What I'm Reading: Middle Grade Novels

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:

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio

Believe the hype. This book is brilliant.

Black Boy White School, by Brian F. Walker

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.)

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

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?