Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Beneath the Swirling Sky

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Beneath the Swirling Sky, The Restorationists 1 (Waterbrook, 2023) by Carolyn Leiloglou and illustrated by Vivienne To was a fun and nail-biting fantasy adventure. And bonus, I learned more about art and the art world.

12-year-old Vincent and his 6-year-old sister Lili are going to Great Uncle Leo’s for a week while their parents go on a cruise. Mom is upset that their young cousin Georgia is staying there and despite whispers between the adults about traveling and getting involved, she and Dad do leave. Vincent is afraid Uncle Leo, who is an art restorer, is going to make him work on art, but Leo only warns him, “Keep your paws off the art.” After what must surely have been a dream of going into Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Vincent knows it must have been true when Lili goes missing. He and Georgia team up to save her.

This is the first book in a trilogy. The sequels are expected summer 2024 and spring 2025. I’m really looking forward to them.

Read about the author here and check out her other publications here. Carolyn also is a book reviewer on this site.

See many of the illustrator’s beautiful art here and read about Vivienne here where you’ll see she’s also a visual development artist creating concept art for some animated movies. Here you can check out her picture books.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Sierra Blue

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Although Sierra Blue by Suzanne Morgan Williams (2023) is aimed at early young adults, it’s definitely appropriate for upper middle grade readers. It has fun and interesting magical realism. And a cool cover.

Magic’s best friend reveals her secret–she can see the auras of animals. To get away from the teasing she is sent to her aunt’s ranch the summer between 8th grade and 9th. There, because of her psychic ability, she pleads for the life of a race horse that would be put down. Magic and Sierra Blue bond, but of course, the horse isn’t hers.

Suzanne writes fiction and nonfiction. Read about her here and read about her other books here. And here’s an interview!

Posted in Award Winners, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Coyote Queen

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Coyote Queen (Greenwillow Books, 2023) by Jessica Vitalis is a fascinating story of one girl’s experience with poverty, domestic violence, and magic.

Twelve-year-old Fud, Felicity Ulyssa Dahlers, and her mom have always been on their own. Until Larry. Who makes the rules. And has an uneven temper and is super easy to anger. When the new neighbor girl tells her about a beauty pageant where the prize money is enough to get them away from Larry, Fud knows she has to apply and win.

Read the compelling first line: “Before the coyote stuff happened, I would have told you that magic didn’t exist.”

The story is set in Wyoming where Fud sees, and experiences, coyotes in a very unique way. The book just came out, but already it is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.

Inspired by some experiences when Jessica was a child, this is her third book. Read about her other books here. And check out her fun facts on Jessica’s about page here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Elephant’s Girl

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Celesta Rimington‘s novel, The Elephant’s Girl (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2020), is such an amazing book. I love the first line: “The wind and I have a complicated relationship.” But it’s not only the wind that talks to Lex.

Twelve-year-old Lexington literally lives at the zoo. She was brought there by a tornado; sheltered by an elephant, Nyah; found by a ghost, and taken in and named by the zoo’s train engineer, Roger Marsh. She doesn’t know her actual birthday, who her parents were, or where she came from. And now after seven years, Lex is finally old enough to help with the elephant training sessions. What she doesn’t expect is that Nyah will communicate with her through images. How is she supposed to figure out what they mean?

Celesta has another novel out called Tips for Magicians. I’ll have to check it out. If you want to know more about the author, go to her website where you can read some fun facts.