Hello bookworms!! Welcome to Top 5 Tuesday… on a Saturday!! This week’s Top 5 Tuesday is top 5 middle grade books.
I’m so sorry friends. I’ve been so sick with a chest infection this week that all I’ve been doing is sleeping, reading and drinking tea. Which normally would sound absolutely amazing, and like the best staycation ever… Except I’m totally wiped out from doing nothing but coughing, which is really not that fun at all. Yay for being immunosuppressed!! Also, shout out to my wonderful colleagues who came to work sick last week. You are the real MVPs of all the books I’ve read this week… None of which are on my TBR.
Top 5 middle grade books
If all this is new to you, please let me share my absolutely undying love of middle grade books with you. Which I probably do pretty frequently anyway, but honestly, they’re usually just so full of whimsy that I can’t help screaming about them. So, let’s get down to my absolute favourite, top 5 middle grade books!!!!
Nevermoor – Jessica Townsend
Not gonna lie. Anyone who’s been following me for quite some time probably knows how much I absolutely adore the Nevermoor series. The characters have stolen my heart, the world building is the literal definition of whimsy, and the story is perfect. Literally perfect. I will not hear a bad thing about it.
The story follows 11 year old Morrigan Crow, who is a cursed child. Morrigan is essentially rescued from her home and taken to the free republic of Nevermoor. However, the curse she escaped from is still coming for her.
If you love books like the HP and the PJO series, then I am begging you to read this. It’s high fantasy, so it’s not set in our world, and last I heard the author was planning something like 9 books (there are 3 out at the moment). Everyone I have made read this has loved it, and while it may seem hyped, please believe me when I say that the hype is so real.
Darkwood – Gabby Hutchinson Crouch
I picked up Darkwood as an eARC from Netgalley almost two years ago. The premise of the book absolutely sold me because it’s a mash-up of all my fave fairytales. The protagonists of the story are Gretel and Hansel Mudd, orphaned twins, who live in a town at the edge of a forest. A forest called the Darkwood. The Huntsmen are essentially the police, and there are some living in the woods, because of course there are!
You’ll get to see cameos from the likes of Snow White and the dwarves, the gingerbread house witch, Jack (who does have a beanstalk at some point), and the magic mirror, among others. Of course the Huntsmen also play a valuable role, as you can tell from the cover. The writing in this is very tongue-in-cheek, and as someone fluent in sarcasm I really enjoyed this!!
The House with Chicken Legs – Sophie Anderson
Please excuse me while I start sobbing about how amazing The House with Chicken Legs is. In fact, I’m not entirely sure how well I can explain to you just how much I adore this book. Mostly because it’s unquantifiable. But I’m going to give it a go regardless.
A very long time ago, I read a fantasy book that was inspired by Slavic folklore. And from that point onwards I have been low-key obsessed. The stories of Baba Yaga, Ivan and the Bear, and the Slavic spirits are utterly fascinating to me. So imagine my utter delight when I found a middle grade book that pays homage to them.
Don’t get me wrong, Sophie Anderson absolutely creates her own worlds and stories, but the way she uses and adapts the original mythology is materful. This book in particular breaks my heart because it’s about death, loss, growing up and making choices that have consequences. It’s one of the best middle grade books I’ve ever read.
The Crowns of Croswald – D.E. Night
This is another series that gives me HP vibes, so after you’ve finished Nevermoor you should definitely check this out. The Crowns of Croswald is a high fantasy world that has a lot of secrets. Who is Ivy Lovely? Why has she been hidden in a town with no magic? What is the mystery surrounding the queen? Will we ever get the answers to these questions?
The story is magical from start to finish, and the world building is great. I loved the magic system so much, especially how there are two types of magic abilities. AND the animals or magical creatures the best. There’s a mini dragon who helps start the fires in the kitchen to cook food, and he sleeps under Ivy’s bed at night. Plus there are also fairy glow worms who you can put in jars to create lamps (like on the cover). And porcupines who give you their quills to write with!! It’s so adorable!!
Tiffany Aching – Terry Pratchett
There is disagreement in the Discworld fandom about where the Tiffany Aching books sit, not in terms of order, but in terms of age category. As someone who has read voraciously in adult, YA and MG, I would absolutely put them in MG. Tiffany Aching is the hero that I wanted when I was a child.
When we first meet Tiffany she’s about 11, and apprenticing witchcraft. Her powers soon outstrip those of her current teacher and left to her own devices, ends up kind of inciting a war with Fairyland. Ummm… oops?! However, Tiffany is smart, resourceful and brilliant, and with the help of my favourite witch (Granny Weatherwax), they head off to save the world.
There are so many little things I love about this series, and I would recommend the 5 Tiffany Aching books to just about anybody. And no, you don’t need to have read the rest of the Discworld first. But please do read these 5 in publication order!!
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What are your top 5 middle grade books?