Recently in MG novels Category

The Wizard's Dog

wizard'sdog.jpgIf you like dogs, humor, and magic (or at least two of the three), then The Wizard's Dog (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2017) by Eric Kahn Gale is the book for you.

The story is told from Nosewise's viewpoint. (He's the dog.) His master, the Wizard Merlin, and his pack mate Morgana, keep shutting him out of the study. He knows that Morgana is the favorite pet, but why is she allowed in when he isn't? One day Nosewise has had enough at being left out and barks and claws at the door. Morgana thinks it should be okay for him to be in the room, so Merlin gives in. Watching Morgana work on a spell, Nosewise wants to learn more tricks than sit! and stay!. When Merlin is kidnapped, it's a good thing Nosewise is not only interested in magic, but wants to get his master back.

The story made me laugh so often as I read and makes me smile just to think about it again. I also love the front cover and the spot illustrations by Dave Phillips.

You can watch a trailer for the book here.

This is the author's third book and was inspired by his own dog, Bowser. Read more about Eric and his other books here.

The Someday Birds

SomedayBirdscover.jpgThe Someday Birds (HarperCollins Children's Books, 2017) by Sally J. Pla is a moving and amazing story. I would have chosen this book as the Newbery winner if they'd let me.

Charlie likes routine. He's also fascinated by birds. His younger twin brothers and older sister are not so patient with his routines or interests. With Dad in the hospital and not able to speak due to a brain injury from his time as a war journalist in Afghanistan, Gram is staying with them. None of them like the fact that Charlie speaks too directly about Dad's condition. But life is about to change drastically for all of them, including a lady who might be a spy, a road trip, and of course for Charlie, birds.

I love how the chapter headings are related to birds in some way. I also love this story being in Charlie's viewpoint and how he deals with his OCD/sensitivity/autism spectrum issues.

This award-winning book is the author's debut. Read more about her here and about her other books here. And you should definitely read this blog post about what it was like for her as a child and how a teacher made a difference.

Roller Girl

RollerGirl.jpgRoller Girl (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015) by Victoria Jamieson is such a delightful story of hard work, heart, old and new friends, and roller derby! The drawings are fun and really bring the story to life. If you've never read a graphic novel, this is the perfect one to start with. Really!

Twelve-year-old Astrid is at that age where friends are having diverging interests. Girls interested in fashion and the mall think those who are not are babies. Which makes Astrid very unhappy. And then she goes to her first roller derby. Her new hero is now Rainbow Bite. But unfortunately Astrid gets herself in trouble with assumptions and by hiding the truth. Will she make her new dream come true?

Roller Girl was a Newbery honor book in 2016! And it became a bestseller. If you go here, you can learn about the making of the book.

And go here to learn about author/illustrator Victoria Jamieson's other books.

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.

The Wizard's Dog

The Someday Birds

Roller Girl

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