Middle School Book List
1. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Esperanza Ortega possesses all the treasures a young girl could want: fancy dresses; a beautiful home filled with servants in the bountiful region of Aguascalientes, Mexico; and the promise of one day rising to Mama’s position and presiding over all of Rancho de las Rosas. But a sudden tragedy shatters that dream, forcing Esperanza and Mama to flee to California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. There they confront the challenges of hard work, acceptance by their own people, and economic difficulties brought on by the Great Depression. When Mama falls ill from Valley Fever and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must relinquish her hold on the past and learn to embrace a future ripe with the riches of family and community.
Pam Muñoz Ryan eloquently portrays the Mexican workers’ plight in this abundant and passionate novel that gives voice to those who have historically been denied one. Scholastic Press
2. Perfect by Natasha Friend
Isabelle Lee has a problem. And it’s not just her little sister, April (aka Ape Face), who has just ratted her out to their mother. It’s not even Group, which she now attends once a week as part of “the deal” with her mother. The problem is, everything seems “fine” at home, but in fact Isabelle’s family is still reeling from the death of her father. Isabelle’s mother has taken all the picture of him off the walls and cries herself to sleep every night. When April catches Isabelle in the bathroom forcing herself to throw up, Isabelle can’t bribe her to stay quiet and ends up in “Eating Disorder and Body Image Therapy group.” Trapped in a room with no air circulation and orange carpet, Isabelle is amazed when Ashley Barnum, the prettiest, most popular girl in school – aka Royalty – walks through the door.
In a world where appearances are all that matter, coping takes some interesting and potentially harmful turns.
3. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Stargirl. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High, the hallways hum with the murmur of “Stargirl, Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with just one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with just one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. At first.
Then they turn on her. Stargirl is suddenly shunned for everything that maker her different, and Leo, desperate with love, urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her: normal. In this celebration of nonconformity, Newbury Medalist Jerry Spinelli weaves an emotional tale about the perils of popularity -- and the inspiration of first love.
4. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty. But I was just such a girl, and my story is worth relating even if it did happen years ago. Be warned, however; If strong ideas and action offend you, read no more. Find another companion to share your idle hours. For my part I intend to tell the truth as I lived it!
5. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld:
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. Not for her license—for turning pretty. In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there. But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty. She’d rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world—and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.