I have books on the brain today. Last night I finished a book I started reading over the summer: Kody Keplinger’s debut middle grade, THE SWIFT BOYS & ME. Sadly, I had to take a break from reading it just a few days after I picked it up. The break had nothing to do with the quality of the story and everything to do with having too much on my plate at the time.
But this weekend, as the pretty cover stared back at me from my nightstand, I knew I had to dive back in. I am so glad I did. I was reminded pretty quickly of why realistic fiction was my first middle grade love. Many of you know that LOVE AUBREY by Suzanne LaFluer and WAITING FOR UNICORNS by Beth Hautala are two of my favorite 5 MG books. I love the voice and I love the emotion that seeps through every single page of both books. Kody’s book is a lot like them too. It’s written with such heart and raw emotion—it’s even gut wrentching at times. But it’s full of happiness too—even when Nola, the sweet main character doesn’t even realize happy things are being thrown her way. I’ll be adding this fantastic contemporary coming of age middle grade book to the Book Nook soon, but I just had to tell you about it because the story just keeps swirling around in my head—it’s that good.
It got me thinking about book favorites though. I wish it were easy to pick one. I think it’s actually easier to choose several favorites and maybe favorite things about those books. There are many books in different age groups that I consider my favorites, but for today middle grade books are on my brain…
I adore AT YOUR SERVICE by Jen Malone and ALL FOUR STARS by Tara Dairman. Though not as serious in tone as the books I mentioned above, these two contemporary stories are still two of my favorites by far. I love the fun, the characters, and the unique premises of both.
I absolutlely love WHEN YOU REACH ME and FIRST LIGHT by Rebecca Stead also. Each is pure perfection in my mind. It makes me wonder why I haven’t read any of her more recent titles. I really must get on that! And though parts of both books are considered realistic fiction, parts of them would fall under science fiction as well.
I’m also in love with the MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY by Trenton Lee Stewart and all it’s wonderful puzzles, intrigue and adventure. My agent recommended that one to me this fall and I’m so glad she did. The other books in that series are on my list as well. Why aren’t there more reading hours in the day? I would classify this one as adventure, science fiction, or maybe a little of both.
BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu and SCHOOL OF CHARM by Lisa Ann Scott are two of my favorite magical realism titles. Both are set in the real world but each have that hint of magic that shoots the story into the stratosphere as far as I’m concerned. I love them both that much.
As you can see from the few books I’ve mentioned, I don’t have a clear cut favorite genre. You can also see that there are many amazing books that didn’t even make my list. Maybe that’s because I haven’t read them yet or because even though I love them, I don’t love them as much as one of my favorites. It’s all a matter of preference.
Hmm. Where have we heard this before?
Reading is so subjective and we all have our favorites. As writers, that’s a fact that we need to remember. Why? Because you may query a hundred agents before one connects with your manuscript. Your agent may query fifty editors before finding one that wants to make an offer. Your book may pass through the fingers of twenty five kids in a classroom before finding the one that turns to page two. But then, that one child will read on to page three and keep reading until reading time is up. Then she will open the book again on the bus ride home and then keep reading under her covers after her mom kisses her goodnight. And when she finally flips the last page to The End, she may even declare it her favorite book.
So with that in mind, I’ll keep writing. Because one day I hope my book will become a favorite for someone too. ❤
Have a great day, guys. I hope you have the chance to dive into a book today as well. I’m adding a few more titles to the Book Nook this week so be sure to stop back and check it out. 🙂