Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

Theme: Twists and Turns

A Drowned Maiden's Hair: A Melodrama - (ISBN: 978-0763638122)

by Laura Amy Schlitz

An early 20th –century orphan gradually discovers why one requirement of her being adopted to a nice home is for her to remain invisible inside the house. Despite the fact her adopted family wants her to play the “ghost” at their séances, Maud figures out a way to stay out of the orphanage and find a home to her liking. Have you ever played “séance” with your friends? How do events in this book surprise you?

Any Small Goodness: A Novel of the Bario - (ISBN: 978-0439233842)

by Tony Johnston

Arturo’s story, told in many short chapters, evolves around keeping his Mexican identity as he attempts to adjust to his new country. Although there are many opportunities for education and happy holidays with his family, there are scary parts too, like gangs and shootings. What does Arturo find out that changes his mind about one of the gangs?

The Mysterious Benedict Society - (ISBN: 978-0316003957)

by Trenton Lee Stewart

A group of “gifted” children form a mysterious team to infiltrate a strange school, the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, so they can stop its leader from involving the children there in illegal activities. Filled with many adventures, terrific characters, philosophical musings, and social implications, this book has something for everyone. A surprise about one of the characters puts everything into perspective at the end.

The Thief - (ISBN: 978-0060824976)

by Megan Whalen Turner

A hardened thief has a chance to earn his freedom from the King’s magus who holds him in prison. He has to find a lost jewel in a difficult land. The thief is up to the task, but the magus gets a big surprise at the end of the tale. Why would someone want to hire a thief?

Tuck Everlasting - (ISBN: 978-0312369811)

by Natalie Babbitt

In this beautifully written and award-winning book, a girl finds herself kidnapped but offered great opportunity. The land where she comes to live has a stream that offers eternal life. What is the one thing you would wish for above all else? Read this book to see if your choice coincides with the amazing thing she can have if she so chooses.

Archer's Goon - (ISBN: 978-0064473569)

by Diana Wynne Jones

London Eye Mystery - (ISBN: 978-0385751841 )

by Siobhan Dowd

The King of Attolia - (ISBN: 978-0060835798)

by Megan Whalen Turner

The Westing Game - (ISBN: B001IABY9M)

by Ellen Rankin

Walk Two Moons - (ISBN: 978-1602528031)

by Sharon Creech

Activities for this Theme

Play hide and go seek with your children. Afterwards talk and laugh about the best hiding places for surprising people.


If you would like to have a hand in the plot twists throughout an interactive story, try this online choose-your-own-adventure site: