I know it’s not long since my last set of mini-reviews, but I’ve been all about the middle grade reads recently so there are plenty to show you! All of these were sent to me free of charge via NetGalley except the last, where I was sent a physical copy, but as always my opinions are my own – and here they are!
The Spectaculars by Jodie Garnish
This is a really fun take on a magical boarding school story! It has a little bit of a dystopian bent to it, which surprised me at first, but I really liked the way the magical community was hidden and the theatrical elements of the magical world. It’s fast-paced and exciting; I enjoyed the idea of the sinister animals that embodied the curses very much. If you like a magical school story or theatre story, with all the classic middle grade tropes that brings, this is a very good example.
Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris by RL LaFevers
Another completely fabulous outing for Theodosia! I really love this magical historical series – it’s super voicey and a fascinatingly fun take on the obsession with Ancient Egypt that I think most of us had as kids. This time, Theodosia’s getting even more tangled up with curses; she’s a wonderfully determined, clever heroine and I just love to see her adventures. I hope this series continues for a really long time.
The October Witches by Jennifer Claessen
What a sweet magical read this was! Bursting with family intrigue and heartfelt feelings, this is a lovely witchy adventure that feels really cosy even though it’s quite exciting. I loved the concept of magic that only works in October, and Clemmie’s family is endearingly chaotic and very well-written. A really lovely read if you’re looking for something atmospheric without actually being scary – it would suit fans of Stephanie Burgis and James E Nicol very much.
A Breath of Mischief by MarcyKate Connolly
This is a very classic fantasy set-up, a young girl on a quest for four magical objects, but it has some inventive aspects to the worldbuilding that made it very cute. I love the idea of the elements taking apprentices/adopted children, and the way the story combines folkloric elements with the main plotline is nicely done. I didn’t quite fall in love with the writing, but it’s a quick read and suits the pace. This is quite a sweet and light book so might be good for those at the younger end of the range. I also just love the cover for this – it’s so beautiful!
Murder at Snowfall by Fleur Hitchcock
This is the only non-fantasy book on my list this time around, and crime thrillers aren’t my usual middle grade cup of tea, but this was a lot of fun! I was surprised at the fact that there was actual murder going on, having only read Fleur Hitchcock’s chapter book mysteries which are a bit lighter, so while it’s not particularly graphic it might be one for those at the upper end of the age range. The pace is non-stop and entertaining (including a chase through a safari park at night time!) and the mystery unravels in a fun and exciting way – perfect for thrill-seekers!