Do you remember your early childhood reading obsessions? Those adventurous, transportive stories that cinched your bookish lifestyle from an early age? Looking back on my own childhood, I recognize my school reading log strongly foreshadowed my meticulous TBR tracking as an adult. Now, in the spirit of catering to that inner bookish child, I propose returning to the enrapturing stories of middle-grade fiction to let loose and explore.
Once we grow out of the marketed age range for middle-grade novels (8-12), we don’t tend to keep tabs on the great new stories emerging year to year, which is a shame! By and large, novels for young readers are an awesome way to break out of a reading rut, meet your end-of-year reading goals, or simply enjoy some imaginative, lighthearted, and wholesome storytelling. On that note, let’s dive into this week’s line-up!
by Colin Meloy
It’s 1987 in Seaham, Oregon, and Archie Coomes is starting to notice some eerie occurrences. The adults in town are acting especially strange, perhaps not even human. Soon, the 13-year-old and his three friends are forced to reckon with an ancient evil unearthed by land developers digging in the cliffs. Can they follow the clues and save their small-town from a disastrous supernatural fate in time?
For fans of Stranger Things and IT who grew up watching way too many scary movies, this new release is sure to satisfy. With some subtle scares and a lovable troop of small-town teens ready to kick some supernatural butt, The Stars Do Wander Darkling is an instant hit for readers of all ages.
Coffee Shop Read
by Fleur Bradley
Seventh-grade classmates Tori, Marvin, and Noah are on a school field trip to Raven Island’s defunct prison. It’s a droll, eye-rolling affair, until the three stumble across a dead body in the woods. To make things worse, the trio misses the final ferry back home, leaving them trapped for the night. Faced with a daunting detective task, they must work together to uncover the killer and the island’s ancient secrets before daybreak.
Fleur Bradley’s newest middle-grade mystery introduces us to three unique young protagonists, whose field trip goes terribly awry, forcing their unlikely alliance to survive the night. With well-employed frights and a gripping mystery plot, this fast-paced novel is pure adventure and adrenaline, sure to make you feel like a kid again.
by Akemi Dawn Bowman
12-year-old Eliot is struggling with the sudden loss of Babung, her paternal grandmother. Amidst her feelings of isolation and confusion, she becomes transfixed with a search for the paranormal – because finding proof of ghosts could help her find Babung again. This grief-driven search leads Eliot to Honeyfield Hall, where she finds supernatural evidence as well as a new crush.
This new middle-grade contemporary fantasy novel is both magical and moving. It beautifully explores themes of memory, grief, family, and friendship, all intermingled with a sense of supernatural wonder that will strike a chord with your inner child. Perfectly accomodating for young readers, yet engaging for adults, Where the Lost One’s Go is a must for any TBR.