Here are some shorter musings on recent MG fantasy reads.
Dragon's Green by Scarlett Thomas
This is the first book in a new series. The world suffered from a global earthquake that took out the Internet and changed everything. There is also magic, a school for special children, secret societies, and a quest. The group of kids the story centers around is wonderful. They each have a talent and a special thing to do. It reads as a real life RGP. The writing is good though a trifle stilted in some places. You can tell the author thinks she knows how one is supposed to write for/talk to children, but is a little rusty on actual practice in this area. But overall, it is a fun engrossing read. It is definitely a great recommendation for fantasy obsessed MG readers.
Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford
Fans of the first Greenglass House book will be happy to see most of their favorite characters return here. In a many ways the plot rehashes a lot of what was done in the first book. I found myself not quite as into it as I was expecting. There are a lot of extraneous details, and at times the plot feels confused and jumbled. Milford's descriptive prose is in evidence throughout the book and it does have a very grounded sense of place.
Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen
This is a must have for any upper elementary classroom or library. The action centers on a girl who finds herself attending a boarding school that is not quite what it seems. She learns a lot of secrets about her mother and her past. There is a wonderful team of classmates who work together on a quest to figure out where Abigail's mother has gone and what she discovered before she disappeared. It requires a good deal of suspension of disbelief for adult readers, but should be a perfect recommendation for those kids who like watching K.C. Undercover or simply enjoy the idea of adults relying on kids to save the world.
Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh
This is a creepy ghost story. Really creepy in some places. It is a perfect book to have on hand for kids who enjoy the scary kind of ghost stories and want to read about kids battling ghosts. It is well written with excellent world building and fully rounded characters. It is a hard book to put down. (I was forced to put it down for a little while and couldn't wait to get back to it.) The pacing and the plotting keep the reader engrossed until the very end. Also it's a sibling story so it gets bonus awesome points of that.