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Non-magical middle grade books with female MCs?

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Anyone got some good MG recommendations for me? I'm after female MCs but without any fantasy/magical element and also, preferably, without any major issue-element (ie no dealing with loss of both parents/cancer and so on).

Kate Messner's books I've read (and loved!) and also MOON OVER MANIFEST, ONE CRAZY SUMMER and BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE... any others? Pretty please?

Thank you!
#1 - June 14, 2011, 07:11 AM
« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 07:13 AM by Franzilla »

Mike Jung

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MILLICENT MIN, GIRL GENIUS by Lisa Yee; DANI NOIR by Nova Ren Suma; anything by Julia DeVillers, Donna Gephart or Cynthea Liu. I hear good things about Wendy Shang's THE GREAT WALL OF LUCY WU. But if you don't want any difficult life issues you'll miss out on great books like NEIL ARMSTRONG IS MY UNCLE AND OTHER LIES MUSCLE MAN MCGINTY TOLD ME by Nan Marino, ONE DAY AND ONE AMAZING MORNING ON ORANGE STREET by Joanne Rocklin, and CONFESSIONS OF A CLOSET CATHOLIC by Sarah Darer Littman, which deal with weighty issues in a way that's realistic and emotionally profound, but also humorous and uplifting.
#2 - June 14, 2011, 07:52 AM

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A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT by Linda Urban

FINALLY by Wendy Mass,

SINCERELY SOPHIE, SINCERELY KATIE by Courtney Sheinmel

DANI NOIR by Nova Ren Suma

MOTHER-DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB books by Heather Vogel Frederick

THE PENDERWICKS by Jeanne Birdsall

Books by Erin Dionne and Julie Bowe
#3 - June 14, 2011, 07:56 AM
The Bridge From Me to You, Scholastic
plus five other YA novels
It's Raining Cupcakes trilogy
Charmed Life series
http://www.lisaschroederbooks.com

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ONE CRAZY SUMMER, Rita Garcia-Williams. Okay, so there are Black Panthers and the girls' mom is a little weird, but it's not really about all that...

SUZANNA SNOW: THE MIDNIGHT TUNNEL, by Angie Frazier is a turn-of-the-century mystery with a girl MC.

Various books by Hilary McKay about the Casson family (Rose is my favorite character).
#4 - June 14, 2011, 08:04 AM

I recently read IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES! by Lisa Shroeder which I loved.
#5 - June 14, 2011, 08:13 AM
twitter.com/enzor_jenni
jennienzor.blogspot.com

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Great! Thank you. Some of these I've read already (DANI NOIR, ONE CRAZY SUMMER, MILLICENT MIN and the PENDERWICKS) but I'd forgotten what excellent examples they are of what I'm after.

And now I can look at these other books too. Thank you!

PS Mike, it's not that I don't WANT to read books with weighty issues, I do and I enjoy them... it's just that I'm trying to find books that are more similar to my MG, which is lighthearted and silly, rather than wonderfully deep.
#6 - June 14, 2011, 08:28 AM
« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 08:33 AM by Franzilla »

I can't remember what ended up on the list, but we had one of our members post a book list about spunky female characters.  Let me see if I can find it...

Got it!  Tracy Abell wrote this post:
http://www.fromthemixedupfiles.com/2011/03/spunk-and-determination-real-and-imagined/

There are one or two suggestions in the comments, too.
#7 - June 14, 2011, 08:32 AM

Mike Jung

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PS Mike, it's not that I don't WANT to read books with weighty issues, I do and I enjoy them... it's just that I'm trying to find books that are more similar to my MG, which is lighthearted and silly, rather than wonderfully deep.

Gotcha Siski, that makes perfect sense.
#8 - June 14, 2011, 08:39 AM

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Oooh, you're such wonderful resources! (And lovely people too.)
#9 - June 14, 2011, 08:57 AM

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Cecilia Galante is a wonderful writer, and I loved HERSHEY HERSELF.  The main character has some fairly big issues going on (they have to move into a shelter), but the kid-ness of the book is what lingers with me.
#10 - June 14, 2011, 09:02 AM
THE CABINET OF EARTHS -- HarperCollins, 2012
A BOX OF GARGOYLES -- HC, 2013
THE WRINKLED CROWN -- HC, 2015
www.annenesbet.com

Mike Jung

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Oooh, check out Mary Hershey's MY SISTER IS SO BOSSY SHE SAYS YOU CAN'T READ THIS BOOK (among others).
#11 - June 14, 2011, 09:19 AM

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Lisa Greenwald's SWEET TREATS & SWEET CRUSHES
#12 - June 14, 2011, 10:14 AM

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RULES and TOUCH BLUE by Cynthia Lord
A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT and (in September) HOUND DOG TRUE by Linda Urban
IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES by Lisa Schroeder
VIOLET RAINES ALMOST GOT STRUCK BY LIGHTNING by Danette Haworth
MODELS DON'T EAT CHOCOLATE COOKIES and THE TOTAL TRAGEDY OF A GIRL NAMED HAMLET by Erin Dionne
OPERATION YES by Sara Lewis Holmes (has multiple MCs)
ME AND THE PUMPKIN QUEEN by Marlane Kennedy
PENNY DREADFUL by Laurel Snyder
PROJECT MULBERRY by Linda Sue Park
EVERY SOUL A STAR by Wendy Mass
MY LIFE IN PINK AND GREEN by Lisa Greenwald
THE HARD KIND OF PROMISE by Gina Willner Pardo
THE PRIVATE THOUGHTS OF AMELIA E. RYE by Bonnie Shimko
EMMA JEAN LAZARUS FELL OUT OF A TREE by Lauren Tarshis
SEEING SKY BLUE PINK by Candice Ransom
THE WILD GIRLS by Pat Murphy

(And also...thanks for the kind words about my books - that made me smile!)
#13 - June 14, 2011, 03:16 PM
www.katemessner.com

OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW, Chronicle
MARTY MCGUIRE
CAPTURE THE FLAG
HIDE AND SEEK -Scholastic '13
WAKE UP MISSING- Walker, Fall '13

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I wanted to hug A DROWNED MAIDEN'S HAIR by Newbery Winner Laura Amy Schlitz. The MC is an orphan, but it just has that wonderful, classical feel.

For really lighthearted fun, I am a HUGE fan of Blueboarder Deva Fagan's books. They do have more magical/SF/fairy tale elements, but I think they capture the tone you're looking for.
#14 - June 14, 2011, 04:56 PM

Great lists...
Also Palace Beautiful by Blueboarder Sarah DeFord Williams
and for younger MG the Julia Gilliam series. There are three out now.
#15 - June 14, 2011, 05:28 PM

Sorry if I'm repeating, but I don't think anyone mentioned Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls by Meg Cabot or Eleven by Lauren Myracle.
#16 - June 14, 2011, 05:44 PM

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Olmue already mentioned Hilary McKay's books, but I want to second them, from SAFFY'S ANGEL to PERMANENT ROSE. Love those books.

Another one I loved was Tricia Springstubb's WHAT HAPPENED ON FOX STREET.
#17 - June 14, 2011, 06:55 PM

It doesn't look like anyone has mentioned Sharon Creech's WALK TWO MOONS, a Newberry winner, so I'll add that one. It is such beautiful writing.

I am re-reading some of Judy Blume's books (just finished STARRING SALLY J. FREEDMAN AS HERSELF). Many of those feature girl m.c.'s and they are such great books -- for this age range, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS SHEILA THE GREAT is also a great one.

Also, OLIVE'S OCEAN by Kevin Henkes came to mind.
#18 - June 14, 2011, 07:51 PM

Also, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
The Year the Swallows Came Early (Kathryn Fitzmaurice)
Where the Mountains Meet the Moon
#19 - June 14, 2011, 08:16 PM

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SAHARA SPECIAL and VIVE LA PARIS by Esme Raji Codell. Two of my very favorite books!

And EVERYTHING ON A WAFFLE by Polly Horvath - which, if you read the summary, you'll think I'm crazy for suggesting it, as there are several weightier issues in the book -- but it has a deliciously whimsical feel to it and is told in a lighthearted way.
#20 - June 15, 2011, 05:30 AM

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Glad you mentioned OLIVE'S OCEAN, Christine. What a beautiful book.
#21 - June 15, 2011, 06:08 PM

Blue Roses

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Chiming in with a reminder about some MG classics - never forget the classics! -

*anything by Beverly Cleary, specifically anything starring the Quimby sisters

*anything by Barthe Declements, specifically the "Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade" series

*Anne of Green Gables - for those who really love the written word, and aren't afraid to read "deeply."

and last, a more "modern classic" - E.L. Konisberg's "From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwiler."  Oh, and "Jennifer, Hecate, MacBeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth" - same author.

I'm loving the other suggestions here, too!
#22 - June 16, 2011, 02:21 PM

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I had to come back to this thread because I read Kevin Henkes' new book, JUNONIA, this afternoon. A just-about-to-turn-10-years-old girl goes on their annual vacation to Florida with her wonderful, supportive parents, and things are not exactly the same as they've been in the past. This is a pitch-perfect evocation of 10-year-old emotions. It's a quiet, gentle read that I thought was just lovely.
#23 - June 18, 2011, 05:34 PM

And I wanted to add Sydney Salter's JUNGLE CROSSING to the list.  I loved that book.

Also, I'm not sure if you'd consider it not magical, since the 2nd book in the series took a decidedly magical turn, but I loved loved loved THE INCORRIGIBLE CHILDREN OF ASHTON PLACE by Maryrose Wood.  The main character is a young governess in Victorian England, I believe, so it might not fit what you're looking for, but it's still a fun read.

#24 - June 19, 2011, 09:16 AM

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I would add Marybeth Kelsey's A RECIPE 4 ROBBERY - a fun mystery romp with a girl MC who's delightful.
#25 - June 19, 2011, 10:21 AM
XVI, Puffin/Speak, available now
Truth, Puffin/Speak, January 2012
http://juliakarr.com

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Hey, I have a few of my own to add:
VIOLET RAINES ALMOST GOT STRUCK BY LIGHTNING By Danette Haworth
SAVVY By Ingrid Law
DEEP DARK AND DANGEROUS By Mary Downing Hahn
WRINKLE IN TIME (POSSIBLY) By Madeleine L'Engle
GALLAGHER GIRL SERIES By Ally Carter
PALE ASSASSIN By Patricia Elliot
ELLA ENCHANTED By Gail Carson Levine
SAMMY KEYES/FLIPPED By Wendelin Van Draanen
NANCY DREW By Carolyn Keene
CHRONICLES OF NARNIA (POSSIBLY) By C.S. Lewis
 :chocolate:
#26 - June 19, 2011, 06:33 PM

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Some of these are great books, but I was really after something lighthearted and non-magical – Chronicles of Narnia doesn't really fit that bill. That said, I took a look at Deva's books (thanks, ECB!) and that is exactly the tone I was looking for. So I guess I should've provided more explanation of exactly what I was after! Lighthearted tone, more than anything. Fun and silly.

Thanks everyone. I've got plenty now and they're already stacking up by my bedside table!
#27 - June 20, 2011, 07:26 AM

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Hi Franzilla,

I know you have enough, but I can't resist piping in to say that is exactly the kind of book I wrote and if the stack on your bedside table has vanished by January, check it out:  The Boy Project: Kara McAllister's Notes and Observations. (Scholastic, Jan 2012).

And to add another title to your reading list.  How about The Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell?  I don't think anyone has mentioned that one and it is completely lighthearted and fun with no magic!

Happy Reading!

Kami

#28 - June 20, 2011, 07:39 AM
THE BOY PROBLEM, Scholastic 2014
THE BOY PROJECT, Scholastic 2012

blog: www.nerdychicksrule.com
website: www.kamikinard.com
twitter: @kamikinard

Mike Jung

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I haven't read them yet, but the POPULARITY PAPERS books would seem to fit the bill.
#29 - June 20, 2011, 08:37 AM

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Thank you! Yes, I'm keeping this page bookmarked so I can come back to it. There are a LOT of books here that I really want to read that haven't yet been ordered... it felt plain greedy to order 60 books or so in one go, not to mention financially crippling! But perhaps some early to-me Christmas presents will be in order!
#30 - June 20, 2011, 08:21 PM

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