Recently, I read two amazing middle grade novels that I loved, both by the author Rebecca Stead – When You Reach Me, which was first published in 2009, and The List Of Things That Will Not Change, which was published in April 2020. The books were beautiful.
I sometimes forget that it can be wonderful to read a well-written middle grade or young adult novel. If this isn’t a habit you’re in, I’ll share that if the book is well-written, you do not feel like you’re reading a “kids book” – you simply get lost in the story and enjoy the writing. Oftentimes, the novels I read that are aimed at younger readers have simpler, clearer language and fewer lengthy descriptions of settings – and, TBH, I’ve been a skimmer of lengthy descriptions of settings ever since my days of reading Anne of Green Gables for the first time. (Don’t get me wrong – I love the AOGG series. But sometimes, Anne would describe a beautiful tree for three pages and those parts were not my jam.)
I’ve been sorting through my Goodreads list and sharing recommendations in various genres. Here are a few of my favorite YA/middle grade novels:
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – one of my favorite books of all time in any category.
- The List Of Things That Will Not Change and When You Reach Me, both by Rebecca Stead.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio.
- The Giver by Lois Lowry.
- The Truly Devious novels by Maureen Johnson.
- How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon; The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; and Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes. (These are all great books about a heavy topic; all three stories are about the aftermath of the shooting of a young Black boy.)
- The Higher Power Of Lucky by Susan Patron.
- Feed by M.T. Anderson.
- The Gospel According To Larry by Janet Tashjian.
- Cheaper By The Dozen by Frank Gilbreth Jr.
- Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block.
- Matilda by Roald Dahl.
- The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.
These books are all great choices for either an adult to read solo or for an adult and older child (appropriate age depending on topic) to read together. (Read aloud! Even as kids get to be 8, 9, 10, and older, reading to them out loud can be wonderufl family time.) Happy reading!