Great Middle Grade Reads discussion

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ARCHIVE - BOTM discussions > The best book I read in JANUARY was...

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message 1: by Jemima (last edited Feb 01, 2017 01:53PM) (new)

Jemima Pett | 1282 comments Mod
Oh, look - I haven't posted one of these since September. I'm really sorry about that!

Feel free to post about MG books you've really enjoyed since then - but of course, mainly focusing on books read in January 2017.

I read The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co #1) in October, since it was our Book Of The Month, and it ended up on my 'Best of 2016' list. It's pacey and exciting, and despite dealing with ghouls and ghosties, I find it thrilling rather than scary - mainly because the dead things are people rather than scary things.

I don't think I've read many MG books other than our BOTMs save for How to Stage a Catastrophe which comes out this month or April, depending where you are, and I read as an ARC. It's really good fun, and you can see my review here later in the month.

Over to you!


message 2: by Justine (new)

Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 297 comments I scrolled back to my list of books that I read since Sept, and yes, The Screaming Staircase would have been my favourite in October!
Funnily enough, the best book for me this month is Skull In The Wood by Sandra Greaves , which would also have been good to read for the Halloween theme. It's about two cousins overcoming their personal conflicts, and it involves finding a skull in the woods. What I like about it is that the story is written such that if you believed in the superstition you can rationalise the happenings were due to it. Or if you didn't, everything that occurred could be explained very logically.


message 3: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1282 comments Mod
Hold on to that one for nominations next September (for October's BOTM), Justine!


message 4: by Manybooks (last edited Feb 05, 2017 10:59AM) (new)

Manybooks | 333 comments Because I read in more than one language (including MG books), I will have to actually post two candidates for January.

The best and most enjoyable MG book in the English language I read in January of 2017 is a reread of Marguerite Henry's Misty of Chincoteague (which I read for the Newbery Club in other GR group), and which I enjoyed just as much as when I read the novel as a child (and as a teenager).

The best and most enjoyable MG book in German that I read in January of 2017 is Mirjam Pressler's brilliant Nun red doch endlich (a book about a stressed out and overburdened teenager who finally learns how to open up and talk when she has a nervous breakdown). Too bad this book is not available in English translation, sigh (as I think many would enjoy it).


message 5: by Michelle Sedai ☆of the Brown Ajah☆ (last edited Feb 05, 2017 10:58AM) (new)

Michelle Sedai ☆of the Brown Ajah☆ (michellekobus) | 0 comments My favorite and best MG read from Oct. 2016 to the present is The Creeping Shadow (Lockwood & Co. #4). I didn't think Jonathan Stroud could top The Hollow Boy, but he somehow managed!

Overall, though, the past few months have actually been a bit disappointing for MG (and YA) reads. I liked many of the MG books I read, but only the 3* sort of "liked", and there were some that were downright bad.


message 6: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
I read almost no MG in January, but what I did read was good. A Season of Gifts was a re-read, but I love Peck's writing and I love Grandma Dowdel. The other one I read was the 3rd and final book of Laurie Halse Anderson's Seeds of America trilogy, Ashes. That is a painful series to read, as a reminder that our great nation was founded on the backs of slaves, and our glorious revolution to free us from British tyranny (note to my Brit friends: tongue is at least somewhat in cheek here) did nothing to free the substantial part of the population that was brought here against their wills and enslaved.


message 7: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1282 comments Mod
UK response: s'ok. We fight on to protect ourselves from tyranny returning, since May has bowed before the lord and master. (Is that too political for this group?)


message 8: by Justine (last edited Feb 07, 2017 11:28AM) (new)

Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 297 comments An incredible coincidence, Rebecca, as I also read Halse's first book Chains in January. It has been on my to-read list every since it was nominated for book of the month 2-3years ago on the Historical Fiction theme. I enjoyed learning about that part of history from America's point of view, and it made me want to read the equivalent book from the point of view of someone in the UK at that time. Do any of you know of a such a book?


message 9: by Leone (new)

Leone Anderson (lcanderson) | 52 comments The Absolute True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie was the best m.g. book I read in January. Our Readers Group from our local library scheduled it- although our usual choice is adult fiction. Since I write m.g. fiction, I was pleased, since hadn't read it before. An excellent read, it gives an insight, with humor but real feeling, about life on an Indian reservation.


message 10: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
Leone wrote: "The Absolute True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie was the best m.g. book I read in January. Our Readers Group from our local library scheduled it- although our usual choice is adult f..."

I haven't read that, but it was my understanding it's much more YA than MG. I also understand it's very good.


message 11: by Ceilidh (new)

Ceilidh (suitcasedragon) My favorite book of January might be The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1) by Jennifer A. Nielsen . That's MG, right?


message 12: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
Ceilidh wrote: "My favorite book of January might be The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy, #1) by Jennifer A. Nielsen. That's MG, right?"

I think we considered it for a BOTM a while back, so I hope so!


message 13: by Jemima (new)

Jemima Pett | 1282 comments Mod
When in doubt I check the shelves it's being listed on by Goodreads readers (at the right hand side of the book's Goodreads page). This has 404 listings as MG so far...

It also has the same colour scheme on its cover as another I've just read - so much so I double-checked! Do you find you get a stream of books you read with the same colour scheme?


message 14: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
I think the "look" of the covers goes very much by fashion, so many that come out at one time will have a similar look, including colors. I gather there are also certain colors that sort of indicate certain genres (and I'm pretty sure blue goes with fantasy sorts of things), so that factors in too.


message 15: by Brenda (new)

Brenda (brlemon) | 27 comments In my opinion - the False Thief by Nielsen is definitely a MS book. I have it in my MS and HS library but more MS readers gravitate to it.

Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is definitely a HS book - in fact, due to all of the talk and incidences of sexual situations - it is one of the controversial books even in HS settings (although I agree that it is an EXCELLENT book and I do have it and am willing to fight the school board to keep in my HS library if necessary)


message 16: by Brenda (last edited Feb 14, 2017 01:23PM) (new)

Brenda (brlemon) | 27 comments Best MS book I have read recently was Ghost by Jason Reynolds. Very quick read that packs a powerful punch. So good in fact, I am going to try to get a set of books for the MS library as I believe this would be a great literature circle read.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Brenda wrote: "Best MS book I have read recently was Ghost by Jason Reynolds. Very quick read that packs a powerful punch. So good in fact, I am going to try to get a set of books for the MS libra..."

"Ghost" sounds really good. I just added it to my TBR.


message 18: by Carmel (new)

Carmel | 73 comments Yes, I also loved Ghost - I have recommended it to a couple of reluctant readers who have liked it - it is fairly short and very engaging.


message 19: by J.S. (new)

J.S. Jaeger (jsjaeger) | 171 comments I'm not finding a lot of time to read lately, but I read An Average Curse (The Chronicles of Hawthorn #1) by Rue An Average Curse last month and really enjoyed it. The pace kept me interested and the length was perfect for a quick afternoon read.


message 20: by Sophie (new)

Sophie The best book I read in January was Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz, #1) by Brandon Sanderson . It is a hilarious middle grade book. The characters have stupid powers like breaking things and falling over. There are talking dinousaurs and evil librarians and the magic system is based around different types of glasses that grant you powers. I listened to it on audio book and it was so good. Definitely recommend if you want a laugh!


message 21: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
Sophie, I really have to read that, though it goes against my nature to have evil librarians!


message 22: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Haha, it's a great book for book lovers.


message 23: by Justine (new)

Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 297 comments That sounds like a good theme, Jemima. Books that make you laugh!


message 24: by Lexie (new)

Lexie Conyngham | 21 comments I know I'm not often on here, but I've just been asked to review The Magician's Workshop, Volume One and Vol. 2 for a blog tour. It's a fantasy series and I really enjoyed it - I've reviewed it on my blog but I really feel it deserves more publicity (apart from the foreword, by which the book should not be judged in my view).


message 25: by Richelle (new)

Richelle Hi everyone, The best book I read for January 2017 was The Blemished. I enjoyed this so much that I purchased the box set. You can view my review over at my blog http://readlearnandshine.blogspot.co.nz/


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