Recently in MG novels Category

The Only Road

TheOnlyRoad.jpegThe Only Road (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016) by Alexandra Diaz is a book I wish I could get everyone to read.

After the murder of his cousin Miguel, twelve-year-old Jaime and his fifteen-year-old cousin Angela either have to join the destructive gangs in their village or leave Guatemala. To keep them safe their families spend everything they have to get the two the United States where Jaime's brother Tomas lives. But once the two are on their way, they are on their own. They face discovery by la migra, gang violence, death by train, hunger, thievery, thirst all in their quest for a safe place to live.

The Only Road is inspired by true events (not the author's) and is a Pura Belpré Honor book!

Alexandra Diaz has this at the head of her website: "Writing: to experience life in someone else's shoes." That's one of the reasons we read and why I'd like others to read this book.

Alexandra is also the author of Good Girls Don't Lie--a YA novel--and other books. On her bio page there are lots of links to interviews, too.


The Wolf's Boy

wolf'sboy.jpegThe Wolf's Boy (Disney-Hyperion, 2016) by Susan Williams Beckhorn is a touching tale of a boy who struggles because he doesn't fit in.

Twelve-year-old Kai has a club foot, so he's not allowed to touch weapons, or hunt. When Kai rescues a motherless wolf club, he's warned that she can't eat the People's food. As the yellow cub grows, the People look on her as a threat. With winter approaching Kai and Uff leave the village. How can a boy who can't even hunt survive on his own?

This book is a Junior Library Guild Selection and a 2017 Notable Children's Book. I love the cover too.

Read about Susan here where you can also see a picture of the stone house that she and her husband built themselves. And read about her other books here. She's also an illustrator.

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

AllRise.jpegI loved All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook (Katherine Tegen Books, 2016) by Leslie Connor! I'd have chosen it for a Newbery award. It's a heart-wrenching story. I love Perry--I know, I'm gushing.

Perry T. Cook is pretty much a normal eleven-year-old, well, except for the part that he lives in a prison. But he gets to go "outside" to school. And this way he gets to be with his mom every day--she's a resident on Cell Block C. Until the new district attorney discovers this arrangement at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility and Perry is forced into foster care with the same DA's family.

This story has a host of interesting characters. Did I say I love Perry?

Leslie Connor writes for Middle Grade readers, younger readers, and for teens. You can be entertained on her website while you check out those other books. I recommend reading her "My Life" page. I'm off to check out more of her books...

But meanwhile, really, read this book!

Handbook for Dragon Slayers

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

HandbookDragonslayers.jpegHandbook for Dragon Slayers (HarperCollins Children's Books, 2013) by Merrie Haskell may be a middle grade fantasy, but I think teens will like it too. (My husband did as well.)

Princess Tilda wishes people would "appreciate the sense of my words and not be thinking about the shape of my foot at the same time." She's the lame heir, so when her cousin Ivo comes to take over Alder Brook, she thinks it might be better for her people to have an able-bodied leader. And maybe this would give her the chance to write her own book. But somehow she and her friend Parz and her handmaiden Judith go off to become dragon slayers. Throw in the Wild Hunt, magic horses the color of the three royal metals, an evil lord, and it's quite an adventure.

This book won the 2014 Schneider Family Book Award (Middle Grades).

On Merrie's website FAQ page, there's this question and answer:

What is it about fairy tales that interests you?

How infinite the variations on them can be! I've loved retold fairy tales since Robin McKinley's Beauty (and later, Rose Daughter).

I recommended one of her other books, The Castle Behind the Thorns, here.

Dying to Meet You

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

dying.jpegDying to Meet You (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) by Kate Klise and illustrated by M. Sarah Klise is an unusual kid's story. Part of it is the format: letters and documents exchanged about 43 Old Cemetery Road, Ghastly, Illinois and letters and notes from the occupants. The book has illustrations to accompany the text, including rental property ads, floor plans, sketches by Seymour, pages from The Ghastly Times (ads included), etc.

The other unusual part is that the cast of characters is not your normal cast for a children's book. First, there is I.B. Grumply, who although a writer of children's books, doesn't want "to see or hear the little monsters." He's there to overcome his writer's block in this quiet out of the way house he's rented. There are some other adult characters introduced next, although they aren't as important as Olive, who lives--well, since she's a ghost, I guess hangs out would be more appropriate--in the supposedly empty house. Third, there's an eleven-year-old boy Seymour who was deliberately left behind in the house by his parents! The other characters have appropriately humorous names that often fit their occupations, such as realtor Anita Sale.

Can you tell the story is funny? Plus it has a happy ending. It makes me smile every time I think of it. And it's book one of the 43 Old Cemetery Road series. The other titles are: Over My Dead Body; Till Death Do Us Bark; The Phantom of the Post Office; Hollywood, Dead Ahead; Greetings from the Graveyard; and The Loch Ness Punster.

The author and illustrator are sisters, who share a website here. There you can find out about the other series they've done, the stand-alones, the picture books, and about the two sisters who collaborate while living in two separate states (California and Missouri).

I hadn't realized I'd read and recommended another book by Kate Klise until I wrote this blog post. It was for Grounded.

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