Middle School to Young Adult Books

Theme: Twists and Turns

Ender’s Game - (ISBN: 978-0765342294)

by Orson Card Scott

Because of the intelligence and leadership he has shown in the past, twelve-year-old Ender receives the job of protecting his world from attacking buggers. Even if you do not normally try science fiction, you will enjoy this tale which includes alien worlds, computer setups and games, the possibilities of the internet, and a unique kind of military training. How does this book differ from other growing-up novels you have enjoyed?

The Giver - (ISBN: 978-0440237686)

by Lois Lowry

In a utopian world, Jonas receives the assignment of becoming the society’s “receiver of memories.” While being educated to perform his new role and being filled with the collective memory bank of the entire civilization, he encounters the “Giver” and others of the rigid society’s leaders. Although their world is supposed to be perfect and stress-free, Jonas comes to realize the motivations of the society’s planners have not been perfect. Compare Jonas to Scrouge in A Christmas Carol as they both reach some surprising conclusions.

The Mark of the Horse Lord - (ISBN: 978-1932425628)

by Rosemary Sutcliff

Phaedrus, now a slave but formerly a gladiator, must make a very tough decision about how to regain his freedom. If you enjoy historical novels paired with ethical decision-making, try this riveting depiction of life in the first century. Think of what or whom you might be willing to sacrifice in order to achieve your goals

The Safe-Keeper's Secret - (ISBN: 978-0142403570)

by Sharon Shinn

Fiona might follow in her mother’s footsteps and become the town Safe Keeper, a person who hears and knows all the private thoughts, wishes, and hopes of the people in the area. It is the Safe Keeper’s job to keep the secrets, and there are plenty of secrets going on here, in addition to the surprise at the end of the story! What are some of the other special roles people have in this historical, Norman-like village?

Witch Dreams - (ISBN: 978-0761454601)

by Vivian Vande Velde

Nyssa’s special gift is that she can experience other people’s dreams. While trying to find her parents’ killers, she uses her talent to read the dreams of the young man convicted of the crime -- and finds he is innocent. She uses her witchlike “bespelling” techniques, as well as more traditional means of detecting, to propel readers through this face-paced and exciting mystery. Talk with your friends about dreams you have had that might have predicted the future.

Dead Girls Don't Write Letters - (ISBN: 978-0689866241)

by Gail Giles

Ender’s Shadow - (ISBN: 978-0765342409)

by Orson Scott Card

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - (ISBN: 978-0545139700)

by J.K. Rowling

The Truth Teller’s Tale - (ISBN: 978-0142407844)

by Sharon Shinn

Activities for this Theme

If you are interested in dreams, find out what your nighttime viewings “really” mean.


If you enjoyed The Giver, take a look at some other novels about utopian worlds.


Get together with all your friends and have each one (including you!) tell a secret they have never shared with anyone before.


Watch the movie The Sixth Sense (if you have not seen it) for a big jolt at the end! Parents should preview the film to be sure they find it appropriate for their family members.