It's Friday already! How Armchair BEA
has flown by. Hard to believe it's our last full day.
However, today's book topic is one I'm very excited about. As I said back on Monday, while I normally read cozy novels, I am getting back into middle grade fiction again, and I've been having a blast doing it.
Of course, I read middle grade books when I was a kid, and I have fond memories of The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, and Trixie Belden. (See, my love of mysteries started earlier.) I also read other genres. I loved Elizabeth George Speare when I discovered her books in Jr. High. While I never read them all, I did laugh at the Beverly Cleary books I read. In 3rd grade, I was obsessed with Narnia. Other favorites included Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
and The Great Brain
. I also loved a sci-fi series written by Alfred Slote starting with My Robot Buddy
Back then, my family went to the library every week, and I was always bring back more books than I could possibly read in the time we could check them out. Not that it kept me from checking out even more the next week.
Not that I ever completely got out of middle grade. When I was in high school, I got my younger brother hooked on The Accidental Detective Series
by Sigmund Brouwer just because I'd heard great things about them. Once he started raving about it, I started reading them, too, and I loved them.
And yes, I love Harry Potter and Percy Jackson.
But here are some of the others I've found in the last few years (with links to my reviews).
If you haven't found Michael Buckley, he has two great series out. The Sisters Grimm (starts with The Fairy Tale Detectives
) features Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, modern day descendants of the original Brothers Grimm. They soon learn their family is tasked with keeping all the fairy tale characters we know and love in line, however it's not as easy as it sounds. In his other series, we learn about a group of five NERDS
who are tasked with keeping us safe from super villains. Both are creative, fun, and addicting for all ages.
Last fall, I discovered Magic Marks the Spot
, the debut from Caroline Carlson in her Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series. It's got a feisty female main character, humor, pirates, humor, magic, twists, and humor. I can no wait until the next one comes out. And I mentioned the humor, right?
Shannon Messenger has a great fantasy series out called Keeper of the Lost Cities
. It has several staples of the middle grade fantasy genre these days, but she keeps it fresh and fun with pure imagination and great characters. For the YA crowd, she also writes the Let the Sky Fall
In the fractured fairy tale genre, there's Half Upon a Time
by James Riley which combines fairy tale characters in new ways with a nice twist of sarcasm.
Another series featuring pirates and crazy adventures is The Chronicles of Egg by Geoff Rodkey. They start with Deadweather and Sunrise
and are a fun ride.
I also have to give a huge shout out to Stuart Gibbs. I've been a fan since his very first book, Belly Up
. He has something different - parents who are involved in the story without taking away from the main character being the hero. It's nice to see. He's just released a sequel to that book as well as The Last Musketeer
trilogy and Spy School
Last summer, I got to read The Wig in the Window
by Kristen Kittscher. The twists and turns in this one were wonderful, and I had no clue what was coming until the end.
And there's a new series for kids with an interest in science or creating their own gadgets - Nick and Tesla. They are co-written by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith. The first is Nick and Tesla's High Voltage Danger Lab. Each book includes some gadgets you can build on your own later.
Finally, I have to give mention the books of Marlane Kennedy. She's got a series coming out soon, but several years ago she wrote two stand alones that were outstanding - Me and the Pumpkin Queen and The Dog Days of Charlotte Hayes.
Just in case this wasn't overwhelming enough for you, I've got to give you one more link. Shannon Messenger (mentioned above) hosts a weekly event - Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - on her blog. It's a collection each week of new middle grade reviews, interviews, etc. If you are looking for recommendations or post reviews yourself, this is a great weekly event to be a part of.