Recently in MG novels Category

Hello, Universe

hello universe.jpgHello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly is the 2018 Newbery Medal winner and such a fun read. I loved the multiple viewpoints and how the characters are brought together despite their aloneness.

First, we meet shy Virgil Salinas, whose own family doesn't seem to understand his quietness. He feels "like unbuttered toast standing next to them." And they call him Turtle. Only his grandmother, newly from the Philippines, seems to get him.

Next up is Valencia Somerset who is struggling with a repetitive nightmare where she is all alone. She's adopted a dog who lives in the woods and sneaks off to feed him.

Then we meet Kaori Tanaka, with her powers of second sight and her younger sister, Gen, who helps her out preparing for clients.

And, of course, there's the bully--Chet Bullens--aka the Bull--who plays an important role in this story of young middle schoolers on summer break.

Each character was unique and interesting, and yet so identifiable. Except for the bully, of course.

This is Erin's third book. Go here to read about the rest of them.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

lifeofacactus.pngInsignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus (Sterling Children's Books, 2017) by Dusti Bowling was so good.

Thirteen-year-old Aven was born without arms, but loves making up stories about what happened to her arms. It's a fun joke with her friends, but when she and her family have to move because her dad lost his job and Aven has to go to a new school, she doesn't feel like joking. Or eating lunch in front of anyone. And the "looks" and stares are hard.

Her new home is a rundown Western theme park in Arizona which has some mysteries. Eventually she meets Connor who has his own struggles and they start investigating those mysteries plus create some excitement of their own. The two also ending up helping each other.

Aven is funny, interesting, and a good friend. I like her parents and how they've encouraged her.

This really is a sweet book, but not too sweet. ;-) Go here and read about all the awards and lists this book has been chosen for.

Dusti's second book, 24 Hours in Nowhere, comes out in September. Read about it here.

Chasing Secrets

Chasing Secrets.jpgAnd another historical for you: Chasing Secrets (Wendy Lamb Books, 2015) by Gennifer Choldenko, who never disappoints. I still remember crying over Notes from a Liar and Her Dog.

It's 1900 in San Francisco and thirteen-year-old Lizzie Kennedy would rather be with her physician father than going to Miss Barstow's finishing school. And even though Aunt Hortense doesn't think it is appropriate she is interested in science, Lizzie goes whenever she can. But dead rats are appearing everywhere. Could the plague have arrived?

Besides secrets, the story involves mysteries, sneaking around, a new friend, danger, and more. Lizzie even learns a thing or two.

Check out Gennifer's stupid author photos here or see her other books here. You'll be glad you did.

Is It Night or Day?

nightorday.jpgI love learning about history via historical fiction--it just brings it alive. Is It Night or Day? (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010) by Fern Schumer Chapman is a recent discover for me. The book is inspired by the author's mother's experiences, who was one of twelve hundred children rescued from the Holocaust by Americans through the One Thousand Children project.

It's 1938 and twelve-year-old Edith has to travel alone from Germany to America as the anti-Semitism is getting worse. She'll be staying with family she's never met in Chicago. Is that scary or what?

See if the opening lines of this book don't just grab you: "The first long train trip I ever took in Germany was my last. Now I see that it was a funeral procession. The mourners traveling with me were my father, my mother, and Mina, a Christian girl who lived with my family and was as dear to me as my big sister, Betty. We were burying my childhood."

The author creates such sympathy in the reader's heart for Edith. Wow! It's an unforgettable story and definitely a good read.

Read about Fern Schumer Chapman's other books here.

Shadow Magic

shadowmagic.jpgShadow Magic (Disney Hyperion, 2016) by Joshua Khan is fantasy told from two viewpoints. We have twelve-year-old Thorn, the outlaw peasant who was purchased from a slaver to become the executioner's squire, and thirteen-year-old Lily (Lilith Shadow) who is now the ruler of Castle Gloom and Gehenna, the land of the dead. Thorn just wants to escape and find his father. Lily would like to escape her onerous duties. How can she be a successful ruler when girls are forbidden to do the magic that members of her family have done for ages?

These two are drawn together over their dislike of Gabriel, who Lily is pledged to marry. Secret passages, assassins, a puppy named Custard, zombies, and a giant bat named Hades all have their roles in this fantasy. What's not to like?

I was pleased to discover this was book 1 in a trilogy. Dream Magic came out in 2017 and Burning Magic comes out in 2018.

Read more about the books and the author here.

Hello, Universe

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

Chasing Secrets

Is It Night or Day?

Shadow Magic

Lucky Broken Girl

Wonderling

Foxheart

A Face Like Glass

The Someday Suitcase

The First Last Day

Cloud and Wallfish

Rules for Thieves

Prisoner of Ice and Snow

Monster, Human, Other

Carrying Mason

The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan

Jelly Bean Summer

The Only Road

The Wolf's Boy

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

Handbook for Dragon Slayers

Dying to Meet You

Iron Hearted Violet

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Dead Boy

Ms. Bixby's Last Day

Towers Falling

Echo

The Seventh Wish

All Four Stars

Just My Luck

The Thief of Mirrors

The Inn Between

Booked

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

Counting Thyme

The Crossover

Sweet Home Alaska

Mouseheart

How to Capture an Invisible Cat

The Year We Sailed the Sun

The Wrinkled Crown

Circus Mirandus

Dragon Slippers

Prisoner 88

Tuesdays at the Castle

Fuzzy Mud

Rhyme Schemer

Switch

The Last Child of Hamelin

The Cabinet of Earths

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer

Castle Hangnail

Moonpenny Island

Waiting for Unicorns

Loved It! - Fish in a Tree

Not Easy - The Truth about Twinkie Pie

Argh, Mateys - Hook's Revenge

Payback - Nickel Bay Nick

Saved by the Milk - Fortunately, The Milk

Born to Succeed - Every Day After

Captured by the Title - Also Known as Elvis

MG Adventure in Verse - May B.

Absolutely Almost

Out-of-this-World Adventure - Space Case

Discoveries and Escapes - Rooftoppers

A Wow Adventure

Dangerous Adventure - Badger Knight

Draw or Die - The Rithmatist

An Eggstraordinary Story - Under the Egg

A Butt-kicking Novel - 33 Minutes

Looking for Magic? - A Snicker of Magic

MG Mystery - Three Times Lucky

A Boy and an Elephant - Chained

Charming, Literally - Rose

Secret Agents - Junior Style - Double Vision

A Dark Story - Wooden Bones

Contemporary Fantasy or Magical Realism - Drizzle

Heartbreaker - The One and Only Ivan

Amazing Story - Wonder

Unexpected - The Hop

Anything But Typical

Words in the Dust, an amazing story

Historical MG in Verse - Inside Out and Back Again

Hysterically Funny - Fetching

Light-hearted Story - The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

Good and Creepy - The Cabinet of Wonders

Another time and now - Blessing's Bead

Just love this kid! - Okay for Now

A book with heart - Heart of a Shepherd

Really good story - Grounded

Wild Things

Family Story with Photographs - Finding Family

Halley's Comet and Hope - Selling Hope

One Strong Girl! - One Crazy Summer

Phew - almost missed this goodie - Schooled

Real or not real? - The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Sympathetic Character - Windblowne

Humorous sheep and more - The Quest of the Warrior Sheep

Funny pet story - Guinea Dog

What Happened?! - No Passengers Beyond This Point

More History - The Fences Between Us

Historical for Boys - The Walls of Cartagena

Grown-upness is truly wasted on grown-ups - Cosmic

Something a bit different - Ashes

Fearful stuff - Countdown

Humor and Heart - How to Survive Middle School

Love the opening - Ratfink

More Humor Mixed with Mystery - Belly Up

What a sweet winner! - Moon Over Manifest

Incredible Story - out of my mind

Funny! - Fiona Finkelstein Meets Her Match

Shortlisted? - Mockingbird

Novel in Verse . . . for boys - Hate That Cat

Must Read Book - Escaping the Tiger

7th Grade - no laughing matter - Mackenzie Blue

Great First Line - How to Steal a Dog

Fantasy Sequel - yea! - The Timekeeper's Moon

Newbery honor book - The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Coming Out This Month! - Boys without Names

Great opening scene - The Middle of Somewhere

You thought you had it tough? - Sweetgrass Basket

Got voice? - Penny from Heaven & Elijah of Buxton

Sympathetic character - Ethan, Suspended

2009 Newbery Winner - The Graveyard Book

Calling Baseball Fans and others! - Keeping Score

Memorable story - Ways to Live Forever

Mystery to Solve - The Postcard

Wow! Really moving story! - The Mailbox

A 2009 Newbery honor book - Savvy

Don't miss this award winner! - Home of the Brave

Makes me smile - A Crooked Kind of Perfect

Puns galore - Punished!

Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time by Lisa Yee

Love this character! - Beka Cooper, Terrier

Make me laugh! Thor's Wedding Day & Queen Sophie Hartley

Arriving in March - Reaching for the Sun

Graphic Novel - Here Be Monsters

Novels in Verse - Seeing Emily

prepare to be amused - The Wee Free Men

The Sea of Trolls

The Schwa Was Here

LOL - Ruby Holler