Don’t Miss These Titles! Great Middle Grade and Guy Reads!
At ALA, I happened to pick up a ton of middle grade reads. Generally, this is not an area which I consider myself very well read but I was thrilled to get my hands on these ARCs and even more excited that I actually really liked them! Since some of them don’t come out for a while, I can’t officially ‘review’ them, but I can recommend them for your collections!
The first book is Liar & Spy by Rebecca STead (9780385737432, release date 8/7/12, Random House Children’s Books). Seventh grader Georges (the ‘s’ is silent) moves into a new apartment building and meets Safer, a spy who has started his own spy club (of which no one is a member but Safer UNTIL NOW!). Together, Georges and Safer decide to uncover the secrets behind mystery man Mr. X, another apartment tenant. Is he a mass murderer or does he just travel with big bulky suitcases all the time? Excellent add to the middle grade collection and a good clean read. Rebecca STead is a former Newbery Award winner and this book did not let me down at all. (ISBN: 9780385737432, Release Date: 8/7/12, Random House Children’s Books)
Colin Fischer is a book that completely caught me by surprise. I wanted a copy at ALA because the cover intrigued me. Invisible boy with pictures of different facial expressions? I had no idea where Miller and Stentz were going with this book. Colin Fischer has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, and he is a modern day Encyclopedia Brown. After a disaster in the school cafeteria involving an exploded birthday cake and a gun, the school immediately blames troublemaker Wayne Connelly. But Colin is dead set that Wayne is innocent and despite Wayne’s treatment of Colin in the past, he decides to prove to everyone that Wayne is innocent. This is like reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time but more toned down. Great for all ages and I adored Colin’s voice. (ISBN: 9781595145789, Release Date: 11/8/12, Penguin YRG)
Ungifted by Gordon Korman is every bit as perfect as every Korman novel and never disappoints. If you’re not familiar with Korman, get familiar. His books are laugh out loud funny, at times super serious, and all together excellent reads. Donovan Curtis is your typical troublemaker and after a very disastrous stunt, he is accidentally placed into the Academy for Scholastic Distinction for gifted and talented students. Faking it so that he can stay out trouble, Donovan immediately sticks out like a sore thumb. Trying desperately to fit in and to keep out of the limelight, Donovan does everything in his power to seem ‘gifted’ like his classmates. Another excellent read for all ages and a great addition to all collections. (ISBN: 9780061742668, Release date: 8/21/12, Balzer + Bray)
SIDENOTE: Liar & Spy and Colin Fischer are both available on Edelweiss!
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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