Top Ten Books the Kids in My Book Club Would Not Shut Up About

Top Ten Tuesday is a brilliant meme created by  The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Tuesday is a brilliant meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Ah, Middle Schoolers.  I run a weekly book club for middle schoolers.  They come to me instead of going to lunch.  The commitment is strong with these kids.  I have never had as much fun in my life as watching 12 year old swoon over books.  You know how people are constantly moaning about the state of children and the future.  Let me tell you that we are in good hands my friends.  

Because I teach in an international school in China almost all of my students are bilingual and many are trilingual or more.  They have come up with the idea of reading the same book in two different languages and then comparing the reading experiences.  I cannot even explain how much I love this idea.  #TheseKidsAreAmazing

One thing that I find particularly interesting is the amount of older books that the kids read.  Sometimes the covers are fresh and they don't even know.  This week alone I have seen someone reading Tigereyes,  We were talking about realistic fiction the other day and all of them told me that they are sick to death of MG books about bullying.  

But they do get fixated.  There were more than a few books that got brought up (by the same kids mind you) over and over and over again.  Seriously, it was like Groundhog day.  Here are the books that they wouldn't shut up about. 

Every Soul a Star
by Wendy Mass

I finally had to read it to see if it lived up to the book club hype.  It pretty much did.  It is a story about an eclipse and three middle school children whose lives are changing.  Adorable and uplifting. See my full review here.


The Maze Runner
James Dashner

This book was so popular with the students that the Design teacher made a whole unit about it.  Basically, all the kids are making digital 3D mazes.  That they will be able to  use VR goggles to navigate.  I know. I want to make one too.  


Divergent Series
by Veronica Roth

It is interesting that this is the series that caught their interest.  They aren't anti Hunger Hunger Games by any means but this is the series that they want to talk about.  I actually like the writing in this series much more.


Harry Potter Series
by J.K Rowling

Harry is in no danger of being abandoned any time soon.  They once spent an entire hour sorting themselves into houses. Of course it made this list.  At least one of the Harry Potter books is an answer to any Top Ten Tuesday.  By the way has anyone read the illustrated versions?  I have the first one and it was gorgeous.  Almost like getting to read the book for the first time again.

The Scorpio Races
by Maggie Stiefvater

I have to approve this addition to the list as I am a fan of all things Maggie Stiefvater.  I am rereading it at the moment because it was such a perfect Halloween book.  Atmospheric and with incredibly creepy horses.  I love this author with all of my heart.


The Book Thief
By Markus Zusak

This book gets brought up and all the kids chime in with variations of, "Yes". So do I.  This book is amazing.  Death is the narrator and it is set in Germany during WWII.  Some of the phrases in the book are almost poetry. Just Beautiful.  Just be prepared to cry all the tears.


By Morris Gleitzman

I feel as if the main characters total denial of what is happening to him even as his life before more and more dangerous is a valid response to being swept up in the Holocaust.  



I, Funny
By James Patterson

Middle School boys.  What else can I say?  I could do with not hearing about this book for a week.


Stay Where you are and then Leave
By John Boyne

This books get extra points for the title.  I love it.  This is by the same author as The Boy with the Striped Pajamas.  This book is about WWI and a boy being left behind by his father.  It wasn't terrible but wasn't my favorite book either.

by Svetlana Chmakova 

A Graphic novel about the art of getting through middle school and figuring out how to fit in.  This is also a story about a girl who is new to school which is something that these international school kids know all about.  Much identification with the characters.


So there is my list for all of you who want your books #MiddleSchoolerApproved.  What do you mean that that isn't something that is in demand? *sigh

What kinds of books do you remember reading in middle school?

Top Ten Books for Halloween

Anna Dressed in Blood
by Kendare Blake

Goodreads |  Amazon

Cas kills the dead.  Anna is dead.  And pissed about it.  Oh, star crossed lovers how I love you.


The Girl With All the Gifts
by M.R. Carey

Goodreads |  Amazon

It is almost impossible to share anything about this book without spoiling it.  Let me just say, "Super creepy children." and leave it at that.

Through the Woods
by Emily Carroll

Goodreads |  Amazon

You might think that this is an adorable fairy tale inspired graphic novel.  You would be wrong and then spend days getting over the heebie jeebies that this book caused. *shudder


The Darkest Part of the Forest
by Holly Black

Goodreads |  Amazon

Kind of a mix between every fairy tale ever and kinda not.  Halfway through the book you are hit with the creepiness. There is a brother and sister, a horned boy, and a glass coffin in the woods.

by Maggie Stiefvater

Goodreads |  Amazon

Maggie Stiefvater can do no wrong.  This is by far my favorite werewolf story ever.  I am still not completely sold on her heroines but the writing is so good that I am willing to overlook them every time.  And Sam is a delicious cinnamon roll who should be protected at all costs. (My review of Shiver is here)

A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness

Goodreads | Amazon

This book will cause sobbing.  Lots of it.  Not that I am speaking from personal experience.  Not at all.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
by J.K Rowling

Goodreads |  Amazon

I guess you could include all the Harry Potter books in this list but this is the one that most focuses on Halloween and ghosts.  The deathday party food  alone is pretty scary.


How to Hang a Witch
by Adriana Mather

Goodreads |  Amazon

Because the Salem witch trials weren't terrible enough let's add high school. *runs away screaming.

Also?  This book is written by a descendent of Cotton Mather.

A History of Glitter and Blood
by Hannah Moskowitz

Goodreads |  Amazon

This one I am including for the sheer WTFery.  I can't decribe it except to say that it is possible that it will cause  seizures and you should not read it if you are planning on operating heavy machinery.


World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
by Max Brooks

Goodreads | Amazon

So, what happened when the Zombie apocalypse came?  Well, the world reacts in true to form manner.  

What really scares you in books?  I am super susceptible to drawn out tension.

Top Ten Tuesday is a brilliant meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.