Perfect by Natasha Friend (2004)

perfectThis book about a girl’s struggle with bulimia is realistic but not too mature, making it a good choice for middle schoolers of all ages.

Recommended grade level: 6-9

Pages: 172 (for ISBN 9781571316516)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction

Tone/Style: depressed

Pace: moderate to fast

Topics: bulimia, therapy groups, loss of a parent, parents with mental illness, friends who are negative influences

Themes: grief and loss,  unhealthy coping, siblings, parent/child relationships, family

Summary: Isabelle Lee is a typical, wisecracking, middle-of-the-pack girl who happens to be dealing with some big issues. Her father has died and no one—especially her mother—wants to talk about it. Meanwhile, Isabelle’s sister, who used to be nine and charming, has ruined everything by ratting Isabelle out to their mom about her eating disorder. Continue reading

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur (2009)

loveA touching story of grief and forgiveness.

Recommended grade level: 4-7

Pages: 262 (for ISBN 9780385737746)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic, reluctant readers

Tone/Style: hurt, hopeful

Pace: moderate

Topics: death of family members, parental abandonment, parent/child relationships, moving, grandmothers, new friends

Themes: grief, feeling unwanted, disappointment, choices, forgiveness

Summary: A beautifully written and deeply moving middle-grade novel with characters to cherish and a story that deals with tragedy and loss in a fresh way. Continue reading

This Journal Belongs to Ratchet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh (2013)

ratA light middle-grade novel told in journal-style about a homeschooled girl seeking friendship, acceptance, and an understanding with her unconventional father.

Recommended grade level: 3-6

Pages: 320 (for ISBN 9781402281068)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, diary

Continue reading

Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories by R.J. Palacio (2015)

augThree novellas from the point of view of three different characters offer new insight into the world of Palacio’s 2012 bestseller Wonder.

Recommended grade level: 3-6

Pages: 303 (for ISBN 9781101934852)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, novella

Tone/Style: thoughtful

Pace: leisurely to moderate

Topics: The Julian Chapter: bullying, feuds, parent-school relations, World War II.

Pluto: divorce, accidents, memories, childhood friendships, outer space, dogs

Shingaling: dance, cliques

Themes: The Julian Chapter: reasons for meanness, redemption, forgiveness

Pluto: difficult friendships, long-distance friendships relationships with parents, guilt

Shingaling: reasons for kindness, going outside of friend groups, self-discovery

Summary: Over 2 million people have read the #1 New York Times bestseller Wonder and have fallen in love with Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face. Readers have also been treated to three stories offering a special look at Auggie’s world through new points of view. Continue reading