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By: Angelica Torres, Young Adult Specialist at the Washington Memorial Library

Summer has begun and though most kids have standard academic summer reading, we reached out to our friends at the Washington Memorial Library to find out what books were on the “must read” list for middle schoolers this year. Enjoy these recommendations and take a break from technology!

Want to add a little mystery and intrigue into your life? Then read “All Fall Down” by Ally Carter. Our main character, Grace, was told her mom died in an accident, but she knows that she was murdered. We get to learn about the very real Embassy Row and all the wrong that happens and is forgotten.

I’m not crying, you’re crying. “Pax written by Sara Pennypacker is a great read only if you are ready for feels….serious feels with this book. We follow a boy and his pet, an orphaned fox through separation and independence. We learn their stores from both Peter’s (the boy) and the fox’s (Pax) point of view.  Fear not!! This story will also heal your heart.

If adventure is more your style and you loved the Percy Jackson series, you will quickly be hooked by Rick Riordan’s new series “The Trials of Apollo.” The first book in the series, “The Hidden Oracle,” was published last May. We follow Apollo, the son of Zeus, who finds himself now a human named Lester Papadopoulos. And guess what? The second book in the series, “The Dark Prophecy,” released on May 2, so you can hop right into the next book and continue this thrilling story.

If you are in want of a story with a wee bit of magic you might enjoy “Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded.” This book is fast-paced and has an awesome dragon-riding heroine who is trying to save the world. And her friends? They are major baddies, too. The author, Sage Blackwood, also wrote the popular Jinx series.

Even as a non-sports person, I do heartily suggest Kwame Alexander’s books “Crossover” and the follow up “Booked.” They both have amazing and interesting rhythm and language. Warning…there is poetry in these books, but you don’t have to like poems to enjoy them. I enjoyed both, and poetry is not my thing at all. “Crossover” is about twin brothers who are talented basketball players and how jealousy will split them apart. “Booked” is a soccer story that is also told in verse (poems).

Fruits Basket” is one of the adorable mangas, a style of Japanese comic and graphic novels. It’s a manga that is geared toward girls but there are plenty of guy characters in the story.  If you watched the anime then you have to read the books! We follow the very cute high schooler, Tohru Honda, who is orphaned by her own family and is taken in by another family. But this family is involved in a world of magical curses and family secrets. The library has ALL the volumes…yes…all 23. We also have a fairly extensive manga collection that might keep you busy for a while.

Warm fuzzies for a Robot? Well, it happened to me with Wall-E, so it was bound to happen again with Roz in her story “The Wild Robot” by Peter Brown. We meet Roz as she awakens on an island. She works to endure and learn from the hostile animal inhabitants. Her compassion while caring for an orphaned gosling proves to the other animals that she is not an enemy. Don’t worry, we learn all about her mysterious past.

The best part about all of these books is that they are available at your local library. If none of these seem like something that you want to read, we can suggest other books based on your interests.

Don’t forget about our summer reading program!  Enjoy your summer and make sure to visit your local library!