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

Amari and the Night Brothers

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations, #1) (Balzer & Bray, 2021) by B. B. Alston is like a cross between Men in Black and Harry Potter at summer camp.

13-year-old Amari Peters struggles with anger against those who think she doesn’t fit in since she’s a scholarship student and black. It’s worse since her older brother Quinton has been missing. Many believe he is dead, but Amari knows he’s alive. A chance to tryout for the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs this summer may help her find out where Quinton is. But again in a world of magic, there are those who don’t think she belongs. Amari must stand up for herself and learn all she can about this new world to have any chance of finding her brother.

This was B.B.’s debut novel. The books have been published in over 30 countries and a movie is in the works! Wow! Here’s the Spanish version, Amari y Los Hermanos de la Noche. The third book in this trilogy is expected out this summer.

Awards:

  • ALSC Notable Children’s Books, 1995-2024. Commended, 2022. (Association of Library Services for Children)
  • Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts Award, 1997-2023. Selection, 2022. (Children’s Literary Assembly)
  • Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 1997-2024. Commended, 2022. (YALSA)
  • Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2011-2024. Selection, 2022. (YALSA)
  • SLJ Best Books of the Year, 2010 – 2023. Selection, 2021. (School Library Journal)

Read about this NY Times bestselling author here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

By the Light of Fireflies

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

By the Light of Gireflies : a novel of war hero Sybil Ludington (Wyatt-McKenzie Publishing, 2021) by Jenni L. Walsh is a fun historical about a little known heroine. (And has such a gorgeous cover.)

Sybil is the oldest of eight children and dearly wants to be more than a farmer’s wife. When her papa and his men need help to fight the Loyalists (loyal to King George), Sybil and her sister help the spy ring and Sybil makes a night ride longer and farther than her hero Paul Revere.

This is a fascinating story that builds on the basics known about Sybil. The novel is a Publishers Weekly BookLife Editors Pick.

Jenni is a storyteller of women throughout history. She writes for adults and middle grade readers. Read about her here and check out her other books here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Hike to Home

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Hike to Home (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022) by Jess Rinker was a fun read with interesting connections to Arthurian legends, Freemasonry, and 19th-century mountaineer Annie Smith Peck.

12-year-old Lin Moser is miserable. After a life of traveling with her parents as part of the popular YouTube home renovation show, Moseying with the Mosers, she’s stuck in New Jersey while Dad renovates without cameras. Lin will have to go to actual school, while her mother is away on a twelve-month film residency. But rumors of a castle, combined with new friends, and Lin is off filming her own adventure. And, of course, there’s trouble along the way.

I love how this character was inspired by two strong women.

Jess Rinker writes fiction and nonfiction. Read about her here and check out all her books here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Journey Beyond the Burrow

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Journey Beyond the Burrow (Harper, 2021) by Rina Heisel is a fun adventure story and a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection.

Tobin (a mouse) knows the rules by heart, but he must break rule #8 “Never purse a predator. Never.” when his baby brother is stolen by a huge arachnid. Tobin, his sister Talia, and best friend Wiley meet all kinds of creatures on their journey, plus Tobin ends up breaking other rules so that everyone survives.

I love the weather scout procedures, the sensory details from the mouse viewpoint, and the Official Rules of Rodentia. #13: “Heed the whispered warnings of weather; ignoring it’s clues will spell your doom.”

Learn about the author here and more about her debut novel here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Nerviest Girl in the World

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

If you like historical fiction and humor, you’ll love The Nerviest Girl in the World (Alfred A. Knopf, 2020) by Melissa Wiley.

When Pearl’s three big brothers get hired to be “real cowboys” in Mr. Corrigan’s moving picture reels, she is fascinated. After hanging on to a runaway horse herself, Pearl is hired, too. But if her mother finds out, her dangerous career as a stunt girl will be over.

I love Pearl’s conversations with the ostriches–yes, they raise those too on their cattle and sheep ranch. I love Pearl’s conflicts with her nemesis. And I love her bravery. It’s great getting a look at what people thought about this new form of entertainment, too.

This book is a Junior Library Guild selection and Brave Writer Arrow book.

Melissa Wiley is also the author of a number of easy readers and the Martha and Charlotte books about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s great-grandmother and grandmother. Read about Melissa here and see her books here.