Discussion: The Power of Middle Grade Novels

Hi guys! I haven’t posted a discussion post written by myself in such a long time, but I finally have one ready for you all! As the blog is rapidly expanding these past few months, I have become acquainted with so many amazing MG authors that have inspired me to become more involved in the MG community. Yes, I am a primarily YA-based author, but there’s so much power in MG novels! I want to give a big shout out to Jarrett Lerner, author of Enginerds, for inspiring me to finally post this discussion. It’s been way overdue, and I hope you enjoy it!


MG Novels

When you think of middle grade novels, what do you think of? Series such as Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid come into mind. As an elementary school student growing up, I didn’t read those series, honestly–except Harry Potter, which I read all seven books in either fourth or fifth grade. I had the mindset that I did not want to read anything that had a low reading level (what caused it? AR!), and because of that, I ended up reading only classics and Encyclopedia Brown books. This is what caused me to not read at all in middle school–I felt so constrained to classics that I just did not want to read more of them anymore. I focused my free time on Lego’s and video games instead.

As a kid, I always had the misconception that middle grade books had little literary value and were “taboo” since I had a higher reading level than many kids. In seventh grade, I read only ten books. There was a special party for those who read and wrote about ten books, and I crammed A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a weekend (which was too much for me as a non-reader) as the tenth book under my belt. (I completed 91 books in 2017, which I never would have foreseen back then!)

When I became a blogger, I slowly transitioned into being primarily YA/MG-based. Since the moment I first read Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz and Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh, I realized the power middle grade novels have not just to the high school student but to adults, too. Middle grade is NOT just for kids–in fact, anyone can learn from its lessons.

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Last Post of the Year: Top 10 Books I’ve Read in 2017!

Hi guys! This will be the LAST post of 2017! Can you believe it already? 2017 has been a great year for me personally and the blog–I’ve had so many amazing opportunities over the past few months, met a ton of amazing people (both bookish and non-bookish), and achieved many milestones. To our readers, thank you so much for all the love and support you have given us over the year; we wouldn’t be here without you! To celebrate the year’s end, here is a Top 10 List of my favorite books from 2017 (plus a few honorable mentions) and why they made the list! I hope you enjoy!


Top 10 Books

10. Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder

Be Light Like a Bird

We’re starting off this list with one of the most emotional books from this year. I read Be Light Like a Bird in an entire day back in March right after the Southeastern Young Adult Book Fest, and I loved it so much because I found myself connecting so much with Wren, the main character. Wren’s childlike voice was so simple, yet beautiful, and her innocence yet loneliness stunned me. I fell in love with the book from page one.

Goodreads

9. 14 Hollow Road by Jenn Bishop

14 Hollow Road

Another amazing Middle Grade novel I had the lovely opportunity to review this year! 14 Hollow Road is probably the best MG fiction book I’ve read not just this year, but for all-time. Here’s why: it was so powerful and so emotional that it had me tearing up at times. It certainly surpassed all my expectations and blew me away (*tornado pun not intended*). This is a novel that will change your perception, regardless of whether you are a child or an adult.

Goodreads

8. As You Wish by Chelsea Sedoti

As You Wish

I love novels that make you think–that’s why so many thought-provoking books are on this top 10 list. As You Wish turns the common cliché of “Be careful what you wish for” into a gripping, elegant, character-driven novel that sheds a new light onto what we want versus what we really need. Out of both of Sedoti’s novels, I would have to say that this one trumps The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett (which is very beautiful and heart-breaking), and Sedoti is now one of my favorite authors ever.

Continue reading “Last Post of the Year: Top 10 Books I’ve Read in 2017!”

Review: 14 Hollow Road by Jenn Bishop

Hi guys! I’m so backed up with reviews lately since I’ve read more books and written more reviews than I can post! I’m so glad that I’m able to have the opportunity to post them! Today’s book review is on 14 Hollow Road by Jenn Bishop. I had Jenn on the blog a few months ago, in which you can find the link here, and she sent me a copy of her latest book to review, also. I’m so glad she did because I loved it, and you can see why below!


About the Book32319718

The night of the sixth-grade dance is supposed to be perfect for Maddie; she’ll wear her beautiful new dress, she’ll hit the dance floor with her friends, and her crush, Avery, will ask her to dance. Most importantly, she’ll finally leave her tiny elementary school behind for junior high. But as the first slow song starts to play, her plans crumble. Avery asks someone else to dance instead–and then the power goes out. Huddled in the gym, Maddie and her friends are stunned to hear that a tornado has ripped through the other side of town, destroying both Maddie’s and Avery’s homes.

Kind neighbors open up their home to Maddie’s and Avery’s families, which both excites and horrifies Maddie. Sharing the same house . . . with Avery? For the entire summer? While it buys her some time to prove that Avery made the wrong choice at the dance, it also means he’ll be there to witness her morning breath and her annoying little brother. Meanwhile, she must search for her beloved dog, who went missing during the tornado. At the dance, all she wanted was to be more grown-up. Now that she has no choice, is she ready for it?

Goodreads


5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a free signed copy of this book  (and some extra swag) in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review at all.

I did not expect 14 Hollow Road to be this amazing of a book. You normally think with MG books that they should be light and fluffy, like a YA summer contemporary novel, but not in this case. This book defies all those stereotypes, and it will stand out as one of my favorite, if not my favorite, middle grade read of 2017. I just couldn’t put it down, and it was so beautiful. I mean it, it was amazingly beautiful. *cue single teardrop* If I had to create a lesson for elementary school students (like in 4th to 8th grade), I would get them to read this book. This is a book that adults, young adults, and children should read because it truly has the potential to change your view on disasters and those affected.

Continue reading “Review: 14 Hollow Road by Jenn Bishop”

My June Reading Re-Cap! (My First Re-Cap!)

Hi guys! June has been a wonderful month full of reading, and I managed to get 14 books! I’m so surprised that I read this much! It’s a new record! Now, I’m going to try to do a new bit on the blog, which are re-caps (or wrap-ups as some people call them). I just like the name “Reading Re-Cap” so that’s what I’m calling them. I’m going to organize each of the books I read over the past month by star ratings along with a synopsis and a mini-paragraph of my feelings! Hope you enjoy my first ever re-cap!

Note: The lowest rating I’ll give to a book I finished is a 2-star. That just means that it’s “decent” enough for me to survive the entire thing. I only reserve 1-stars for DNF’s that I just do not like and recommend at all. 5-stars are new favorites, and 4-stars are really enjoyable books. 3-stars are pretty average or neutral.

NEWS UPDATE: I’m going to be moving over to posting two times a week on Mondays and Fridays, which will switch between reviews, interviews, guest posts, and discussions. I’m planning on doing a monthly reading re-cap the first Sunday of the month, with a monthly discussion sometime during the month. Cayli and Kelsey will post whenever they can, and please look out for their posts, too!

Reading Recap June


5 Stars

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Mother Teresa of Calcutta: A Personal Portrait, by Fr. Leo Maasburg (Abridged)

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Starswept by Mary Fan

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The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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14 Hollow Road by Jenn Bishop


Continue reading “My June Reading Re-Cap! (My First Re-Cap!)”

Summer of Authors #2: Exclusive Interview with Jenn Bishop

Hi guys! Tomorrow I’m taking the ACT, so today’ll be more focused on getting my mind and self ready for big test! But for today… We’re continuing our Summer of Authors with Jenn Barnes, author of 14 Hollow Road, which releases in 4 days! Go check it out, and I hope you enjoy this review!


About 14 Hollow Road14 Hollow Road_jkt_3p.indd

The night of the sixth-grade dance is supposed to be perfect for Maddie: she’ll wear her perfect new dress, hit the dance floor with her friends, and her crush, Avery, will ask her to dance. But as the first slow song starts to play, her plans crumble. Avery asks someone else to dance instead—and then the power goes out.

Huddled in the gym, Maddie and her friends are stunned to hear that a tornado has ripped through the other side of town, destroying both Maddie’s and Avery’s homes.

Kind neighbors open up their home to Maddie’s and Avery’s families, which both excites and horrifies Maddie. Sharing the same house . . . with Avery? For the entire summer? While it buys her some time to prove that Avery made the wrong choice at the dance, it also means he’ll be there to witness her morning breath and her annoying little brother.

At the dance, all she wanted was to be more grown-up. Now that she has no choice, is she really ready for it?


 

Jenn Bishop

1. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

I love writing for many of the same reasons that I love reading—that experience of stepping into someone else’s shoes and experiencing things alongside them. I can also appreciate now the escape that it provides. There’s nothing like the experience of time disappearing as you write. That total immersion is rare, but amazing! As a kid, I was fortunate to have many opportunities for creative writing in school—especially elementary. My stories might have been a little derivative then, but there was so much joy in their creation.

2. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most?

I tend to read mostly contemporary books. It’s tricky to pin down a favorite book—it’s a real moving target, as I read about 150 books each year and I’m always finding new favorites—but some of the authors whose work I most admire include Rebecca Stead, Rita Williams-Garcia, Hanya Yanagihara, Jason Reynolds, and Junot Diaz. It’s hard to say who has impacted my writing style—I feel, if anything, my voice is something I’ve honed and developed over years of sending long emails, talking, and picking up certain modes of speech from friends and family.

3. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?

I’m fortunate right now to be able to write full-time, not that I actually am “writing” for 40 hours a week. A lot of the time I would devote to a traditional job is also used for reading, Skyping with classrooms, and tending to the business side of writing. In my truly free time, I love long distance running, film, and being outside.

Continue reading “Summer of Authors #2: Exclusive Interview with Jenn Bishop”