Middle School Booksellers Report: What We’re Really Reading This Summer


If you’ve been in the young readers section of our store lately, you may have seen a couple of middle schoolers wearing name tags and hanging around. These bookstore kids (kind of like shop dogs, but human — the children of booksellers) spend a lot of time reading while their mom is working, and this year they struck a deal: for every required summer-reading book they had to read for school, they were allowed to pick a couple of books they wanted just for fun. Here’s their list of the ones they loved best.

Recommended by Cameron (8th grade, likes action, adventure, history; loves a good series; and is beginning to venture out of the middle-grade section and into young adult and adult nonfiction… with parental consultation on choices)

Ms. Bixby's Last Day Cover ImageMs. Bixby’s Last Day

This book is about three friends who go on a quest to give their teacher a great last day. I love the plot, which is the best thing about it. Anderson also wrote The Dungeoneers, which I read and liked last year.

Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog Cover ImageArgos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog

I love that this tells a familiar story through a different perspective. If you like books about dogs, you might like this unusual book.

The Eye of Minds Cover ImageThe Eye of Minds

By James Dashner

This book is part of a series that also includes The Rule of Thoughts and The Game of Lives. It’s about a boy hacker named Michael and his two friends who go on an adventure to stop a cyber-terrorist. This is a real page-turner.

A group of boys and one girl look for refuge in a dystopian world. This series is written well and a very thrilling story. The books so far are: The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order. The next one, The Fever Code, comes out in September 2016.

Steelheart Cover ImageSteelheart

A boy named David is bound to avenge his father’s death and stop the superhuman killer, Steelheart. Along the way, he meets the Reckoners, a shadowy group also dedicated to killing the superhumans, known as “Epics.” If you liked The Hunger Games or Maze Runner, you would like this. The rest of the books in the series are Firefight and Calamity.

The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler S Atomic Bomb Cover ImageThe Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler S Atomic Bomb

This nonfiction book is about a group of men in World War II who sabotage the Nazis’ heavy water plant so that the Nazis can’t make atomic bombs. This book has it all: action, adventure, danger! This would be a great choice if you liked The Boys in the Boat or The Mathews Men


Recommended by Gennie (5th grade, loves fantasy and realistic fiction equally, enjoys stories about animals as well as about friends banding together to solve problems, likes humor)

The School for Good and Evil: The Ever Never Handbook Cover ImageThe School for Good and Evil: The Ever Never Handbook

By Soman Chainani, Michael Blank (Illustrator)

This “handbook” is for people who loved the first book of The School for Good and Evil series as well as the second and third books. It is sort of like a prequel. It will tell you about the history of the school and its traditions. I loved this book because it answered all my questions I had about the mysterious school!

Sweet Home Alaska Cover ImageSweet Home Alaska

This novel is about a girl whose family moves to Alaska with other families that decided to be the first settlers in the new state. I liked this book because it showed me what it was like moving to a place that was new for the whole country. This book would be good for someone who loves history.

Raymie Nightingale Cover ImageRaymie Nightingale

This book is about a girl whose father runs off with a dental hygienist. To get him back, she plans to win the Little Miss Florida Tire contest so that her father will see her face in the newspaper and want to come home. She makes makes two wonderful friends along the way, and they have tons of great adventures. I liked this book because of the unexpected surprises throughout the story.

Brambleheart: A Story about Finding Treasure and the Unexpected Magic of Friendship Cover ImageBrambleheart: A Story about Finding Treasure and the Unexpected Magic of Friendship

By Henry Cole, Henry Cole (Illustrator)

This book is about a chipmunk named Brambleheart who has only one friend and is not good at anything. After a very disappointing failure, he decides to explore a place where no one is allowed to go. He find finds something and brings it back, but he cannot tell anyone about it. I am in fifth grade and I liked this book, but I also think it would be good for younger readers.

Fuzzy Mud Cover ImageFuzzy Mud

Two kids always walk home together, but one day a bully threatens one of them, and the other throws mud in the bully’s face. The next day, the bully is not at school and it turns out no one has seen him since. I liked this book because it was full of mystery.

Well of Witches Cover ImageWell of Witches

By J. a. White, Andrea Offermann (Illustrator)

The third book in the Thickety fantasy series is now out, and it is just as good as the first and second. These are big books that are great to take on a trip when you need something good to read that can last you a few days.

The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase Cover ImageThe Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase 

This series is about four kids who are all in a contest to see who can make the best candy, and I won’t spoil the rest, but they become friends. I like it because it’s very mysterious, which makes it fun to read. The Great Chocolate Chase will officially be released next week, but you can pre-order it now and read the original Candymakers while you wait.

Somebody Stop Ivy Pocket Cover ImageSomebody Stop Ivy Pocket

This is the sequel to Anyone But Ivy Pocket. This series is like Amelia Bedelia mixed with Harry Potter!

Waiting for Augusta Cover ImageWaiting for Augusta

By Jessica Lawson

On my list to read next! (Bookseller Rae Ann Parker recommended this one to Gennie like so: “To fulfill his father’s last request to spread his ashes at the famed Augusta National Golf Course, Ben travels by any means necessary with the help of a runaway named Noni and perhaps a little magic. This book is full of forgiveness and friendship, with a dash of whimsy.”)

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 4.00.16 PMNOTICE for the young and young-at-heart: J.K. Rowling returns to the wizarding world of Harry Potter with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, this new play by Jack Thorne is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and picks up 19 years after the last book left off.

Pre-ordered books will be distributed at Parnassus beginning at midnight on Saturday, July 30. While the countdown-to-midnight book release party is now SOLD OUT, you can still come pick up your book the minute it’s out! When you pre-order your book, you’ll receive your number for a spot in the midnight book line. The line will assemble at 11:45 p.m., and line numbers are assigned in the order in which the pre-orders are placed, so pre-order NOW to reserve an early spot in line!

(If that’s past your bedtime, we’ll be open extended hours on Sunday, July 31, too, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.)