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

Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe (‎Random House Books for Young Readers, 2018) by Jo Watson Hackl is very compelling. I missed this book when it first came out but am so glad to have read it now. Such voice! So fun to follow the clues along with the character. And who doesn’t love a secret room!

Her mama has run off and Cricket thinks finding the secret room that an artist painted will help bring Mama back. But Cricket too has to run away to search…to a ghost town. This girl’s only companion in the wilds is a live cricket. And Cricket has a deadline to solve the mystery that everyone else says isn’t real.

The book has won the following awards: 2020 Mississippi Library Association Children’s Author Award, 2019 Southern Book Award Winner–Children’s Category, and was a 2020-2021 Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee.

Read about Jo here. And if you like, check out the book trailer here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Fuzzy Mud

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
fuzzymud.jpgFuzzy Mud (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2015) by Louis Sacher is creepily good! Or should I say, even though it’s creepy, it’s very good. Of course, what would you expect from the author of Holes, but a good story?
Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and seventh grader Marshall Walsh customarily walk to and from school together, but when they detour into the woods to avoid the school bully, not only will their lives change, but so could the whole world! All because of some fuzzy mud…
The beginning is a bit slow, but this thriller of a mystery is well worth the read.
Here’s some background on the story via an interview with the author.
You can read about Louis Sacher’s writing process here.

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

Under the Egg

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
undertheegg.jpgUnder the Egg (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014 ) by Laura Marx Fitzgerald is an eggstraordinary story. Theo, now that her grandfather Jack is gone, is in charge of their 200-year-old family home and her eccentric mother. When dying, Jack told her to look “under the egg” and she’s afraid what she’s found is not only going to ruin his reputation, but that she’ll find out he’s not who she thought he was.
I love the first two lines:
“It was the find of the century.
Or so I thought at the time.”
And I love Theo. As a parent I want to take her under my wing. In my kid mind, I want to be her friend. She’s interesting, smart, and brave.
This mystery has page turning chapter endings, villains, and the fun of a hunt. It’s also a winner of the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association BEST MIDDLE GRADE BOOK OF THE YEAR!
Take a look at Laura Marx Fitzgerald’s About Me on her website. It made me smile.
The author is also on twitter: @marxfitzy

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

Three Times Lucky

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
3timeslucky.jpgThree Times Lucky (Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin, 2012) by Sheila Turnage is a murder mystery that won a Newbery Honor. I love how it opens: “Trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing at exactly seven minutes past noon on Wednesday, the third of June, flashing a gold badge and driving a Chevy Impala the color of dirt.” 11-year-old Mo and her best friend Dale don’t know it, but they’re going to get mixed up good in the trouble that has come to town.
A sequel came out this year, The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, which features Mo and Dale working to solve another mystery in their unusual small town. I haven’t read it yet, but am looking forward to it!ghosts.jpg
On her website, author Sheila Turnage has a page for Questions Kids Ask Me AKA Report Homework–it’s fun. Plus on her site you can read about her other books.