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Don't Be Afraid of That Big Bad Middle Grade Novel!

I have something to confess. Before I was hired at my local library, I really hated reading middle grade novels. Yeah. I said it. 
I was convinced that I had moved past that time in my life. Even though I had read and enjoyed many JF novels before, these books were obviously childish and I was clearly an adult so there was no reason for me to pick up another ever again. 

Or so I thought.
Once I started working in the children's room however, I realized that recommending JF books was a big part of my job and so, despite my irritation, I was forced to pick up some middle grade novels. 

And I fell in love all over again.

I know I'm not alone. I know many of us readers have come to a certain point in our reading careers where middle grade novels seemed simple and boring compared to young adult series. And I'm sad to see that happen. There are JF books that have big things to say and are just amazing, well-written reads. After all, the Harry Potter series is shelved in the middle grade section and look how much impact those novels have had on the world. No matter how old you are, middle grade novels should not be ignored.

So I thought today, in celebration of my recent discovery that middle grade novels are actually really cool, I want to highlight 5 JF books I have read recently that you shouldn't be afraid to give a chance! 

The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White

Hand in hand, the witch's children walked down the empty road.

When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic . . . except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place. Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr's Realm. But mostly it's called the Thickety.

The black-leaved trees swayed toward Kara and then away, as though beckoning her.

The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there. But when an unusual bird lures Kara into the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers. A book that might have belonged to her mother.

And that is just the beginning of the story.

The Thickety: A Path Begins is the start of a thrilling and spellbinding tale about a girl, the Thickety, and the power of magic.

The Oracle Betrayed by Catherine Fisher

The High Priestess interprets the wishes of the god as conveyed through the Oracle. Mirany serves the High Priestess. But when the god speaks to Mirany, she realizes that the High Priestess does not hear him, that she is manipulating the choosing of a new God-on-Earth for her own gain.

Mirany must join forces with Seth, a young tomb-robbing scribe who knows the secrets and hidden passages of their land, if she is to defeat the treachery that grips the kingdom. But they have powerful enemies who will stop at nothing to destroy them.

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.” 
There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where one girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first.

When the ancient evil of the Blackbringer rises to unmake the world, only one determined faerie stands in its way. However, Magpie Windwitch, granddaughter of the West Wind, is not like other faeries. While her kind live in seclusion deep in the forests of Dreamdark, she's devoted her life to tracking down and recapturing devils escaped from their ancient bottles, just as her hero, the legendary Bellatrix, did 25,000 years ago. With her faithful gang of crows, she travels the world fighting where others would choose to flee. But when a devil escapes from a bottle sealed by the ancient Djinn King himself, the creator of the world, she may be in over her head. How can a single faerie, even with the help of her friends, hope to defeat the impenetrable darkness of the Blackbringer?
At a time when fantasy readers have an embarrassment of riches in choosing new worlds to fall in love with, this first novel by a fresh, original voice is sure to stand out.

The Hero's Guide to Saving your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change.

Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Christopher Healy’s Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is a completely original take on the world of fairy tales, the truth about what happens after “happily ever after.” It’s a must-have for middle grade readers who enjoy their fantasy adventures mixed with the humor of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Witty black-and-white drawings by Todd Harris add to the fun.

There you have it. Don't be afraid of the "big, bad" middle grade novel because they won't bite you in the butt. So give them a chance!

Oh hello there! My name is Emily, though some of you may know me as the Bookie Monster. As the name would suggest, I devour books like the Cookie Monster devours cookies. In my spare time, I like to bake cookies (and devour those as well) and dream about taking over the world. As if my book obsession wasn't life consuming enough,

I work in the children's room at my local library and I am currently a sophomore in college majoring in English. It's safe to say I'm a bit of a book fanatic. I discreetly shed a few tears on my eleventh birthday when I did not receive my Hogwarts acceptance letter and I waited seven hours outside in the rain just to get a good seat at the Hunger Games midnight premiere. I'm terrified of blood and Disney movies make me cry (in a good way). My passions include hippos, hugs, and Hans Zimmer…and uh,long walks on the beach. I'm just a normal girl w
ith a slightly abnormal and frightfully expensive obsession. Nice to meet you!


  1. I've always wanted to check out Lisa McMann's Unwanted series. I'm just a little terrified that it might be underwhelming. I really should get rid of this wariness...

  2. I haven't heard of any of these and believe it or not, I like to read these once in a while. Thanks for putting all of these on my radar!

  3. Thanks for the references! I'll be looking these up! If you have time, I would love it if you could check out my blog! I'm new. Xx

  4. I really like reading Middle Grades every now and then, especially because they always feature friendships between boys and girls without more. I sometimes get so tired from the endless romances in YA that it's refreshing to see friends without drama. The thickety was surprisingly dark for a MG and I look forward to the sequel. I have my eyes on The hero's guide to saving the kingdom, sounds like a real 'me' book! :)

  5. i love middle grade books. The darker the better haha


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