Continuing my recap of the books I read as part of my recent ‘reading challenge’, today I’m summarising my thoughts on the MG books I read.
I should probably add that I didn’t choose any of the books I read for this, and consequently while I normally avoid posting negative reviews I wanted to post a thorough recap of this challenge, so the negatives are in there too, though the MG selection was particularly good!
Jasper and Scruff by Nicola Colton – Brilliant for very young readers just starting on short chapter books with energetic illustrations matching the humorous text, it set the scene for more adventures from this funny duo.
Charlie Changes Into a Chicken by Sam Cope – Younger readers will love the pace & silly humour (and I loved those French pigeons!), plus a really sensitive way in to looking at dealing with big emotions.
We Won an Island by Charlotte Lo – A quick, light-hearted, fun read that nevertheless managed to look gently at some sensitive issues such as depression and loss. I particularly liked main character Luna’s little brother Fabien who brought a great amount of warmth and humourto the book.
High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson – Perfect for Murder Most Unladylike fans, but brought bang up to date. With BAME main characters living in a tower block this is fresh, exciting, relevant and absolutely begging for more mysteries in the series.
The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods by Samuel J Halpin – Loved this and the idea behind the fabrics and the magical elements of the story. Both creepy and magical, it felt very fairytale-esque and mythical whilst remaining its own thing and I thought the characters were fantastic.
Our Castle By The Sea by Lucy Strange – Perfect for fans of Emma Carroll, a great piece of children’s historical fiction that made me want to read Lucy Strange’s first book too. This brought together tough issues of war, immigration and racism with familiar themes of family and friendship in an adventure that kept me hooked and retained a sense of mystery to the end.
The Secret Starling by Judith Eagle – Thoroughly enjoyable. A great balance of mystery, history and humour perfect for this age group.
Potkin and Stubbs by Sophie Green – Really distinctive voice that I very much enjoyed the feel of, and in general a fun and exciting thriller-cum-ghost story perfect for follow-ups, which was very original and enjoyable with a likeable main character. However, elements of the plot – the detective’s alcoholism, the asylum and mad doctors – made me a little uncomfortable, though maybe I’m being over-sensitive.
The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder – A really imaginative world with lots of interesting characters and brilliant baddies. I loved the idea of the night post and the ‘Midnight Hour’ itself, but honestly I lost interest a bit by the end and I wasn’t as invested in the characters as I like to be!
The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan – I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this, but I really, really did! Unique style which I absolutely loved and a brilliant look at first crushes, growing up, finding out who you are and an LGBT character coming out in an ‘MG’ book – hurrah! Really glad I read it and I’ll be keeping Meg Grehan on my radar.
Asha and the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan – Wonderful sense of place – fantastic description – and a great adventure for this age group. Reminiscent of Jess Butterworth.
The Boy With the Butterfly Mind by Victoria Williamson – Bonus points just for Jamie – I loved him as a character, thought his voice was so original and shed a lot of light on ADHD in a non-preachy or generic way. I really, really enjoyed his chapters and liked the style of using a dual narrative. Unfortunately I just could NOT get on with Elin as a character and the ending felt a little bit too ‘happily ever after’.
How High The Moon by Karyn Parsons – I loved this, it felt like Maya Angelou’s ‘Singin’ and Swingin’…’ crossed with Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ but for children. Absolutely stunning and the voice, characters and sense of time, place and culture all felt spot on.
The Middler by Kirsty Applebaum – I really enjoyed this. A great mix of dystopia, politics, adventure, inequality and division and those MG classics family and friendship, this felt perfectly pitched for its age group and I could see it being popular. Maggie was a really likeable, well-written main character and I thought the way the plot unravelled was brilliant.
Gribblebob’s Book of Unpleasant Goblins by David Ashby – Loved the word play and language, its humour and the way it drew on fairytales but still felt really unique. I reviewed this one before just reading took over, you can read my review here