8th grade booktalks

2018-2019

March 4, 2019: YA books at the MS

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

  • F DON. Historical Fiction.
  • 16 year old Mattie Gokey as more dreams than hope. Desperate for money, she takes a job at a hotel.
  • Soon one of the guests asks Mattie to be in charge of burning a secret bundle of letters. But when that guest's drowned body is pulled from a lake, Mattie realizes she may be part of something much bigger than she thought.
  • The setting for this story is a true story, a murder that happened in 1906. The murder is not the main point of the story, but it definitely influences the storyline.

Monster by Walter Dean Myers

  • F MYE. realistic fiction. Includes parts written as a screenplay (movie script) and parts written as diary entries.
  • introduction to the book by Walter Dean Myers
  • 16 year old Steve Harmon is on trial for murder--he is accused of being the "look out" for a robbery gone bad. Is Steve part of the crime or just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

  • F PRI. realistic fiction/mystery.
  • When May and Libby were younger, they developed a comic strip together. May wrote the stories, Libby drew the pictures. Princess X was the main character and heroine. But then Libby is in a car accident and dies, and Princess X dies with her.
  • Several years later, when May is sixteen, she happens to see a sticker of Princess X on a corner window. She starts investigating, and finding Princess X everywhere, even a website. May comes to the conclusion that there can only be one person behind this online culture of Princess X, which means what she thought was true may not be true after all.

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer

The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century by Sarah Miller

  • 345.744 MIL. Narrative Nonfiction.
  • August 4, 1892. Lizzie Borden frantically calls for help. When help arrives, they find Lizzie's father murdered on the living room floor. Soon after, they find Lizzie's stepmother, murdered upstairs.
  • As the investigation gets underway, one suspect seems most likely to have committed the murders: Lizzie herself. But could a young woman from a well-off family actually be an axe murderer?
  • This is a crime story so sensational it can't be made up.

Happy reading!

January 28, 2019: What to read after The Giver...

October 1, 2018: recommended books for 8th grade readers

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

  • Action/Adventure fiction. F BOD
  • Robie is an experienced flier, traveling from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll where her parents live, many times. This time she's in a hurry so gets on a cargo flight at the last minute. On board is the pilot, a new co-pilot named Max, and her.
  • Everything is fine until a storm hits. Suddenly Max is yelling for her to put on her life jacket and struggling with a raft.
  • The next thing she knows, she's in the water, Max pulling her onto the raft. And then the real terror begins. They have no water, their only food is a bag of Skittles, they are surrounded by sharks, and headed toward an island with no help on the way.

Like Vanessa by Tami Charles

  • Realistic/Historical fiction. F CHA
  • Author book trailer
  • Vanessa Martin is a 13 year old living in Newark, NJ in 1983. Life is not easy: her mom is in prison, her grandfather struggles with addiction, and Vanessa doesn't have much self-confidence herself.
  • When a teacher at her school convinces her to enter a beauty pageant, Vanessa starts to learn about true beauty.

Beanball by Gene Fehler


  • Sports fiction. F FEH
  • book trailer
  • Luke "Wizard" Wallace is the star player for Oak Grove, and it's the last inning between them and their arch-rivals Compton.
  • Luke steps to the plate and is hit by a wild pitch. It shatters his skull, destroys his vision in his left eye, and changes his life.
  • This is the story, told from 28 different perspectives, of what happens next.

Kennedy Assassinated!: the world mourns: a reporter's story by Wilborn Hampton

  • Narrative historical nonfiction. 364.1 HAM
  • audio clip from the scene
  • November 23, 1963. The phone rings in the Dallas U.P.I office. Wilborn Hampton, just a "cub" reporter, picks it up and hears these words: "Three shots fired!"
  • This is the story of how Hampton, just a young reporter, is rushed into the events of the day when President Kennedy was shot and killed in 1963.

Bomb: the race to build - and steal - the world's most dangerous weapon by Steve Sheinkin

  • Narrative historical nonfiction. 623.4 SHE
  • In December 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: when placed next to a radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. This discovery began a scientific race in three continents.
  • Soviet spies worked their way into the British and American scientific communities, a commando force went behind enemy lines to attack German manufacturing in Norway, and deep in the desert of New Mexico a group of scientists secretly worked to learn more.
  • This is the story of the development of the atomic bomb, which ended up changing the world forever.

Happy reading!