2018 Reviewed: Middle Grade Novels To Look Forward To

It’s the first day of 2018, and you know what that means? It’s time to make lists for all of the new book releases I am looking forward to this year!

As a sort of New Year’s Resolution, I am putting it upon myself to pick up a variety of books from genres I tend to neglect. Case in point, when I first started my reading journey I loved middle grade fiction. As I grew older I had this irrational fear that if people knew that I continued to read middle grade as an adult that they would judge me as a inept reader. Now that I am 26, I can tell you I am now firmly in the camp of not caring how people perceive me and as such I am ready to get back into the middle grade game.

Interested to see which middle grade novels I hope to pick up in 2018? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.

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35297481Hunger: A Tale of Courage by Donna Jo Napoli

Publisher:Simon & Schuster (February 13, 2018)

Print Length: 272 pages

Through the eyes of twelve-year-old Lorraine this haunting novel from the award-winning author of Hidden and Hush gives insight and understanding into a little known part of history—the Irish potato famine.

It is the autumn of 1846 in Ireland. Lorraine and her brother are waiting for the time to pick the potato crop on their family farm leased from an English landowner. But this year is different—the spuds are mushy and ruined. What will Lorraine and her family do?

Then Lorraine meets Miss Susannah, the daughter of the wealthy English landowner who owns Lorraine’s family’s farm, and the girls form an unlikely friendship that they must keep a secret from everyone. Two different cultures come together in a deserted Irish meadow. And Lorraine has one question: how can she help her family survive?

A little known part of history, the Irish potato famine altered history forever and caused a great immigration in the later part of the 1800s. Lorraine’s story is a heartbreaking and ultimately redemptive story of one girl’s strength and resolve to save herself and her family against all odds. 

The Review

Why on earth did I not think that the middle grade genre had historical fiction novels? When I found out that a novel about the Irish potato famine was being published I can tell you I was pleasantly surprised that it was a middle grade novel. While I know very little about the famine, the way in which Napoli is presenting the topic sounds both heartbreaking and engrossing.

25337516The Problim Children by Natalie Lloyd, Júlia Sardà

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (February 6, 2018)

Print Length: 304 pages

When the Problim children’s ramshackle bungalow in the Swampy Woods goes kaboom, the seven siblings and their pet pig have no choice but to move into their Grandpa’s abandoned old mansion in Lost Cove. No problem! For the Problim children, every problem is a gift.

Wendell and Thea—twins born two minutes apart on a Wednesday and a Thursday—see the move as a chance to make new friends in time for their birthday cake smash. But the neighbors find the Problims’ return problematic—what with Sal’s foggy garden full of Wrangling Ivy, toddler Toot’s 365 stanktastic fart varieties, and Mona’s human catapult.

Truth be told, rumors are flying about the Problims! Rumors of a bitter feud, a treasure, and a certain kind of magic lingering in the halls of #7 Main Street. And the neighbors will do anything to get their hands on those secrets—including sending the Problim children to seven different homes on seven different continents!

The Review

This novel sounds like a mix of A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Goonies, and Practical Magic so colour me interested! Each of the previously mentioned books and movies hold a special place in my heart and I am hoping that the adventures of the Problim Children will bury itself deep inside as well.

36607315The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery by Allison Rushby

Publisher: Candlewick Press (July 24th, 2018)

Print Length: 256 pages

Flossie Birdwhistle is the Turnkey at London’s Highgate Cemetery. As Turnkey, it’s Flossie’s job to ensure that all the souls buried in the cemetery stay at rest. Not an easy job for a young ghost, but a task made especially difficult by World War II: London is being attacked every night by enemy bombers, and even the dead are unsettled. When Flossie encounters the ghost of a German soldier carrying a mysterious object that seems to exist in both the living and spirit worlds, she becomes suspicious — what is the officer up to? Before long, Flossie uncovers a sinister plot that could destroy not only her cemetery, but also her beloved country. Can Flossie and her ghostly friends stop the soldier before it’s too late? History collides with the supernatural in this exciting, ethereal mystery from Allison Rushby.

The Review

Oh, wow, another historical fiction novel, are you surprised? This time, however, The Blitz is told with a supernatural twist, following Flossie as she tries to save both Highgate Cemetery and Britain from the clutches of the Germans. Out of all the books on this list this is definitely my most anticipated. Is it July yet?

35297391R is for Rebel by J. Anderson Coats

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (February 20, 2018)

Print Length: 256 pages

Malley has led the constables on a merry chase across her once-peaceful country. With her parents in prison for their part in a failed resistance movement, the government wants to send her to a national school—but they’ll have to capture her first.

And capture her they do. Malley is carted off be reformed as a proper subject of the conquering empire, reeducated, and made suitable for domestic service. That’s the government’s plan, anyway.

But Malley will not go down without a fight. She’s determined to rally her fellow students to form a rebellion of their own. The government can lock these girls up in reform school. Whether it can break them is another matter entirely…

The Review

Strong female characters rebelling against the norm, how did I not know about this book? With one of the more heard hitting theme’s on this list, R is for Rebel sounds like a novel needing to be read by all ages, not just those who fall in the target demographic of the middle grade genre. I’m really hoping this one doesn’t disappoint and look forward to adding Malley to my favourite heroine’s list.

30809677The Traitor’s Game (The Traitor’s Game #1) by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Publisher: Scholastic (February 27th, 2018)

Print Length: 400 pages

Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well — and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what — and who — it is they’re fighting for. 

The Review

I have seen this book everywhere lately! Though I can’t blame the bibliophiles out there, I mean, just look at that cover! Besides the aesthetic of the book, The Traitor’s Game sounds like my type of fantasy novel. With politics, rebellion, and secrets running rampant through it’s pages, all I can say I’m glad that I don’t have to wait to long to get my hands on Nielsen’s showstopper.

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And those are my five picks for middle grade novels I’m looking forward to being released in 2018. As I am relatively new to the genre, do you have any releases, new or old, that you’re looking forward to? Leave a comment down below!


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