As promised, here’s part two of my round-up of middle grade books I’ve read recently! If you missed part one last week, you can find it here. All of these books were sent to me as E-ARCs via NetGalley, but all opinions are my own.
How to Save a Queendom by Jessica Lawson, from Simon and Schuster, published 20th April 2021
This was a really cute classic fantasy adventure that I really enjoyed! I loved the sweet and go-getting heroine, and her adventure across the country to save the young queen from an evil plot is full of excitement, magic and humour. It’s a great one if you like stories of girls taking the lead and standing up for themselves – for me, this is middle grade catnip so I had a great time!
Forest of Stars by Heather Kassner, from Titan Books, published 21st July 2020
This was beautiful, odd, and darkly quirky, as I’ve come to expect from Heather Kassner. I’m not generally a fan of circus settings, even though they’re very popular in middle grade, but this was a lovely way to explore the themes of being lonely and unusual; it’s a sad book, but ultimately hopeful and sweet. Great for those a bit too young for The Night Circus.
Even and Odd by Sarah Beth Durst, from Clarion Books, published 15th June 2021
For some reason, when I requested this, I totally missed that it was a portal fantasy, but actually I’m glad I went into this without any idea, because it meant the worldbuilding really took me by surprise. This is a fabulously fun story with a surprising amount of emotional depth. I really enjoyed Even and Odd’s sister dynamic, and the way their magic worked really felt like an integral part of their relationship. The world is quirky and there’s plenty of humour, but also some very touching moments – this is one I’d definitely recommend!
The Accidental Apprentice by Amanda Foody, from Simon and Schuster, published 30th March 2021
I’ve previously enjoyed Amanda Foody’s YA, which tends to have a darker tone, so I was surprised by how classically adventurous and bright her MG debut felt. This is Pokemon meets alchemy in a medieval-ish world, and has a really fun take on the classic magic contest storyline. It took me a little while to get into the opening (partly because of that surprise at the tone) but once I was invested, I had a really great time with this one.