This week's round-up of middle grade science fiction and fantasy reviews

Here's the second installment of my weekly roundup of middle-grade (ages 9-12) science fiction and fantasy reviews of books old and new from around the book blogs. Here's what I've found so far, but please leave me a comment if I've missed yours, and I will add it to the list! (and feel free to spread the word about this too).

At One Librarian's Book Reviews, you can find Found (ha ha), by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Kate at Book Aunt looks at Spellbinder, by Helen Stringer (2009).

Fuse #8 reviews Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin (2009)

At A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy, Liz has The Witch's Guide to Cooking With Children, by Kevin McGowan, a modern re-telling of Hansel and Gretel (2009).

Jennifer, at the Jean Little Library, talks about Violet Wings, by Victoria Hanley (2009). And at Children Come First, Olgy has another Victoria Hanley book, that's at the top end of my definition of middle grade-- The Light of the Oracle.

At Fantasy Book Review (UK) there's Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth, by Chris Priestley (2009).

The Curse of the Spider King, by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper (2009), is currently on a huge blog tour of Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy blogs--here's one of its first stops, at The Christian Fantasy Review, and there a long list of the other participating blogs.

At Emeraldfire's Bookmark there's a look at The Taker and the Keeper, by Wim Coleman and Pat Perrin (2009), a Cybils nominee that I reviewed a few weeks back here. And it's also reviewed by Anastasia here at BirdBrain(ed) Book Blog.

Eva at Eva's Book Addiction is currently the middle-grade science fiction and fantasy book reviewing champion. Here she has Silksinger, by Laini Taylor (2009), here she has Ottoline Goes to School, by Chris Riddell (2009), and here she has The Last Olympian, by Rick Riordan (2009), all Cybils nominees.

Critique de Mr. Chomp Chomp
takes a look at When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead (2009), another Cybils nominee.

I myself only reviewed one book this week (here), being rather busy with other things. It was Lost Worlds, by John Howe (2009), a lovely non-fiction book.

This past week saw the Winter Blog Blast Tour of author interviews organized by Colleen at Chasing Ray, where you can find the full schedule. Here are the interviews with mg sff authors:

Derek Landy, of Skulduggery Pleasant fame, at Finding Wonderland.
Frances Hardinge (The Lost Conspiracy and more) at Fuse #8
Patrick Carman (Skeleton Creek) at Miss Erin
Laini Taylor (the Dreamdark Books) at Shelf Elf
Jim De Bartolo (illustrator of the above) at Seven Impossible Things
R.L. LaFevers (the Theodosia books, and also Nathaniel Fludd, Beasteologist) at HipWriterMama
and, because The Thief is middle grade, even if the next two books more YA-ward, there's Megan Whalen Turner at HipWriterMama.

(did I miss anyone?????)


  1. How are you defining fantasy?

    Because I posted about THE WITCH'S GUIDE TO COOKING WITH CHILDREN by Keith McGowan (2009), a modern retelling of Hansel & Gretel with a real witch. http://yzocaet.blogspot.com/2009/11/witchs-guide-to-cooking-with-children.html

  2. Thanks Liz! I think, actually, I'll pass on trying to define fantasy. The moment one makes a rule, exceptions crawl out from the woodwork...

  3. Wonderful round-up, Charlotte! What a great idea you had here. :-)

  4. Thanks so much for linking to my review of The Taker and the Keeper!

    You know, I'm never sure which books I read are MG except a) when I've been told they're MG and b) when the protagonists are younger than 13. Is there some other criteria? Vocabulary, maybe? Depth of plot? How long the book is?

    But then you have something like Jacqueline Woodsen's novels, which I'm fairly sure are MG except they can work for YA and adult as well because they're so well-written and beautiful. It's just that they have young protagonists, normally.

    I've no idea where I'm going with this. :D But thanks again for linking to me, lol!

  5. Yeah, the line between mg and ya is fuzzy! The age of the characters is important, but I think that it is more a matter of theme--whether or not the characters are concerned with things teenagers think about, that younger kids might not yet find relevant. For instance, if the characters start thinking about relationships a lot of the time, or having them, it's YA (in my opinion!). Length isn't useful--there are lots of mg books over four hundred pages. Vocabulary, also not so useful--a lot of mg is very sophisticated in its writing.

    I completely agree that the best middle grade books can be enjoyed by anyone!

  6. I reviewed a bit of sci-fi/fantasy this week - The Mysterious Benedict Society and Found, which may be leaning toward YA.

  7. Thanks, Melissa, for your lovely links! I've added Found, and am saving the other for next week.

  8. It was certainly interesting for me to read that article. Thank author for it. I like such themes and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon.


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