Suggested Reads for Lower Secondary Students

 

You Write It: Mystery

by John Hamilton

This title gives children the tools they need to turn their creativity into readable, cohesive stories. You Write It! Lays out for kids the format, organization, and development of a mystery book. Novice writers of all ages will find this book a detailed yet easy-to-follow guide for turning thoughts and ideas into readable written works.

 

Chinese Cinderella

by Adeline Yen Mah

A riveting memoir of a girl's painful coming-of-age in a wealthy Chinese family during the 1940s.

 

Egypt's Mysterious Pyramids: An Isabel Soto Archaeology Adventure

by Agnieszka Biskup

Follows the adventures of Isabel Soto as she discovers the secrets about Egypt’s great pyramids.

 

August House Book of Scary Stories

by Liz Parkhurst

Scary stories: everybody loves to hear them, and everybody loves to tell them.

 

Uglies

by Scott Westerfeld

Tally’s adventures begin in Uglies, where she learns the truth about what life as a Pretty really means.

 

Variant

by Robison Wells

Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he's trapped in a school that's surrounded by a razor-wire fence, where video cameras monitor his every move—and where breaking the rules equals death.

All Benson wants is to find a way out. But when he stumbles upon the real secret the school has been hiding, he realizes that escape may be impossible.

 

Cleopatra Ascending

by Maureen Lipinski

The queen lives again. You, Rhea, are the key to unlocking the magical artifacts in Cleopatras tomb. Despite having a shaman, a witch, and a muse for sisters, Rhea Spencer feels like a normal teenagereven if she is the reincarnation of Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen. But everything changes on her sixteenth birthday...

 

The Westing Game

by Ellen Raskin

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!

 

The Twilight Zone: Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?

by Rod Serling & Mark Kneece

On a cold, snowy evening state troopers track footprints from a mysterious crash to a nearby diner. There, a group of bus passengers waits out the storm, but oddly, there is one more person in the eatery. Who is he, and what are his intentions for planet Earth?

 

Using the Internet

by Valerie Bodden

A narrative guide to conducting research on the Internet, complete with an overview of methodologies, tips for generating search words and evaluating sites, and helpful resources.

 

Born of Illusion

by Teri Brown

As the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini—or so her mother claims—gifted illusionist Anna Van Housen easily navigates the underground world of magicians and mediums in 1920s New York, though the real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother. But as Anna's powers intensify, she experiences frightening visions that lead her to explore the powers she's tried so long to hide.

 

Eight Keys

by Suzanne LaFleur

Elise and Franklin have always been best friends. Elise has always lived in the big house with her loving Uncle and Aunt, because Elise's parents died when she was too young to remember them. There's always been a barn behind the house with eight locked doors on the second floor. When Elise and Franklin start middle school, things feel all wrong. Bullying. Not fitting in. Franklin suddenly seems babyish. Then, soon after her 12th birthday, Elise receives a mysterious key left for her by her father. A key that unlocks one of the eight doors upstairs in the bar . . .

 

The Neptune Project

by Polly Holyoke

Nere feels more at home swimming with the dolphins her mother studies than she does hanging out with her classmates. Nere has never understood why she feels so much more comfortable and confident in water than on land, but everything falls into place when Nere learns that she is one of a group of kids who-unbeknownst to them-have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of "The Neptune Project" will be able to build a better future under the sea, safe from the barren country's famine, wars, and harsh laws.

Fierce battles and daring escapes abound as Nere and her friends race to safety in this action-packed aquatic adventure.

 

Artemis Fowl

by Eoin Colfer

Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius-and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of bedtime stories; these fairies are armed and dangerous.

Artemis thinks he has them right where he wants them but then they stop playing by the rules.

 

Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey

by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Things are so bad, I feel like I'm going to explode if I don't do something...

Everyone has to keep a journal in Mrs. Dunphrey's English class, but the teacher has promised she won't read any entry marked "Do not read this." It's the kind of assignment Tish Bonner, one of the girls with big hair who sit in the back row, usually wouldn't take very seriously. But right now, Tish desperately needs someone to talk to, even if it's only a notebook she doesn't dare let anyone read.

 

Fantasy! Cartooning

by Ben Caldwell

The sizzling hot author of Action! Cartooning has created a truly "fantastic" second book: a visually eye-popping, covers-it-all manual on drawing and understanding fantasy art

 

Friends With Boys

by Faith Erin Hicks

After years of homeschooling, Maggie is starting high school. It's pretty terrifying.

Maggie's big brothers are there to watch her back, but ever since Mom left it just hasn't been the same.

Besides her brothers, Maggie's never had any real friends before. Lucy and Alistair don't have lots of friends either. But they eat lunch with her at school and bring her along on their small-town adventures.

 

Treason (Secrets and Spies)

by Jo Macauley

Fourteen-year-old Beth Johnson is a talented and beautiful young actress. She is also a spy. The year is 1664, and Charles II is on the throne, but all is not well in the bustling city of London, and there are those who would gladly kill the king and destroy the Monarchy. One morning, a mysterious ghost ship drifts up the Thames. Sent to investigate by the King's Master of Secrets, Alan Strange, Beth quickly finds herself embroiled in a dangerous adventure. Will Beth be able to unravel the plot to kill the King before it's too late?

 

Itch: The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter

by Simon Mayo

Thrills. Danger. And world domination. Itch is as action-packed and suspenseful as a middle-grade novel can get.

Fourteen-year-old Itchingham Lofte, nicknamed Itch, has an unusual passion: collecting specimens of every element in the periodic table. So what if that means he's had a few ... mishaps? But when he gets his hands on a suspiciously warm rock made of a new, previously unknown element, things really begin to explode. Soon, a malevolent teacher, an evil-doing corporation, and a top-secret government agency are all after Itch. Can his science know-how keep him one step ahead of everyone..and help him stay alive?

 

The Twilight Zone: The Odyssey of Flight 33

by Mark Kneece

Transocean Flight 33 departs London bound for New York as scheduled. But a mysterious tailwind sends them far off course, hurtling back and forth through time. Can the crew hitch a ride in hyperspace and get the passengers back to their own time?

 

Future Tech: From Personal Robots to Motorized Monocycles

by Charles Piddock

From machines with the ability of independent thought, to cars that drive themselves, to robots that borrow their nature from nature itself, this book gives young readers an inspiring glimpse of possibilities within their lifetimes.

 

Nowhere

by Jon Robinson

Alyn, Jes, Ryan and Elsa are Nowhere. A concrete cube in the middle of a dense forest. Imprisoned inside are one hundred teenagers from all over the country. They're all criminals. But none of them remember committing any crimes. Who has put them there. What do their captors want? And how will they ever break free . . . ?

 

Mission Telemark

by Amanda Mitchison

Four teenagers attempt the most dangerous sabotage mission of World War II in this gripping thriller, based on real events.Norway, December 1942. Following the German occupation of the power plant at Vemork in southern Norway, the British government has become aware that Hitler is trying to find a way to use the heavy water it produces to make a nuclear weapon. One mission to destroy the power plant has already failed and time is running out. Now the Allies' fate rests in the hands of four teenagers - Jakob, Freddie, Ase and Lars

 

False Memory

by Dan Krokos

Miranda wakes up alone on a park bench with no memory. In her panic, she releases a mysterious energy that incites pure terror in everyone around her. Except Peter, a boy who isn’t at all surprised by Miranda’s shocking ability.

 

Uncrashable Dakota

by Andy Marino

In 1862, Union army infantryman Samuel Dakota changed history when he spilled a bottle of pilfered moonshine in the Virginia dirt and stumbled upon the biochemical secret of flight. Not only did the Civil War come to a much quicker close, but Dakota Aeronautics was born.

Now, in Andy Marino's Uncrashable Dakota, it is 1912, and the titanic Dakota flagship embarks on its maiden flight. But shortly after the journey begins, the airship is hijacked. Fighting to save the ship, the young heir of the Dakota empire, Hollis, along with his brilliant friend Delia and his stepbrother, Rob, are plunged into the midst of a long-simmering family feud. Maybe Samuel's final secret wasn't just the tinkering of a madman after all. . . .

 

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict

by Trenton Lee Stewart

Nine-year-old Nicholas Benedict has more problems than most children his age. Not only is he an orphan with an unfortunate nose, but he also has narcolepsy, a condition that gives him terrible nightmares and makes him fall asleep at the worst possible moments.

Now he's being sent to a new orphanage, where he will encounter vicious bullies, selfish adults, strange circumstances – and a mystery that could change his life forever. Luckily, he does have one thing in his favor: He's a a genius.

On his quest to solve the mystery, Nicholas finds enemies around every corner, but also friends in unexpected places – and discovers along the way that the greatest puzzle of all is himself.

 

Huber Hill and the Dead Man's Treasure

by B.K. Bostick

Huber's life goes from bad to terrible when his grandfather dies---until he opens Grandpa Nick's mysterious box. An old gold coin and a treasure map rocket him and his friends into a mind-blowing adventure, but he's not the only one on the hunt. Filled with dangerous animals and cryptic puzzles, this book will have you on the edge of your seat until the last page.

 

The Hunting Ground

by Cliff McNish

When Elliott and his brother move into the old and crumbling Glebe House they don't expect to find themselves sharing it with ghosts. But soon sinister events are unfolding. An old diary reveals glimpses of the mansion's past - and of a terrible tragedy. An old woman talks to ghosts - but is she in fact being controlled by them? And what of the sinister East Wing - a hideous labyrinth devised by a truly twisted mind? Can Elliott and his family escape the clutches of Glebe House? Or will they end up trapped in the endless maze of corridors, forever hunted by the dead?

 

The Hard Kind of Promise Paperback

by Gina Willner-Pardo

Sarah promised Marjorie when they were five years old that they would be best friends forever. But that was before seventh grade, when everything changed—everything except Marjorie. While Sarah wants to meet new people and try new things, Marjorie still likes doing the same things they always did. It seems the more time the two girls spend together, the more time Sarah wants to spend apart. How did a promise that was so easy to make become so hard to keep?

 

A Beautiful Friendship

by David Weber

Stephanie Harrington always expected to be a forest ranger on her homeworld of Meyerdahl . . . until her parents relocated to the frontier planet of Sphinx in the far distant Star Kingdom of Manticore. It should have been the perfect new home --- a virgin wilderness full of new species of every sort, just waiting to be discovered.

 

Nearly Gone

by Elle Cosimano

Keeping secrets is second nature to Nearly Boswell. Living in a trailer park outside Washington, DC, with a mom who works as an exotic dancer, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Only her best friends know about her obsession with the personal ads, and Nearly hasn't told anyone about the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone's skin.

Then a serial killer goes on a murder spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper. Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn't figure it out soon - she'll be next.

 

The Poe Estate

by Polly Shulman

This thrilling stand-alone companion to The Grimm Legacy and The Wells Bequest is a mind-bending, rousing adventure celebrating classic ghost and horror stories. Sukies been lonely since the death of her big sister, Kitty-but Kittys ghost is still with her. At first that was comforting, but now Kittys terrifying anyone who gets too close. Things get even weirder when Sukie moves into her familys ancestral home, and an older, less familiar ghost challenges her to find a treasure. Her classmate Cole is also experiencing apparitions. Fortunately, an antique brooms at hand to fly Sukie and Cole to the New-York Circulating Material Repositorys spooky Poe Annex. As they search for clues and untangle ancient secrets, they discover their histories intertwine and are as full of stories of love, revenge, and pirate hijinks as some of the most famous fiction.

 

Can't Look Away

by Donna Cooner

Torrey Grey is famous. At least, on the internet. Thousands of people watch her popular videos on fashion and beauty. But when Torrey's sister is killed in an accident -- maybe because of Torrey and her videos -- Torrey's perfect world implodes.

Now, strangers online are bashing Torrey. And at her new school, she doesn't know who to trust. Is queen bee Blair only being sweet because of Torrey's internet infamy? What about Raylene, who is decidedly unpopular, but seems accepts Torrey for who she is? And then there's Luis, with his brooding dark eyes, whose family runs the local funeral home. Torrey finds herself drawn to Luis, and his fascinating stories about El Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

As the Day of the Dead draws near, Torrey will have to really look at her own feelings about death, and life, and everything in between. Can she learn to mourn her sister out of the public eye?

 

The Gardener

by S. A. Bodeen

Mason has never known his father, but longs to. All he has of him is a DVD of a man whose face is never seen, reading a children's book. One day, on a whim, he plays the DVD for a group of comatose teens at the nursing home where his mother works. One of them, a beautiful girl, responds. Mason learns she is part of a horrible experiment intended to render teenagers into autotrophs―genetically engineered, self-sustaining life-forms who don't need food or water to survive. And before he knows it, Mason is o n the run with the girl, and wanted, dead or alive, by the mysterious mastermind of this gruesome plan, who is simply called the Gardener.

 

One Plus One Equals Blue

by Mary Jane Auch

Twelve year-old Basil knows he’s special—he’s been associating numbers with colors since he was a kid. His gift (or curse) has turned him into somewhat of a loner, but his world begins to change when he meets Tenzie, the new girl in school who has similar freakisms. She, too, has synesthesia (a condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another). At first, Basil is somewhat annoyed with Tenzie’s pushiness, but after Basil’s estranged mother returns, his life is turned upside down . . . and Tenzie may be the only person to help him put it back together again.

 

Triple Nine Sleuths: Dangerous Limelight

by Maranna Chan

Meet the Triple Nine Sleuths. Corey, Colton and Stacy must solve a series of intriguing mysteries, facing danger and shadowy suspects along the way. As the intrepid teens search for answers, big secrets are revealed and surprising connections are drawn between old cases.

 

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

by Christopher Healy

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change.

 

Railhead

by Philip Reeve

Come with me, Zen Starling, she had said. The girl in the red coat. But how did she know his name?

The Great Network is a place of drones and androids, maintenance spiders and Station Angels.

The place of the thousand gates, where sentient trains criss-cross the galaxy in a heartbeat.

Zen Starling is a petty thief, a street urchin from Thunder City. So when mysterious stranger Raven sends Zen and his new friend Nova on a mission to infiltrate the Emperor's train, he jumps at the chance to traverse the Great Network, to cross the galaxy in a heartbeat, to meet interesting people - and to steal their stuff.

 

Fat & Bones: And Other Stories

by Larissa Theule

When a farmer dies, the decades-old feud between his son, Bones, and Fat, a fairy who lives in a tree on the farm, escalates, with surprising consequences for Bones' mother and the farm animals.

 

Ink and Ashes

by Valynne E. Maetani

Claire Takata has never known much about her father, who passed away when she was a little girl. But on the anniversary of his death, not long before her seventeenth birthday, she finds a mysterious letter from her deceased father, addressed to her stepfather. Claire never even knew that they had met.

Claire knows she should let it go, but she can’t shake the feeling that something’s been kept from her. In search of answers, Claire combs through anything that will give her information about her father . . . until she discovers he was a member of the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. The discovery opens a door that should have been left closed.

 

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit

by Nahoko Uehashi

Balsa was a wanderer and warrior for hire. Then she rescued a boy flung into a raging river -- and at that moment, her destiny changed. Now Balsa must protect the boy -- the Prince Chagum -- on his quest to deliver the great egg of the water spirit to its source in the sea. As they travel across the land of Yogo and discover the truth about the spirit, they find themselves hunted by two deadly enemies: the egg-eating monster Rarunga . . . and the prince's own father.

 

Vampire Rising

by Jason Henderson

Fourteen-year-old Alex has no idea that he's descended from the world's most famous vampire hunter, but that changes fast when he arrives at Glenarvon Academy and confronts two vampires in his first three days. Turns out Glenarvon isn't the only school near Lake Geneva. Hidden deep underground lies an ancient university for vampires called the Scholomance. And the deadly vampire clan lord known as Icemaker? You might say he's a visiting professor.

 

True Ocean Rescue Stories

by Susan Jankowski

A naval ship lost in battle, a vessel wrecked by an iceberg, and even a surfer rescued by a family of dolphins are some of the exciting tales of struggle and survival that will keep youngsters on the edge of their seats. While reading the stories, students will also find out how to avert disaster, as well as the sacrifices made by the rescuers.

 

Planet Hell

by Joan Lennon

Sam is one of the Miners who live on Planet Hell, digging ore to power the Earth. It's a nightmarish underground life. Going to the surface means death. Nothing can live there. And then one day, Sam finds a note from the Surface...

 

Once Upon a Marigold

by Jean Ferris

Christian is gaga for Princess Marigold. But he's just a commoner, and no match for royalty. Heck, he lives in a cave with a troll! And now he's discovered another reason to put his love-soggy heart on ice: Queen Olympia is scheming to take over the kingdom--and she'll bump off her own daughter to do it. Can Christian foil her diabolical plans?

 

Valkyrie

by Kate O'Hearn

Freya is dreading her upcoming birthday when she’ll officially have to take up her duties as a Valkyrie. She doesn’t want to follow in the footsteps of the legends before her—legends including her mother and sisters. And she certainly doesn’t want anything to do with humans!

 

What a Beast!: A Look-It-Up Guide to the Monsters and Mutants of Mythology

by Sophia Kelly

Mythlopedia, a four-book series of "Look-it-Up Guides" to classical Greek mythology, takes a humorous and kid-friendly approach to a complex subject. Based on content from Grolier encyclopedias, Mythlopedia presents the superstars of Greek mythology — from mighty Olympians to slithering serpents — along with the myths that put them in the pantheon.

 

Lockdown: Escape from Furnace

by Alexander Gordon Smith

Furnace Penitentiary: the world's most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth's surface. Convicted of a murder he didn't commit, sentenced to life without parole, "new fish" Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries.

 

Hustle

by Johnny Boateng

Fourteen-year-old Johnny Huttle -- nicknamed "Hustle" by his best friend, Rex -- comes from an inner-city neighbourhood, where the streets are tough and the street ball games are rougher. More than anything, Johnny wants to shine as the school's star basketball player. But the one thing standing in his way is his best friend, Rex, who outshines Johnny effortlessly at everything, on and off the court. This makes Johnny angry enough that his game and their friendship suffer. When Rex starts getting into trouble in the neighbourhood and is suspended from the team, Johnny has to put his jealously aside to help his friend -- and his basketball team at the championship.

 

After Tomorrow

by Gillian Cross

What if you woke up tomorrow and everything had changed? Money is worthless. Your friends are gone. Armed robbers roam the streets. No one is safe. Suddenly you're a refugee. After Tomorrow is an unflinchingly poignant but ultimately hopeful story from Carnegie Medal winning author Gillian Cross, exploring the struggle for survival within refugee camps.

 

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