We just wound up the best summer we’ve ever had. In addition to all the swimming, biking, playing, and laughing we could handle, we also were absolute reading fanatics. Jack plowed through over 20 books in just 10 weeks.

Before we get to our run-down, we must give a huge shout out to Rob Buyea’s Because of Mr. Terupt. Good gracious, this is a beautiful book. Both Jack and Tucker read it, and both absolutely adored it. If you’ve not read this gem yet, run–don’t walk–and get yourself a copy. Point of view switches among 7 students in Mr. Terupt’s 5th grade class. Buyea deftly presents classic pre-teen archetypes and their struggles, but these students’ mutual admiration for their amazing teacher is what steals the show.

Because of Mr. Terupt was our favorite book this summer, but the rest of our book pile didn’t disappoint either. The list is below.

Longleaf–Roger Reid. The author spoke to the entire 4th grade at Jack’s school and graciously gave them each a copy of his book. The young protagonists find themselves lost in a longleaf pine forest, on the run from a group of criminals.

The 7th Level–Jody Feldman. Feldman is the author of Jack’s favorite book, The Gollywhopper Games, so this novel was a hit right out of the gate. The 7th Level is about a middle school secret society; Travis is invited to join (or is he?), but first he must follow the clues and solve the puzzles.

Capture the Flag–Kate Messner. A puzzle mystery set in Washington, D.C.; involves another secret society (what story set in D.C. doesn’t?) and the Star Spangled Banner.

The Fast and the Furriest–Andy Behrens. Kevin and Cromwell, boy and dog, take on an overzealous dad and canine agility contests.

The Candy Shop War–Brandon Mull. Four friends try to uncover the secrets behind a candy shop whose candy provides magical powers once eaten.

Elvis and the Underdogs–Jenny Lee. A talking dog? A book by a writer on the tv show “Shake It Up”? Sign us up.

Field of Wacky Inventions–Patrick Carman. This is the 3rd book of the Floors series (the first 2 books are also highly recommended) about life in a hotel, Eloise-style…except this hotel is filled with puzzles, mysteries, and, yes, inventions.

The Unwanteds Series by Lisa McMann. This series came recommended to Jack by a classmate. He blazed through all 4 of these books in less than a week and has confirmed that–in addition to Because of Mr. Terupt–these were the best books he read all summer.

1. The Unwanteds

2. Island of Silence

3. Island of Fire 

4. Island of Legends

Gordon Korman’s whole entire oeuvre, basically. The Hypnotists and Memory Maze are a series featuring a young boy from a family of master hypnotists who, of course, must learn to control his hypnotic powers and use them for good. Schooled is a fish-out-of-water tale about a homeschooler who has to start attending a traditional school. The rest all feature a mystery and an animal. Jack thinks Gordon Korman is terrific, and he’s read every one of his books except No More Dead Dogs, opting to judge that book by the cover (and displaying a respect for superstition).

Framed–Gordon Korman

Swindle–Gordon Korman

The Hypnotists–Gordon Korman

Memory Maze–Gordon Korman

Zoobreak–Gordon Korman

Showoff–Gordon Korman

Hideout–Gordon Korman

Schooled–Gordon Korman

Jackpot–Gordon Korman

The Merits of Mischief series by T.R. Burns. A very readable series about Kilter Academy, a school for troublemakers–as in, the school teaches its students how to become troublemakers. Fear not; it’s all pretty innocuous fun.

1. Bad Apple

2. World of Trouble

The Theodore Boone series by John Grisham. Jack’s interest in Grisham was piqued when we drove by his house on Amelia Island. And then Jack’s mom is an attorney, and he has a brother named Theodore. Jackpot. Jack found these to be page-turners (they are Grishams, you know), and he loved trying to figure out the cases.

1. Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

2. Theodore Boone: The Abduction

3. Theodore Boone: The Accused

4. Theodore Boone: The Activist

So there you have it:  a summer reading round-up fit for a king (or queen)…of the middle school playground, at least. Have at it, and let us know what great books you’ve uncovered, too!

Happy reading!!

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