Hello everyone! Today I bring you reviews of three amazing middle grade novels I read recently. They were absolutely heartwarming and fun and I would recommend them to all MG lovers or if you want to start a new MG, then these three books would be great to start with! And for bonus, they’re all diverse!
Synopsis: Coco meets Stranger Things in Claribel Ortega’s middle grade debut, based on Dominican folklore in which 12-year-old girl Lucely Luna must save the ghosts of her lost loved ones, living as fireflies, with the help of her best friend Syd and her witch grandmother Babette, before evil spirits haunting St. Augustine destroy them and the only home she’s ever known.
Publication Date: April 7th, 2020
Trigger Warnings: mentions of parental and family members death
Ghost Squad was a super fun and heartwarming middle grade novel. I listened to the audiobook for this one and loved it so much! The story of this book follows Lucely and her best friend Syd. Lucely Luna can talk to spirit fireflies of her dead family members. But due to some circumstances, the fireflies were in danger. To save them, Lucely and Syd set off on an adventure to save the fireflies and they accidentally wake up some evil spirits.
This book was awesome. It had it’s emotional moments and the fun moments and made for an overall great read. I loved all the characters and especially Babette, Syd’s grandmother who is a witch and Chunk the cat! Lucely and Syd are both really adorable protagonists and I loved them so much! They were smart and their jokes and innocence was really heartwarming to read. There was inspiration from the Dominican folkore and vintage video games. Since I am not Dominican, this is not an ownvoices review.
Overall, if you’re looking for a fun and adventurous Middle Grade book with amazing protagonists and spooky vibes, Ghost Squad is the perfect read! I would suggest the audiobook if you’re into them because the audiobook for this book was really good and made me love the book more!
Synopsis: I am learning how to be
at the same time.
Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.
At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.
Publication Date: May 7th, 2019
Trigger Warnings: islamophobia, themes of war
Other Words for Home was an emotional and heartfelt book about Jude (pronounced Joo-deh), a Syrian girl who escapes to America with her mother because of tense and violent conditions in her hometown. This book was told entirely in verse and it was so well-written. Listening to the audiobook is another amazing experience.
The story is about Jude immigrating, trying to remain true to herself and where she comes from but at the same time she is learning and adapting to the new American life. This book also deals with topics of Islamophobia, belonging and family. It talks about the life changing experiences Jude goes through and how she goes through that.
Overall, Other Words for Home is a beautiful book and it will definitely make you emotional with its stunning verses and heartfelt story.
Synopsis: Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.
Publication Date: March 14th, 2017
Trigger Warnings: Islamophobia, religious conflicts
Amina’s Voice is a beautiful, heartfelt and adorable middle grade novel. The story is about Amina who loves singing and is really talented but has severe stage fright due to which she can’t perform. The story follows Amina, a twelve year old who is starting middle school and thinks that things are changing too fast.
Amina has to face her fear for an upcoming recital competition while also balancing changes in her family and school life. The story is simple and and lovely. There are themes of friendships, family, faith and growing up. This book is perfect for young readers especially Muslim Pakistani readers. It emphasizes the importance of community and working together.
Overall, this is a heartwarming book about family, friendship, community, growing up and finding yourself. I would definitely recommend this especially if you need something light-hearted.
Do you read Middle Grade books?
Have you read any of these books?
Which is your favourite Middle Grade book? Tell me about it!!