Children and Young Adult Fiction Recommendations

In my last post, Gray Hair Does Not Equal Grandma, I mentioned reading middle grade and young adult novels.  Here a few of my favorites from the last few years.

The Silent Lee books by Alex Hiam

Photo from Alex Hiam’s Instagram

Middle grade books with a strong female lead and lots of action.  Silent lives in modern day Boston.  Every morning she leaves by the side door of her Aunt Gen’s house to attend The Girl’s Academy of Latin and Alchemy in the early 20th century.  Her two worlds collide in adventures that involve men in black, horse drawn carriages and giant bee girls.

Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley

A middle grade read with a sophisticated plot and plenty of peril.  When Jin and Alex reluctantly partner for a school project, they meet Elvin, whose grandfather lies in a coma after a brutal assault.  The three join forces to find the attacker but as they uncover more complicated questions about the history of their neighborhood, they find themselves in mortal danger.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

This young adult novel about a trans boy named Yadriel who summons a ghost by mistake when he’s trying to prove to his Latinx family that he should be able to go through a ceremony for males is just such a delight.  Every once in a while, I read a book that is so much more than I expected and this is one of those books.  It’s a love story, a coming of age story and a window into growing up trans all rolled into one dramatically funny story.  Yadriel and Julian will stay in your heart for a long time.

The Paper Girls of Paris by Jordyn Taylor

Photo from Jordyn Taylor’s Instagram

History lovers will enjoy this dual saga of 16 year old Alice, unraveling the story of the apartment in modern day Paris she inherited from her grandmother, and her 16 year old Aunt Adalyn, who mysteriously disappeared during the Occupation of WWII Paris.  Both girls have a hunger for adventure and a family full of secrets. 

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

Liz Lighty had her life planned out perfectly until her college scholarship fell through.  The only way she can see to achieve her educational dreams is to win her high school’s prom queen competition.  I loved this book as much for the warmth of her grandparents and brother and the romantic relationship she develops with fellow prom queen rival, Mack, as I did the main journey of the competition itself, with its twists, laughs and tears.

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

I highly recommend anything Marissa Meyer writes, which is usually young adult fantasy (The Renegades trilogy, The Lunar Chronicles).  Her first contemporary rom com, of course with a little fantasy twist, follows seriously studious Prudence during a summer working for extra school credit at a sea animal rescue center.  When she hits her head and discovers she can visit karma, both good and bad, on the deserving people around her, she learns lessons she hadn’t anticipated, especially about her irritating lab partner, Quint.  A fun read and I particularly enjoyed all the Beatles references!

Happy Reading!!

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