Summary: Sinister forces plot against a young soldier after she reveals a magical power that may unite her world.Read More »
“Witchlings” by Claribel A. Ortega
Source: Scholastic in exchange for honest review
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy
Every year, in the magical town of Ravenskill, Witchlings who participate in the Black Moon Ceremony are placed into covens and come into their powers as full-fledged witches.
And twelve-year-old Seven Salazar can’t wait to be placed in the most powerful coven with her best friend! But on the night of the ceremony, in front of the entire town, Seven isn’t placed in one of the five covens. She’s a Spare!
Spare covens have fewer witches, are less powerful, and are looked down on by everyone. Even worse, when Seven and the other two Spares perform the magic circle to seal their coven and cement themselves as sisters, it doesn’t work! They’re stuck as Witchlings—and will never be able to perform powerful magic.
Seven invokes her only option: the impossible task. The three Spares will be assigned an impossible task: If they work together and succeed at it, their coven will be sealed and they’ll gain their full powers. If they fail… Well, the last coven to make the attempt ended up being turned into toads. Forever.
But maybe friendship can be the most powerful magic of all…
You can never really have enough books about finding your place in this world. It’s one of those universal experiences that draws us all together. Witchlings sounds like many other beloved fantasy books: children come of age in a society that places them in groups that will shape their futures and of course, there’s trouble that comes along with the territory.
Even though that’s a trope and story arc that’s been explored time and again, Witchlings feels fresh and new. It’s a different take on the magic that we often see within Middle Grade fantasy.
Seven, Thorn, and Valley are a great group of characters. They feel fully developed and you just want to get to know them more. Some of the words & phrases in the world are a little too sweet and silly for my taste.
Heavy subjects are touched on through the story in an age appropriate way.
All in all, a charming new addition to the middle grade fantasy world.
“Horrid” by Katrina Leno
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.
As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiralling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all — it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….
Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more… horrid?Read More »
“Hunters of the Lost City” by Kali Wallace
Source: Quirk Books in exchange for honest review
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Fantasy
Twelve-year-old Octavia grew up believing the town of Vittoria was the only one left in the world. The sole survivors of a deadly magical war and plague, the people of Vittoria know there’s no one alive outside the town walls—except the terrible monsters that prowl the forest.
But then the impossible happens: Octavia meets another girl beyond the walls, someone who isn’t Vittorian. Everything she’s ever believed is thrown into question, and there’s no going back.
In her quest for the truth, Octavia discovers a world full of lies, monsters, and magic. She’ll have to use every scrap of her skill, wits, and courage to uncover what’s real about Vittoria and the rest of the world.Read More »
One of my favorite newer trends is the mixed format book. Traditional novels include just paragraphs within chapters. Occasionally, you might find a picture or two but the book is primarily just blocks of text.
The books featured on this list reject such a traditional idea of a book. These books have:
These books are fascinating ways to tell a story. They’re also a wonderful way to grab the attention of a struggling reader.Read More »