Great Middle Grade Reads discussion

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ARCHIVES > The best book I read in JANUARY was . . . COMPLETE

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message 1: by M.G. (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments I picked up a couple more novels in verse from the library, a la our BOTM discussion. Just finished May B. May B. by Caroline Starr Rose yesterday. It was a wonderful book! A young girl growing up on the prairie finds herself alone fifteen long miles from home. Layered into the story is the fact that even though she struggles with dyslexia, she dreams of being a teacher.


message 2: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) It is a good book. I hope you read The Secret Garden too - imo it's much better.

For my favorite of the month, I'm going to have to go with Clementine.


message 3: by Julia (new)

Julia Flaherty | 15 comments I haven't gotten all the way through it yet, but it's looking like The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham may be this month's winner for me. I've been paying particular attention to the world building employed by the author, which is quite masterfully done in my opinion.


message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 24, 2015 12:10PM) (new)

Doll Bones by Holly Black
I just finished Doll Bones by Holly Black today. This is a MG book and it was a FANTASTIC read, but I'm not sure I could actually recommend it to a Middle Grader. I know the characters are 12 years olds, but besides the fact that they "play" (a game which included dolls and action figures) they act and sound a lot older than 12. Especially the main character, Zach. He's so mature, he sounds like he's 17 or 18 sometimes.
Also, the book's a bit creepy (no surprises there, it is by Holly Black!).
Still my favorite read of the month, so well done, and probably only an adult would realized that 12 year olds are not that mature ; )


message 5: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) I did wonder about Doll Bones, myself, as I read it last week.
The thing that bothered me most is, they feel embarrassed they're playing with dolls... but they're not actually. They're playing an advanced role-playing game, like Dungeons & Dragons. And though that's kinda geeky, it's def. more 'grown-up' than playing with dolls.

The Luck Uglies for Julia's link.


message 6: by Wakar (last edited Feb 03, 2015 12:51PM) (new)

Wakar | 2 comments In January I read Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, The Snow Merchant and The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place. They were all good but my fav was definitely the Scandalous Sisterhood. It was a little wacky and a lot of fun.


message 7: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
I think my favorite from January was by one of our own Mods: Fizz & Peppers at the Bottom of the World Fizz & Peppers at the Bottom of the World by M.G. King


message 8: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (cherylllr) (Gad. I can't stand that &amp. I thought I fixed it back when I enjoyed this book. I'm going to try something else now. M.G., let me know if I need to try again or change it back.)


message 9: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
LOL--I wondered about that. GR has some issues with some things.


message 10: by Justine (last edited Feb 05, 2015 05:25PM) (new)

Justine Laismith (justinelaismith) | 301 comments I enjoyed Ingo Ingo (Ingo, #1) by Helen Dunmore by Helen Dunmore, about a girl who gets to know the Mer people and their world under the sea. So much so that I went on to read two other books in the series.


message 11: by M.G. (new)

M.G. King (mgking) | 728 comments Thanks Rebecca! That makes my day! Maybe the whole month : ) And yes, and I have no idea what formatting issues cause the &amp and I didn't realize there was something I could do to fix it. I should ask more questions.

This month I really enjoyed Creech's Heartbeat. Such a sweet affirmation of life.


message 12: by Ruth Wilson (new)

Ruth Wilson | 25 comments My favorite for January was "Alanna" the first adventure. I also read the second book and hope to read the remaining books in the series this spring.

Some reviewers have complained that after the first book, it is too adult to be considered middle grades, and that may be so.


message 13: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
Ruth--I love those books--really, pretty much all Tamara Pierce's books. But they do edge to YA, as the protags grow up. On the other hand--this is all a question really of how you feel about sex. There is nothing explicit, but when these girls reach a reasonable age, they start having sex (or, in some cases, thinking about it). I think Pierce is very strong on a message that a girl's body is her own to decide what to do with, and that may not go over well with those preaching abstinence. It also may not be appropriate for kids under about age 11. After 11, you can bet in our culture they are thinking about it, so some healthy models might not be all bad.

Levels of violence are in line with much MG fiction, especially that set in wartime (real or fictional wars).


message 14: by Ruth Wilson (new)

Ruth Wilson | 25 comments I agree.


message 15: by Dixie (new)

Dixie Goode (pandorasecho) | 177 comments I love Tamora Pierce but she is all over the place with reading levels I think. For example she has a series of four books about kids with simple magic in things like textile and plants. Good for middle grades (I think the series is called the circle, or the winding circle) anyway, there is a second quartet of books about the same characters as they leave he academy and take on their first apprentices. The appropriate level jumps significantly as things like serial killers who target the untouchable class, and the arson of an orphanage, and a deliberate germ warfare caused plague add a whole new level of dark reality to what was simple and magical.


message 16: by Ruth Wilson (new)

Ruth Wilson | 25 comments Sounds like a great argument for not having categories. ;)


message 17: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Douglass (rdouglass) | 1668 comments Mod
There is that, Ruth! I'm pretty sure Pierce would argue that she has to write the story she writes. And to some degree I agree. On the other hand, I do deliberately rein in the dark side, as I must look many of my readers (and their mothers) in the face on a regular basis. Plus, yeah, my Mom reads all my books (even the fantasy, which isn't her thing at all). :D


message 18: by Susan (new)

Susan | 25 comments The best book I read in January was A Monster Calls. It was so well written and the illustrations were perfect for the mood of the book.


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