Over the two years when I was too sick to blog I read 15 middle grade books. I tend to like escapist action-packed stories best, though, I did read one excellent novel in verse. Here are my favorites:
Middle Grade Novels & Memoirs
Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson (August 2014)- Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir in verse is about her first 10 years growing up as an African-American girl in Ohio, South Carolina, and Brooklyn during the 60’s and 70’s. Technically it’s written for elementary school aged kids but it’s one of those crossover novels that can be enjoyed equally by adults. Lovely, interesting, quick read.
Beswitched, by Kate Saunders (December 2011) An old-fashioned boarding school tale about a spoiled twelve-year-old girl, Flora, who is sent off to a posh boarding school in present day England, while her family takes care of her recently injured grandmother. Something weird happens on the train, though, and Flora finds herself at a boarding school in 1935 instead! I love boarding school books and the period details in Beswitched added to the fun. The “twist” at the end is pretty obvious, but still satisfying.
Capture the Flag, by Kate Messer (July 2012) – This action-adventure story reads like an Disney movie with more diverse casting. Three kids search for a missing famous American flag while stranded at the airport. Messer taught for years before writing and it’s pretty clear she knows how to capture the attention of third-seventh graders.
Deadweather and Sunrise: The Chronicles of Egg 1, by Geoff Rodkey (May 2012)- Egg, the youngest son of a fruit farmer, eeks out a dreary life on Deadweather Island, bullied by his older brother and sister while he tries to educate himself with the terrified tutors his father hires. The day his father takes him for a visit to Sunrise Island is the day his life changes. This fun action-adventure story— with an especially enjoyable narrator—would make a good bedtime or classroom read aloud.
The Great Greene Heist, by Varian Johnson (May 2014) – An Ocean’s Eleven caper for the middle school set. Like Capture the Flag, the story hosts a fun, diverse cast and lots of twists and turns.
League of Seven, by Alan Gratz (August 2014) – This steampunk fantasy is set in an alternate- America where Native Americans and Yankees run the country together and electricity is illegal. Archie—the son of two members of the secret Septemberist Society—must save his kidnapped parents from the Mangleborn monsters who are supposed to be trapped in underground prisons. A Native American girl and a boy apprentice to Edison join forces with Archie in this action-packed story, full of cool gadgets and inventions.