Top 5 Middle Grade reads of 2020

2020 blew me away with the calibre of Middle Grade on offer! With so many amazing books to choose from, I had my work cut out narrowing it down to five but in no particular order, the results are in…

5 ‘Where The World Turns Wild’ by Nicola Penfold

A speculative adventure with an incredible sibling bond at the heart of the story.

This debut had me hooked from the get go! I was really rooting for the protagonist Juniper and her little brother Bear on their adventure through the abandoned ‘wild’ outside of their city home. I find some dystopian and speculative fiction too didactic or ham fisted but ‘Where The World Turns Wild’ was so full of heart and beautiful description, nothing could be further from the truth here.

4 ‘Good Hawk’ by Joseph Elliot

A rich and fantastical saga set in a re-imagined ancient Scotland.

I have to confess to being sceptical when I heard ‘The Good Hawk’ had a learning disabled protagonist and was not #ownvoices as this is usually one of my pet hates when it comes to disability rep but Joseph Elliot fully won me round. This exceptional novel is best described as masterful with a plot that kept me turning pages. I’ve already pre-ordered the sequel!

3 ‘Orphans of The Tide’ by Struan Murray

Unforgettable. A masterclass in plotting.

I have been GUSHING about this book to anyone that will listen! Another masterful debut, ‘Orphans of The Tide’ plunges you head first into The City when a whale washes up on a rooftop. If you like your MG a little dark, a little complex and your plot more than a little twisty, this one is for you!

2 ‘Voyage of the Sparrowhawk’ by Natasha Farrant

A well deserved winner
of the Costa prize.
A summer on the high seas and
the waterways of bygone England.

Words cannot express my love for this story! In many ways the tone of Farrant’s writing is that of a classic children’s book. This may not to be everyone’s liking but I was totally swept along by the main characters’ adventures aboard the gorgeously described Sparrowhawk. There was a real sense of freedom to this novel and it gave me a longing for escape. Perfect.

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