5th - 8th Grade

Inherit Midnight by Kate Kae Myers

Avery Van Demere has never known her parents.  Being told her mother is dead, and her alcoholic father hasn’t had the courage to stand up to his own mother, Avery has been raised by her grandmother, isolated in a mansion, not being allowed to have friends outside of school.  Naturally she rebels and when she gets caught sneaking out, her grandmother sends her to a boarding school.  The night she is escaping from there, she is picked up by her family lawyers to participate in a heritage challenge to determine who will win and control the vast fortune.

Dreamwood by Heather Mackey

Lucy’s father is a ghostologist, but there’s not much call for that anymore.  With the advent of electric lights (which ghosts hate,) the ghosts have died out or gone away.  So he parked her at a prim boarding school and set off for the Pacific Northwest on a new venture.  And soon, Lucy runs off to follow him.  It turns out that the logging business is in a tailspin due to an epidemic called “rust” that is destroying the trees.  When Lucy arrives in the town where her father should be, she finds that he’s missing.

Walking Home by Eric Walters

Muchoki has been through a lot: Kenyon rioters destroyed his home, his church, and his town. His father died giving Muchoki, his mother and younger sister Jata a chance to escape the turmoil. Now Muchoki, Jata, and his mother are living in a relocation camp. His mother has malaria, so they are waiting for her to become strong enough to travel to her parents’ village. Then the unthinkable happens: his mother dies. Muchoki must figure out a way to get out of the camp, and find his way to his grandparents’ village with his sister.

Autumn Falls by Bella Thorne

Following the death of her father, Autumn, her brother, and her mother move down to Aventura, Florida, to help take care of her grandmother. Fortunately, on her first day of school Autumn becomes friends with a quirky group of kids who take her under their wing, and sparks also fly between her and school quarterback Sean. Unfortunately, at the same time she draws the wrath of one of the most popular girls in school, Reenzie, because Reenzie and Sean have been friends for years. 

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Ada was born with a clubfoot.  Her single mother is ashamed and keeps her inside their cramped apartment at all times. It’s only when her little brother James starts going to school and exploring the neighborhood that Ada learns what happens beyond her walls. When the children of London are evacuated due to the German bombings during WWII, Ada runs away with her brother.  They are placed with a reluctant guardian, Susan, who is suffering with depression. 

The Eighth Day by Diane Salerni

Following the death of his father in a car accident, Jax Aubrey is sent to live with his new guardian, Riley Pendare—someone he’s never heard of, let alone met. Riley is incredibly secretive and doesn’t pay much attention to Jax. One day, which Jax believes to be a Thursday, everyone around him disappears, except for a mysterious teenage girl next door that Jax has never seen before. The next day Jax wakes up and finds it’s Thursday again, except this time everyone is back where they belong and the girl next door is gone.

Surrounded by Sharks by Michael Northrop

Davey’s family is on their first vacation in a couple years and what is his family doing? Sleeping!  While they snore, Davey collects his book and his glasses and, without leaving a note, he heads off to the beach. His plan is to stretch out on the sand and bury his nose in a book, but the sparkling water entices him. The island’s beach is totally deserted. There’s a no swimming sign, but it’s barely readable.

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick

Since her dad returned from his last tour in Afghanistan, nothing in the lives of the Lovejoys has been the same. After losing a limb, her father’s career is over. He moves the family to his hometown of Pumpkin Falls to take over his parents’ bookstore. While helping clean up at the bookstore, Truly finds a mysterious, un-mailed letter inside a signed first edition of Charlotte’s Web.

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis

In 1901, two boys become friends in eastern Canada.  Benji is a black youth who intends to become a newspaperman.  His pal is a red-haired Irish boy named Alvin.  Alvin wants to become a scientist.  The duo met at a forensics competition. Benji has landed an apprenticeship with a local newspaper and is always thinking of his next story. Alvin lives with his father and Grandma. While exploring the woods, they encounter the “Madman of Piney Woods,” who turns out to be a Civil War veteran who has become a hermit.

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