MARSTELLER MIDDLE SCHOOL
SUMMER READING LIST
STUDENTS ENTERING GRADES 6, 7, or 8
Selections may be made from writings of the following authors. The authors
recommended below may include other books not listed that may be on a higher level and
include topics not appropriate for middle school students, therefore it is recommended
that parents preview all books before their child reads it.
Alcott, Louisa May
Alcott is best known for her series of books based on her own life. This series chronicles
a family living in New England called the March family. The themes in her books include
family love, family responsibility and women’s rights. Examples in our library: Little
Women (Lexile: 1210) and Little Men (Lexile: 1260) recommended for 8 grade.
Armstrong’s best-known work is Sounder (Lexile: 900) (recommended for 6 grade) for
which he won the 1970 Newbery Medal. A noted historian, many of his works is non-
fiction. His writing has been described as being ―for all ages‖.
Avi writes historical fiction, mysteries, realistic fiction, humorous books, and fantasy. A
multiple Newbery Honor Award winner, Avi writes on a variety of topics that span a wide
range of reading levels. Examples in our library: Crispin: the cross of lead (Lexile: 780)
(recommended for 6 grade), True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, (Lexile: 740)
(recommended for 7 grade), The Man Who Was Poe (Lexile: 600) (recommended for 8
A writer of fantasy, Babbitt is a popular author among middle school students. In addition
to being a writer, Babbitt is also an illustrator. Many of her books include her illustrations.
Tuck Everlasting (Lexile: 770) (recommended for 6 )
Bunting grew up in Ireland and learned to love poetry. Bunting’s writing is characterized
as being fantasy, realistic fiction, and teen issues. The settings of her books include
Ireland and California. The reading levels of these books cover a wide range. Books in
our library: Blackwater (Lexile: 510) (recommended for 8 grade), Is Anybody There?
(Lexile: 660) (recommended for 7 grade) A Sudden Silence (Lexile: 670)(recommended
for 7 )
Byars writes fantasies, historical fiction, and realistic fiction. Having won numerous
awards, her books are popular among middle school readers. The themes in her books
include family life, peer relationships, and childhood problems. Books in our library:
Summer of the Swans (Lexile: 830) (recommended for 8 grade), Trouble River (Lexile:
770) (recommended for 7 grade), The Burning Questions of Bingo Brown (Lexile: 630)
(recommended for 6 grade)
A British author, Christie is one of the world’s most famous mystery writers. Although her
books are written primarily for adults, many young adults enjoy her characters and story
plots. This series in our library: Murder on the Orient Express: a Hercule Poirot mystery
(Lexile: 640) (recommended for 8 grade)
If you are a sports enthusiast, check out Matt Christopher. Christopher writes fiction
stories about all kinds of sports including but not limited to: baseball, basketball, dirt bike
racers, football, skateboarding, soccer, swimming, tennis and volleyball. His books are
recommended for all sports enthusiasts in 6 through 8 grade.
Lois is the author of over 45 books, ranging from children's picture books to adult novels,
but is best known for her young adult suspense novels which have received Young
Readers Awards in 16 states and three foreign countries. Four of her novels – Summer of
Fear (Lexile: 830) (recommended for 6 grade), Killing Mr. Griffin (Lexile: 720)
(recommended for 8 grade), Gallows Hill (Lexile: 900) (recommended for 8 grade), and
Don’t Look Behind You, (Lexile: 1020) (recommended for 8 grade)-- were filmed for
television, and I Know What You Did Last Summer (Lexile: 760) (recommended for 7
grade) was transformed by Hollywood into an unrecognizable slasher film that became a
box office hit.
Lynne Ewing is a fantasy writer. Her series Daughter’s of the Moon (Lexiles range from
580-800) (recommended for 8 grade) has been well received in the library. Each of the
four main characters has their own special powers including: Vanessa can become
invisible, Catty can time-travel, Serena can read minds and Jamina can see into the
future. Her new series Sons of the Dark (Lexiles range from 580-800) (recommended for
8 grade) is another science fiction series with guys as the main characters.
Fox writes about what ―preoccupies‖ her. In reflecting upon her stories she considers
moral aspects and how moral knowledge gained through suffering is tied with happiness.
Fox’s books deal with a variety of themes and characters. Books in our library: The
Village by the Sea (Lexile: 740) (recommended for 6 grade) The Slave Dancer: a Novel
(Lexile: 970) (recommended for 8 grade)
Hahn, Mary Downing
Realistic fiction, mysteries, and contemporary fantasies are among Downing’s writings.
Her books are among the popular ones that middle school students select. Books in our
library: Time for Andrew: a Ghost Story (Lexile: 710) (recommended for 6 grade), The
Old Willis Place: a Ghost Story (Lexile: 630) (recommended for 7 grade), Deep and
Dark and Dangerous (Lexile: 650) (recommended for 8 grade)
Hinton began writing when she was in her teens. Using her initials instead of her full
name gave her the anonymity she wanted when she wrote her first book, The
Outsiders. (Lexile: 750) Her novels contain mature themes and content. (While these
books are at a 5 grade reading level, it is recommended that parents preview the book
before allowing their child to read them.)
The themes in Hobbs’ books include wilderness survival, cooperation, friendship, trust,
love, whitewater rafting, self-discovery, problem solving, family relationships, and nature.
Adventure is the key word. A few titles in our library are: Downriver (Lexile: 760)
(recommended for 7 and 8 grade)
If you are a mystery fanatic and wish you could be a spy like James Bond, you have got
to read Anthony Horowitz’s, The Alex Ryder series (Lexiles range from 610-800)
(recommended for 6 -8 grade). Alex Ryder is a teen spy. Horowitz also has a series
entitled The Gatekeepers (Lexiles range from 620-680) (recommended for 8 grade)
where a fourteen-year-old boy uncovers an evil plot. Another series by Horowitz is A
Diamond Brothers Mystery (Lexiles range from 570-620) (recommended for 6 -8
grade). In this series thirteen-year-old Nick has been framed for robbery. 6745
A British author, Jacques is best known by readers as a writer of fantasy adventure
books. The theme in his books is the struggle between good and evil. Jacques’ Redwall
(Lexile: 800) series is very popular with all middle school grades.
An author for both adults and young adults, L’Engle’s works include plays, poems,
essays, autobiographies, and novels. Her best-known work for young readers is A
Wrinkle in Time (Lexile: 740) for which she won the Newbery Award. The themes of her
science fiction/fantasy stories are family love and moral responsibility. (recommended for
all middle school grades)
This British author’s Chronicles of Narnia (Lexiles range from 870-940) is one of the most
popular works of fiction for young readers. These fantasy books combine myths with the
theme of moral principles. (recommended for all middle school grades)
McCaffrey’s Pern series is a favorite with readers. She writes fantasies whose
characters are women or children. Her characters are often in situations where they are
overcoming great odds to succeed and find their place in society. Included in our library
are: Dragonsong Bk 1 (Lexile: 960) of the Harper Hall Trilogy (recommended for 7
Meyers writes science fiction books and according to (Publishers Weekly) was one of the
most promising new authors of 2005. Her books Twilight (Lexile: 720), New Moon
(Lexile: 690) and Eclipse (Lexile: 670) have been a hit in the library. If you love vampire
stories, check out these three books. (Parent recommendation)
Myers, Walter Dean
Myers writes from experience, thus his novels are powerful stories about young African-
Americans. A contemporary author, he has written poetry, fiction, and non-fiction books.
Many of his books are popular realistic fiction. In our library: Monster (Lexile: 670)
(recommended for 8 grade) The Outside Shot (Lexile: 770) (recommended for 7 grade)
Hoops (Lexile: 740) (recommended for 6 grade)
Nixon, Joan Lowery
Nixon has won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for mystery. She writes suspenseful
mysteries and historical fiction books for young adults. The main characters in her
mystery books have both a personal problem and a mystery to solve that intertwines
story lines. In our library we have: Keeping Secrets (Lexile 830) (recommended for 6
grade) A Dangerous Promise (Lexile: 900)(recommended for 7 grade) Shadowmaker
(Lexile: 850) (recommended for 8 grade)
O’Dell tries to convey simple but profound messages through his books. For example, in
Island of the Blue Dolphins (Lexile: 1000) the overriding theme is respect for life—all life
in all forms. (recommended for 6 -8 grade)
A Newbery and Christopher Award winning author, Paterson writes contemporary,
realistic fiction and historical fiction. Her themes include self-acceptance, personal
strength, friendship and death. A few titles in our library are: Bridge to Terabithia (Lexile:
810), Jacob Have I Loved (Lexile: 830) and Flip-Flop Girl (Lexile: 720) (recommended for
6 -8 grade)
A popular author among middle school readers, Paulsen’s books delve into the themes of
wilderness survival, sled dogs, animal behavior, respect, accidents, and trapping.
Paulsen’s books are very descriptive of realistic, natural events and situations which he
has experienced. A few titles in our library include: The River (Lexile: 960), Brian’s Return
(Lexile: 1030), Brian’s Winter (Lexile: 1140), Brian’s Hunt (Lexile: 1180) (recommended
for reluctant readers) Parents some of Gary Paulsen’s books are questionable for middle
school students, please check out any other books not listed above!
This British author created the Harry Potter series. These fantasy books depict the
adventures of Harry Potter as he ventures into the world of Hogwarts School. The
characters are colorful and the texts are full of imagery.
Best known for his writing in the realm of animal fantasy, Selden’s most favored character
is a cricket. Through this character Selden connects the city and the county using the
animal and the human. The Cricket in Times Square (Lexile: 780) is recommended for
A writer of science fiction, Sleator is fascinated with real scientific phenomena. He writes
books that are magical but uses story lines within the scientific realm that really might be
possible. Rewind (Lexile: 620) (recommended for 6 grade), Into the Dream (Lexile:
720), (recommended for 7 grade) Others See Us (Lexile: 860) (recommended for 8
Soto is a Hispanic-American author and poet. He has written books for adults as well as
for young adults. Soto uses his writing to comment on society, racial tensions, and
poverty. The story lines in his books include basketball, single-parent families, school
life, and barrio life. Baseball in April and other stories (Lexile: 830) and Taking Sides
(Lexile: 750) (recommended for all middle school grades)
Many of Speare’s historical novels are set in New England where she has lived all of her
life. Her awards include two Newbery Medals and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. The
Sign of the Beaver (Lexile: 770)(recommended for all middle grades) and The Witch of
Blackbird Pond (Lexile: 850) (recommended for 7 or 8 grade)
A Newbery Medal award writer, Sperry’ South Seas book, Call it Courage (Lexile: 830)
(recommended for all middle grades) is a popular adventure story. Sperry’s stories deal
with heroic characters that struggle to overcome great obstacles.
Beginning his lifetime career as a writer at the age of thirteen, Taylor writes on themes
that reflect the numerous and various experiences of his life. During his life experiences
Taylor watched, listened, thought and dreamed. Library titles include: The Cay (Lexile:
860) and Timothy of the Cay (Lexile: 860) (both recommended for all middle grades)
VIRGINIA CHOICE BOOK TITLES
The purpose of these books is to encourage young readers to become better acquainted
with contemporary books with outstanding literary appeal, to broaden students’
awareness of literature as a life-long pleasure, to encourage reading aloud in classrooms
as a means of introducing reading for pleasure, and to honor favorite books and their
Recommended for 6th grade
Adam Canfield of the Slash by Michael Winerip. Lexile: 830L
While serving as co-editors of their school newspaper, middle-schoolers Adam and
Jennifer uncover fraud and corruption in their school and in the city's government.
Black Duck by Janet Taylor Lisle Lexile: 790L
Years afterwards, Ruben Hart tells the story of how, in 1929 Newport, Rhode Island,
his family and his best friend's family were caught up in the violent competition among
groups trying to control the local rum-smuggling trade.
Lawn Boy: by Gary Paulsen Lexile: 780L
Things get out of hand for a twelve-year-old boy when a neighbor convinces him to
expand his summer lawn mowing business.
Hitler’s Canary by Sandi Toksvig Lexile: 810L
Based upon the true experiences of the author's father, tells the fictional story of ten-
year-old Bamse and his Jewish friend, Anton, who participated in the Danish Resistance
during World War II.
Crooked Kind of Perfect: by Linda Urban Lexile: 730L
Ten-year-old Zoe Elias dreams of becoming a famous piano prodigy. She imagines
wearing a ball gown and playing to cheering audiences at Carnegie Hall. But when her
agoraphobic father braves the mall to purchase a piano for her, the bright lights and
crowds are too overwhelming. Instead of a piano, he comes home with a "wood-grained,
vinyl-seated, wheeze-bag" Perfectone D-60 organ. Zoe is "the opposite of excited," but
as her weekly lessons progress, she finds she has some talent with the dual keyboard
and the rumba rhythm switch. Even Wheeler Diggs, a weird boy from school who
befriends Zoe when her best friend ditches her for the popular crowd, thinks her playing
Eleven: by Patricia Reilly Giff Lexile: 600L
Just before his eleventh birthday, Sam finds a newspaper clipping poking out of a locked
box in the attic. Below the word missing is an image of a small child, who, Sam realizes
with astonishment, is himself. Although he can read wood like his carpenter grandfather,
Mack, with whom he lives, Sam can’t read words. He agonizes over his discovery, but he
is too afraid to ask Mack for explanations. Then he befriends an eccentric new student,
Caroline, and together they investigate Sam’s past. How did he arrive at the place where
he is being raised by Mack? Why does he dream about an icy river?
Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat: by Lynne Jonell Lexile: 780L
When Emmy discovers that she and her formerly loving parents are being drugged by
their evil nanny with rodent potions that can change people in frightening ways, she and
some new friends must try everything possible to return things to normal.
The Ghost, the White House, and Me: by Judith St. George Lexile: 800L
Shortly after their mother takes the office of president, KayKay Granger and her sister
begin to suspect that Abraham Lincoln's ghost is haunting the White House and begin to
Recommended for 7th grade
The Mailbox by Audrey Shafer. Lexile: 790L
When twelve-year-old Gabe tries to hide his uncle's death from the local
authorities, he is not prepared for what happens when this secret is discovered.
Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 by Andrea White Lexile: 670L
In the year 2083, five fourteen-year-olds who were deprived by chance of the
opportunity to continue their educations reenact Scott's 1910-1913 expedition to the
South Pole as contestants on a reality television show, secretly aided by a Department of
First Light: by Rebecca Stead Lexile: 760L
When twelve-year-old Peter and his family arrive in Greenland for his father's research,
he stumbles upon a secret his mother has been hiding from him all his life, and begins an
adventure he never imagines possible.
Keeper: by Mal Peet Lexile: 780L
South American journalist Paul Faustino begins his interview with World Cup Soccer star
El Gato and learns a fantastic story of a young, lonely boy growing up in the middle of a
rain forest who wandered upon a mysterious soccer field and an apparition that appeared
to him daily
London Calling: by Edward Bloor Lexile: 640L
Seventh-grader Martin Conway believes that his life is monotonous and dull until the
night the antique radio he uses as a night-light transports him to the bombing of London
Savvy: by Ingrid Law Lexile:
Recounts the adventures of Mibs Beaumont, whose thirteenth birthday has revealed her
"savvy"--a magical power unique to each member of her family--just as her father is
injured in a terrible accident.
Wednesday Wars: by Gary Schmidt Lexile; 990L
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.
Recommended for 8th grade
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel Lexile: 760L
Matt, a young cabin boy aboard an airship, and Kate, a wealthy young girl traveling
with her chaperone, team up to search for the existence of mysterious winged creatures
reportedly living hundreds of feet above the Earth's surface.
Blue by Joyce Moyer Hostetter Lexile: 780L
Ann Fay Honeycutt becomes the man of the house at age thirteen after her father
leaves to fight in World War II, forcing Ann to give up her childhood and tend to her
family, but when a polio epidemic strikes, Ann faces the most devastating challenge of
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson Lexile: 700L
Sixteen-year-old Hattie Brooks inherits her uncle's homesteading claim in Montana in
1917 and encounters some unexpected problems related to the war in Europe.
La linea by Ann Jaramillo Lexile: 650L
When fifteen-year-old Miguel's time finally comes to leave his poor Mexican village,
cross the border illegally, and join his parents in California, his younger sister's
determination to join him soon imperils them both.
The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen Cushman Lexile: 750L
In 1949, thirteen-year-old Francine goes to Catholic school in Los Angeles where
she becomes best friends with a girl who questions authority and is frequently punished
by the nuns, causing Francine to question her own values.
The Black Book of Secrets: by F. E. Higgins Lexile: 830L
When Ludlow Fitch runs away from his thieving parents in the City, he meets up with the
mysterious Joe Zabbidou, who calls himself a secret pawnbroker, and who takes Ludlow
as an apprentice to record the confessions of the townspeople of Pagus Parvus, where
resentments are many and trust is scarce.
Book of a thousand days: by Shannon Hale Lexile: 850L
Fifteen-year-old Dashti, sworn to obey her sixteen-year-old mistress, the Lady Saren,
shares Saren's years of punishment locked in a tower, then brings her safely to the lands
of her true love, where both must hide who they are as they work as kitchen maids.
Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller: by Sarah Miller Lexile: 890L
Includes bibliographical references. At age twenty-one, partially-blind, lonely but
spirited Annie Sullivan travels from Massachusetts to Alabama to try and teach six-year-
old Helen Keller, deaf and blind since age two, self-discipline and communication skills.
Includes historical notes and timeline.
The Uprising: by Margaret Peterson Haddix Lexile: 790L
In 1927, at the urging of twenty-one-year-old Harriet, Mrs. Livingston reluctantly
recalls her experiences at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, including miserable working
conditions that led to a strike, then the fire that took the lives of her two best friends,
when Harriet, the boss's daughter, was only five years old.
Books at Marsteller Middle School recommended by students
Author Title Grade Lexile
Barry, Dave Peter and the Starcatcher 6th Lexile: 770L
Bissinger, H. G. Friday Night Lights 8th Lexile: 1260L
Bosch, Pseudonymous The Name of this Book is Secret 6th Lexile: 810L
Broach, Elise Shakespeare’s Secret 6th Lexile: 670L
Card, Orson Scott Ender’s Game 8th Lexile: 780L
Cay, John Crackback 8th Lexile: 490L
Clements, Andrew Things Not Seen 6th Lexile: 690L
Creech, Sharon Walk Two Moons 6th Lexile: 770L
Cretzmeyer, Stacy Your Name is Renee 8th Lexile:
Ewing, Lynne Daughters of the Moon series 7th Lexile: 580-800L
Farmer, Nancy The Sea of Trolls 6th Lexile: 670L
Feinstein, John Last Shot: a Final Four Mystery 6th Lexile: 760L
French, Jackie Hitler’s Daughter 6th Lexile: 600L
Golding, William Lord of the Flies 8th Lexile: 770L
Gunn, Robin Jones The Christy Miller Collection 7th Lexile: 730-790L
Harrison, Lisi The Clique: A Novel 7th Lexile: 790L
Horowitz, Anthony Stormbreaker (Alex Rider series) 6th Lexile: 670L
LaHaye, Tim Left Behind (Adult series) 7th Lexile: 720-990L
Martin, Ann A Dog’s Life 6th Lexile: 870L
Mass, Wendy Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life 6th Lexile: 770L
Meyer, Stephanie Twilight (book 1) 8th Lexile: 720L
Myers, Walter Dean Monster 8th Lexile: 670L
Nimmo, Jenny The Charlie Bone series 6th Lexile: 590-770L
Nix, Garth Mister Monday (book 1) 7th Lexile: 800L
Nylund, Eric Halo: The Fall of Reach 8th Lexile:
Paulsen, Gary Hatchet 7th Lexile: 1020L
Paulsen, Gary The Transall Saga 8th Lexile: 630L
Peck, Richard A Year Down Yonder 6th Lexile: 610 L
Pierce, Tamora The Immortals series 7th Lexile: 670-770L
Sachar, Louis Holes 6th Lexile: 660L
Spinelli, Jerry Milkweed 6th Lexile: 510L
Spinelli, Jerry Stargirl 6th Lexile: 590L
Tolkien, J. R. The Hobbit 8th Lexile: 1000L
Watson, Jude Premonition 8th Lexile: 610L
Wooding, Chris Storm Thief 7th Lexile: 800L