Any teen book that includes Shakespeare's plays as essentially a main character is one that I am going to appreciate. In this coming of age story, set in 1967, Holling Hoodhood initially believes that his exposure to Shakespeare is some sort of punishment.
By a rather strange set of circumstances, every Wednesday Holling is the only student left for the last hour or so of class. His teacher begins these Wednesdays by having him do chores around the classroom, but she soon progresses to offering him more schoolwork than she does the other students. As a seventh grader, Holling of course perceives this as more evidence of the fact that she hates him. While dealing with Wednesdays at school, in addition to the other normal seventh grade issues such as girls and bullies, Holling also has to contend with his family. His sister is growing up in ways he doesn't understand, and his father puts the burden of the family business constantly on his shoulders. Even in seventh grade he understands that he is expected to take over the business after high school, and his father makes him feel that his actions now have dire consequences for the business.
Throughout the school year, Holling learns that he has a choice about who he wants to become - the whole world seems to want to teach him this lesson: Mrs. Baker, his sister, even Shakespeare. This book is great for teens of all ages, but is especially appropriate for middle school.
*this book also reviewed by me at hip librarians book blog*