I was a panellist (judge) in the Elementary & Middle Grade Speculative Fiction for Cybils 2021, so I had the pleasure of reading a lot of Middle Grade books over the last few months. As I write Middle Grade fantasy, this was a total joy, and I am so impressed by the range of stories, from fantasy, horror sci-fi, to magic realism, with every sort of protagonist, from historical settings to futuristic, from intrusive and portal fantasises to secondary worlds, and for the younger and older end of Middle Grade. It was extremely difficult to choose which books proceeded to the final, and I wish we could have put forward a lot more than seven! Anyway I thought I would start the year off with a post on some of my favourite nominated books that didn’t get through to the final.
Ghost Girl by Ally Malinenko.
One of the best books I read last year, and my favourite Middle Grade, it has an exciting story, fabulous characters, deep themes, and in places definitely creepy! I’m looking forward to reading more by this author. See my review here.
Wulfie Beast in Show by Lindsay J Sedgwick
This story by fellow Irish author is perfect for younger readers, and who wouldn’t want as best friend a purple wulfen who shrinks and grows, and freezes time when he sneezes? I absolutely love Wulfie, and this is book 2 in the series, and book 4 due out soon. Highly recommend this series
Pencilvania by Stephanie Watson
I loved this perfectly crafted tale for younger readers of a girl lost in grief for her dead mother who has to rescue her little sister from a monster who wants to erase her. See my review here.
The Monsters of Rookhaven by Padraig Kenny
A fun read about a mysterious family of monsters with a secret pact with the local village which is threatened when strangers arrive. See my review of my fellow Irish author’s book here.
The Gatekeeper of Pericael by Hayley Reece Chow
This is such an exciting fantasy adventure with excellent world-building and a fabulous magic system. Highly recommend. See my review here.
I’ll be posting more reviews of other books nominated in this category over the new few weeks so watch out for them.
In the meantime wishing all my readers a wonderful, magical, and very happy 2022!