Around this time two (!) years ago, a few of us got together and created a children's writers and illustrators critique group. We meet monthly and review each others work. (It's been invaluable and totally deserves its own post someday.) Though I have hours and hours of art critiques under my belt, until then I had only participated in a few writing critique sessions and only for picture books. To be able to provide more helpful advice to the novel writers, in the last couple of years I've made a point of reading middle grade and young adult books. I devoured such books as a kid, but honestly, (besides the Hunger Games and the Divergent series, ahem,) at that time I wasn't familiar with any current titles. I'm happy to say that's completely changed and it's been really fun! I thought I'd periodically list some of the ones I loved and recommend. So let's start with:
Believe the hype. This book is brilliant.
An honest look at racial and economic lines in our society. Complicated and nuanced, Walker doesn't deliver a neatly packaged ending. (Which is a good thing.)
Erskine's absolute mastery of the first person account from a kid with severe aspbergers is stunning and enlightening.
Anyone out there have some recommendations for me? What are your favorite current middle grade novels?