Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin




Middle School New Top 20 Favorites 2008 selected by Xena's Mom

Balliett, Blue, The Calder game, Lexile 830, Reading level 5.4

When seventh-grader Calder Pillay disappears from a remote English village--along with an Alexander Calder sculpture to which he has felt strangely drawn--his friends Petra and Tommy fly from Chicago to help his father find him.


Clements, Andrew, No talking, Lexile 820, Reading level 5.0

The noisy fifth grade boys of Laketon Elementary School challenge the equally loud fifth grade girls to a "no talking" contest.


Couloumbis, Audrey, The Misadventures of Maude March, Lexile 801, Reading level 5.2

After the death of the stern aunt who raised them since they were orphaned, eleven-year-old Sallie and her fifteen-year-old sister escape their self-serving guardians and begin an adventure resembling those in the dime novels Sallie loves to read.


DuPrau, Jeanne, The City of Ember, Lexile 680, Reading level 5.6

In the city of Ember, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions.


Ferris, Jean, Once upon a marigold, Lexile 840, Reading level 6.9

A young man with a mysterious past and a penchant for inventing things leaves the troll who raised him, meets an unhappy princess he has loved from afar, and discovers a plot against her and her father.


Flanagan, John, Ranger’s apprentice book one: The ruins of Gorlan, Lexile 920, Reading level 7.6

When Will is rejected by battleschool, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt, and winds up protecting the kingdom from danger.


Hale, Shannon, Princess Academy, Lexile 890, Reading level 6.2

While attending a strict academy for potential princesses with the other girls from her mountain village, fourteen-year-old Miri discovers unexpected talents and connections to her homeland.


Kephart, Beth, Undercover, Lexile 940, Reading level Young Adult, grades 7-8

High school sophomore Elisa is used to observing and going unnoticed except when classmates ask her to write love notes for them, but a teacher's recognition of her talent, a "client's" desire for her friendship, a love of ice skating, and her parents' marital problems draw her out of herself.


Klass, David, The Caretaker trilogy book 1; Firestorm, Lexile 510, Reading level Young Adult, grade 8

After learning that he has been sent from the future for a special purpose, eighteen-year-old Jack receives help from an unusual dog and a shape-shifting female fighter.


Korman, Gorman, Swindle, Lexile 710 , Reading level 5.9

After unscrupulous collector S. Wendell Palamino cons him out of a valuable baseball card, sixth-grader Griffin Bing puts together a band of misfits to break into Palomino's heavily guarded store and steal the card back, planning to use the money to finance his father's failing invention, the Smart Pick fruit picker.


Levine, Gail Carson, Ever, Lexile , Reading level 6.3

Fourteen-year-old Kezi and Olus, Akkan god of the winds, fall in love and together try to change her fate--to be sacrificed to a Hyte god because of a rash promise her father made--through a series of quests that might make her immortal.


Morpurgo, Michael, War horse, Lexile 1090, Reading level 6.4

Joey the horse recalls his experiences growing up on an English farm, his struggle for survival as a cavalry horse during World War I, and his reunion with his beloved master.


Paulsen, Gary, Lawn boy, Lexile 780, Reading level 4.7

Things get out of hand for a twelve-year-old boy when a neighbor convinces him to expand his summer lawn mowing business.


Peck, Richard, On the wings of heroes, Lexile 730, Reading level 4.9

A boy in Illinois remembers the homefront years of World War II, especially his two heroes--his brother in the Air Force and his father, who fought in the previous war.


Pixley, Marcella, Freak, Lexile 750, Reading level Young Adult, grades 6-8

Twelve-year-old Miriam, poetic, smart, and quirky, is considered a freak by the popular girls at her middle school, and she eventually explodes in response to their bullying, revealing an inner strength she did not know she had.


Riordan, Rick, The Lightning thief, Lexile 740, Reading level 4.9

Percy, expelled from six schools for being unable to control his temper, learns the truth from his mother that his father is the Greek god Poseidon, and is sent to Camp Half Blood where he is befriended by a satyr and the demigod daughter of Athena who join him in a journey to the Underworld to retrieve Zeus's lightning bolt and prevent a catastrophic war.


Schmidt, Gary D., The Wednesday wars, Lexile 990 , Reading level 5.6

During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh-grader Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker's classroom where they read the plays of William Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.


Shusterman, Neal, The Shadow Club, Lexile 760 , Reading level 7.2

When a junior high school boy and his friends decide to form a club of "second bests" and play anonymous tricks on each other's arch rivals, the harmless pranks escalate until they become life-threatening.


Spinelli, Jerry, Smiles to go, Lexile 490, Reading level 6.9

Will Tuppence's life has always been ruled by science and common sense but in ninth grade, shaken up by the discovery that protons decay, he begins to see the entire world differently and gains new perspective on his relationships with his little sister and two closest friends.


Urban, Linda, A crooked kind of perfect, Lexile 730, Reading level 6.3

Ten-year-old Zoe Elias, who longs to play the piano but must resign herself to learning the organ, instead, finds that her musicianship has a positive impact on her workaholic mother, her jittery father, and her school social life.