Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Speed Dating with Middle Grade: Part 7

Title: The Night Gardener
Author: Jonathan Auxier
Genre: Fantasy, Horror
Read If You Like...: A creepy Victorian-era setting, Edgar Allen Poe, and old episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark?
Three-Sentence Thoughts: Molly and Kip are two Irish orphans that have taken up employment and residence at the creepy Windsor house in unfamiliar England. It becomes very clear that something isn't right when the strange family that lives there appears more sickly by the day, strange noises are heard from upstairs, and an unwelcome guest seems to be lurking throughout the house at night. Peppered with magic and mystery, this creepy gothic tale is both a nail-biting mystery and a harrowing lesson on the power of greed.

Title: A Snicker of Magic
Author: Natalie Lloyd
Genre: Magical Realism
Read If You Like...: Quirky small-town settings, stories sprinkled with a bit of the unbelievable (ie: Mary Poppins), and eccentric words
Three-Sentence Thoughts: Felicity Juniper Pickle (yes, that is her name) has moved nearly every year of her life, thanks to a mother with a "wandering heart," but landing in Midnight Gulch finally feels like home for the first time in quite a while. Felicity soon discovers that the once-magical Midnight Gulch has a colorful history, and, with the town's cast of eccentric characters, she sets about unlocking the mystery and bringing the magic back. This book just ooooozes saccharine sweetness that will be cloying to some and endearing to others.

Title: Saving Lucas Biggs
Author: Marisa de los Santos
Genre: Adventure
Read If You Like...: Time travel adventures, stories told through multiple perspectives, and quests for justice
Three-Sentence Thoughts: In 2014, Margaret's father is unjustly sentenced to death by one crotchety old Mr. Biggs. Blessed (or cursed?) with an inherited ability to time travel, Margaret elicits the help of her friend Charlie to embark on an adventure back to the pivotal days of Judge Biggs' youth in 1938 to prevent the chain of events that led to his eventual corruption. A strong example of storytelling, adventure, and moral dilemma, this story reminds readers that every one has a story and actions have the power to change history.

Title: Boys of Blur
Author: N.D. Wilson
Genre: Fantasy (??)
Read If You Like...: Family drama, small-town football culture, and zombie attacks (??)
Three-Sentence Thoughts: Charlie moves with his mom, step-dad, and sister to Taper, Florida, the kind of small town where the football team gets practice by chasing rabbits through the swamp as the sugarcane fields burn. It seems like a weird place, but then Charlie and his cousin Mack start to discover some dangerous secrets about the muck and the town that are nearly as old as time itself. I'm really trying to do this book some justice, but to be honest, it was really confusing and apparently based on Beowulf, which would explain my feelings because I also hated that when I read it in high school, but you can always just try it for yourself because it has a lot of serious fans on Goodreads.

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