This year, I ventured into the world of MG fiction… and fell in love! In 2014, I’m hoping to read read a larger number of MG titles and explore some established MG series that I’ve been missing out on, like Percy Jackson, Fablehaven, and Ranger‘s Apprentice! Below, in no particular order, you’ll find my 5 favorite MG reads of 2013. I did not include MG titles that will be published in 2014, though I have read quite a few already and I thoroughly enjoyed them all!
The Real Boy by Anne Ursu
Oscar is the shop boy to the most powerful magician in the Barrow, an ancient forest that surrounds a perfect city that was once almost decimated by a plague decades before. Oscar, who was brought to the Barrow from a far away land devoid of magic, spends his days gathering and preparing ingredients for the magician’s potions and spells, avoiding the magician’s assistant, a bully who spends his days looking for new ways to pick on Oscar, and talking to his many cats who understand him when no else seems to. Oscar likes simple things, structure, and quiet, but his small rebellion is his love of books, which he sneaks secretly from the magician’s library. When an unknown monster begins terrorizing the Barrow and the children of the perfect city within its protection begin falling ill, Oscar must step out from the comforting shadow of life and face his fears to save day.
Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
Rosoff, as always, delivers a stunning, emotional read with PICTURE ME GONE. 12-year old Londoner, Mila, has accompanied her father, Gil, to New York where is estranged best friend, Matthew, has disappeared. Mila notices things. An observer with a keen eye, she connects small details others dismiss or overlook. She’s puzzled by Matthew’s disappearance, and as she and Gil attempt to unravel the mysteries of Matthew’s life – his motives, his relationships, his guilt – Mila comes to realize big ideas about life, trust, and the things that define who we are. Absolutely brilliant and beautifully written, PICTURE ME GONE is Important with a capital I.
The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick
The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick features a unique premise and a diverse group of main characters. The novel follows a group of four classmates who, though they interact daily, know very little about one another. This changes after the students are tasked with bringing a rock to school for their science class. Edward, waiting to the last minute to finish the assignment, grabs the only rock he can find on his way to school, but this isn’t any ordinary rock. The rock is actually a Time Fetch, the resting place for foragers who do just that: fetch – or collect – time. Soon, with time disappearing all over the place and some particularly nasty witches on the hunt for the time fetch, their whole world is thrown off course. And it’s up to these four unlikely allies to band together to set things right!
The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin
The novel is packed with magic and mystery, making it more fantastical than realistic, but it still leaves readers with an important message about eating well and being healthy. In the real world, there (probably) isn’t a witch who’s trying to fatten you up so you make a better meal, but they are still definite negative consequences to bad eating habits and lack of exercise and The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy is the perfect novel to start this discussion with young readers.
Ghoulish Song by William Alexander
William Alexander’s Ghoulish Song is a short read and an adventurous, magical tale. Though technically the companion to GOBLIN SECRETS, in which readers are first introduced to the city of Zombay, it isn’t necessary to read this previous offering to enjoy Kaile’s story.
Did any of my favorites from 2013 make your Best MG of 2013 list too? Are there any that you recommend I read in 2014? I’m always open to suggestions of new and old titles! If you have a “Best of” list, feel free to leave me a link in the comments section.
- Best YA of 2013 (thehidingspotblog.wordpress.com)