Top Ten Recommendations for People who Don’t Usually Read Middle Grade

top ten

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is a top ten recommendations freebie. For my freebie, I decided to focus on middle grade books. Usually, I read contemporary young adult books. In the past few years, I’ve really branched out with my reading. Some of my favorite books that I’ve picked up out of my comfort zone have been middle grade books. Middle grades books are humorous, full of heart, and filled with adventure. If you’re thinking about picking up a middle grade book, here are ten great places to start (any books with reviews will be linked to the title):

 Sincerely, Sophie; Sincerely, Katie

I picked up Sincerely on a whim at Dollar Tree from only $1. I anticipated a cute and a fluffy story, but the two books in this collection were a lot deeper than I expected! Sincerely deals with very relevant issues and handles them well. Each character is extremely deep, well-developed, and realistic. I recommend this for anyone looking for a deep, well-written, and incredibly realistic contemporary book.

Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream

Like with Sincerely, I picked up Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream on a whim at Dollar Tree because I recognized the author’s name. Similar to Sincerely, I expected a cute and fun read, but read a much deeper story than I affected. Clara Lee definitely leans on the younger end of middle grade, but it explores an incredibly deep topic in an understandable way for younger readers. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a book that features a diverse main character and an important message.

  • Red Thread Sisters by Carol Antoinette Peacock

Red Thread Sisters

I found Red Thread Sisters at my local library’s book sale at an incredibly low price. I was drawn in by the story line which promised an interesting story about a girl adopted from China as she adapted to life in the United States. Not only did this provide an interesting story, but it also provides a lot of informative information on the adoption process. Since the book’s author adopted her daughters from China, this book also is extremely accurate. I recommend this book to anyone looking for an extremely realistic middle grade book that features a diverse main character.

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

I recommend the Allie Finkle series to anyone who wants to laugh out loud. Even though this is geared towards younger middle grade readers, I didn’t read this book until my 20s and I still find myself laughing out loud when I read these books. I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of humorous reads or any fan of Meg Cabot!

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

Like Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls, Jessica Darling’s It List is a laugh out loud middle grade series. I think this book will be perfect for people hesitant to read middle grade books because it may feature a character that you’ve already seen in a young adult series. (Plus, the movie is currently available on Netflix!) If you’re a fan of the young adult Jessica Darling series, this would be a great place to start in middle grade!

The Great Shelby Holmes (The Great Shelby Holmes, #1)

The Great Shelby Holmes is the perfect middle grade book for anyone looking for a mystery! In my opinion, this is one of Elizabeth Eulberg’s best books in terms of writing, characterization, and plot. Every aspect of this book is so clever. As an adult, I even struggled to figure out the mystery at the end! I recommend this book for anyone who wants something a little different than a contemporary read.

Judy Moody Declares Independence (Judy Moody #6)

There are some Judy Moody books that I love and other that I don’t love as much. Judy Moody Declares Independence would have to be my favorite in the series! This book explores history in such a fun and creative way. Additionally, it points out biases in history and introduces a famous female figure in history that is often overlooked. I recommend this middle grade book for anyone who loves history and a book with a message!

September Surprises (Main Street, #6)

The Main Street series is a wonderful contemporary series that focuses on a small town. In this series, you get to know the characters extremely well and each book takes places around a special time of the year. These books are written so beautifully and are written by an author that many people have read when they were younger. I would recommend this series to anyone looking for middle grade books with a classic feel.

Wonder

Wonder is such a heartfelt book with a message that everyone needs to hear. One of the great aspects of this book is that it includes so many points of view, so readers really can see how one person can affect so many. (Plus, the movie is coming out later this year!) Really, I recommend anyone to read this book.

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

Percy Jackson and The Olympians is the perfect middle grade series for fantasy fans. Rick Riordan does a fantastic job of weaving mythology through this book and I absolutely love how he sets the story up. Percy is a hilarious main character and I love the little jokes thrown in the books that older readers pick up on. This is such a loved middle grade series, and it’s no surprise why!

 

What middle grade books do you recommend?

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#ThrowbackThursday: Wonder Review

wonderWhen given the chance between being right and being kind, choose kind.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is an inspirational middle-grade novel with well-developed and authentic characters that should be at the top of your TBR pile.

Wonder follows fifth grader August “Auggie” Pullman as he enters school for the first time. Auggie never went to school for medical reasons due to severe craniofacial anomalies that cause other people to stare or even scream at him. While Auggie sees himself as a normal fifth grade boy, many of his classmates do not–they refuse to be near him and are even afraid to accidentally touch him. Told through several points of views, readers learn about Auggie’s story and how it affects every one around him.

There are so many reasons why I love this book. I love how the author uses multiple characters to tell the story so we can see how many different people react to Auggie and how they change because of his story. All of the characters are unique and none of them are perfect, which makes each character very authentic. Initially, I was disappointed that Julian didn’t have a chapter, but after reading the author’s reasoning on her website, I’m glad that she didn’t (read her reasoning here).

Even though we don’t get a Julian chapter, I think the emails from Julian’s parents contrasted with Jack’s story with his babysitter help us understand Julian’s actions, even if we don’t agree with them. It shows the large role that adults play in shaping children’s opinions. I’m studying special education in college and whenever I tell people this, they automatically assume that I’m working with students who have no ability to learn any school content. In this book, Julian’s parents just look at Auggie and assume he can’t be learning the same material as their son, even though he outperforms many students in fifth grade. On the other hand, Jack experiences something completely different, which affects how he treats Auggie. All of the little stories in this book were so realistic and helped me better understand the character’s motivations and actions.

I also enjoyed the precepts at the end of the book that were submitted by the students over the summer. I liked how they really showed each character’s personality and for some it showed their growth. I was expecting the precepts to be part of the big moment at the ending, but I’m actually glad they weren’t because it made the book less predictable. Also, the big moment at the end better suits the book.

Overall, Wonder is a wonderful story with a great message, so I give Wonder five out of five stars.

Who was your favorite character in Wonder?