SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Registered Members => Book Talk => Topic started by: Barbara Etlin on March 25, 2019, 12:15 PM

Title: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Barbara Etlin on March 25, 2019, 12:15 PM
Hi. I'm all caught up and need some new MGs to read. Please feel free to recommend your own book, if it fits!

Here's what I like:
- humour
- animals
- great voice
- fantasy, SF
- historical
- fantastic writing/ unusual style
- diverse, multi-cultural is great

Here's what I don't like:
- fatal diseases
- anything medical/hospitals, etc. (I really need to escape from all that stuff.)
- sports
- religion (I did like The Inquisitor's Tale, maybe because it was done with humour; but nothing preachy, please)
- anything depressing

An example of a recent book I loved is Voyage of the Dogs by Greg van Eeekhaut. (SF, animals, some humour)

Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Vijaya on March 25, 2019, 12:43 PM
I just finished a delightful MG book Trouble at the Scriptorium by Anne E. Johnson. It's not new but the author used to be a member here. Medieval mystery.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Schriscoe on March 25, 2019, 01:18 PM
Stacy McAnulty’s The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl is fantastic.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Hopeful on March 25, 2019, 02:01 PM
The "Spy School" series by Stuart Gibbs is very popular with the students at my local middle school.  Actually, Gibbs' FunJungle series would probably be more appealing to you if you like animals.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Barbara Etlin on March 25, 2019, 09:47 PM
Thanks! I'm making a list...  :stars3
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Barbara Etlin on March 28, 2019, 10:27 AM
I've ordered these, as well as the latest MG from Cynthia Lord, Because of the Rabbit. I always like her novels! Also I'm buying Jinx a fantasy by Sage Blackwood and Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly. Sage and Lynne are people I follow on Twitter who seem nice.

Thanks for the suggestions!
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: AnneB on March 28, 2019, 06:26 PM
Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary Schmidt. Reviews have been mixed but I really REALLY enjoyed it (and know I would have when I was the age of the target market as well). A butler comes to visit...

I also liked:
The Friendship War, by Alexander Clements (mis-named IMO; I'd bet a grande chai latte that the original title was The Button War) but the MC is absolutely wonderful).
Better You than Me, by Jessica Brody, wherein two tweens--a movie star and a fan--switch bodies.
A Handful of Stars, by Cynthia Lord. Classic Cynthia Lord. She is one of my idols. Involves a dog, but *spoiler alert* dog does NOT die!

Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Barbara Etlin on March 28, 2019, 09:39 PM
Thanks, Anne. These sound great. I read A Handful of Stars as soon as it came out, and I loved it. I'll check the summary of Pay Attention, Carter Jones on Goodreads and Amazon. Gary Schmidt has written one of my absolute favourites, The Wednesday Wars, and one of my biggest disappointments, Okay for Now (surprise fatal disease plotline).
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: JulieM on March 31, 2019, 06:53 PM
How to Bee by Bren MacDibble (who has been on these boards) has the best voice ever!!! Great story too. Highly recommended.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Marcia on April 01, 2019, 02:31 PM
I've just enjoyed Jo Knowles' latest: Where the Heart Is. It's pretty light even though a few heavy themes are introduced. My own Roller Boy might fit your taste, unless you consider spinning around on a roller-skating rink to fall under sports.   ::-) Oh, and another I recently enjoyed (not new) is Grace Lin's Where the Mountain Meets the Moon--loved the audio version!
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: HDWestlund on April 01, 2019, 03:01 PM
My favorite book I read last year was THE DRAGON WITH THE CHOCOLATE HEART by Stephanie Burgis. It’s funny, it’s heartfelt, and its comentary on human nature is spot on. I also really loved Emily Whitman’s THE TURNING about a half-selkie boy who needs a skin so he can join his true family—or so he thinks. Gorgeous, poetic prose in an action/survival/friendship story.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Barbara Etlin on April 04, 2019, 01:05 PM
Thanks for these suggestions! I've enjoyed some of Jo Knowle's books, so I'll check out Where The Heart Is. Marcia, I loved Call Me Amy, but I'm going to pass on your new sportsy book. It does have a great cover, by the way. (I mean it; I hate sports and sports books. I end up skimming over anything about sports. My loss, I'm sure...) HD Westlund, The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart and The Turning sound like my kind of thing.  :stars3
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Vijaya on April 04, 2019, 05:04 PM
I just remembered an oldie but a goodie: The Cat  Who Came in Off the Roof by Annie Schmidt--a quickie review here: https://vijayabodach.blogspot.com/2018/10/reading_30.html
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Barbara Etlin on April 05, 2019, 09:03 AM
Ooo, thanks, Vijaya! That sounds great! I have a soft spot for The Netherlands, too.  :cat
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: marla-lesage on April 05, 2019, 11:41 AM
I just read & enjoyed Kate Messner's Breakout - not depressing but definitely thought provoking & an interesting format.

Mostly I read graphic novels... do you like GN's? Surfside Girls by Kim Dwinell was very refreshing & I enjoyed Hope Larson's All Summer Long, and Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner is different/interesting too.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on April 07, 2019, 05:37 PM
Here's a series about ten years old: Vordak the Incomprehensible. (Funny.) And more recently, Spy School.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: 217mom on April 07, 2019, 07:10 PM
Wonderful, Debbie. :goldstar
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Barbara Etlin on April 07, 2019, 09:54 PM
Thanks, Debbie!
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Debbie Vilardi on April 08, 2019, 06:17 PM
Afraid you'll have to thank my son. He has a lot more time to read than I do. It just took me this long to catch him and ask what he thought.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: nancy-kanyuk on November 04, 2019, 03:24 PM
Not sure you’re still checking this post. One of my favorite reads this year is Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman. Excellent book for adults as well.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: jerry-harwood on June 15, 2020, 10:21 AM
You may not be checking this anymore, but I appreciated the suggestions and wanted to contribute.  I found at our local used bookstore a set of RL Stine books.  I can move through one in two evenings.  They are loads of fun.  I saw there several sets of other prolific authors.  Stine is an expert at the cliffhanger chapter ending.  So not only is it an enjoyable story, but also a very good example for my own writing.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Barbara Etlin on June 17, 2020, 01:07 PM
Hi, Jerry and Nancy and other MG readers. I'm still checking this, so thanks for any suggestions.

Out of last year's suggestions, I read and really enjoyed THE DRAGON WITH A CHOCOLATE HEART, VINCENT AND THEO (really a YA non-fiction, not a MG novel, but still very interesting),  and TROUBLE AT THE SCRIPTORIUM.

The purpose of my reading list is for to keep up-to-date on current middle-grade novels, which is what I write. My taste is very personal, subjective and quirky.

Oh, I have two to recommend:
OWL'S OUTSTANDING DONUTS by Robin Yardi.  Funny contemporary MG with an owl who is obsessed with donuts and a kid who solves an ecological mystery with his help.  :owl

Robin also wrote another funny MG with talking animals, THE MIDNIGHT WAR OF MATEO  MARTINEZ , which features contemporary knights and talking skunks.

Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Barbara Etlin on February 21, 2021, 02:29 PM
Update, February 21, 2021.

Hi, MG readers and writers! I'm all out of MG novels and want to buy some more.

Here's what I like:
- humour
- fantasy
-SF
- animals
- contemporary
- diversity, other cultures
- unusual structure
- strong or unusual voice
- mystery
- historical

Here's what I don't like:
- sports
- religion
- anything depressing
- medical stories (I'm looking for escape from this stuff)
- fatal diseases

Feel free to recommend your own book if it fits!

Thanks!

Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Hopeful on February 21, 2021, 03:04 PM
I recently read the contemporary middle grade novel "The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle" written by Leslie Connor.  My 6th grader had recommended it to me.  I thought it was excellent.  My middle schooler's favorite book, though, was "The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl" written by Stacy McAnulty.  She also liked Dusti Bowling's novel, "24 Hours in Nowhere."  I thought these books were also very good.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Vijaya on February 21, 2021, 04:59 PM
Barb, I recently read Daniel Nayeri's Everything Sad is Untrue (a true story). Memoir+myths+history+funny+sad. I loved it.
Seconding Lightning Girl. I also loved Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.
You might get some good leads from marvelous middle grade monday blog roundup: https://gpattridge.com/
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Pons on February 21, 2021, 05:50 PM
And, as a sequel to Three Times Lucky, the Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage. It's even better than Three Times Lucky.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: dewsanddamps on February 21, 2021, 07:29 PM
I really enjoyed THE WOLF HOUR, Sara Lewis Holmes. My book discussion group read it, and we all liked it.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: mrh on February 22, 2021, 08:03 AM
I'm now finishing JUST LIKE THAT by Gary D. Schmidt, and all I can say is Newbery Newbery Newbery. (Actually, most books I like in this same way take Newbery Honors, but that counts.)

If you can forgive him for what he does on p. 2, the book is well worth the ride. Wonderful characters, voice like no other, harrowing and beautiful scenes, suspense, laugh-out-loud lines, and for Boomers, a good dose of nostalgia since it's set in 1968. As someone who returns probably around 70% of what I check out from the library either unread or mostly skimmed, I can't recommend this one enough.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Barbara Etlin on February 22, 2021, 08:16 AM
Thanks! These all sound good. I'm making a list. I do like Gary Schmidt's writing, especially THE WEDNESDAY WARS, which is one of my favourites.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: 217mom on February 22, 2021, 09:08 AM
 :werd
I'm now finishing JUST LIKE THAT by Gary D. Schmidt, and all I can say is Newbery Newbery Newbery. (Actually, most books I like in this same way take Newbery Honors, but that counts.)

If you can forgive him for what he does on p. 2, the book is well worth the ride. Wonderful characters, voice like no other, harrowing and beautiful scenes, suspense, laugh-out-loud lines, and for Boomers, a good dose of nostalgia since it's set in 1968. As someone who returns probably around 70% of what I check out from the library either unread or mostly skimmed, I can't recommend this one enough.

Your rec sent me straight to "look inside" on Amazon, and now I will not only read this book, but will wonder what is there to forgive on page 2, because I don't see it  :werd
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: mrh on February 22, 2021, 12:04 PM
but will wonder what is there to forgive on page 2, because I don't see it 

Much will depend on what else you've read by him.  :hiding

Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: 217mom on February 22, 2021, 12:41 PM
It occurs to me that our very own mrh is the best most gifted promoter. Not only did her rec (with the enigmatic reference to page two) made me go to read the first few pages, get hooked, and order the book,  :ha  but now I am thinking of reading Mr. Schmidt's other work. :yup
Marcia is a great person to have on one's side!  :yourock
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: mrh on February 22, 2021, 02:36 PM
now I am thinking of reading Mr. Schmidt's other work. :yup

Do it! I'd be a fan anyway, but at least a little of my fandom stems from the fact that I discovered him as a reader decades ago before he was a name.

But I would recommend a LONG span between THE WEDNESDAY WARS and JUST LIKE THAT (which could have used a different title and cover, imo), and that is all I'm going to say.  :-X

Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Pons on February 22, 2021, 03:37 PM
I agree about the cover. If I remember correctly the first printing of  Wednesday Wars had one of the worst covers ever, but I do love his writing. I haven't read Just Like That, but I'm on my way to order it from the library. The Look Inside hooked me, too.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Barbara Etlin on February 25, 2021, 10:50 PM
With all the awards Gary Schmidt has won, you'd think his publishers would put more effort into ensuring his books had great covers. Luckily I rarely judge a book by its cover...
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Pons on February 26, 2021, 07:42 AM
With all the awards Gary Schmidt has won, you'd think his publishers would put more effort into ensuring his books had great covers. Luckily I rarely judge a book by its cover...

 :exactly
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: Barbara Etlin on March 11, 2021, 10:31 AM
mrh:

Quote
I'm now finishing JUST LIKE THAT by Gary D. Schmidt, and all I can say is Newbery Newbery Newbery. (Actually, most books I like in this same way take Newbery Honors, but that counts.)

If you can forgive him for what he does on p. 2, the book is well worth the ride. Wonderful characters, voice like no other, harrowing and beautiful scenes, suspense, laugh-out-loud lines, and for Boomers, a good dose of nostalgia since it's set in 1968. As someone who returns probably around 70% of what I check out from the library either unread or mostly skimmed, I can't recommend this one enough.

***
I loved JUST LIKE THAT! I did forgive Schmidt for his page 2 incident...eventually.   :hiding   Hope he does win a Newbery for this gem.

Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: dewsanddamps on March 11, 2021, 05:15 PM
I recently read The Wolf Hour by Sara Lewis Holmes and really enjoyed it. I don't usually like fairy tale retellings but this was less a retelling than an upending.
Title: Re: Suggestions for *recent* MG reading list
Post by: sophielynette on March 11, 2021, 07:51 PM
I read it a few years ago, but  A SNICKER OF MAGIC by Natalie Lloyd is the first book to pop into my head as something I enjoyed reading.