• read happily
    One of my favorite parts of the summer is reading all the books that have piled up during the school year.  I've read myriad fiction books for grown-ups and for young adult readers and several nonfiction books, most related to teaching ELA.  Listed here are just a few books I've read recently that 7th and 8th grade students might enjoy.  
    If you have any books to recommend, please let me know at mambrosi@cbsd.org.  
    Happy Reading!
  • The Legend Trilogy (Legend, Prodigy, Champion)

    by Marie Lu Year Published: (2011, 2012, 2013)

    In the dystopian Legend, fifteen year old June lives in Republic with her brother Metias, and as a prodigy, she is groomed to become a member of the elite military.  The Republic's number one criminal is Day, an elusive teen who taunts and ruins the Republic's operations while living anonymously and in a run down town with his mother and brothers.  When June's brother is killed and Day is falsely identified as the killer, June is out for revenge. However, June and Day realize they have more in common and unite to bring the corrupt Republic leaders to justice.  Fans of Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner will enjoy the action and adventure of Legend, Prodigy, and Champion.   

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  • I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives

    by Martin Ganda and Caitlin Alifirenka Year Published: 2015

    The friendship between Martin and Caitlin began as a pen pal assignment in Caitlin's seventh grade English class (in nearby Hatfield, PA).  Caitlin's pen pal was Martin from Zimbabwe, a place Caitlin knew nothing about other than it was in Africa.  The chapters alternate between Martin's and Caitlin's perspectives and the reader learns that the normal daily occurrences that Caitlin takes for granted--taking a photo, having shoes, and going to school--are starkly different than the life Martin lives in his small village.  Their friendship endures over ten years as Caitlin and her family help Martin and his family with school tuition and survival.  Finally after a decade, Caitlin and Martin meet.  The friendship sparked by a letter changes the lives of dozens of people both in Pennsylvania and Zimbabwe.  

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  • Michael Vey, Prisoner of Cell 25

    by Richard Paul Evans Year Published: 2011

    Michael Vey seems like a typical fourteen year old kid who lives in Idaho--except for that electrifying power that zaps anyone who threatens him.  When Michael discovers that Taylor, a popular cheerleader, shares a similar magical power, the two team up with Ostin, Michael's best friend, to investigate.  How did Michael and Taylor end up with electric powers?  Who is behind Elgen Academy that wants to harness their powers to threaten nations of the world?  When Michael's mother is kidnapped, he and his friends (the Electroclan) band together to find her and defeat Hatch, the mastermind scientist behind Elgen.  The short chapters and realistic dialogue make this action book a great pick!

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  • The Summer I Turned Pretty

    by Jenny Han Year Published: 2009
    In The Summer I Turned Pretty, Isabel (called Belly) returns again the summer that she is fifteen to Cousins, a beach town, where she has spent every summer since before she was born with her mom, brother, her mom's best friend Susannah and her sons Jeremiah and Conrad.  Belly's crush on Conrad is not new, but this summer guys start to notice Belly, including her buddy Jeremiah and quiet, older Conrad.  Belly enjoys the attention, but something serious arises to threaten the lifelong summers the two families share.  Belly's older brother, her best friend Taylor, and Susannah's illness bring Belly problems that also cause trouble for her this incredible summer.  
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  • Crossover

    by Kwame Alexander Year Published: 2014
    WOW!  Crossover mellifluously shows how basketball sensation Josh Bell (7th grade student, twin brother of Jordan, and slam dunk artist) deals with life on and off the basketball court.  It's written in verse (poem form), yet that shouldn't hold back non-poetry readers from picking up the book.  The story flows beautifully and descriptively through "four quarters" and an "overtime" of Josh's basketball season.  Josh's struggles with family and friends will be familiar to all readers.  You'll be sad when it's over.  Great (and quick) read--lots of style choices!
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  • We're All Made of Molecules

    by Susin Nielsen Year Published: 2015
    Ashley and Stewart are two teenagers with nothing in common--until her mom dates his dad AND they decide to move in together.  If this isn't painful enough for the cool, fourteen year old Ashley, "Spewart" transfers to her school and is so clueless he doesn't realize she despises him.  Ashley struggles to keep her cool friends and the fallout from her parents' divorce; she has no time for dorky Stewart whose mom's death is never far from his mind. 
    The chapters alternate between Ashley's and Stewart's perspectives.  Even though they are more different than alike, each helps the other with a problem and they realize that "we're all made of molecules." 
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  • Connect the Stars

    by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague Year Published: 2015
    Audrey's "superpower" is she can tell when someone is lying.  Aaron is full of useless information; he's called a walking encyclopedia.  Neither of these talents are good if you're a 7th grade student.  
    Audrey and Aaron don't meet until they attend a summer wilderness camp, both searching for an escape from the troubles their talents brought in 7th grade.  At the wilderness camp, they have to work in a group of four to survive the challenges of the other campers, the desert, and a harsh camp leader.  The chapters alternate between Audrey's and Aaron's perspectives to show how they overcome their personal problems and the wilderness camp mystery.   The beautiful descriptive writing, the short chapters, and the alternating perspectives combine to make readers curious to reach the end of Audrey's and Aaron's journey.   
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  • The Duel

    by Judith St. George Year Published: 2009
    The subtitle--The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr--captures the crux of this book.  This author recounts for readers the lives of these two American statesmen who had major roles in forming our country.  If you're a fan of Hamilton (the musical), you will appreciate the details that explain key moments from the show and that explain further why each man acted as he did.  
    The book builds to the famous duel between Hamilton and Burr, which was the result of years of conflict  and (surprisingly and briefly) friendship. Both Hamilton's and Burr's successes and troubles as lawyers and politicians come to life in the book, and the author shares their family lives to show the human side to these historical figures.  If you enjoy American history and/or are a Hamilton fan, you'll enjoy this quick read.  
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  • Crown

    by Kiera Cass Year Published: 2016
    Can Princess Eadlyn choose a husband while facing the challenges of ruling an entire kingdom?  Can she manage the trouble that is brewing in the kingdom and the trouble that has hit her family?  Princess Eadlyn, America and Maxon's daughter, has to manage her own selection (which has dwindled to six remaining suitors), her mother's health scare, and her ascension to queen as her father is distracted by her mother's illness.  Of the six remaining boys, Eadlyn feels friendship for all and possibly love for one special boy.  As she faces many conflicts, Eadlyn slowly recognizes her strengths, figures out whom to trust, and decides what is best for the kingdom and her own future.  Fans of The Selection will not be disappointed by this latest book in the series! 
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  • The Blood of Olympus

    by Rick Riordan Year Published: 2014

    In this final book of the Heroes of Olympus series, Percy, Annabeth, and Jason (and many of the other familiar Greek and Roman demigods from the earlier books), struggle to overcome giants and monsters that Gaea has sent to crush them.  The demigods are on a quest to return to Athens and defeat Gaea's minions before she awakens.  

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  • Heir

    by Kiera Cass Year Published: 2015

    In this follow-up to the original Selection series books, Queen America and King Maxon's daughter--Princess Eadlyn--agrees to a selection of her own.  Eadlyn does not believe she will find her prince through the selection, but she agrees to bring her kingdom joy.  The princess is suprised by many of the young men who would like to marry her.  A cliffhanger ending promises there will be another book as Eadlyn searches for her "prince charming." 

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  • The Scorch Trials

    by James Dasher Year Published: 2011

    If you read the first book, The Maze Runner, you'll want to check out this book (#2) in the series.  This dystopian book continues Thomas's journey once he escapes The Maze.  Fans of Divergent and The Hunger Games will enjoy.   

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