Monday, May 9, 2011

What I Am Reading: Middle-Grade Book Recommendations

Middle-grade books do not receive the kind of buzz that young adult books do. And they should. There are some fabulous middle-grade books either out already or coming out soon! Go get your copy. If you're a YA writer/reader who doesn't read MG, give one of these a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.


A YEAR WITHOUT AUTUMN by Liz Kessler
 Released April 7, 2011 by Orion Childrens
Jenni Green’s family vacation has finally arrived! Even though she has to deal with her annoying little brother, her slightly overbearing dad, and her very pregnant mom, she gets to spend a week with her bestest friend in the world, Autumn. But twelve-year-old Jenni’s world turns upside down when she takes an old elevator to visit Autumn and discovers that everything has changed: not only is her friend in a different condo, but tragedy has struck Autumn’s family, Jenni’s mother has had her baby, and everyone is a year older. When Jenni realizes that the elevator caused her to skip a whole year, she tries to go back, but soon finds that fixing things won’t be as easy as pressing a button. How can she alter the past and keep her family and Autumn’s from falling apart?



 

OKAY FOR NOW by Gary D. Schmidt
Released April 5, 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him. So begins a coming-of-age masterwork full of equal parts comedy and tragedy from Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt. As Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer—a fiery young lady who “smelled like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain.” In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. In this stunning novel, Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.





THE INCORRIGIBLE CHILDREN OF ASHTON PLACE: THE HIDDEN GALLERY by Maryrose Wood
Released March 1, 2011 by Balzer & Bray
Of especially naughty children it is sometimes said, "They must have been raised by wolves."
The Incorrigible children actually were.
Thanks to the efforts of Miss Penelope Lumley, their plucky governess, Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia are much more like children than wolf pups now. They are accustomed to wearing clothes. They hardly ever howl at the moon. And for the most part, they resist the urge to chase squirrels up trees.
Despite Penelope's civilizing influence, the Incorrigibles still managed to ruin Lady Constance's Christmas ball, nearly destroying the grand house. So while Ashton Place is being restored, Penelope, the Ashtons, and the children take up residence in London. Penelope is thrilled, as London offers so many opportunities to further the education of her unique students. But the city presents challenges, too, in the form of the palace guards' bearskin hats, which drive the children wild—not to mention the abundance of pigeons the Incorrigibles love to hunt. As they explore London, however, they discover more about themselves as clues about the children's—and Penelope's—mysterious past crop up in the most unexpected ways.




BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys
Released March 22, 2011 by Philomel

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.
Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.


 


BEYONDERS: A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull
Released March 15, 2011 by Aladdin
Jason Walker has often wished his life could be a bit less predictable--until a routine day at the zoo ends with Jason suddenly transporting from the hippo tank to a place unlike anything he's ever seen. In the past, the people of Lyrian welcomed visitors from the Beyond, but attitudes have changed since the wizard emperor Maldor rose to power. The brave resistors who opposed the emperor have been bought off or broken, leaving a realm where fear and suspicion prevail.In his search for a way home, Jason meets Rachel, who was also mysteriously drawn to Lyrian from our world. With the help of a few scattered rebels, Jason and Rachel become entangled in a quest to piece together the word of power that can destroy the emperor, and learn that their best hope to find a way home will be to save this world without heroes.

7 comments:

salarsenッ said...

These all look fantastic!! Thank you for sharing them. More for my TBR list. :)

Alicia Gregoire said...

Beyonders has been on my TBR since it came out. :)

Marquita Hockaday said...

I've been meaning to check out Between Shades of Gray for a while. Also, Okay For Now looks really good, too. Thanks for the suggestions :)

Emy Shin said...

I haven't read a lot of MG books (which I totally should), and these seem really great.

Also, I've seen BEYONDERS around, and thought it was an Adult Fantasy because of the cover. Never imagined it'd be MG.

Carrie said...

These look like great books. Glad to see some good Middle Grade books being promoted.

Pam Harris said...

Great list! I've actually just read my first MG book in ages--How Lamar's Bad Prank... I'll be reviewing it on my other blog this Thursday. :)

JEM said...

I've been wanting to read more middle grade lately, they're so much fun! The Incorrigible Children book looks fantastic, thanks for the reco.