Monday, October 7, 2013

A highlight on MG series: three series recommendations, by Yahong Chi

Series have always been relatively strong in the middle-grade market. While the young adult market swung back and forth between trilogies and stand-alones, middle-graders avidly eat up Harry Potter, Series of Unfortunate Events and multi-author series like The 39 Clues and Scholastic’s latest, Spirit Animals. Epic adventures—whether set in this world or another—are always fun, and here are three more in three different genres to embark upon.


The Theodosia Throckmorton series by R. L. LaFevers, illustr. by Yoko Tanaka


As can be guessed from the series title, these books feature Theodosia, the daughter of two museum curators and archaeologists who has an uncanny ability to sense curses on long-lost artifacts. Set in the late 1800s – early 1900s, Theodosia has the most stellar, idiosyncratic voice I’ve yet to read in an MG historical; she truly makes the books, and as she ricochets through fantastical adventures rife with Egyptian mythology, her growth and her dynamics with other characters makes these books absolutely delightful to read.


The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Tristan Lee Stewart, illustr. by Carson Ellis


I’m late to this series, I know, but holy goodness, is it amazing. With a team of four gifted children at its core, these books combine darker themes similar to George Orwell’s 1984 with rollicking, high-risk quests and friendships that are genuine, hilarious and touching to unfold over the course of three books. This series is contemporary, yet manages to feel timeless.


The Gustav Gloom series by Adam-Troy Castro, illustr. by Kristen Margiotta


When sisters Fernie and Pearlie What meet Gustav Gloom, the unusual boy who lives in the shadowed house across from their new home, the quirky 3rd-person limited narration of this series is perhaps the most attention-grabbing aspect as you crack open the first book. Soon enough, you’ll be equally sucked in by hair-rising chases through Gustav’s wonderfully odd house, his stories that hint at a much more grandiose backstory to come in the next books, and the funny, poignant moments that highlight the dynamics between all the characters. Best of all, this is true MG paranormal—not vampires, werewolves or demons, but good old-fashioned ghosts and risers of the dead.


And the best part about all these series? They're all accompanied by fabulous illustrations.

What good middle-grade series have you read lately?

-Yahong

15 comments:

  1. I really want to read the Theodosia series. Two other great ones are Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins and the Septimus Heap series.

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    1. Ohh, I have to start the Gregor the Overlander series! That one's been on my TBR pile for ages. Hope you like the Theodosia series, Natalie!

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  2. Okay. Now I just have to read Gustav.

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    1. I really hope you enjoy it! :)

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  3. Ooh, my daughter would love that last series! She's into everything spooky lately. :)

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    1. Then Gustav Gloom would be perfect for her! I promise there is a plethora of spooky paranormal activity in each book. :)

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  4. Gustav Gloom is a great pick, I would also say The Books of Elsewhere is wonderful too.

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    1. Oh, I've heard of the Books of Elsewhere but haven't give them a shot yet--I'll have to remedy that soon.

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  5. I (unlike actual middle graders) am a horrible series reader. I will read a first book, like it, but then in a totally magpie-way see something else shiny out of the corner of my beady eye, and rush to read that. But... of the series I have started, I did like Maryrose Wood's The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. I am also liking Cynthia Voight's latest, Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things. But who knows when (or if) I'll get to book 2. The series you mentioned, Yahong, all do sound ace though. I am most interested in Theodosia!

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    1. Haha, I understand. But YES, I totally love the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place! (Now I feel like I should've featured it here too!) Hope you do pick up Theodosia sometime, Mike.

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  6. These are all great picks. I particularly love Theodosia!

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    1. Me too! Her voice is just great.

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  7. I'm not usually a big fan of series. I prefer stand-alones and I have the same problem Michael G-G has: I read the first book or two in a series and never get around to finishing the series. That said, I did enjoy the original Percy Jackson series and the one Natalie mentioned, Gregor the Overlander (before Suzanne Collins wrote Hunger Games). More recently, I enjoyed Loki's Wolves, which is the first in The Blackwell Pages.

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    1. You definitely can't go wrong with Percy Jackson. :) Will have to bump Gregor the Overlander up on my list!

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  8. I like Margaret Peterson Haddix's The Missing series, because of the different historical settings. Also love Gregor the Overlander!

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Thanks for adding to the mayhem!