Take a Reading Holiday

Whether you’re a writer, a teacher, a librarian, or a student, there are times when the reading you have to do takes away from the reading that you want to do. So I decided to devote my two-week Christmas Break to reading all the things that had been calling to me from my endless to-be-read list. Turns out I’m not alone. Here are some of the great middle-grade books Mixed-Up Filers read during the last two weeks of 2015. Maybe they’ll inspire you to take a reading holiday of your own in 2016!

From IndieBound: Pram Bellamy is special–she can talk to ghosts. She doesn’t have too many friends amongst the living, but that’s all right. She has her books, she has her aunts, and she has her best friend, the ghostly Felix.

Then Pram meets Clarence, a boy from school who has also lost a parent and is looking for answers. Together they arrive at the door of the mysterious Lady Savant, who promises to help. But this spiritualist knows the true nature of Pram’s power, and what she has planned is more terrifying than any ghost.

“New York Times” bestselling author Lauren DeStefano is beloved by critics and readers alike, and her middle grade debut is lyrical, evocative and not to be missed.
From IndieBound: In the tradition of Sharon Creech and Wendy Mass, Corey Ann Haydu’s sparkling middle grade debut is a sister story with a twist of magic, a swirl of darkness, and a whole lot of hope.

Silly is used to feeling left out. Her three older sisters think she’s too little for most things especially when it comes to dealing with their mother’s unpredictable moods and outbursts. This summer, Silly feels more alone than ever when her sisters keep whispering and sneaking away to their rooms together, returning with signs that something mysterious is afoot: sporting sunburned cheeks smudged with glitter and gold hair that looks like tinsel.

When Silly is brought into her sisters’ world, the truth is more exciting than she ever imagined. The sisters have discovered a magical place that gives them what they truly need: an escape from the complications of their home life. But there are dark truths there, too. Silly hopes the magic will be the secret to saving their family, but she’s soon forced to wonder if it could tear them apart.

 

From IndieBound: With a voice as distinctive and original as that of “The Lovely Bones, ” and for the fans of the speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood, Karen Thompson Walker’s “The Age of Miracles” is a luminous and unforgettable debut novel about coming of age set against the backdrop of an utterly altered world.

 

From IndieBound: This stunning debut novel about grief and wonder was an instant” New York Times” bestseller and captured widespread critical acclaim, including selection as a 2015 National Book Award finalist.

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting-things don’t just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory–even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…and the potential for love and hope right next door.

From IndieBound: The Trunchbull is no match for Matilda.

Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It’ll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it.

From IndieBound: Of especially naughty children it is sometimes said, They must have been raised by wolves. The Incorrigible Children actually were. Thanks to the efforts of their plucky governess, Miss Penelope Lumley, Alexander, Beowulf, and Cassiopeia are much more like children than wolf cubs now. They are accustomed to wearing clothes. They hardly ever howl at the moon. And for the most part, they resist the urge to chase squirrels up trees. Despite Penelope’s civilizing influence, the Incorrigibles still managed to ruin Lady Constance’s Christmas ball, nearly destroying the grand house. So while Ashton Place is being restored, Penelope, the Ashtons, and the children take up residence in London. Penelope is thrilled, as London offers so many opportunities to further the education of her unique students. But the city presents challenges, too, in the form of the palace guards bearskin hats, which drive the children wild not to mention the abundance of pigeons the Incorrigibles love to hunt. As they explore London, however, they discover more about themselves as clues about the children’s and Penelope’s mysterious past crop up in the most unexpected ways.

 

From IndieBound: Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he barely knows-a man his mother claimed was dangerous. Uncle Randolph tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision. Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die…

What did you read over the school holidays? Have you ever taken a reading holiday?

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Julie Artz

JULIE ARTZ spent her childhood sneaking into wardrobes hoping to find Narnia. Now that she’s older, people think that’s creepy, so she writes middle grade instead. Her stories for children feature the natural world, folklore, mythology, history, and all that is magical about those things. In addition to contributing to The Mixed Up Files, she works as a developmental editor for Author Accelerator, writes about local Washington history for Gatherings, contributes regularly to The Winged Pen, and is co-RA of SCBWI Western Washington. She is represented by Jennie Dunham of Dunham Lit.


3 responses to “Take a Reading Holiday

  1. Lucky you to read so much! I had company and was sick all through the holidays so I only read parts of a couple of titles. I always vow I am going to take some time off and catch up on the hundreds of books I’ve got sitting here and it never happens. Oy!

  2. What a great list! And yes, I agree with Rosi above, you did a LOT of reading! I usually have a huge TBR pile on my bedside table that I’m looking forward to reading, but occasionally I’ll shun it for something impulsive and super fun (like hunting down an Eva Ibbotson I haven’t read and getting it on library ebook for immediate satisfaction).

  3. Holy Smoke, you got a LOT of reading done. I read a couple of adult books (mysteries) and a couple of middle grade — Lost in the Sun (TERRIFIC!!) and Adventure of Hamish and Mirren (Scottish tales). I haven’t read any of the books on your list, but I have added a couple to my TBR list. Thanks for the post.