Welcome to Meanwhile…Middle Grade! November is a time for reflection and thanksgiving. To celebrate we are sharing some of our favorite recently released middle grade novels. Other than being MG novels, our criteria was simple: Books that were published in 2011 or 2012, and that weren’t debut novels. (Don’t get us wrong, we love the 2012 MG Apocs books and their authors. Check back in late December to see just how much!)
Middle Grade Books Lucky 13 MG Authors Are Thankful They Read:
DUMPLING DAYS by Grace Lin is a great fish-out-of-water story, a tale of a girl named Pacy Lin's first trip to Taiwan. The writing is wonderful, as are Lin's line drawings, which let readers see what Pacy is seeing during her month-long family adventure. – Elisabeth Dahl lives with her husband and son in Baltimore, Maryland, where she writes for both children and adults. All her life, people have asked whether she’s related to Roald Dahl. Sadly, she’s not, but she’s looking forward to being his shelf neighbor, at least. Elisabeth Dahl, Genie Wishes (Amulet Books, April 1, 2013)
I loved and am thankful for Rebecca Stead’s LIAR & SPY (Wendy Lamb Books, 2012). She created an unforgettable character in Georges, who seeks solace from his confusing life with Safer and his warm, loving family. The book highlights the importance of friends and family when life is uncertain. Nothing turns out to be quite what it seems at the beginning, and Stead’s writing always shines. A perfect, funny, endearing MG read! – Claire M. Caterer’s debut novel is The Key & the Flame, a fantasy for middle-grade readers coming from Margaret K. McElderry Books on April 2, 2013. Connect with Claire at www.cmcaterer.com, Facebook, and on Twitter.
My absolute favorite debut MG book this year is THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachmann. The faery-steampunk version of my native England is true to voice and humor as the story veers between laugh-out-loud delightful and gasp-out-loud alarming, with adorable characters. I love books that remind me of "home", and the sheer genius of Bachmann's writing (at 16! 17! I'm gobsmacked) is a joy to read. Kit Grindstaff, Brit song writer living in PA, USA. Her debut, The Flame in the Mist, coming April 9th from Delacorte, is available for preorder. Find her on her website, Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.
My favorite middle grade of 2012 is definitely ONE DOG AND HIS BOY by Eva Ibbotson. It’s the charming story of a kid who desperately wants a pet and his clueless parents give him a rental dog. This book is funny and touching and has an almost Roald Dahl sense of whimsy. Sadly this is Ibbotson’s final book. She’ll be missed. – Hi I’m Barbara Brauner and my writing partner James Iver Mattson and I have the middle grade book The Glitter Trap (Book 1 of the Oh My Godmother series) coming out in May 2013.
My favorite [non-apoc] middle grade book of 2012 was THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate. This is one of those books that breaks your heart right open, and then, when it puts the pieces back together, you find that your heart is bigger, more courageous, and more hopeful than it was to begin with. – Melanie Crowder teaches and writes in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Her debut middle grade novel, PARCHED (Harcourt Children's Books, June 2013) is available for preorder now!
LIAR & SPY is the 2012 middle grade book I'm most grateful for -- and I came to it by way of the Luckies. Alison Cherry (RED) and Lindsay Ribar (THE ART OF WISHING) and I were standing around B.E.A. like dateless prom attendees, and we unexpectedly got swept into a line of folks meeting Rebecca Stead. She was so lovely, and when I later read LIAR & SPY in one teary sitting, I felt thankful to have met the author of such a true-talking tale of friendship, deception, and children named Candy. – Tim Federle, BETTER NATE THAN EVER (Simon & Schuster BFYR, February 5, 2013).
This year I liked SPY SCHOOL by Stuart Gibbs. Though it has its goofy side (ninjas!), this book about a 12-year-old who gets recruited by the CIA Spy Academy has real menace and excitement. We all know that middle school can kill you – and that’s exactly what main character Ben Ripley finds out as he tries uncover the identity of the Academy’s double agent. Good stuff! – James Mattson co-wrote "Oh My Godmother: The Glitter Trap" with writing partner Barbara Brauner; it will be published by Disney-Hyperion in May, 2013. A Stanford graduate, he now lives in the Los Angeles area with his wacky polydactyl cat, Fred.
What recent Middle Grade Novel are you grateful for this thanksgiving season?
Tamera Will Wissinger started reading middle-grade novels when she was in grade school. She fell in love and never stopped reading them. Her middle grade novel: GONE FISHING: A Novel In Verse arrives March 5, 2013 from Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. Online you can find her on her Website, Goodreads, Twitter, or Facebook.