Novel Novice’s Best Middle Grade of 2015

Best of 2015 banner
I did not read nearly as much middle grade this year as I did last year — not for any particular reason, I think. Last year I was just really into MG, and this year not so much. But of the MG books that I did read, there were some true stars. Here are my picks for the best Middle Grade of 2015:

imaginary, theThe Imaginary by A.F. Harrold & illus. by Emily Gravett

The powers of imagination, friendship, and love are the driving force behind this book. The whimsical and delightful story is lovingly enhanced by original illustrations throughout. The Imaginary is a reminder that the imagination is a truly powerful tool — a gift to be cherished and honored and utilized for as long as you can hold on to it. This book is sure to become a timeless classic, beloved by both children and adults.

See our full review here.

a curious tale of the in-betweenA Curious Tale of the In-Between by Lauren DeStefano

A dazzling tale of courage, friendship, and love, best-selling YA author Lauren DeStefano’s first foray into middle grade is a wondrous and beautifully-written story about facing our darkest tragedies. DeStefano has found a way to make the subject of death accessible for her readers (both children and adults, alike). As one of the characters comments, “Death isn’t a punishment. It’s just what comes next.” DeStefano’s writing is so beautiful and elegant as she takes us along on her characters’ journeys. The story both evokes a time gone by, and yet is just as easily timeless. It’s not the time or place or setting that matters really; this story is about the characters and their experiences.

See our full review here.

vanishing islandThe Vanishing Island by Barry Wolverton

Easily one of the best middle grade books I’ve read in ages, The Vanishing Island seems destined to become a classic for readers both young and young at heart. Packed with humor, adventure, and important (but not heavy-handed) messages about life and growing up, mixed in with exciting locations and wonderfully charming characters, The Vanishing Island contains all the ingredients for a perfect middle grade series — and lives up to that promise.

See our full review here.

crenshawCrenshaw by Katherine Applegate

A powerful story about finding your inner strength, speaking up, and being heard, Crenshaw is a soaring triumph of middle grade literature. At once heartbreaking and heartwarming, this book beautifully addresses serious and heavy subjects in a way that is easily approachable for young readers, and makes older readers take pause and rethink how they might address such topics with the children in their own lives. Beautifully written and richly imagined, Crenshaw shows that through the power of imagination, you can channel your own inner strength and face your fears.

See our full review here.

secret guide to paris alt coverMy Secret Guide to Paris by Lisa Schroeder

A charming story about family, friendship, and cherishing the little things that matter most. My Secret Guide to Paris is filled with whimsical adventures and the charming details that make each of Schroeder’s books so enchanting. A love letter to Paris, Schroeder captures the magic of the so-called “City of Lights” — while also focusing the story on (and capturing the nuances of) the relationship between three generations of women.

See our full review here.

ghostlightGhostlight by Sonia Gensler

A creeptastic story filled with heart, Ghostlight is as much about facing our inner demons, as it is about facing ghosts. It’s also SUPER CREEPY. I mean, as an adult, I had a hard time going to sleep after reading this book because it gave me a major case of the heebie jeebies. But the book is well worth the creep factor — because more than a ghost story, it’s also a story about family, love, and facing your own fears and doubts. It doesn’t hurt that Gensler’s writing is also oh-so-lovely.

See our full review here.

lilliputLilliput by Sam Gayton

Embracing the rich history of “fan fiction” for the Jonathan Swift classic Gulliver’s Travels, Lilliput is a delightful story that proves you can be brave at any size. Gayton’s writing is enchanting and inviting, bringing readers into Lily’s world. The story is lovingly enhanced by Alice Ratterree’s beautiful illustrations, which add another level of charm. The story is a quick read, but engaging and delightful all the same for readers of all ages. This is the perfect book for adults to read together with their kids — and opens to door to a whole world of literature, starting with Swift’s original story and exploring other works inspired by Gulliver’s Travels.

See our full review here.

For the comments: What were your favorite middle grade books of 2015?



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