Posts Tagged: middle grade

Classic MG Discussion: The Witches

Classic MG Discussion: The Witches

Wendy: Welcome to our discussion for Roald Dahl’s The Witches. This is the story of a boy named — um, this is where I realize the main character is unnamed! His grandmother charmingly calls him “my darling” often, but I’d never before realized he didn’t have a name. So let’s start again. This is the story of a boy who happens upon a gathering of witches (who despise children and want to wipe them off the face of the earth) while staying at a hotel in England with his Norwegian grandmother. It is a funny, sweet book that I’ve loved since I was little, so let’s begin! Layla: Woah, mind blown. Did not realize that child was unnamed either! Wendy: He’s given the name “Luke” in the movie, but yes, no name at all in the book. Layla: I also forgot his grandmother was Norwegian. I forgot a lot of this… Read more »

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Review: Goodbye Stranger

Review: Goodbye Stranger

Goodbye Stranger affectingly and realistically tells the intertwining stories of three young teenagers navigating the confusing and tumultuous time of early adolescence. Bridge, an accident survivor is looking for meaning on why she’s still here. Sherm is dealing with the aftershock of a family betrayal. And an unnamed 9th grader (written in a surprisingly effective second person) is grappling with a potentially friendship-ending mistake. The story is about how life gets so suddenly and shockingly complicated in middle school. And it is about how teens deal with the newness, rawness, and intensity of their emotions. Best friends can suddenly betray. A beloved grandparent can walk out on his family. A boy can text you asking for “a picture ;)” but what does it mean? Throughout reading this book I couldn’t help pausing repeatedly to think, “Man, it is so stressful to be a teenager.” The narrative seamlessly intertwines to show… Read more »

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Classic Readalong Discussion: The Secret Garden

Classic Readalong Discussion: The Secret Garden

First off–my sincere apologies for the delay in posting this discussion. It’s the first time something has failed to publish the day it was supposed to, and it’s my fault entirely, as I’m in the middle of a rather intensely busy and crazy-making period offline. Thank you all for being so patient with me, however, and thanks to Kim and Layla, too. I’m eager to get into this one, so let’s begin! Wendy: This is one of my favorite books of all time. As a child, I responded so strongly to the lovely English-ness of everything–it’s part of what set me on the path of being a lifelong Anglophile.  And whenever I was in botanical gardens and parks, I was always on the lookout for secret doorways and walls that might be hiding something. And look! As an adult, I finally found one. The photo to the right was taken… Read more »

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Nest and Nightbird: Audiobook Reviews

Nest and Nightbird: Audiobook Reviews

I’ve been short on time and unable to concentrate on reading lately, so I’ve been listening to a lot of audiobooks. They’re so wonderful when you’re driving or cooking or doing something else with your hands! I’m weirdly picky when it comes to narrators–I literally reject about 90% of the ones I sample–but it’s always a joy when I come across a reader whose voice and style I like. Today I’m reviewing two audiobooks I listened to recently, both of which are middle grade books featuring main characters with unusual names. Nest by Esther Ehrlich For fans of Jennifer Holm (Penny from Heaven, Turtle in Paradise), a heartfelt and unforgettable middle-grade novel about an irresistible girl and her family, tragic change, and the healing power of love and friendship. In 1972 home is a cozy nest on Cape Cod for eleven-year-old Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein, her older sister, Rachel; her psychiatrist… Read more »

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Classic Readalong Discussion: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Classic Readalong Discussion: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Today’s readalong discussion is Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH! Are you ready to have your heart warmed by a valiant young mouse? To swoon over a dashing rat captain of the guard?  (Yes, you read that correctly.) We all loved this month’s book, so let’s dive right in. As always, while we’re always hoping that our discussions will encourage new readers to pick up these books, we do discuss specific spoilers in each story.   Wendy: I’m very fond of extraordinarily handsome rats. :D Layla: I first read this in junior high school (and still have my copy today, boo-yeah!). I remember avoiding Frisby for awhile because I was really into fantasy novels and thought the cover / title were unappealing. Boy howdy was I wrong. I loved this book as a kid and I still love it now; it has officially withstood the test of time for… Read more »

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The Stolen Moon: Review

The Stolen Moon: Review

I’m so glad I started the new year off right by reading The Stolen Moon. I’ve been eagerly anticipating this sequel ever since I devoured its predecessor, The Lost Planet, in one sitting last January. Well, I loved this installment even more. There are scenes of breathtaking action, as well as heart aching tenderness, against the backdrop of an ever expanding and politically complex universe. More please and thank you! We pick up not long after where we left Chase safely onboard the starship Kuyddestor and reunited with his sister Lilli. With still no memory of his old life, his parents, or how he got into this predicament, there are still plenty of answers to pursue. And as it turns out new danger is lurking just out of sight. As a reader who is largely driven by characters and how much I do or don’t connect with them this book was… Read more »

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Classic MG Readalong: Farmer Boy

Classic MG Readalong: Farmer Boy

Hello, friends! Welcome to this month’s classics readalong discussion, where we’ll be gleefully chatting about Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. For those new to the series, this is a standalone historical fiction novel based on true people and events, written by the author about her husband’s boyhood on his family’s farm in the late 1800s. A reminder: You have ONE MONTH left to finish your classics readalong challenge for this year! Have you read and reviewed 8 books yet? Are you going to be able to? A little more on that below, plus info on the December/January books. We have so much pie to eat talk about, though, that we should just get started on our discussion! Wendy: I wanted to do this one for our readalong because it’s a nice standalone–plus it’s my favorite of the series! (Followed by The Long Winter, but for very different reasons–this one’s… Read more »

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