smith. Funny illustrations, with easy-to-follow plot.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Half fiction, half illustration. Award winning book looks challenging because it is so thick, but it is an easy read.

Laika by Nick Abadzis. Historical book about the first dog going into space. The book is able to get emotion out of the reader. It is based on a true story.

The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang. A funny illustrated book about how two friends decide to become popular in middle school.

Rave Master by Hiro Mashima. Has lots of action in this graphic novel.

Authors with many popular books:

Find one you love & read them all!

Sara Dessen: Along for the Ride, Lullaby, Someone Like You, Just Listen, The Truth About Forever, Lock and Key

Laurie Halse Anderson: Fever, Chains, Speak, and others.

Meg Cabot: Run Away, Airhead, Being Niki, and The Princess Diaries.

Ellen Hopkins: The characters have BIG problems, HUGE issues, & MAJOR mess-ups. Why do we like them? Because people like to read about how other people’s lives are messed up.!(“My life is great compared to this!” G.R.) Novel written in verse. Glass, Crank, Burned, Impulse THESE ARE NOVELS FOR TEENS WITH GRAPHIC SITUATIONS!

Margaret Peterson Haddix: The Shadow Children Series, Double Identity, The Missing series, Running Out of Time, and others.

Mike Lupica: Bat Boy, Comeback Kid, Million Dollar Throw, Safe at Home, The Big Field, Heat, Travel Team, Miracle on 49th Street, Summer Ball, and others.

Matt Christopher: Snowboard Maverick, Miracle at the Plate, Stealing Home, and others.

Eoin Colfer: The Artemis Fowl Series, Airman, Supernaturalist

Carl Haissen: Flush, Scat, and Hoot

Chris Wooding: Poison, The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, and Storm Thief

Gary Paulsen: Hatchet, NightJohn, Brian’s Hunt, Brian’s Winter, The Haymeadow, Lawn Boy, Soldier’s Heart, and Woods Runner

Ben Mikaelsen: Petey, Touching Spirit Bear, Red Midnight, Rescue Josh McGuire, Tree Girl, Countdown, and Sparrow Hawk Red.

Jerry Spinelli: Milkweed, Crash, Maniac Magee, Loser, and more.

ANYONE CAN FEEL FREE TO ADD TO THE LIST! (Students, if you leave notes on books you read over the summer, remember to only use your first name and last initial in the comment box.)

Tags: adventure, authors, book recommendations, contemporary, fiction, humor, middle grade, mystery, non-fiction, teens, ya, young adult novel

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