Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bookanista Review: Middle Grade Spotlight

I'm pretty sure that most of you know I write Middle Grade. And I'm also pretty sure that most of you read a whole lot more YA than you do Middle Grade. And I get it--you read what you write. Plus, there is a TON of awesome YA out there.

But the thing is...there's a TON of awesome Middle Grade out there too. It's just not as well known--especially in the blogosphere. So I thought I'd use the Bookanistas this week to shine the light on a few of the awesome Middle Grade series I've discovered over the last couple of years, because I promise--they're not just for kids. (I think Harry Potter proved that pretty darn well).

First up: The Sister's Grimm Series, by Michael Buckley:

Imagine a town where every fairy-tale creature is not only real--but forced to live together in close quarters. Prince Charming with all of his past flames (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, AND Cinderella--oh yeah, you can bet it gets awkward). And then you have Sabrina and Daphne Grimm--descendants of the famous Brothers Grimm--who are charged with keeping order in that town and investigating all the crimes that are committed. And as if that weren't cool enough, they're also trying to solve the mystery of why their parents disappeared. These books are laugh out loud funny and constantly leave me with a sense of, why didn't I think of that???? And I guarantee, you'll never see fairy-tales the same way again.

Next: The Softwire Series, by P.J. Haarisma

I'll admit--I'm not usually a fan of sci-fi. But I LOVE these books. Johnny Turnbull--the first human to be able to interact with a computer with his mind--is an awesome character, and the world of Orbis is fascinating. There's four rings--each of the four books in the series takes place on a different ring--and the mystery just gets deeper the further you go. Need more proof that the series is awesome? three is called WORMHOLE PIRATES ON ORBIS 3. Yeah...'nuff said. 

Finally: The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart

Four gifted children--each special in their own very extraordinary way--are brought together by the mysterious Mr. Benedict to take down huge conspiracies. In the first book, it's a plot to use subliminal messages and a machine called The Whisperer to control people's minds. And things only get cooler from there. It's kinda like dystopian meets middle grade, with a lot more fun and humor. The books in the series are thick (Yay for long MG books!! *coughs*) but they are hard to put down. I haven't had a chance to read the third one--it is STARING at me from my TBR pile--but I am dying to dive in. Must. Find. Out. What. Happens. Next!!!

So there you have it. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and dystopian-thriller esque--all with a Middle Grade slant. And that's just the teeny, tiny tip of the iceberg. There is so much cool middle grade out there, you guys. It's kinda sad how little attention it gets. So if you're looking for something a little different--or you at least want to buy something for your son/daughter/niece/nephew/rent-a-kid/whatever I highly recommend you give it a chance. Middle grade is gonna make a come back guys. Why not be ahead of the curve? :)

Check out what the rest of the Bookanista's are up to today:

  • Beth Revis and Jamie Harrington are spreading some cover love for POSSESSION.

  • Veronica Roth is dying over some upcoming SCI-FI/Dsytopian book covers.

  • Christine Fonseca is raving over THE REPLACEMENT.

  • Elana Johnson has a special Friday edition, where she helps launch the book, EMOTIONAL INTENSITY IN GIFTED STUDENTS. 

  • Carolina Valdez Miller is crying over JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD.

  • Lisa and Laura Roecker are crazy over MATCHED.

  • Shelli Johannes-Wells is tempting us with a DESIRES sneak peek!


    1. Thanks for spotlighting some of these MG books, Shannon. There's so much attention on YA (with good reason), but MG often gets overlooked in the process. These books look wonderful!


    2. Thanks for spotlighting MG. I write it too though do tend to read more YA for some reason. Two other great MG authors are PJ Hoover and Janice Hardy.

    3. Thanks so much for this! I discovered (don't laugh at me) that I was a MG writer about six months ago, when my CP pointed out that the reason my stories weren't working was that they weren't YA.

      It made perfect sense. I love MG. Many of my favourite books were MG. I still so vividly remember the way books swept me up at that age (and of course, they still do). That said, because I'm re-entering the MG field again after an absence, I'm all about recommendations!

      They all look great, but The Sisters Grimm looks like it's right up my alley -- I just bought it from Book Depository after reading this post. Thanks for teh recommendation!

    4. Absolutely LOVE those choices! NICELY DONE.

    5. The Mysterious Benedict Society has been on my list for a while. I, too, write MG and just love it!! Thanks for doing these. They're great.

    6. I love that do you this. Great books you've highlighted too. It's true that I don't read much MG, but I enjoyed Artemis Fowl as an adult, and I'm reading Nightshade City as soon as I finish Mockingjay!

    7. I'm usually in the middle grade loop because my husband teaches 6th grade. But I haven't heard of the Softwire Series. Why haven't I heard of this??? Curses!

      Off to get it now.

    8. Awesome Shannon. Thanks for the MG references. Sure wish there was more out there. I agree with you. MG is on
      a comeback!

    9. While you're right that I read more YA than MG, I'll NEVER skip over a good MG. I'm putting all three of these on my tbr list. Thanks!

    10. I agree, I never hear about what's hot in middle grade. Thanks for bringing these to light! I especially love the cover art for the mysterious benedict society!

    11. Seriously cool series, Shannon! I hadn't heard of any of them! Sound like series definitely worth looking into.

    12. Thanks for these suggestions! I've had the Sisters Grimm on my to-read list for awhile now. I gotta get on that! The Orbis and the Benedict Society books look really cool, too!

    13. I LOVED The Mysterious Benedict Society! I keep seeing the sequel and have to pass it by thanks to my large (read OVER POWERING) TBR pile.

      Thanks for the others! The Sister's Grimm looks great :)

      Happy weekend,

    14. Thanks for the MG reviews. They're my favorite! :-)

    15. yay for a MG shout-out, from a newbie middle-grade author who's amazed at the dominance of YA in the kidlit blogosphere... and hey, while i'm here, keep an eye out for charlie joe jackson's guide to not reading, the first of a new middle-grade humor series, coming out july '11! sorry couldn't help it...

    16. These books look great! Thanks so much Shannon. I think I'm heading to the bookstore today...hmmmmm. I'm writing MG and always looking for stellar examples. I find that after reading so much of and about YA, my own MG WIP gets kinda dark...Thanks again!

    17. Have seen Sisters Grimm around and it seems like something I'd really dig. I've also been curious about The Mysterious Benedict Society, so thanks for the reviews!

      I definitely have some MG love. Am so excited about Rick Riordan's new Camp Halfblood series!

    18. I have The Sisters Grimm and The Mysterious Benedict Society, but I hadn't yet heard of Virus On Orbis. I'll have to check that series out.

      It is nice that my kids and I can share so many books. They kind of look at the bookshelf in my room as their own personal library.

    19. "The Sisters Grimm" is a great series and we haven't been able to keep "The Mysterious Benedict Society" books in since school started.

    20. These are awesome and thank you for bringing more attention to MG. It's true that I write YA but I have always loved MG!!
      My first manuscript was MG, of course now I see all the mistakes but I still love the idea. has potential.

    21. Wow!!! I really like all three - especially Sisters Grimm! I love fairytales with wicked twists!! Thank you for the intros to these fab books!! I love em!!

      Take care

    22. No!! My TBR pile is toppling over and then you go and show me some more awesome MG titles. They all look fabulous! I almost bought The Mysterious Benedict Society, but felt like I was cheating on Evermore and Hunger Games at the time.

      Will definitely have to go back and get it. And Virus On Orbis looks like it's right up my scifi alley. Thank you!

      wordver: dulac- Song from Shrek: "Welcome to Dulac, such a perfect town. Here we have some rules, let us lay them down..."

    23. I absolutely love the Sisters Grimm series, and there's only one book to go!

      I haven't read the others yet. Thanks for your reviews!

    24. Thanks for spotlighting these three MG books. I'd not heard of any of them. I'll have to check them out.


    Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Any arguing or intense debate--on any subject will be removed. Let's keep this a safe, fun space.