Skip to main content

Shorter Musings MG

These are some shorter musings on recent reads: one contemporary realistic, four fantasies.

Foxheart by Claire Legrand
I like that there have been so many prickly heroines in MG this year that are chock full of flaws. Quicksilver is an excellent addition to these. Sassy, opinionated, and mostly out for her own benefit, she does a lot of growing over the course of the story and learns to be a little less self involved but also retains all of her bounce and verve. I like that. The rest of the characters didn't work for me quite as well. It's a good story that doesn't break a lot of new ground but is satisfying in what it does. It has quite a different feel from Legrand's other books and isn't my favorite, but its an excellent addition to MG fantasy shelves particularly in places where there are many fans of magic and animals together.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds
I say this every time I review one of Jason Reynolds' books, but that man writes his characters' voices better than anyone. Ghost isn't just a character on a page, his words ring in your head like he is sitting right next to you telling his story. Reynolds just gets his characters on every level and that brings them to startling reality. The plot and themes of Ghost are simple but the way the story is told make them shine. There are scenes and reveals that are really well done. Overall it's just a really excellent story that has a timeless feel to it. Every library that serves middle schoolers needs this on their shelves. 

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
The sentence level writing of this book is beautiful. Barnhill is adept at stringing words together to create sentences that sing and beautiful imagery. The thematic treatment in the book is also excellent. The book is all about the power of love, how it can be unlimited, and the overcoming of fear. I also enjoyed the treatment of what constitutes a family. However, there are characterization and plot pacing issues for me that I can't ignore to completely love this book. There are so many characters. I really wanted to read the story of the titular character, but it's not really her story. This could have worked if Barnhill developed the characters a bit more, but there are so many of them and there is so much going on in the plot. The omniscient narration means we see several scenes over again from the perspectives of different characters making the book longer than is necessary and throwing off the pacing. It truly is a lovely story, it just feels fettered by all of that. 

Grayling's Song by Karen Cushman
I always want to love Karen Cushman's books more than I actually do in reality. The concept for Grayling's Song is excellent. Grayling has to travel through the land trying to figure out why all the witches and wizards have been turned to trees (including her own mother) and by whom. It is a quest fantasy with an animal companion and a young girl who is scared but determined to be brave and do the right thing. It is short and may appeal to some kids on the younger yet precocious end of the MG spectrum. The language was troublesome to me as I read it. This is often the case with Cushman's books and part of why they tend not to work for me. Her awkward attempts at an old fashioned country dialect throw me out of the story every time. 

The Night Parade by Kathryn Tanquary
Saki is egocentric and determined to think the world is out to target her. A common affliction when one is in middle school. Her parents drag her to the middle of nowhere Japan from Tokyo to spend a holiday honoring ancestors with her grandmother. After Saki makes several selfish choices, she ends up with a death curse hanging over her that she has three nights in the mythical Night Parade to undo. Each night she gets a different animal guide in the mysterious spirit realm. The story works really well and has all that is necessary to make an engrossing quest tale.

Comments

I love this post! I don't really read MG but I have kids and like to get recs on what's good! The Night Parade sounds so good!
Brandy said…
The Night Parade is great! (And the perfect length.)

Popular posts from this blog

Shorter Musings MG Fantasy

Here are some shorter musings on recent MG fantasy reads. Anya and the Dragon   by Sofiya Pasternack This book is fun. It is a book full of adventure, an obvious bad guy, some more complicated morally gray area characters, and a strong, brave heroine. It is also a book about friendships, community, and fighting for what is right. All things that usually work for me really well. While I enjoyed this, I did feel it was a little overlong and there were certain plot points at the end I didn't love. However, there were things I thought were done really well, such as Anya's Jewish faith and the idea that power needs to be challenged. In the end it was a middle of the road read for me, but it is one I will certainly be recommending to dragon and fantasy adventure lovers I know! R is for Rebel   by J. Anderson Coats This is tough because I usually really like Coats's books. I had such a hard time with this one though on so many levels. It's difficult to get into because t

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Future Favorite Friday: June 2018

I take the 2nd Friday of every month to highlight some upcoming releases I am looking forward to that I hope are Future Favorites. Feel free to do your own post, just please link back to my blog and tell me about your post in the comments. Two Naomis  was one of my favorite reads of 2016 so I was understandably excited it's getting a sequel.  In this sequel to  Two Naomis , now that Naomi Marie’s mom and Naomi E.’s dad are married, the girls have learned to do a lot of things together, like All-Family Sunday dinners, sixth-grade homework, navigating the subway system by themselves, and visiting their favorite bakeries. Until sixth grade in a new school presents a whole new set of surprises and challenges. Trusting her gut has worked for Naomi E. all her life, and she figures that it will be an asset to her role as a Peer Mediator—until she realizes how much of the job requires the Art of Compromise, which she’s only just starting to get used to at home. Naomi Marie i

The Reece Malcolm List

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding surprised me. Enough people I trust enjoyed it so I knew I would like it, but wasn't expecting to like it as much as I do. It is a really great book that is fun and has real heart and soul too. Synopsis: Things I know about Reece Malcolm: 1. She graduated from New York University. 2. She lives in or near Los Angeles. 3. Since her first novel was released, she’s been on the New York Times bestseller list every week. 4. She likes strong coffee and bourbon. 5. She’s my mother. Devan knows very little about Reece Malcolm, until the day her father dies and she’s shipped off to live with the mother she’s never met. All she has is a list of notebook entries that doesn’t add up to much. L.A. offers a whole new world to Devan—a performing arts school allows her to pursue her passion for show choir and musicals, a new circle of friends helps to draw her out of her shell, and an intriguing boy opens up possibilities for her first love. But the

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein