Middle School Monday – Series that Hit the Spot
There is a certain type of book that just fits middle school readers. If you work with this age group, you know what I’m talking about. While most of my sixth grade students will still gladly pick up middle grade novels, many of them as well as most of my seventh and eighth grade students want YA. So older, but not too old. And it should have action and adventure of some sort. It’s good to be scary, but not too scary. And it needs to have a good sense of humor, or some kind of comic relief sprinkled throughout. A tall order, but here are several series that hit the spot.
First up is Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud. This three book (so far) series combines all of these element with clear and descriptive prose and excellent characterization which brings the action off the page and into the students’ imaginations. Told in first person from the point of view of main character Lucy Carlyle, this is a fantasy/horror/mystery series with a good deal of humor and intrigue. You can find my review of the first book, The Screaming Staircase, here, and the second book, The Whispering Skull, here. I’m currently about half way through the third book, The Hollow Boy. I’m again impressed with how Stroud is able to capture the emotional life of Lucy while maintaining the action and moving the plot forward. HE is gifted at writing within what I would call the younger YA range. The stories are of teens and their concerns, but told in a way your average middle school student can understand and relate to.
Next, I’d like to highlight the Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White. Main character Evie has special abilities that make her perfect to hunt down supernatural beings for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. Perfect, that is, until she realizes that all is not as she has been led to believe. Who can she trust in this very complex world? White is also a gifted writer who manages to convey complex subjects in an easily accessibly way. Her quirky sense of humor and her gift for characterization clearly shine in this series.
Finally, here is a non-exhaustive list of series I’ve found meet this specific niche market:
- The Darkness Rising trilogy by Kelly Armstrong
- The Curse Workers trilogy by Holly Black
- The Unspoken Trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan
- The Heist Society series and the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter
- The Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins
- The Shades of London series and the Scarlett series by Maureen Johnson
- The Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison
- The Alfred Kropp series by Rick Yancey
Chime in if you have any to add!
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About Robin Willis
After working in middle school libraries for over 20 years, Robin Willis now works in a public library system in Maryland.
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