Middle Grade Roundup

I have read some absolutely fantastic middle grade books lately and have been horrible about posting about them. So please enjoy this roundup of middle grade books—they are already available and you can pick them up immediately!

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Twelve-year-old Ivy loves to draw and most of her pictures are of two girls holding hands in a treehouse—she’s never shared her drawings with anyone. She is terrified after a tornado displaces her family and she loses her notebook of drawings. In the days following the event, she begins to find her own drawings in her locker with notes encouraging her to talk to someone about her sexual identity.

This book is BEAUTIFUL and I’m so happy a middle grade book with this topic exists.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰✰✰


Thank you Disney Hyperion for sending me these galleys!

FRIENDLY TOWN THAT’S ALMOST ALWAYS BY THE OCEAN! by Kirk Fox, M. Shelley Coates

In this first installment to the Topsea series, we watch new kid Davy get acclimated to his new, exciting, and, well…weird school and town. His new classmates are quirky and charming and they all band together to help Davy discover the secrets of Topsea.

This book is super cute and also told in newspaper clippings and web articles. Think ILLUIMINAE-style storytelling.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰


CHARLIE & FROG by Karen Kane

Charlie is sent to live with his grandparents for the summer, where he encounters a old woman who gives him a frantic message in sign language before disappearing. Charlie teams up with Francine aka Frog, a local deaf girl, who wants nothing more than to become a real detective.

Yay for disability rep in middle grade books! Also yay for positive friendships!

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰1/2


CAPTAIN SUPERLATIVE by J.S. Puller

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Captain Superlative! Janey is as mesmerized as her classmates when a self-proclaimed superhero shows up at her middle school in a cape. When she reluctantly befriends the avenger, she learns secrets behind the mask and starts to question what it means to be a superhero.

I loved this—such a powerful message about friendship and how we look at our heroes.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰✰


Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah is known as a bit of a fibber amongst her classmates. She often will make up grandiose stories to fit in with her classmates. When three classmates show up at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art to catch her in a lie, Aru accidentally lets loose an ancient demon, the Sleeper, who is on a mission to wake the God of Destruction. To stop this from happening, Aru must find the reincarnations of the five Pandava brothers and save the world.

As per usz, Chokshi has the most beautiful writing and I cannot wait to read the three remaining books in this series.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰✰

Thank you Disney Hyperion, Rick Riordan Presents, for my e-galley!


Carnival Magic by Amy Ephron

Siblings Tess and Max return to England for the summer to stay with their Aunt Evie in the magical sounding Devon-by-the-Sea. Tess and Max manage to finagle attending a traveling carnival alone, but promise to meet Aunt Evie in a few hours. While attending the carnival psychic, Tess and Max are transported into a seemingly alternate universe, where they befriend two acrobat siblings. In order to return to life as they know it, they must find their way back through the mysterious House of Mirrors.

I hadn’t read the first book, THE CASTLE IN THE MIST, but still enjoyed this a lot. Such a cute MG fantasy story.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰

Thank you Philomel books for my galley!

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REVIEW: Legendary, Stephanie Garber (May 29, 2018)

Helloooooo, one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. You were brilliant. The day I received this book in the mail, I screamed and did a little spin in my desk chair. Apologies go out again to my coworkers for disturbing the peace, but I will not hold back my glee.

LEGENDARY is the hotly anticipated sequel to last year’s CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber. And I’m just going to make the wait even more difficult for you (#sorrynotsorry) because I loved this so much.


The 411: Let’s backtrack just a tad. If you’re unfamiliar with this series, here’s a brief rundown: In CARAVAL we are introduced to sisters Scarlett and Donatella “Tella.” Scarlett has long dreamed of attending Caraval, a renown performance spectacle that happens once a year. What makes Caraval special, is that it requires audience participation. Think a murder-mystery party amped up to the extreme. Scarlett found herself deeply immersed in the game when Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind, Legend, and must play to get her sister back…

So here we are. *spoiler* Tella may be rescued, but still not free. She made a seemingly impossible deal with an anonymous Friend in exchange for her freedom: the true identity of Legend. To discover this, Tella must rejoin Caraval and uncover the mystery behind its maker.


Ok. Okokokokokokok this is a near perfect sequel. And I only use “near perfect” because I’m super picky about my five star ratings. I read this book in a few short hours and I’m confident there will be a reread in the future, especially since it was announced yesterday that there will be a third book in the Caraval series and I am throwing confetti in excitement.  I’m super interested to see where Garber ends this story.

The world of Caraval is incredible. I love the magic, the deception (oh the deception!), and the complex relationships between our “players” and “actors.” If you liked CARAVAL, I (obviously) highly suggest LEGENDARY. If you didn’t like CARAVAL, I still suggest giving LEGENDARY a try. It’s the same atmospheric feel, but Tella as the main gives it a different tone (in my opinion). And I found myself enjoying Tella’s POV more than Scarlett’s. Tella’s a bit more feisty and sarcastic, which is my personal fave in a narrator.

Ooh and the love story, peeps. If you are a fan of the enemies-to-lovers trope, you will be immensely happy.


MY RATING:  ✰✰✰✰1/2
RECOMMENDED FOR: fans of THE NIGHT CIRCUS and DAUGHTER OF THE BURNING CITY


Thank you Flatiron Books for my galley! Legendary is available May 29.