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that time… she read seven books in seven days

When your daughter is grounded from all electronics, she is bound to resort to one of two options: sit and stare at her wall for hours or read books. I got lucky that Mini Me wasn’t about to be bored. But a new responsibility has fallen on me during her recent incarceration: shuttling her to the library every week to refresh the stacks of books.

Since I have such a voracious reader, I thought I would put together a nice mother-approved reading list that still is “cool” enough for a middle schooler.  Here are our recent “picks.”


Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine

Why mom likes it: this story shows a very strong female character. The story has great morals with very little controversial topics. I was a big fan of the Anne Hathaway move adaptation and felt that it was still youthful enough to not be so heavy for a 6th grader. It also teaches you about seeking out your own dreams, in the case of Ella, battling everything from ogres to giants, so she can break a curse.

Why tween like it:  “I like it because there is a strong female character.  The whole topic that the book is better than the movie.  I already like the movie.  Prince Char and her, but yet it isn’t love at first sight – she actually hates him.  And how she journeys out into the world.  So bam!”

Far Far Away – Tom McNeal

Why mom likes it: I like that it still is based on a fairy tale. The characters are strong and work together.  I also like that it takes place in modern day, instead of “fairy tale land” so the characters have more real situations to contend with.  It is a bit darker than a happy, Disney fairy tale, but that’s what appeals to an older crowd.

Why tween likes it: “It sounds like Ginger would be a character similiar to me, getting people in trouble.  I like the whole fairy tale with a darker twist.”

As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth – Lynne Rae Perkins

Why mom likes it: this is a coming of age story, but the boy keeps having misfortunes and continues pushing through. Too often, kids see one challenge and give up, but instead the character continues on. Over and over.  It’s nice to see someone keep going.

Why tween likes it: “Its told in a guy’s point of view.  Usually, when they are told in a guy’s point of view, they are a bit goofy.  I also like the idea that it is a road trip.  I have read other books that have road trips and have enjoyed them.”

Trauma Queen  – Barbara Dee

Why mom likes it: So, I’ve hit the stage where I’m starting to become an embarrassment to my daughter.  Not too much, but just enough.  This book addresses that phase so many girls go through – moms being embarrassing.  What I also love is that Barbara Dee is just a great author for middle school girls.  Not too deep, not too drama, just innocent.

Why tween likes it: “Even though its a small, quick book, it was really good.  The author portrayed the story – everything was left a mystery.  At the end of the story, she tied all the lose ends together.  I liked how she had troubles with friends, moving schools, parent issues, which were all relatable. Her mom was pretty embarrassing and ruined her relationship with her friend.”

The Heroes of Olympus Book Five: The Blood of Olympus – Rick Riordin

Why mom likes it:  Who doesn’t love Rick Riordin?  I mean, this former middle school teacher knows how to inspire kids to read – and mythology at that.  I have personally read his Percy Jackson series, and I’m so thrilled he has continued to write more series.  My daughter can’t get her hands on a new book fast enough.

Why tween likes it: “There are different points of view every three chapters.  The greek god mythology has a lot of accuracy to it, so its very interesting. There is also a lot of action throughout the book.”

Kingdom Keepers: Disney After Dark – Ridley Pearson

Why mom likes it:  I guess this series has been around for awhile?  It features Disney’s Villians at their best? worst?  And for a child who grew up on classic Disney movies, this keeps her interest while playing into the “not into dress-up anymore” phase.  Its a bit darker, as the characters are battling the villians, but otherwise, its mild.  Only thing I didn’t like?  Our library didn’t own the first two books in the series, so we purchased them, and we will donate the books when she’s done with them.

Why tween likes it:  “I like how it involves all the Disney Villians.  I like books that imply the Disney twisted tale.”

The Truth About Twinkie Pie – Kat Yeh

Why mom likes it: The book shows a strong parent-child relationship.  My daughter and I also enjoy watching cooking shows, so the topic is a nice one for us, one that she can really delve into.

Why tween likes it:  “The book contained recipes that tied the story together.  It also showed a girl who struggled through life, but made the best of it.”


As you can see, there are more books on her shelf than just seven.  To save me from visiting the library exactly 7 days from the last visit, we do pick up a few extras.  And after putting holds in on some items, without knowing the expected arrival dates, sometimes we have a few more books than we expected.

Side Note:  I found a cute little greenhouse {link} at Ikea that serves as the book storage when we get home from the library.  This way, she can see through it to see what her next book will be, but they are kept separate from the books on her shelves.  I like that it helps contain the chaos and keeps everything organized – no books are lost!

Do you have any favorite books, that are mom-approved, for a middle school girl who loves a challenge?  Post them in the comments below!

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