The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (2007)

The_wednesday_warsThis beloved tragicomedy is like hiding veggies in a smoothie: they won’t even notice it’s historical fiction!

Recommended grade level: 5-9

Pages: 264 (for ISBN 9780618724833)

Genre(s) and keywords: historical fiction, humor, award winners

Tone/Style: personal, embarrassed

Pace: moderate

Topics: school, theatre, baseball, the Vietnam War, Shakespeare

Themes: parent/child relationships, sibling relationships, teacher relationships, war, disappointment, parental approval, self-discovery

Summary: Holling Hoodhood is really in for it.

He’s just started seventh grade with Mrs. Baker, a teacher he knows is out to get him. Why else would she make him read Shakespeare…outside of class? Continue reading

Ungifted by Gordon Korman (2012)

ungiftedA funny book with a lovably incompetent protagonist.

Recommended grade level: 4-8

Pages: 280 (for ISBN 9780061742668)

Genre(s) and keywords: humor

Tone/Style: self-deprecating

Pace: moderate

Topics: robotics, contests, cheating, intelligence, social abilities

Themes: feeling inadequate, finding your talents, self-discovery

Summary: The word “gifted” has never been applied to Donovan Curtis. It’s usually more like “don’t try this at home.” So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he’s finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy for Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students. Continue reading

The Island of Beyond by Elizabeth Atkinson (2016)

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A thoughtful middle grade book about finding friends and pushing one’s boundaries on a summer trip to a rural Maine island.

Recommended grade level: 4-6

Pages: 288 (for ISBN 9781467781169)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction

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This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh (2013)

ratA light middle-grade novel told in journal-style about a homeschooled girl seeking friendship, acceptance, and an understanding with her unconventional father.

Recommended grade level: 3-6

Pages: 320 (for ISBN 9781402281068)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, diary

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Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories by R.J. Palacio (2015)

augThree novellas from the point of view of three different characters offer new insight into the world of Palacio’s 2012 bestseller Wonder.

Recommended grade level: 3-6

Pages: 303 (for ISBN 9781101934852)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, novella

Tone/Style: thoughtful

Pace: leisurely to moderate

Topics: The Julian Chapter: bullying, feuds, parent-school relations, World War II.

Pluto: divorce, accidents, memories, childhood friendships, outer space, dogs

Shingaling: dance, cliques

Themes: The Julian Chapter: reasons for meanness, redemption, forgiveness

Pluto: difficult friendships, long-distance friendships relationships with parents, guilt

Shingaling: reasons for kindness, going outside of friend groups, self-discovery

Summary: Over 2 million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller Wonder and have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. Readers have also been treated to three stories offering a special look at Auggie’s world through new points of view. Continue reading

Where You’ll Find Me by Natasha Friend (2016)

whereAnna discovers some surprising things about herself and her loved ones as she struggles to come to terms with her mother’s suicide attempt in this painfully honest depiction of life with a bipolar parent.

Recommended grade level: 6-9

Pages: 272 (for ISBN 9780374302306)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, Kylie’s favorites

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If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth (2015)

if iLewis Blake deals with heady issues of family, friendship, identity, and belonging in this candid and humorous story about life as a teenage Tuscarora Indian in 1975.

Recommended grade level: 6-9

Pages: 368 (for ISBN 9780545417303)

Genre(s) and keywords: historical fiction, realistic fiction, diverse, Native American protagonist Continue reading