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Library Media
Mature Reading

These titles are best suited for older middle school readers.

Recommended Titles

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Science Fiction)
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen (Realistic)
Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (Realistic)
Wrestling Sturbridge by Rich Wallace (Sports - Wrestling)
Slam by Walter Dean Myers (Sports - Basketball)
Stotan! by Chris Crutcher (Sports - Swimming)
The Snake Stone by Berlie Doherty (Realistic)
You Don't Know Me: A Novel by David Klass (Realistic)
Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden (Adventure)
Bread Winner by Deborah Ellis (Across Cultures)
Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen (Realistic)
A Step from Heaven by An Na (Across Cultures)

Reviewed Titles

Purple Heart by Patricia McCormick 

Matt Duffy has been injured in a sniper attack in Baghdad and spends some recovery time in the Green Zone. He is experiencing some memory problems and is trying to sort out what happened. Did he kill a dog? A village child? No one? A gripping story about the stresses of war.

After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson

Two best friends meet D Foster wandering on their block in Queens. D is in foster care, so she can roam unfettered. The three girls are heavily influenced by the music of Tupac Shakur and his complicated life. This is a poignant look at how young people try to figure out their place in the world, as the ones they love shift in and out of it.

Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall by Wendy Maas

When 16-year-old Tessa gets knocked out during a dodgeball game, she remains in a coma. While in that state, Tessa's mind wonders if she has gone to heaven, since it looks like she is at the mall she grew up in. In a series of flashbacks, Tessa recalls pivotal moments in her life, helping her answer the fundamental question, who am I?

Gym Candy by Carl Deuker  

Mick Johnson stares at the wall of news clippings celebrating his father's triumph in football. Then he sees the blank wall waiting for his honors in the sport. Mick loves the game and is fiercely competitive. He wants to be the best. When the competition to win the starter position heats up, Mick resorts to using steroids to beef up his performance, power, and endurance. The effects of steroid use on a player is straightforward in this compelling sports story. 

Dairy Queen: A Novel by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

D. J. Schwenk comes from a long line of farmers and football players. Her brothers received college football scholarships and her dad was a well-known coach. One summer, she ends up helping a boy from a rival high school team improve his game. An unlikely friendship evolves only to be crushed by a competition. The author succeeds in bringing the story right into the reader's heart.

Head Games by Mariah Fredericks

Judith retreats to the online gaming world when her best friend stops talking to her. In the Game, she can create new identities, test herself, and interact with characters rather than people. When the real and online worlds collide suddenly, Judith must face her demons. This taut and engaging story will attract those who like an edgy read.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen  

Annabel Greene has an image that makes ten-year-olds cut her picture out of magazine ads and post on their walls. But Annabel doesn't feel special. She is growing to hate modeling but doesn't want to disappoint her mother. Her sister's eating disorder is getting out of control but no one seems to talk about it. And then there was the night at a party where her best friend Sophie stopped talking to her and started the hating. Annabel tells no one about her feelings until Owen Armstrong stumbles into her life. Owen has been in trouble with the law and is also ostracized at school. He deals by listening to music on his iPod all day. His anger management classes have taught him how to always be truthful. Annabel thinks she can learn a lot from this unlikely ally. And maybe have the courage to tell someone what really happened at that party.

Search and Destroy by Dean Hughes

Rick isn't sure what to do after high school. He doesn't really have money for college, but he is anxious to get away from his abusive father. He enlists in the military during the Vietnam War, hoping to experience life and become a man. What follows is a gripping and graphic account of an unpopular war and its impact on all involved.

An Innocent Soldier by Josef Holub

A young farmhand named Adam is tricked into joining Napolean's army, replacing his master's son. Napoleon is forcing troops to march across Europe and into Russia in a hard and ill-fated assault. Survival is dependent upon instincts and luck. A sobering story by an excellent German author.

Finding Lubchenko by Michael Simmons  
Evan McCallister is an arrogant risk taker with a stingy millionaire father who owns a smallpox research facility. His mother is dead and relations with Dad are strained. Whenever Evan visits his father at work, he comes home with a laptop or two that he sells on E-bay. Hey, a boy has to earn money somehow! When his father gets framed for the murder of an employee, Evan and his friends must uncover the real killer by finding a man named Lubchenko in Paris. They need to hurry before the authorities convict his father or discover Evan's thieving ways.

One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones  

The book opens with teen Ruby Milliken being blasted from Boston to LA in the coach section of a "monstrous steel pterodactyl". Her mother has died recently but Ruby still e-mails her defunct AOL account. Now she is being sent to live with her long absent father, a famous movie star. The clever free verse dialogue grabs the reader from the first entry, and doesn't let go, as Ruby vents about her new world.

Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson

Ashley Hannigan's boyfriend is a loser, her part-time job is awful, and she could care less about the prom. She only joins the prom planning committee to get out of her many detentions and to help her friend, Natalia. But when the prom money gets stolen, everyone gets into the act to help, including her eccentric family.

Real Time by Pnina Moed Kass     

This powerful novel, told in many voices within a week's time, focuses on a suicide bombing in Israel and the impact it has on many people's lives. Readers close the book with a new understanding of the uncertainty of life in the Middle East and the bonds of hatred and love.

 The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen 
Sarah Dessen introduces us to Macy Queen whose Dad has recently died. By trying to appear normal, Macy has not let herself grieve. One night she is thrust into helping a chaotic crew of caterers at her mother's business party. Soon Macy decides to work for the company run by an unconventional family. This honest and forthright family shows Macy how to feel again. The characters are fully realized and endearing. A real winner.

The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty

Fast paced story of a pen pal assignment gone out of control. Include car-jacking, threats, identity theft, love and revenge.

The Beast by Walter Dean Myers
Arthur "Spoon" Witherspoon was plucked out of his Harlem neighborhood to attend a Connecticut prep school as one of a handful of African American students. But adjusting to life at school seems easier than his first trip back home. Friends have dropped out of school, his girlfriend has met the Beast (drugs) and Spoon struggles to keep people whole. A sensitive and soulful look at a slice of Harlem.

Acceleration by Graham McNamee

One summer, seventeen-year-old Duncan works deep in the belly of the Toronto subway system in the Lost and Found. He stumbles across a stalker's diary there and reads in detail of his sick plans. What should he do? The novel's pace accelerates with each chapter as Duncan faces the mind of a potential killer.

Pool Boy by Michael Simmons

Brett Gerson had a rich kid's life. Nice home, cars, pool. Then one day, eight armed cops surround his house and haul his father off for insider trading. Brett's mad. Mad at his Dad whom he calls a crook and a loser. His family loses nearly everything too and Brett is forced to get a job as a pool boy, working for old Alfie Moore, a man who teaches him more than just how to clean filters.

Miracle Boys by Jacqueline Woodson

Three brothers affected by three tragic deaths. Each trying to overcome guilt and sadness. The eldest, Tyr’ee, gives up a scholarship to MIT to care for his younger siblings. Middle brother, Charlie, foolishly robs a store to help the family and ends up with a prison stint. And the youngest, thirteen-year-old Lafayette, is full of questions and grief. This is a heart-warming story of three brothers helping each other understand how to live again after tragedy.

Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes

Mr. Ward begins "open mike" Fridays at an inner city high school where students reveal themselves to each other through their poetry.


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