*trusts everyone to not just scroll down and skip my ramblings*
I created Marvelous Middle Grade Monday because I wanted to give middle-grade a tiny piece of the online platform it deserves--since so much of it gets overlooked in the Blogosphere. And because of that, I usually I try to focus on books or series you might not have heard of yet. But today I wanted to do something different.
Today's series is one you've probably heard of. Shoot, Jim Carey and Meryl Streep were in the film adaption. But I'm featuring it because I think it's an absolutely fabulous example of middle grade books not being just for kids. And so, I give you: A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket:
When I first started reading middle grade as research (something I think everyone should do before they attempt to write middle grade) I decided to start with the BIG series--figuring they were obviously doing something right. So naturally I checked out this collection--it's an international bestseller (what must THAT be like?)--and I was instantly intrigued by several things.
-The books get thicker as the series progresses (we all know I'm a fan of longer middle grade).
-Even the titles use big, complicated words I never would have thought could/would be used in middle grade (THE PENULTIMATE PERIL, for instance)
-The books are written by an imaginary character named Lemony Snicket, who is as much a part of the books as the Baudelaire Orphans.
-The books immediately tell you not to read them, which only makes you want to read them more.
And then, when I really dove into the series I was blown away by how sophisticated the writing was. How the tone of the narration could be droll and depressing AND funny all at the same time. How things never went right for the Baudelaires, but I never got frustrated (and I'm a happy ending kind of girl). How half the time what went on in the books felt more like a complicated metaphor than the simple plot it was disguised as. And how I couldn't put them down. I worked through the whole series in about two weeks.
In Friday's Q & A session, someone had asked me if it's hard to write middle grade and keep the language and plot age appropriate, and I had responded by saying that middle grade books are far more sophisticated than we think. These books are PERFECT examples of that. They're also some of the first books I recommend to adults who tell me middle grade books are too young for them. And everyone who's read them at my recommendation has had to agree with me. They. are. awesome--and unlike most anything else out there.
So I highly recommend you give them a chance. And to help you with that, I'm giving away the first three (in their fancy paperback form, which has some extra stuff you don't get with the hard covers):
Sadly, they're not signed (he's one of the authors I haven't been able to
stalk meet--I found out about the last signing he did the day AFTER happened. I'm still not over it *sobs*) but they are three very awesome books with very awesome features and, well, they're free. Can't go wrong with that. :)
If you'd like a chance to win, make sure you're a follower of my blog and leave a comment on this post by 11:59 PST on Saturday, November 27th. I'll choose one random winner and announce them on Sunday, November 28th. International entries welcome.
And since this is the first Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in a bit, I'd love to continue the discussion. So feel free to rave about a middle grade book you love in the comments. Maybe it'll end up as my next MMGM feature. :)
Update: For another fabulous middle grade recommendation, check out the lovely Shannon O'Donnell's blog today, with a Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday feature on DRAGONSPELL!
And if you've done a MMGM feature and want me to cross-link you, drop me an email and I'll happily add you. Yay for MG love!!!!
Good luck everyone!