While I was on hiatus I read so much middle grade! Here’s are some thoughts on three that I really want to talk about, all of which have very spooky or autumnal vibes perfect for darker evenings. All of these books were sent to me free of charge by the publishers, but all opinions are my own.
The Girl, The Ghost, and the Lost Name by Reece Carter, from Usborne
Perfect for spooky season, this is a surprisingly sweet middle grade read about finding yourself in the most literal sense. Corpse is a ghost who’s made herself a wax body, and she lives on a rock in the middle of the sea – if that doesn’t set the creepy, magical tone for you, I don’t know what will! This is maybe one that will suit older readers, or at least fearless ones, as it is a little scary, but it has a really heartfelt story at its centre that I found really touching.
The Consequence Girl by Alastair Chisholm, from Nosy Crow
I’ve not found another of Alastair Chisholm’s books that I’ve loved as much as Orion Lost, but this post-apocalyptic, dystopian tale is a very interesting story that deals with some pretty deep science-fictional questions of ethics and society. Cora can influence probability, turning back time to ‘fix’ outcomes – but when her hiding place in the mountains is compromised, she has to confront the consequences of her talents. Definitely one for older readers, edging up into the teen category, as it’s quite violent and also quite philosophical, but it’s a really entertaining read.
The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair by Natasha Hastings, from HarperCollins Childrens’ Books
This is a fabulous mix of historical and fantastical elements, with two girls getting caught up in a mysterious, magical shadow world that takes place around and underneath a frost fair on the Thames. It’s genuinely creepy in places, and is, like the other books in this post, probably one for the older end of this age bracket, as the main character is grieving her dead brother, and death is a prominent theme. It’s gorgeously written though, with a great atmosphere in both the historical and spooky portions, so definitely one to check out.