Monday, April 22, 2019

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - The Last Apprentice

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

From School Library Journal  (Review at Amazon)
Grade 5-8

When 12-year-old Thomas, seventh son of a seventh son, is apprenticed to the local Spook, whose job is to fight evil spirits and witches, he expects a life of danger. However, the boy doesn't realize just how soon he'll face a powerful enemy alone, as Mother Malkin escapes her confinement while the Spook is away. Thomas is forced to use his wits, and the help of his enigmatic new friend, Alice, to fight the evil witch. And defeating her is only the start of the boy's problems. 

Delaney's characters are clearly presented and have realistic depth, and Thomas's mother and Alice stand out for their strong words and actions. The protagonist's voice is clear, and his conflicts over his actions ring true. This first entry in a proposed series is an excellent choice for readers who are looking for a more sophisticated alternative to R. L. Stine's Goosebumps books (Scholastic), and the pacing and edgy illustrations at the start of each chapter will appeal to reluctant readers. Delaney's rural, quasi-medieval world is populated by a variety of magic creatures, and readers will look forward to discovering more of them, along with Thomas, as the series continues. 

A solid choice, particularly for middle school boys.–Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI 

I love this series - love it!  It's a bit dark and not one that should be read right before bed, but it's unique and fascinating and irresistibly compelling. I chose the review above because it is one of the best I've seen at capturing the feel of these books.  My son started reading them around 5th grade. He's in 8th grade now and still can't wait for the next book - and neither can I!  Give them a try.

Happy Monday!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Marvelous Middle grade monday - Tyger Tyger

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Tyger Tyger
by Kersten Hamilton

Goodreads Blurb:

Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures--goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty--are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.

Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right. The goblins are coming.

Kersten Hamilton is the author of several picture books and many middle grade novels. When she's not writing, she hunts dinosaurs in the deserts and badlands outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she lives. This is her first novel for young adults. For more about Kersten, please visit

I loved this book. Kersten is a wonderful storyteller, and she easily had me in her spell with this story. It was unique and heartwarming and fun and suspenseful.  The Irish theme was absolutely magical - I could almost believe The Travelers are out there right now.
I would call this one an upper MG - to YA text. There was nothing in it I would question for an MG reader, but I know my MG son still shy's away from ANY HINT of romance. An MG girl, however, would probably adore it. 

Happy Monday!

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