I was looking at my shelves and my tablet the other day and I noticed that I have a couple of middle grade books I have yet to read. As some of you may know, young adult is my go to book preference. However, I do read a lot of middle grade books and that’s because its a genre that I find to be comforting and filled with magic.
Middle grade fantasy is magical and doesn’t have all the drama young adult and even adult books have. I love fantasy in general but middle grade fantasy has this element of pure adventure, fun, and friendship. Its refreshing to read and I honestly wish I read more middle grade.
I wanted to make this post as a kind of push to get me to read them and also to share some middle grade books with you guys.
*all synopsis from goodreads*
Seraphina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of the Biltmore estate. There’s plenty to explore in her grand home, although she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, have secretly lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is: a terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of the Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity . . . before all of the children vanish one by one. Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear. There she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic, one that is bound to her own identity. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must seek the answers that will unlock the puzzle of her past.
I just recently bought this book last month but I have been wanting to read it since last year. I’m really excited to read it! Ever since I heard about it, it’s been on my mind since then. So I’m happy I finally got my hands on it.
The School for Good and Evil: The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani
Since this is the third book in the series, I’ll put the synopsis to the first book below.
The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away. This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil. But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?
I really liked the first two books! I love how it shows that all because you’re “unattractive” doesn’t mean that you’re evil and vice versa. Your looks have nothing to do with who you are and I think this book really showed it. It’s such a nice book for kids to read.
Return to the Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La Cruz
This is the second book to the series so again I’ll just post the synopsis to the first book.
Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that's been left to rot and forgotten by the world. But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon's eye: the key to true darkness and the villains' only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it...who will it be? Mal, daughter of Maleficent, soon learns from her mother that the dragon's eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She'll just need a little help from her "friends." In their quest for the dragon's eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain't so bad.
This series is based off of the Disney Channel Original Movie, Descendants. I read the first book, which is the prequel to the first Descendants movie, and I liked it I thought it was cute. Return to the Isle of the Lost follows after the events of the first movie.
I loved how the book showed how dysfunctional the villain families were and the struggles the “descendants” had to go through to please their parents. I thought it was pretty accurate if the villains were to have kids, they wouldn’t actually show them any love or kindness.
The first movie was cute too, it’s better than many of the newer Disney Channel movies coming out. I also thought the music was catchy and reminded me of Broadway music (if that makes sense), which I love.
Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again. The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.
Hell yes another Beauty and the Beast re-imagining! But this one sounds so unique. I always wondered how Belle felt about not being able to go on an adventure “in the great wide somewhere”. She literally had to drop all of her dreams to be the Beast’s prisoner and probably even after that.
Plus wouldn’t it be cool to be able to jump in a book?! Sign me up!
Heroes of Olympus: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
I know! What is wrong with me? I call myself a Rick Riordan fan and I have yet to finish the Heroes of Olympus series. Shame, shame, shame!
Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper, and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly? Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out. Leo has a way with tools. When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who's gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason's amnesia, or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts?
I have made finishing this series one of my bookish resolutions for this year and I’m not planning on ruining it! Come hell or high water, I will finish this series. Even if it means only reading Rick Riordan books for the rest of the year! (which isn’t so bad)
The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer & Brandon Dorman (illustrator)
Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales. The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about. But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.
I feel like everyone and their mothers have read this series or at least this book. I have no idea what I was reading during my middle grade years because it seems like I have missed a lot of popular middle grade fantasy. I feel like, other than Rick Riordan of course, Christ Colfer and Brandon Mull are middle grade authors that you have to read. Like you can’t call yourself a middle grade fantasy lover if you haven’t read any and all books written by these authors. At least that’s what I feel, I literally see at least one book from these authors every time someone talks about middle grade books.
That’s a wrap folks! Comment down below whether you have read or are thinking about reading any books from this list? OR comment some of your middle grade fantasy recommendations! I love learning about new middle grade books to read, so BRING IT ON! Until next time!
– Janeli (The Underground Bookdom)