Sorry, folks. I’d planned to post this one over the weekend, but the whole “city-wide blackout aaaggggh!” put the kibosh on that.
So. Today’s recommendations are for Middle Grade readers.
The School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainani
Sophie and Agatha are both swept off to the fabled School for Good and Evil. Sophie is shocked to end up in the ‘Evil’ section, and Agatha, who only went to save her friend, isn’t thrilled to end up in the ‘Good’ Department. The girls are caught up in a crazy fairy tale, and the only way out is through. Enjoyable and subversive.
Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
When she runs afoul of the Witch of the Waste, young Sophie Hatter is turned into an old woman. At which point she sets off on an adventure, ending up in the travelling castle belonging to Wizard Howl. Zaniness ensues (and the follow-up, Castle in the Sky, is also delightful). Jones’ wonderful prose rewards readers of all ages.
Paranorman, Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Normal is able to see and speak to ghosts, thought no one believes him. But when a 300 year old curse turns out to be true, it’s up to Norman, the ghosts, and a small group of companions to save the day. Fast-paced and funny, and more moving than I expected. Read the book, then watch the charming movie (or vice-versa).
How to Curse in Hieroglyphics, Lesley Livingston & Jonathan Llyr
Cheryl and Tweed were raised by their Grandad, who runs the drive-in theatre. Active and intelligent, they believe there’s more to the world than meets the eye. And when Dudley’s World-O-Wonders carnival comes to town, they’re proven right, in inimitable B-movie style. The action sequences, with illustrated storyboards, are a real pleasure.
Urgle, Megan McIsaac
The boys of Ikkuma Pit have no parents. They fend for themselves, each boy teaching a younger member to survive. When the Little Brother is old enough to survive on his own, the Older Brother leaves the Pit for the Forest. No one knows what’s out there: no one has ever come back. Until now… Original and powerful.