Sizzling Summer Suggestions


Dear Parents and Guardians:

            As the school year draws to a close, the English Language Arts would like to wish you and your children a relaxing and enjoyable vacation. We hope that as families, you will build into your precious time together the pleasures and adventures that reading good books offer. It is our hope that all students entering grades 6, 7 and 8 will read during the summer. It is especially important for your children to be reading books of high interest to them. It is our belief that all students are capable of reading at least three “just right” books during the summer. To help guide those decisions, we have provided you with a list of some of the more popular young adult novels.   HAPPY READING!

Our Sizzling Summer Suggestions!

Best Books for Young Adults Selection.

West Springfield Middle School Summer Reading Suggestions 2015



Close to Famous   by Joan Bauer

Ummm…cupcakes and muffins! Foster dreams of having her own cooking show while she and her mother hide from Mom’s abusive boyfriend in the sleepy town of Culpepper.  The quirky town residents provide a haven for foster and her Mom while they work out their problems with funny and serious twists and turns.

Heat        by Mike Lupica

Pitching prodigy Michael Arroyo is on the run from social services after being banned from playing Little League baseball because rival coaches doubt he is only twelve years old and he has no parents to offer them proof.

Peak     by Roland Smith

Fourteen-year-old Peak has been climbing skyscrapers in New York City—illegally. When his long-lost father shows up, he offers Peak the opportunity to climb Mount Everest together. This is Peak’s gut-wrenching story of his attempt to be the youngest person to reach the top of Mount Everest.

Rain Reign      by Ann M. Martin

Struggling with Asperger's Syndrome, Rose shares a bond with her beloved dog, but when the dog goes missing during a storm, Rose is forced to confront the limits of her comfort levels, even if it means leaving her routines in order to search for her pet.

Waiting for Normal     by Leslie Connor

 Addie tries to cope with her mother's erratic behavior and being separated from her beloved stepfather and half-sisters when she and her mother go to live in a small trailer by the railroad tracks on the outskirts of Schenectady, New York.

Crossover     by Kwame Alexander

Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health. A novel in verse.



Between Shades of Gray (YA)     by Ruta Sepetys

In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author's family.

Code Talker: A Novel about the Navajo Marines of World War Two     by Joseph Bruchac

After being taught in a boarding school run by whites that Navajo is a useless language, Ned Begay and other Navajo men are recruited by the Marines to become Code Talkers, sending messages in their native tongue during World War Two.

Prisoner B-3087      by Alan Gratz

Based on the life of Jack Gruener, this book relates his story of survival from the Nazi occupation of Krakow, when he was eleven, through a succession of concentration camps, to the final liberation of Dachau.

Ransom of Mercy Carter     by Caroline Cooney

In 1704, in the English settlement of Deerfield, Massachusetts, eleven-year-old Mercy and her family and neighbors are captured by Mohawk Indians and their French allies, and forced to march through bitter cold to French Canada, where some adapt to new lives and some still hope to be ransomed.

Uprising     by Margaret Petersen Haddix

In 1927, at the urging of twenty-one-year-old Harriet, Mrs. Livingston reluctantly recalls her experiences at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, including the terrible work conditions and  then the horrific fire that took the lives of her two best friends.



A Curse as Dark as Gold     by Elizabeth C. Bunce

Seventeen-year-old Charlotte struggles to keep the family's woolen mill running in the face of an overwhelming mortgage and what the local villagers believe is a curse. When a man capable of spinning straw into gold appears on the scene she must decide if his help is worth the price. If you like the show Once Upon a Time, you’ll love this book.

The False Prince     by Jennifer Nielsen

In the country of Carthya, a devious nobleman engages four orphans in a brutal competition to be selected to impersonate the king's long-missing son in an effort to avoid a civil war.

Fifth Wave (YA)     by Rick Yancey

Cassie Sullivan, the survivor of an alien invasion, must rescue her young brother from the enemy with help from a boy who may be one of them.

Five kingdoms: Sky Raiders     by Brandon Mull

Whisked through a portal to The Outskirts, an in-between world, sixth-grader Cole must rescue his friends and find his way back home--before his existence is forgotten.

Ruins of Gorlan     by John Flanagan

 When fifteen-year-old Will is rejected by battle school, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt, and winds up protecting the kingdom from danger.


The Red Pyramid     by Rick Riordan

Brilliant Egyptologist Dr. Julius Kane accidentally unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes the doctor to oblivion and forces his two children to embark on a dangerous journey, bringing them closer to the truth about their family and its links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

Seraphina      by  Rachel Hartman

In a world where dragons and humans coexist in an uneasy truce and dragons can assume human form, Seraphina, whose mother died giving birth to her, grapples with her own identity amid magical secrets and royal scandals, while she struggles to accept and develop her extraordinary musical talents.



Enders Game     by Orson Scott Card

Young Ender Wiggin may prove to be the military genius Earth needs to fight a desperate battle against a deadly alien race that will determine the future of the human race.


Leviathan     by Scott Westerfeld

In an alternate 1914 Europe, fifteen-year-old Austrian Prince Alek, on the run from the Clanker Powers who are attempting to take over the globe using mechanical machinery, forms an uneasy alliance with Deryn who, disguised as a boy to join the British Air Service, is learning to fly genetically-engineered beasts.


Prisoner of Cell 25     by   Richard Paul Evans

Fourteen-year-old Michael Vey is nothing special, just the kid who has Tourette's syndrome. But in truth, Michael is extremely special--he has electric powers. With the help of friends Ostin and Taylor, the three of them set out to discover how both Michael and Taylor ended up with their electric abilities. Their investigation soon brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric teens--and through them, the world.

Tesla’s Attic     by Neal Shusterman

When four kids move into an old Victorian house with a magnetic vortex in the attic, they find themselves caught up in a dangerous plan concocted by the eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla. With a plot combining science, intrigue,  humor and even weirdness, Nick and his friends try to evade the Accelerati, a secret and dangerous society of physicists determined to alter destiny.





The Finest Hours: The True Story of a Heroic  Sea Rescue by Michael Tougas and Casey Sherman

Two oil tankers off the shore of Cape Cod are torn in half by a fierce winter storm. This fast-paced, uplifting story describes how four men in a tiny lifeboat overcame insurmountable odds and saved more than 30 stranded sailors. This Coast Guard rescue is a gripping tale of heroism and survival written especially for middle school readers.

Guys Read: True Stories     edited by Jon Scieszka

 “A mind-blowing collection of essays, biographies, travelogues, and more, all proving that the truth is most definitely out there.”  (flyleaf)

Nazi Hunters     by Neal  Bascomb

At the end of World War II, Adolf Eichmann walked into the mountains of Germany and vanished. Sixteen years later, an elite team of spies captured him at a bus stop in Argentina and smuggled him to Israel, resulting in one of the century's most important trials. Here is the story of what happened between these two events

The President Has Been Shot      by James L.  Swanson

The riveting story of an assassin and a president and four of the saddest days in our country’s history.  A minute-by-minute account of the assassination of JFK, an event that haunts us to this day.



I am Malala: How One Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Changed the World     by Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai describes her fight for education for girls under Taliban rule, the support she received from her parents to pursue an education, and how the Taliban retaliated against her by trying to kill her.

Discovering Wes Moore      by Wes Moore

The author, a Rhodes scholar and combat veteran, analyzes factors that influenced him as well as another man of the same name and from the same neighborhood who was drawn into a life of drugs and crime and ended up serving life in prison, focusing on the influence of relatives, mentors, and social expectations that could have led either of them on different paths.

The Notorious Benedict Arnold: a True Story of Adventure, Heroism, & Treachery     by Steve Sheinkin

An introduction to the life of Benedict Arnold that highlights not only the traitorous actions that made him legendary, but also his heroic involvement in the American Revolution.

Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Fighting to Get Back On the Board       by Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton shares the story of her lifelong love of surfing, and tells how she was able to recover and return to competition with the help of her family, friends, and faith after losing her arm in a shark attack at the age of thirteen.

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different:  A Biography     by Karen Blumenthal

Chronicles the life and accomplishments of Apple mogul Steve Jobs, discussing his ideas, and describing how he has influenced life in the twenty-first century.



S. LaFlamme 5/2015. Summaries taken from Follett Destiny      

List from our Text Book Publisher

Newbery Award Winners

*Visit the Youth Room of the West Springfield Public Library for additional recommendations based on your student's personal interest.

Print copies of this list are available at the West Springfield Public Library and Barnes & Noble in Holyoke.

     We look forward to beginning the new school year by having the students present “book talks” about their summer selections. A form outlining the information included in a “book talk” is in this packet. We strongly encourage you to read along with your children and enjoy the rewarding conversations that always follow the reading of a great book! Thank you for your support. 







My Book Talk


Fill in the blanks with the information about the book you will be sharing with the class. Have this paper ready to read at your next book talk.


I’d like to introduce you to__________________________________________________­­­­­­­­___________________

                                                                                    (title of book)

by the author____________________________________________________________________________.


The genre of this book is _________________________ . I know it is______________________________




This book is about ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

                                                           (must be three sentences)

 I really enjoyed the part of the book where

 1. ___________________________________________________________________________________

   ______________________________________________________ and where_____________________


3. _____________________________________________________________________________________.



This reminds me of

  1. _______________________________________________________________________________

 _____________________________________________________ because______________________



                                                                                (How does it connect?)


I hope you like reading______________________________________ as much as I did.