Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

A Dash of Dragon

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

A Dash of Dragon, The Mystic Cooking Chronicles, (Aladdin, 2017) by Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski is an interesting mix of fantasy, cooking, and adventure.

Thirteen-year-old chef Lailu has apprenticed to Master Slipshod and they have opened a restaurant together. However, she didn’t know how her master had gotten the money. Not only has he put Mystic Cooking at risk, but he has promised Mr. Boss he and Lailu will work for him forever if they can’t pay. Hunting the dangerous meat for their menus–kracken, basilisk fish, and more–isn’t nearly as scary as some of their customers or the escalating problems that Lailu confronts. Will she lose her freedom or her life?

There are three books in this series. Book two, A Hint of Hydra, came out in 2018, and book three, A Pinch of Hydra in 2019.

Learn more about this team of authors–they’re sisters–here. This fall the pair has another book coming out. Whispering Pines is an “eerie heart-pounding mystery” according to the publisher. Read more here.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Ogre Enchanted

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

If you’ve read Newbery Honor Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, you’ll know you’re in for a treat with Ogre Enchanted (Harper, 2018). (And if you haven’t read Ella, you should.)

This is a gender reversed Beauty and the Beast inspired story. Read more what the author has to say about that here.

Fifteen-year-old Evie is enchanted when she turns down a marriage proposal from her best friend, Wormy. Now she has 62 days to accept a new marriage proposal or remain an ogre for ever. What will all her patients do?

The book is funny and keeps one guessing. Is that tingle because Evie the ogre loves the guy or that she thinks he’ll taste good? The countdown of days adds to the tension.

Read about Gail Carson Levine here and check out her other books here.

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

Orphan Island

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Orphan Island (Walden Pond Press, 2017) by Laurel Snyder is an unusual tale that had me asking so many questions.

Nine orphan children live on the island. And every year, on one specific day, a boat comes. Inside the boat is a new orphan who is here to stay. The oldest orphan on the island gets in the boat and it leaves. None of them know how the boat works.

Jinny doesn’t want the Change to happen. She doesn’t feel ready to become the Elder, to lose Deen who has been her constant companion, to take up her Care–the newest orphan. Why do they have to follow the rules anyway?

I think you’ll find the story fascinating as I did. It’s an award winner–see all the details on the author’s site.

Laurel Snyder is a middle grade and picture book author. You can read about her here and check out all her books here.

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

Lifeboat 12

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood is based on a true story from WWII, and is very well done.

Thirteen-year-old Ken is being sent away from London to Canada to be safe from Nazi bombing. The SS City of Benares was a luxury cruise ship and the kids are amazed at the food and are having a wonderful time. Five days out, the adults relax as they are now out of danger. But then the ship is torpedoed. Ken and five other boys get into Lifeboat 12 to escape the sinking ship. Will they survive?

Lifeboat 12 has been named a 2019 ALSC Notable Book and a 2019 Bank Street Best Book of the Year.

This is author Susan Hood’s debut middle grade novel, although she’s written many others. Read about her here and read about her other picture books and early readers here.

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

Paperboy

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Paperboy (Delacorte Press, 2013) by Vince Vawter is a compelling read. Look at the first three lines: “I’m typing about the stabbing for a good reason. I can’t talk.
Without stuttering.”

This historical novel, set in 1959, is about an 11-year-old boy whose communication with others is difficult due to his stuttering problem, and so much more. Victor agrees to take on his friend’s paper route for the month of July. The throwing part will be fun. Talking to customers to collect, not so much. And he has no idea that giving his yellow-handle knife to the junkman to be sharpened is going to cause so much trouble.

This book was a 2014 Newbery Honor book. I’m so glad I didn’t miss reading it. There’s a sequel called Copyboy when Victor is older.

Read about the author here. And take a look at a blog post about other languages the book was published in here.

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