Friday, July 8, 2011

My Favorite Middle Grade Books (In Other Words, Ones You Should Read)

Middle grade (MG) books were a huge part of my life up till I started high school. I rarely read any YA books in my elementary/middle school years. Even though I mostly focus on young adult novels now, I will occasionally pick up an MG book, simply because I want the pure fun and adventure that MG books have, not the love/tragedy/death deep darkness that YA books have. Most of them, anyways. Sometimes those love triangles get a little much, you know?

Anyways. The following list is a list of books that I think are great reads for any age, but mostly 10-12 year old boys (recommend them to your kids!). It seems like it's mostly men that write middle grade. At least, the middle grade books I read are mostly written by men. Not that there's anything wrong with it. I'm just pointing out the demographics.

The Chronicles of Narnia (#1-7)
The Chronicles of Narnia (The Magician's Nephew)
By C.S. Lewis
Publication Date: 1950
Features: Alternate worlds
These are my all-time favorite books, no joke. I don't even know how many times I've read them. I think the first time I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was in second grade. That one, plus The Horse and His Boy, are my favorites. These books follow the adventures of the Pevensie siblings, Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole, the young Professor, and more, as they leave our world and find themselves in the magical world of Narnia. There's battles, castles, and magical talking lions. What more could you ask for?
Eragon (Inheritance, #1)
The Inheritance Cycle (Eragon)
By Christopher Paolini
Publication Date: August 25, 2003
Features: Dragons
Another early book read in elementary school. Eragon is your typical poor farm boy. At least, until he comes across a mysterious strange blue egg one and it turns out to be a dragon. Or rather, it hatched into a dragon. The egg itself wasn't one. ...Yeah. He becomes a Dragon Rider, one of the top-notch warriors in the country, and possibly one of the last of his kind. The evil Galbatorix rules over the land with an iron fist, and Eragon may be the only one who can stop him. Tough luck, kid. This book has dragons, elves, sword fighting... my type of adrenaline rush book.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
Harry Potter (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/ Sorcerer's Stone)
By J.K. Rowling
Publication Date: 1997
Features: Magic
This is a no-brainer. If you have not been introduced to the awesomeness of Harry Potter yet, I have no idea what you're waiting for. You have little Harry, just a typical little boy living with his terrible aunt and uncle. But guess what? One day a big, hairy man shows up, and tells him he's a wizard. Talk about a life changer. Oh, plus there's a scary, evil guy called Voldemort (Gasp, I said it!) who's out to get him.
Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1)
Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl)
By Eoin Colfer
Publication Date: April 26, 2001
Features: Fairies
So there's this kid. His name is Artemis (yes, that's the name of the goddess). His father's probably somewhere on one of Forbes' lists, and their family is notorious for their, well, crimes. And Artemis is no different. He's a selfish, insolent boy, and he wants money. He's also a genius and has an IQ of over 200. So he decides to put two and two together, not to equal four, but to steal an elf with his prodigious skills and get the money. And he succeeds. So now he's become the number one most wanted in fairy land. Must take a lot to get to where he is. Anyways. Eventually, he softens up a bit and he and the fairies become something like besties. Then they all link up together and skip off into the sunset. Just kidding. They have many other enemies, some fairy and some human, to battle wits with.
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)
Percy Jackson and the Olympians (The Lightning Thief)
By Rick Riordan
Publication Date: 2005
Features: Greek mythology
Percy's a trouble maker. He's dyslexic and he just can't seem to avoid burning his many schools down to the ground. It's not like he can help it. He just happens to be the son of one of the most powerful gods. All that power is hard to contain in a little kid like him. The Gods, great and tight-knit family that they are, all seem to breathing down on Percy's neck and it's up to him to prevent wars between themselves, and a much, much bigger and more powerful enemy. No pressure at all. Rick Riordan is hilarious and his use of ancient mythology keeps me reading each and every one of his books.
The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice, #1)
Ranger's Apprentice (The Ruins of Gorlan)
By John Flanagan
Publication Date: January 1, 2004
Features: Medieval spies, warriors
This is one of the few non-magical books that I have on the list. But I couldn't not put it down. Will and Halt are King's Rangers, members of a top-secret elite group of archers and trackers that use their brains more than muscles to keep peace all over the kingdom. Halt, for one, is one of my all-time favorite characters. Ever. He's so interesting and amusing. His banters with Will and Horace never fail to make me smile. This series always involves battles and strategy, and I love to read about how it plays out. It's amazing how the Rangers always manage to outsmart their enemies, even if it's three again a couple hundred.
Fablehaven (Fablehaven, #1)
Fablehaven (Fablehaven)
By Brandon Mull
Publication Date: June 14, 2006
Features: All types of magical creatures
In this book, fairies, satyrs, centaurs, and many "fictional" creatures exist. They've been contained onto sanctuaries all over the world, where they can't harm humans. Five of these sanctuaries are kept the most secret, because they contain five powerful items that together, can unlock the Demon Prison Zzyzx (I still have no idea how to pronounce that) and unleash hell all over the earth. So obviously, Seth, Kendra, their grandparents, and a few trusty friends must stop the bad guys from getting these keys. Brandon Mull is funny, and his stories are all original and very fun. Also, the unicorn is pretty hot. When he's in human form.
Stormbreaker (Alex Rider, #1)
Alex Rider (Stormbreaker)
By Anthony Horowitz
Publication Date: 2000
Features: Spies
Oh, espionage. The twisted, dark, cruel world of secret agents. Throw a kid in there, and you've got the world's most fearsome criminals crawling on their knees, begging for mercy. Well, kind of. They act all high and mighty, and always underestimate the power of youth. Which is what leads to their downfall. (Ha!) Each Alex Rider mission is always filled with awesome gadgets, crazy villains, the typical snarky-comments-while-facing-death (Cough, Alex), and plenty of bombs. Too bad he doesn't get to pick up a gun until the last book. That would've been interesting.


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