Top 5 Wednesday #19: Middle-Grade Novels

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by GingerReadsLainey and now managed by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. For more information on this meme, visit the Goodreads group.

I know it’s Friday, but I’ve been so busy lately with my new job that it’s hard to post stuff on time.

This week’s topic:

Children’s books

For this, I’ll focus on middle-grade novels. Here are five I’ve read and enjoyed:

Magyk by Angie Sage (illus.)

It’s been a while since I’ve read this one, but I recall enjoying it. Magyk is the first novel in Sage’s fantasy series Septimus Heap about the eponymous seventh son of a seventh son who was pronounced dead and stolen by a midwife when he was born. Later, Septimus’s father, Silas, found a baby girl in the snow with violet eyes, who he named Jenna and raised as his own. The story is mysterious at the beginning and is quite charming as it unfolds.

Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky, illus. by Erwin Madrid

A sinister fantasy novel about temptation. The eponymous protagonist is a brave little girl who’s willing to venture into the dark woods behind her house to discover what has caused her parents to become cruel versions of themselves. While investigating the woods with her friend, Giles, Juniper discovers an underworld where a person can trade their soul for their heart’s desire. This was a great read that was a little creepy but not scary.

Jinx by Sage Blackwood

Another fun fantasy novel with an eponymous main character. Jinx was raised by his step-mother and step-father who one day decided to get rid of him by leaving him in the woods. But while in the woods, Jinx’s step-father got lost, bumped into a wizard named Simon who the step-father sold Jinx to, and got carried off by trolls. I enjoyed reading about Jinx and Simon as well as the adventures Jinx had and was curious about Jinx’s unique abilities. Jinx is the first in a series and recently I’ve been considering to reread this book and get caught up on the series because I liked the story and a recent read, The Apprentice Witch (see below), got me in the mood for it.

Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi (illus.)

Amulet is a fantasy graphic novel series about siblings Emily and Navin, who move into their grandparents’ home after a fatal car crash. The house is in desrepair and while helping her mom clean, Emily discovers an amulet, which comes in handy that night when her mom is kidnapped by a monster. Though I wasn’t hooked on the story, I believe it’s good and I do recommend the graphic novel. Kibuishi’s illustrations are cute, but it’s his use of color that I love.

The Field Guide by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi (illus.)

Another fantasy series about kids who move to an old house with their mom and discover fantastical beings and magic there. In The Field Guide, the first in the Spiderwick Chronicles series, Mallory and her brothers, twins Jared and Simon, move to the Spiderwick estate with their mom after their parents’ divorce. While helping to renovate the house, they stumble upon the home of a brownie called Thimbletack and discover Arthur Spiderwick’s field guide of fantastical creatures that an evil ogre wants to steal. This too was a fun read and I especially liked that illustrations accompany the story. However I was disappointed that the books (there are five books in the series) are very short.

Honorable mentions:

The Fog Diver by Joel Ross

The first in a dystopian series set in the future where a thick fog has covered the earth and people must live on mountain peaks. This was a fun read that actually had me chuckling at some of the jokes. I highly recommend it.

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

A charming fantasy novel about apprentice witch Arianwyn Dribble, who failed her witch’s assessment and is sent to work in the backwoods town of Lull until she can be reevaluated. I read an ARC of this and enjoyed it though I had some problems with the plot and character development (review coming soon). But despite its issues, I do recommend it because it’s a sweet story and I have a soft spot for fantasy novels set in quirky towns with witches. It reminds me of the fantasy books I read as a kid but can’t remember the name of. The Apprentice Witch will be published on July 25.

That’s all for now.
Also, please recommend of a middle-novel below, whether it’s one you’ve read or would like to read.
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10 thoughts on “Top 5 Wednesday #19: Middle-Grade Novels

  1. Ooooo Juniper Berry looks very good. I don’t tend to read horror books within the Adult & YA genres, but I will read it in MG since it is tame enough for me to read lol I read Coraline by Neil Gaiman last year and really enjoyed it. I was surprised how creeped out I was by it.

    I read The Girl Who Drank the Moon recently and really enjoyed it 🙂

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    • 🙂 I totally understand. Juniper Berry is has a creepy undertone but, yea, it’s tame.
      Coraline was creepy. I’ve only watched the movie though.
      And I’ve heard such great things about The Girl Who Drank the Moon so I’d like to try that too.

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  2. Ack, I haven’t read any of these! I confess that MG isn’t a genre I read a lot, so maybe that’s not too surprising I guess. As for recommendations, my favorites are Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz series, The School for Good and Evil series, Django Wexler’s The Forbidden Library series, and I just finished an amazing book called A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge!

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    • Totally understand. Not a lot of peeps go for MG but I love them because they’re all about having a fun adventure, well most of them.
      Thanks for the recs. I have School for Good and Evil series for I can hop on that and I heard Alcatraz is awesome. It’s the first I’m hearing of the Forbidden Library series though, so I’ll look that up. And I’ve seen A Face Like Glass floating around.

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