Hi everyone! Now that 2018 has come to a close I’ve been seeing a lot of people share their ‘best of’ lists and I’ve been having a lot of fun reading them! I wanted to do one too, of course, but with having read 152 books this year and me being super indecisive I just knew there was no way I could make a single list (or that list would be about 30 books long). That’s why I decided to split it up into three major categories (middle grade, YA contemporaries and YA SFF), and today I’m going to share my favorite 2018 middle grade releases with you!
Middle grade was definitely one of my most read genres last year, and I had the best time with it. I seriously adored almost every single middle grade book I read, so I definitely plan on reading a lot of middle grade books this year. Here’s my twelve favorites!
Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed – Amal Unbound was one of the first middle grade’s I read this year, and one of the best. It is a very touching read, filled with hope, courage and amazing characters, and one that I want to reread ASAP because I flew through it the first time I read it, and I’m sure I missed a few things. You can read my full review here.
The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden by Karina Yan Glaser – This book is the sequel to one of my favorite middle grade books ever, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, so this book had a lot to live up to. And luckily, it did. I’m not much of a rereader, but this book came out in September and I’ve already read it twice, so I think that says a lot. My full review can be found here.
Front Desk by Kelly Yang – Front Desk is one of the only books this year that made me give up on precious sleep, and stay up way past my bed time. I just couldn’t get enough of this book, and I had to know what happened next. I adored everything about it: the writing, the plot, the characters, etc. This book is also one of my favorite debuts of the year, and I truly cannot wait to see what Kelly Yang will write next!
Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson – Harbor Me is one of those books that you read in one sitting, and one that keeps popping up in your thoughts, even if it’s been quite a while since you’ve read it, and a book that I’ll return to many times. This was also my very first Jacqueline Woodson book, and I’m so glad this book introduced me to her because I’ve read and loved two more of her books and I can safely say she’s one of my favorite authors.
Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake – It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Ashley Herring Blake and of the middle grade genre, so I knew the combination of those two things would create something wonderful. I, however, wasn’t prepared for how wonderful Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World was going to be. I read this book at the exact right time, and I cried a lot while reading it. This book has come to mean a lot to me, and I’m incredibly thankful.
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani – The Night Diary was one of my most difficult reads of the year. We follow the journey Nisha takes when Pakistan and India are separated, and she, and her family, become refugees. The story is incredibly raw and painful, and I noticed how I kept holding my breath whilst listening to the audiobook, but while difficult, this book was definitely worth the read.
Sunny by Jason Reynolds – I read the entire Track series by Jason Reynolds this year, a series of four books all focusing on a different kid on a track team, and while I adored them all, Sunny was definitely my favorite. Every book in this series was a very fast and fun read, but also dealt with some very serious issues in a wonderful way. Jason Reynolds truly never disappoints.
Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow – I read Drum Roll, Please at the beginning of the year, and I had the best time with it. The book takes place at a music summer camp and, having gone to a summer camp myself quite a few times, this book made me feel extremely nostalgic. The book tackles the topic of a parent’s divorce well and I truly appreciated how the author let her main character be angry about it, and I loved how the fact that the main character fell for a girl in the book was never made into a big deal. This was the perfect, summer-y read.
The House That Lou Built by Mae Respicio – I initially picked The House That Lou Built up because of it’s cover, which, in my experience, is not always the smartest thing to do because I often end up being disappointed in the book. Luckily, this book is just as delightful as it’s cover. It tells the story of a Filipino girl with the dream of building her own tiny house, and has a wonderful focus on her big, Filipino family. This is definitely that type of book that you want to read in one sitting if you want a quick pick-me-up.
The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller – Natalie’s mother is depressed, and this book deals with this in a very realistic and emotional way. Natalie doesn’t always understand what’s going on with her mom, and sometimes gets it wrong (which hurt to read about at times), but it all felt incredibly real, and I could truly appreciate the way the author explored this difficult topic. This book was heartwarming and heart wrenching at the same time, and I loved it a whole lot.
Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya – Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish is about a guy traveling to Puerto Rico with his mom and brother for the first time in the hopes of finding his dad. I fell in love with this book because of it’s wonderful characters, incredible food and landscape descriptions and the way it talked about family. This book made me tear up quite a few times purely out of happiness, which is just the best feeling.
So, those were my favorite 2018 middle grade releases! Please keep in mind that I definitely haven’t read all 2018 middle grade releases (far from it), so there’s a really good chance I’m missing some really great titles here. If you’ve read a really great one that’s not on this list, please let me know about it!
Have you read any middle grade books in 2018? Which one’s were your favorites?