Category Archives: Middle Grades

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

Ban This Book is an excellent way to help middle grade kids understand why so many right now are trying to get books some deem inappropriate removed from schools and why that’s a bad thing. The point that it’s okay for parents to say you, their child, cannot read a book, but it’s not okay for someone to say no one’s child can read it is very clearly made. It also teaches kids to speak up to people who can change something if it doesn’t seem right. The kids in the book are all likable and even the “villain” (the woman leading the charge of banning books from the school library) is portrayed as a very good, nice person. I very highly recommend this book to kids who may be confused by why their favorite books are being questioned or removed and also to parents. It’s a great book for spawning a discussion with your late elementary/early middle school age children about book banning.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 84
Pages Read in 2022: 29,840
Graphic Novels: 2

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Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: Grim Readers

Lottie’s Courage: A Contraband Slave’s Story by Phyllis Hall Haislip

Lottie’s Courage: A Contraband Slave’s Story by Phyllis Hall Haislip

During the Civil War, if slaves made it to Fortress Monroe, they were declared contraband of war and so were considered free and protected by the Union soldiers. Lottie’s Courage is a gentle story showing what life was like in Grand Contraband Camp through the eyes of a young girl. It’s a quick read, and is historical fiction done right. I very highly recommend it to children and adults who enjoy historical fiction.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 71
Pages Read in 2022: 25,719
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: We Be Book'N

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

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

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

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

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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Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: LitHub Bingo