The Brittany Awards Part Two: Middle Grade Books

the-brittany-awards

Throughout the month of December, I am awarding my favorite books that I read throughout 2016. There are four categories (picture books, middle grade books, young adult books, and overall favorite books) with 5 winners and 3 honorable mentions in each category. Last week, I chose my top five favorite picture books (see the winners here). This week, I will choose the winners for my top five middle grade books that I read in 2016.

For each winner, I will include a link to the review, my rating, and an excerpt from the review (if there is a review of the book on my blog). For middle grade books, I decided on a top six with two honorable mentions. Here are my choices for favorite middle grade books of 2016, in no particular order:

1.) Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

“Percy may be a Half Blood, but the book about him is full of action, humor, and heart.”

2.) Jessica Darling’s It List: The Totally Not Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness, and Perfection by Megan McCafferty (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Jessica Darling's It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection

“Megan McCafferty did the perfect job of capturing the middle school voice and creating characters and situations that are extremely relatable. I think this book is hilarious, but also provides meaningful advice to the book’s target audience.”

3.) Judy Moody Declares Independence by Megan McDonald (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Judy Moody Declares Independence (Judy Moody #6)

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of moodiness.”

4.) Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream by Jenny Han (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

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“Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream was a cute fall book that was surprisingly deep. Going into this book, I didn’t expect to uncover a really deep message, but I think Jenny Han did a great job of tackling an interesting theme for younger readers.”

5.) Wonder by R.J. Palacio (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Wonder

“Wonder by R.J. Palacio is an inspirational middle-grade novel with well-developed and authentic characters…”

6.) Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Moving Day by Meg Cabot (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

Moving Day (Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls, #1)

“I absolutely LOVED this book. Allie Finkle was a hilarious protagonist with sass and spunk.”

 

Here are my honorable mentions for the middle grade category:

1.) Miss Popularity by Francesco Sedita (★ ★ ★ ★)

Miss Popularity (Miss Popularity #1; Candy Apple #3)

“While the main character, Cassie Knight, embodies the Texas girl stereotype, she is also a great role model for girls.”

2.) Sincerely by Courtney Shienmel (★ ★ ★ ★)

 Sincerely, Sophie; Sincerely, Katie

“When I picked up Sincerely, I was expecting a fluffy and lighthearted book, but it was much deeper than that.”

What was your favorite middle grade book of 2016?

#ThrowbackThursday: The Lightning Thief Review

lightning thief

Percy may be a Half Blood, but the book about him is full of action, humor, and heart.

In Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson is a difficult kid constantly being expelled from boarding school. After a teacher tries to kill Percy on a school field trip, his mom takes him to Camp Half Blood. Percy soon learns he is a child of an Olympic god and finds himself on a quest to stop a war from breaking out between the gods.

During one of my field experiences, the entire third grade read Percy Jackson and then had a huge party where they brought in blue snacks and watched the movie. After reading the book myself, I not only understand why all the snacks were blue, but why all the students were so excited about Percy Jackson. From the first page, I was completely engrossed in the story and didn’t want to put the book down.

First off, all of the characters in this book were great even if they weren’t a hero in the story. Percy is a hilarious protagonist and extremely realistic, despite being the son of Poseidon. In many similar books, the characters often act a lot older than their age, but Percy still acted like he was twelve. This forced him into many unfortunate circumstances, but as a result, his character really drove the book, not the plot.

Besides Percy, all of the characters were wonderfully done and each had their own motivations. I constantly hear people praise the friendship within these books and now I definitely see why. Percy, Annabeth, and Grover formed a great friendship within this book and motivated each other to reach their goals. Rick Riordan also did an excellent job of giving all the gods little quirks, like having Dionysus as the leader of the summer camp or having Poseidon dress in a Hawaiian shirt.

The book was also action-packed. Even if it became slightly predictable–Percy made a bad decision, so he needed to defeat a monster–each fight held your attention. I especially loved the foreshadowing between each fight that prepared you for what he would face, for example, at Aunty Em’s diner. I can imagine children reading this book in school using the context clues to predict what is coming next. In addition to the plot, I through the book’s structure could be emphasized in the classroom. Like in Greek epics, Percy’s fate is predicted before he begins his quest, and I really enjoyed Rick Riordan’s nod to classic literature.

Since I loved every aspect of this book, I give The Lightning Thief five out of five stars.