Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Middle Grade Shorts

Middle Grade Shorts is a new random feature that is basically replacing any Book Views. Instead I'll review any Middle Grade fiction novels I've read in a shorter format. They'll still be rated, it's just a nicer way to get my feelings out quicker about all the middle grade fiction I've been reading or listening to.

The Fairy-Tale Detectives
Series: The Sisters Grimm, bk. 1
Author: Michael Buckley
Publication Date: August 2007
Genre: MG Fantasy
Copy provided by: Gift (I think, I've had it so long I cannot remember)
Summary (via Goodreads):

For Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, life has not been a fairy tale. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the sisters are sent to live with their grandmother--a woman they believed was dead! Granny Relda reveals that the girls have two famous ancestors, the Brothers Grimm, whose classic book of fairy tales is actually a collection of case files of magical mischief. Now the girls must take on the family responsibility of being fairy tale detectives.

The short of it: A fantastic beginning to a series that will take off with readers who love fairy tales. This first book in a fairly long series is full of adventure and plot twists and will keep you reading until the very last page.

Rating: 5/5 Roses for fun adventure and a surprise as to who the bad guy really was.

The Lost Hero
Series: The Heroes of Olympus, bk. 1
Author: Rick Riordan
Publication Date: October 12, 2010
Genre: MG Fantasy
Copy provided by: Library
Summary (via Goodreads):

Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?

Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.

Leo has a way with tools. When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god.

The short of it: An amazing new series by Rick Riordan, the first book takes you into the world of Percy Jackson, but from the point of view of a new male character - Jason. Full of action, adventure, and peril, this new series is one I'm looking forward to reading more of - and so are my students. Many of them groaned when I told them the next book would be out until this coming fall.

Rating: 5/5 Roses because how can Rick Riordan write anything less than awesome.

This World We Live In
Series: Survivors #3
Author: Susan Beth Pfeffer
Publication Date: April 2010
Genre: MG Sci-Fi
Copy provided by: Library
Summary (via Goodreads):

It’s been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. For Miranda Evans, life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce.

The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

The short of it: The audio version of this book really was fantastic. Continuing the story of Miranda from Life As We Knew It, we see how life continues after the initial few months of the moon shifting because of a meteor. There are some great new characters introduced and if you thought the first book tore at your heart, this one does even more so. An eye-opening novel about what could happen when the world as you know it changes so quickly in such a short period of time.

Rating: 5/5 Roses because I hung onto every word read and wanted to know more even after it ended.

The Tail of Emily Windsnap
Series: Emily Windsnap bk. 1
Author: Liz Kessler
Publication Date: March 2006
Genre: MG Fantasy
Copy provided by: Library
Summary (via Goodreads):

For as long as she can remember, twelve-year-old Emily Windsnap has lived on a boat. And, oddly enough, for just as long, her mother has seemed anxious to keep her away from the water. But when Mom finally agrees to let her take swimming lessons, Emily makes a startling discovery - about her own identity, the mysterious father she's never met, and the thrilling possibilities and perils shimmering deep below the water's surface. With a sure sense of suspense and richly imaginative details, first-time author Liz Kessler lures us into a glorious undersea world where mermaids study shipwrecks at school and Neptune rules with an iron trident - an enchanting fantasy about family secrets, loyal friendship, and the convention-defying power of love.
The short of it: A fun yet beautifully written novel about a human who finds out that she can turn into a mermaid. I really enjoyed listening to this short novel and realized why all of my girls love these books - they're full of drama, friendships, and, of course, mermaids. Kessler does a fantastic job with Emily's voice and I can't wait to read more of her adventures.

Rating: 5/5 Roses because I was completely captivated by the voice of Emily Windsnap.

Gregor the Overlander
Series: Underland Chronicles #1
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication Date: 2003
Genre: MG Fantasy
Copy provided by: Library
Summary (via Goodreads):

When eleven-year-old Gregor follows his little sister through a grate in the laundry room of their New York apartment, he hurtles into the dark Underland beneath the city. There, humans live uneasily beside giant spiders, bats, cockroaches, and rats—but the fragile peace is about to fall apart.

Gregor wants no part of a conflict between these creepy creatures. He just wants to find his way home. But when he discovers that a strange prophecy foretells a role for him in the Underland's uncertain future, he realizes it might be the only way to solve the biggest mystery of his life. Little does he know his quest will change him and the Underland forever.

Rich in suspense and brimming with adventure, Suzanne Collin's debut marked a thrilling new talent, and introduced a character no young reader will ever forget.

The short of it: Another audiobook read that I found incredibly enjoyable. With adventure around every corner, Gregor the Overlander explores a world where humans and large rats are at war. Our hero Gregor has no interest in becoming the hero but must to protect his little sister and find his way back home. An epic new series awaits me and I cannot wait to read more!

Rating: 5/5 Roses for a fantasy adventure series that could rival The Percy Jackson series.

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  1. I loved This World We Live In, and the first book as well. I devoured them this summer when I was having some sort of strange dystopian obsession.

  2. My daughter loves the Grimm sisters. I haven't read any of the others.

  3. I own each of these (save the Riordan), and haven't read a one of 'em. I need to get on it!

  4. I didn't realize The World We Live In was MG! We read a lot of Middle Grade fiction in this house (I have an 8 year old who loves to read...*mom squee*), so I definitely appreciate your quick review format! Thanks!

  5. Thats kinda neat short reviews for these.

  6. I've been putting off reading This World We Live In because I found the first two so haunting. But your review is making me think it might be time to bite the bullet! And I haven't heard an audiobook in a while, that sounds like a good way to read it.

  7. I own the grimm book but haven't read it yet. It looks like I should.

  8. I'm looking to read more MG novels and The Sisters Grimm sounds great - I've added it to my list!


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