Middle School / Books Rule!
Recommended books for grades 5-8

Archive for the ‘Smart Girls’ Category

THE EMPTY GRAVE, by Jonathan Stroud

January 4, 2018

The story: All the villains have assembled, most notably Penelope Fittes and Sir Rupert Gale. Also assembled: the ghosts–and who would ever have guessed that the villains were the SOURCE of the ghosts? Lockwood & Co. are ready to use their hard-won experience to take on all the bad guys and, as they do, deal […]

MY LADY JANE, by Cynthia Hand et al

March 13, 2017

The story: King Edward is dying, and he names Lady Jane Grey as his successor, doing an end run around his sisters Mary and Elizabeth. Only problem for Jane–aside from the fact that she doesn’t actually WANT to be queen–is that she’s going to have to marry Gifford Dudley in order to do it. Gifford […]


February 22, 2017

The story: Jade–a black girl from the poor northeast side of Portland–is a scholarship student at the expensive, nearly all-white St. Francis school. She’s smart, and talented…and black. Jade has worked hard to get a chance to go on a study abroad–but instead, she’s picked for “Woman to Woman”, a mentoring program with a successful […]

BALCONY ON THE MOON, by Ibtisam Barakat

February 17, 2017

The story: Ibtisam shares her story of growing up in Palestine in the 1970s-80s, when dreams were real but just about everything else was in short supply. Her life is proof that with hard work (okay, and some luck) you really can make a better life for yourself.   Mrs. Friend’s opinion: Great for readers looking […]

INHUMAN, by Kat Falls

October 30, 2014

The story: Lane McEvoy thinks she’s safe on her side of the Feral Zone–until her father goes missing and Lane finds out the secret behind his job as an “art dealer”: Mac goes into the disease zone and risks infection to bring back objects for the highest bidder. Given an ultimatum, Lane knows she must […]

FLORA AND ULYSSES, by Kate DiCamillo

September 19, 2014

The story: Flora is horrified when her neighbor, Tootie Tickham, accidentally sucks a squirrel into her vacuum cleaner. But things get even weirder when it turns out that the squirrel’s near-death experience has changed him–no longer is he just a food-seeking rodent. Now, he’s a thinking, feeling, poetry-writing food-seeking rodent. This is the story of […]

COUNTING BY 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan

May 13, 2014

The story: Willow Chance thinks her world has come to an end when her parents are killed in a car crash. But strange events in her life keep her from getting placed in foster care–and these same strange events also change the lives of everyone around her, from slobby Dell Duke (transformed into someone who […]

UNDER THE NEVER SKY, by Veronica Rossi

May 1, 2014

The story: Hundreds of years after a massive atmospheric disturbance, Dwellers live in pods and try to keep their lives together. Outsiders rely on nature–and on the strange mutations that have come from living there–to keep them alive. Each is the other’s sworn enemy. When an attempt to contact her mother, missing in the Outside, […]

THE CADET OF TILDOR, by Alex Liddell

April 7, 2014

The story: Cadet Renee de Winter knows she’s going to be kicked out of the Academy if she can’t improve her fighting skills. But the events swirling around her make that difficult: treason, attempted coup, and the arrival of the one man whose approval she values more than anyone else’s. Is she willing to abandon […]

ONE CAME HOME, by Amy Timberlake

February 17, 2014

<a href="https://middleschoolbooksrule.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/one-came- The story: Georgie’s sister has disappeared. Bits and pieces of a body wearing Agatha’s best dress have turned up, and a funeral is held–but George refuses to believe that her sister is dead. Armed with her trusty Springfield single-shot rifle, Georgie decides to beg, borrow (or steal) a horse and follow Agatha’s trail. […]