I can’t believe we’re nearly at the end of 2019 already. It’s been a year of great ups and downs personally, but as always I’ve found escape, strength, friendship and adventure in books.
Here are some of the middle grade books I’ve enjoyed this year. This is by no means an exhaustive list of my favourites, but if you’re looking for something to curl up with over Christmas and the New Year, I thoroughly recommend all of these.
Eternal Seas / Wild Sky, by Lexi Rees.
I like unusual settings and this series is set in an alternate future combining elements of dystopia and fantasy. The books are fast-paced and remind me very much of the classic kids’ adventure stories I used to read when I was young.
Ant Clancy, Games Detective and The Comet and the Thief, by Ruth Morgan
I’ve been shouting loudly about these two books and I make no apology for shouting again. Ant Clancy is perfect for kids who’d prefer to be on their games consoles than stuck in a book, and The Comet and the Thief is utterly different – an historical mystery with an unique twist. It’s just been named as one of the books of the year in the Welsh Review, which proves how good it is.
Grace-Ella: Witch Camp, by Sharon Marie Jones
The second Grace-Ella book from the lovely Sharon Marie Jones, is just as warm-hearted as the first. It’s a lovely book for younger middle-grade readers, full of friendship, magic and cats!
Max the Detective Cat, by Sarah Todd Taylor
If you love cats, there are literally hundreds in this book and they are all adorable. Fast-paced, funny and packed with the most gorgeous illustrations (there are lots of pictures of cats – I love cats!)
Ra the Mighty Cat Detective by Amy Butler
You might be detecting a theme here. Ra is the Pharaoh’s cat in ancient Egypt. I think he and Max would get on together very well. In his first adventure, a priceless jewel goes missing and a cat-loving servant girl is blamed, which is, of course, unthinkable. You can’t have cat lovers getting blamed for things. Ra takes time out of his busy schedule of meals and naps to help.
The Train to Impossible Places: The Great Brain Robbery, by PG Bell
No cats in this series but I’ll let it off because there are trolls, ghosts, treachery, magic and all sorts of wonderful magical worlds. The first book took us to the bottom of the sea and across desert wastelands. The Great Brain Robbery takes us up into the clouds as Suzy and friends race to save Trollville from a new and deadly threat. There are an embarrassing number of laugh-out-loud moments – do not read this book in public if you’re prone to the giggles.
The Princess Who Flew With Dragons by Stephanie Burgis
Another magical book from a wonderful author. I love the way this series follows a different character in each book. It’s the turn of youngest and unappreciated princess, Sofia, who’s sent off on a diplomatic mission. It’s not long before it all goes horribly wrong. (There is also a cat.)