Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
When we first started brainstorming ideas for Middle Grade Strikes Back, Jim from http://www.yayeahyeah.com/ suggested we take part in Top Ten Tuesday whenever the topic could fit comfortably with middle grade books. Rather wonderfully, the theme for today's Top Ten Tuesday is 'Top Ten Books I Can't Believe I Haven't Read/Want to Read from Genre X', and so ten of our fab contributors have each written about a middle grade book that they can't believe they haven't read yet.
1. Abi Elphinstone: The Eye of the Falcon by Michelle Paver
I devoured Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series and I've read the first two books in her Gods & Warriors series - action-packed adventure with strong child-animal bonds. Nice. But the third book has been out since August 2014 and I still haven't managed to read it. And I must. Because Hylas, a twelve-year-old mountain boy, is being hounded by the Crows and has been separated by the only two friends he had: the lion cub he befriended, Havoc, and a runaway priestess called Pirra...
2. Jenni Nock: The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
I have had the most beautiful Completely Fantastical Edition hardback copy of this series on my bookshelf for years. The story of three siblings who move into the Spiderwick Estate and find a whole world of fae sounds so completely up my street but still I haven't opened it for longer than to admire its beauty. I'm scared you see, scared it might not live up to my expectations (even though I know it obviously will) but also scared of not getting to read it for the first time again. Though once I've read it for the first time I'll get to re-read and re-discover it... think I need to get reading!
3. Tamsin Cooke: Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
I've heard so many wonderful things about this book. How it's full of quirky, amazing characters. How it's beautifully written and spellbinding. It tells the tale of a girl searching for her mother everyone claims is dead. She befriends a boy who walks tightropes, and together they explore Paris. I adored Katherine Rundell's The Girl Savage, so I know I will love this too. Even the cover is stunning, drawing me in. What am I waiting for?
4. Stacey: A Room Full of Chocolate by Jane Elson
I was swayed by the promise of Claude the pig and chocolate Easter eggs! A Room Full of Chocolate is an emotional story about Grace’s experience of grief, bullying, and her life before she meets wild Megan and her pig. I adore heartbreaking contemporary middle grade novels, so this sounds like the perfect one for me!
5. Elen Caldecott: The Last Wild by Piers Torday
I have had a copy of this book for a while - ever since it began popping up on awards lists. But reading for work often gets in the way of reading for pleasure; it's spine is as yet uncracked. However, a story about a boy who doesn't know he's extraordinary, who can talk to animals, who - according to the cover - rides a stag, sounds totally brilliant. So, thanks to this blog, it has now leapt - hart-like - to the top of the bedside pile.
6. Claire Fayers: Deep Amber by C.J. Busby
This has been on my wish list for months - it has magic, humour, quirky characters, knights in armour, all the things I love. What would you do if you found a medieval broadsword on your stairs? Assume a rift had opened between worlds and objects were falling through? The best thing is, this book is the first in a series so I'll have plenty to read.
7. Allan Boroughs: The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson
“Under Platform 13 at Kings Cross Station is hidden a quite remarkable secret. Every nine years a doorway opens to an amazing, fantastical island”
Ask any MG writer for a top 10 list of MG authors and you can pretty much guarantee Eva Ibbotson will be in there somewhere. Her gentle style, vivid prose and thoughtful characters make her books some of the most compelling of MG reads. ‘Journey to the River Sea’ remains one of my favourite MG books of all time with evil twins, eyeball collecting villains and the beautiful backdrop of the Amazon jungle. For any MG writers wondering how to get started, the first chapter is a master class in how to open a story.
Platform 13 has been on my ‘to be read’ list for an indecently long time and is notable for including a hidden platform at a London station that would transport characters to a magical land many years before ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ did the same thing. Some years ago an interviewer, obviously hoping for a scandalised response, asked Ibbotson what she might say to JK Rowling for stealing her idea. She replied that “I would like to shake her by the hand. I think we all borrow from each other as writers.”
Truly she was one of natures aristocrats.
8. Ruth Fitzgerald: Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens
I may be cheating a little here as this book only came out this week, but I am such a fan of Hazel and Daisy, the two schoolgirl detectives from Robin’s first book, Murder Most Unladylike, that it feels as if I have been waiting forever for the next in the series. The books are the perfect blend of 1930s school story with manners, mystery and murder. This time Daisy and Hazel are apparently at a posh party when the dastardly deed is discovered! The reveal in the last book really took me by surprise so I can’t wait to get my hand on the new one. Perfect bedtime reading with a cup of hot cocoa!
9. Pippa Wilson: Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen
I spotted this on the Branford Boase longlist for 2015, and realised I didn't know anything about it. So I looked at the reviews so far, and when I found out it's a Day of the Triffids kind of book, I thought I must definitely find out more! I also love the "Closer and closer they creep" teaser on the front cover. I'm so looking forward to getting to know the characters in this sci-fi book!
10. Tizzie Frankish: Phoenix by SF Said
Phoenix by SF Said has been on my radar for some time and with each review I read the story becomes more enticing and exciting. I am intrigued by the fantasy and mythological elements, intertwined with the theme of identity that plagues all youngsters, otherworldly or not. The author has very kindly shared his journey in producing this book from the numerous rewrites to the length of time it took to complete. I am in awe of both the book and author and will definitely read it when I can fully immerse myself in the world SF has created (it’s on my TBR for my hibernation holiday- commencing February 1st till the early signs of Spring!)