Category Archives: Middle Grades

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat

A Wish in the Dark is a creative twist on Les Miserables. Pong is Jean Valjean and Nok is Javert. I found the story very engaging. I was pulled right in and really cared about the characters and what happened to them. It’s written on a middle grade level with young characters, but it’s very long so definitely for kids on the upper end of that age range. I highly recommend it to tweens and up.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 36
Pages Read in 2022: 12,893
Graphic Novels: 1

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In a Dark Land by Christina Soontornvat

In a Dark Land by Christina Soontornvat

In a Dark Land is the second Changelings book, picking up several months after the first one ends. It’s a fun, action-packed adventure. You get to see more very imaginative places and creatures of Fairy and get to know some of the other Changelings as well. Izzy’s very interesting origin story is also revealed. I very much enjoyed this book. I highly recommend it to people of all ages. It would make an excellent family read aloud!

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 34
Pages Read in 2022: 12,166
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Fantasy, Middle Grades, Reason: Literati, Reason: We Be Book'N

The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat

The Changelings by Christina Soontornvat

I really enjoyed The Changelings. It’s a sweet story about friends and siblings caring about each even when they get on each others nerves sometimes. It’s pretty much every reader kid’s dream to discover the fairies and fantasy stories they like are actually real so it’s easy to identify with the main character. I didn’t see the big twist coming at all and it was just perfect. I highly recommend this book to people of all ages. It would make a great family read aloud.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 28
Pages Read in 2022: 9718
Graphic Novels: 1

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The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

The first book of the Trials of Apollo series, The Hidden Oracle is filled with the humor we expect from Rick Riordan’s books. He masterfully weaves mythology into the present day. There was an awful twist in there I totally didn’t see coming, but it all worked out in the end, mostly. I recommend this book to middle schoolers and up who like mythology.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 20
Pages Read in 2022: 7278
Graphic Novels: 1

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Battle Dragons: City of Thieves by Alex London

Battle Dragons: City of Thieves by Alex London

Battle Dragons: City of Thieves is a fast-paced book. The world is built very quickly and with plenty of details for the age range. It’s a little awkward at first remembering that they and them refers to Roa, just because it’s not often in writing, but you quickly get used to it and it’s not at all a big deal. The story is wrapped up nicely but opens up a bit of what will happen in the next book in the series. I’d say that though it’s rated as a middle grade book, it’s best for those at the latter end of that range. I definitely recommend this book to kids and early teens who love dragons and wish they could have one of their own.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 69
Pages Read in 2021: 22,084

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Filed under Fantasy, Middle Grades, Reason: Vine Review, Reason: We Be Book'N

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart

I did not enjoy this book for several reasons.

  1. It’s boring. So incredibly boring.
  2. It’s written in dialect… sometimes. It’s really inconsistent. I do not like middle grade books that are written in dialect because that’s the age we’re teaching grammar to kids and then we give them a book that (sometimes) uses improper grammar. It’s one thing if it’s just the dialog, but this was the whole book (but only sometimes).
  3. The plot is dumb. It just is.
  4. Most of the action is incredibly boring. Even when it was supposed to be exciting, it wasn’t. It had a few moments that were at least a little interesting, which is the only reason I didn’t give it one star.
  5. It’s supposed to be historical fiction, but the whole thing is really unbelievable.
  6. I could not work up the least bit of sympathy for any of the characters. I really did not like the main character. He was super annoying. I was mildly curious about the Chinese boy’s bird figure, but that turned out to be quite anti-climactic.

This is definitely a book I recommend skipping.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 61
Pages Read in 2021: 18,869

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Peter Pan by JM Barrie

Peter Pan by JM Barrie

Peter Pan is just so fun to read. It’s a story pretty much everyone knows so it’s like visiting an old friend to read the book. The narrator is often amusing in their observations on what is going on, too, which is an added bonus. I recommend reading it to anyone who has enjoyed the play (in any of its many forms).

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 53
Pages Read in 2021: 16,548

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Filed under Fantasy, Middle Grades, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Aru Shah and the End of Time is the first of the Pandava series. Using Hindu mythology, the main character is a 12-year-old demigod and the reincarnation of one of the Pandava brothers (but this time she’s a girl and it’s the Pandava SISTERS). The chapter titles are hilarious and there is a whole lot of humor sprinkled throughout the book. It was the first book published by “Rick Riordan Presents” and definitely lives up to the standard found in his mythology books. I highly recommend this book to people of all ages who enjoy mythology.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 50
Pages Read in 2021: 15,533

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Addy: A Heart Full of Hope by Connie Porter

Addy: A Heart Full of Hope

The second Addy (American Girl of 1864) book, A Heart Full of Hope, follows Addy’s family as they make their way as a free people in Philadelphia and search for Esther, Aunt Lula, and Uncle Solomon. It’s very well-written historical fiction and quite engaging. It ends with a few pages of facts about Addy’s world. I highly recommend this book to all young people.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 4
Pages Read in 2021: 1148
(Read aloud to 12 and 14 year old boys)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Vine Review

Addy: Finding Freedom by Connie Porter

Addy: Finding Freedom by Connie Porter

Addy is the American Girl from 1864. Not knowing how long it will be until the end of the Civil War, Addy and her mother escape to freedom in Philadelphia. There Addy learns that freedom isn’t free, but it is worth it. She also learns about the value of real friends. The story is sweet with several subplots. As with all American Girl books, uncomfortable things are told sensitively and on a level children can understand. It’s historical fiction for kids done right. I recommend it to all middle grade children.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2021: 3
Pages Read in 2021: 1029
(Read aloud to 12 and 14 year old boys)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Vine Review