Dear Parents/Guardians of Incoming Seventh Graders:
While your children are beginning what is sure to be a wonderful summer vacation, we are also concerned that the COVID-19 crisis and prolonged school closure will weaken the many reading gains that our students have made this year. When it comes to English class, we think the best way to maintain these gains is through consistent, engaged reading. We recognize that you also want to help prepare them for a successful start to the next academic year. Since reading is the foundation of all learning, we feel that it is essential for students to spend some time reading this summer. Therefore, to do our best to maintain reading stamina and foundational reading gains our students have made this year, we are requiring all incoming seventh graders to read one book from the attached list.
Although all of the books are worth considering, please make sure your child reads at least one. This MUST be a book that your child has not previously read. It is a good idea to take some notes while reading because students will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of the book upon returning to school in September.
Books may be found at area bookstores, the public library, or at Amazon.com. You can find book reviews at the NoveList website, which may be accessed through the “Online Databases” link at the top of the Middle School Library’s homepage. This letter and the summer reading lists may also be viewed on the district web page.
We hope you enjoy a safe, peaceful, and relaxing summer.
The OPMS English Department
Orchard Park Middle School - Summer Reading List – 2019
Students Entering Grade 7
Please note the following abbreviations:
[RR] – recommended for reluctant readers
[M] - for mature readers; may contain mature themes, or may include occasional use of questionable language.
GRL: Guided Reading Level (Fountas & Pinnell) indicates text complexity A-Z
Anderson, Laurie Halse. Fever, 1793 - Lexile: 580 GRL: Z
It is August, 1793, and in Philadelphia, the capital of the new United States, fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook wants to turn the family coffeehouse into the finest business in the city. Meanwhile, fever is spreading quickly up from the docks and into the city’s neighborhoods. Suddenly, Mattie’s struggle to build a better life becomes a struggle to stay alive!
Bailey, Linda. Seven Dead Pirates - Lexile: n/a GRL: n/a
After his Great-Granddad dies, "terminally shy" Lewis Dearborn and his parents move into his dilapidated seaside mansion, where Lewis claims as his bedroom a cool tower overlooking the Atlantic. It isn't long before the ghosts of seven pirates, who had been living in that same room, make themselves known to Lewis. They want his help to retake their ancient ship, now restored in a museum. If he does, Lewis will get the room all to himself.
Baskin, Nora Raleigh. Nine, ten: a September 11 Story [RR] Lexile: 730 GRL: U
A few days before September 11, 2001, four middle schoolers in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, in Brooklyn, struggles with his hatred for his often absent father while living with his beloved grandmother. Will, meanwhile, cannot come to terms with the car accident that took his father's life. Naheed begins to feel uncomfortable about being Muslim, especially when she approaches the age of wearing a head scarf. Aimee, who has just started going to a new school, misses her mom, who is on a business flight to New York. Then, on 9/11, the lives of the four children intersect and are affected by the terrorist attacks.
Becker, Tom. Darkside [M] Lexile: 790 GRL: ~W
Jonathan Starling’s father is in an asylum. Starling’s home has been attacked and, while running away from kidnappers, he stumbles upon Darkside, a terrifying and hidden part of London ruled by the descendents of Jack the Ripper. As a result, Jonathan is in mortal danger if he cannot find the way out.
Broach, Elise. The Wolf Keepers - Lexile: 660 GRL: n/a
Twelve-year-old Lizzie Durango lives in a zoo, spending her days taking note of the animals’ behaviors, then she meets runaway Tyler Briggs and together they investigate the wolves who are suddenly dying.
Choldenko, Gennifer. Al Capone Does My Shirts - Lexile: 600 GRL: X
A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.
Choldenko, Gennifer. Chasing Secrets - Lexile: 540 GRL: X
Thirteen-year-old Lizzie Kennedy has a passion for science, but there's not much opportunity for her to pursue it at the exclusive girls' school she is forced to attend in San Francisco in 1900. While on a trip to a patient's house with her physician father, Lizzie observes evidence that the much-feared plague has made its way to their beloved city—despite the fact that everyone, even her own father, denies its arrival. With the help of Noah, the son of their Chinese cook, Lizzie investigates this disturbing discovery that could spell death for many.
Connor, Leslie. Waiting for Normal - Lexile: 570 GRL: X
Twelve-year-old 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.
Delany, Rachelle. Clare Voyant - Lexile: n/a GRL: n/a
Clara can't believe her no-nonsense grandmother has just up and moved to Florida, leaving Clara and her mother on their own for the first time. This means her mother can finally "follow her bliss," which involves moving to a tiny apartment in Kensington Market, working at a herbal remedy shop and trying to develop her so-called mystical powers. But when a mystery unfolds at school, she finds herself in a strange situation: having an opportunity to prove herself as an investigative journalist . . . with the help of her own mystical powers.
Frederick, Heather Vogel. Absolutely Truly - Lexile: 790 GRL: V
Unusually tall twelve-year-old Truly Lovejoy moves with her family to the tiny town of Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, and uncovers a mysterious letter in an old book at her family’s bookstore that leads her and her friends on a dangerous treasure hunt around town.
Gemeinhart, Dan. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise - Lexile: 730 GRL: N/A
Five years. That's how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, crisscrossing the nation. It's also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash. Over the course of thousands of miles, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the hardest journey of all...but that with friends by her side, she just might be able to turn her “once upon a time” into a “happily ever after”.
Gratz, Alan. The Brooklyn Nine - Lexile: 840 GRL: X
Follows the fortunes of a German immigrant family through nine generations, beginning in 1845, as they experience American life and play baseball.
Gratz, Alan. Code of Honor - Lexile: 660 Lexile GRL: Z
Acclaimed author Alan Gratz (Prisoner B-3087) takes readers on a heart-pounding, nonstop adventure through underground intelligence bunkers and dangerous terrorist cells, weaving a gripping tale about the War on Terror—and the bond between brothers.
Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Found (The Missing, Book 1) [RR] Lexile: 750 GRL: X
Thirteen-year-old Johan and Chip, who are both adopted, learn they were discovered in a plane that appeared out of nowhere, full of babies with no adults on board. They realize they are in the middle of a mystery involving time travel and two opposing forces that are trying to repair the fabric of time.
Hayles, Marsha. Breathing Room - Lexile: 800 GRL: W
In 1940, thirteen-year-old Evvy Hoffmeister and her newfound friends struggle to get well at Loon Lake Sanatorium, where they are being treated for tuberculosis.
Hicks, Deron. The Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave - Lexile: 720 GRL: V
Twelve-year-old Colophon Letterford has a serious mystery on her hands. Will she discover the link between her family's literary legacy and Shakespeare's tomb before it's too late? Antique paintings, secret passages, locked mausoleums, a four-hundred-year-old treasure, and a cast of quirky (and some ignoble) characters all add up to a fun original adventure. Readers will revel in a whirlwind journey through literary time and space in real-world locales from Mont St. Michel to Stratford-Upon-Avon to Central Park!
Hicks, Deron. The Van Gogh Deception - Lexile: 750 GRL: W
A boy is found wandering in the National Gallery in Washington, DC. He has no idea who he is or how he got there, but he does know a lot about art. It turns out that he is being pursued by a gang of criminals who want to stop him from telling what he knows and ruining their scheme. But he doesn't remember what he knows, either.
Hobbs, Will. Take Me to the River - Lexile:760 GRL: X
When fourteen-year-old Dylan Sands joins his fifteen-year-old cousin in running the Rio Grande, they face a series of adventures including a tropical storm and a fugitive kidnapper. Very fast-paced and exciting plot….
Kadohata, Cynthia. Checked - Lexile: 760 GRL: T/U
To help his dog through cancer treatment, Conor gives up hockey and finds himself considering who he is without the sport that has defined him, and connecting more with his family and best friend.
Korman, Gordon. Restart - [RR] Lexile: 730 GRL: W
Chase does not remember falling off the roof, in fact, he does not remember anything about himself, and when he gets back to middle school he begins to learn who he was through the reactions of the other kids--trouble is, he really is not sure he likes the Chase that is being revealed, but can he take the opportunity amnesia has provided and restart his life?
Korman, Gordon. Schooled - [RR] Lexile: 740 GRL: V
Capricorn Anderson lives in isolation with his grandmother, a former hippie; but when she falls from a tree and breaks her hip, Cap is sent to a foster home where he has his first experience in a public school.
Lupica, Mike. Heat [RR] - Lexile: 940 GRL: V
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.
Marsh, Katherine. The Night Tourist - Lexile: 760 GRL: ~U
Fourteen-year-old Jack Perdu, a prodigy of classical mythology, suffers a near-fatal accident. He then meets Euri, a young ghost who introduces him to New York’s ghostly underworld, eight levels below Grand Central Station, where he decides to look for his mother who disappeared years earlier.
Mass, Wendy. Every Soul a Star - Lexile: 740 GRL: U
Ally, Bree, and Jack meet at Moon Shadow, an isolated campground, to watch a total eclipse of the sun. Soon they begin to learn a great deal about themselves, each other, and the universe.
McAnulty, Stacy. The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl - Lexile: 530 GRL: W
A lightning strike made twelve-year-old Lucy a math genius, but after years of homeschooling, her grandmother enrolls her in middle school and she learns that life is more than numbers.
Murphy, Pat. The Wild Girls - Lexile: 630 GRL: ~T
When 13-year-old Joan moves to California in 1972, she becomes friends with Sarah (Fox), a timid girl who is incredibly imaginative and shows amazing leadership when they play in the woods. They win a writing contest together and spend the summer in an elite creative writing course at the local university.
Park, Linda Sue. Forest of Wonders (Wing & Claw Book 1) - Lexile: 700 GRL: W
When Raffa makes a cure from a rare crimson vine he finds deep in the forbidden forest, the bat he saves transforms into something much more.
Peck, Richard. The Best Man - Lexile: 540 GRL: V
All through elementary school, Archer Magill has looked for role models and found three of them in his grandpa, dad, and Uncle Paul, but now a fourth has joined their ranks--Mr. McLeod, who along with his army dog, Argus, becomes a bit of a celebrity. However, now middle school has started, and the changes are not for the better. Archer is then surprised by being named best man in two of his role models' weddings, which means he will have to figure out how to become the best Archer he can be.
Peters, Julie Anne. Define Normal - Lexile: n/a GRL: Y
Overachiever Antonia is eager to participate in the new peer counseling program at her school, until she learns that she is to counsel Jasmine Luther, a punker with black lipstick and a pierced eyebrow. As the story unfolds, Antonia and Jazz discover they have much in common.
Reynolds, Jason. Ghost - [RR] Lexile: 730 GRL: Z
Ghost, a naturally talented runner and troublemaker, is recruited for an elite middle school track team. He must stay on track literally and figuratively, to reach his full potential.
Saeed, Aisha Amal Unbound - Lexile: 600 GRL: n/a
Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal's Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she's busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. Her dreams are temporarily dashed when--as the eldest daughter--she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn't lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens--after an accidental run-in with the son of her village's corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family's servant to pay off her own family's debt.
Schusterman, Neal. The Shadow Club [RR] Lexile: 760 GRL: S
When a middle school boy and his friends decide to form a club of “second-bests” and play anonymous tricks on each other’s archrivals, the harmless pranks escalate until they become life-threatening.
Sloan, Holly Goldberg. Counting by 7’s - Lexile: 770 GRL: X
Twelve-year-old genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect with other people and find a surrogate family for herself after her parents are killed in a car accident.
Sloan, Holly Goldberg and Meg Wolitzer. To Night Owl From Dogfish - Lexile: 770 GRL: n/a
Unhappy about being sent to the same summer camp after their fathers start dating, Bett and Avery, eleven, eventually begin scheming to get the couple back together after a break-up. Told entirely through emails.
Stokes, Paula. This is How it Happened - Lexile: n/a GRL: n/a
After waking up from a coma, Genevieve Grace can't remember the car crash that killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTuber turned teen music idol. Genevieve knows she was driving, but because of what's been reported in the media, everyone assumes the other driver, Brad Freeman, is guilty. As she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread--what if she's the one at fault?
Tolkein, J.R.R. The Hobbit - Lexile: 1000 GRL: Z
This is the fascinating novel that introduced the world to Bilbo Baggins, Middle-earth, Gandalf the wizard, and the Ring of power.
Townsend, Jessica. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow - Lexile: 790 GRA: X
Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she's blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks--and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests--or she'll have to leave Nevermoor for good.
Weeks, Sarah. So B It. [RR] Lexile: 860 GRL: ~X
After spending her young life with her mentally disabled mother and agoraphobic neighbor, twelve-year-old Heidi sets out from Reno, Nevada, to New York City, on a journey of self-discovery.