Friday, December 14, 2012

Guest Post: Favorite Middle Grade novels by Lynne Kelly

With the holidays upon us, I thought this would be a great time to invite some of my talented friends to guest post. Today Lynne Kelly tells about her favorite debut Middle Grade novels!

Just one of the advantages of being in debut groups like The Apocalypsies and The Class of 2k12 this year is that I got to be part of the ARC exchange, in which members pass around advance copies of their books to one another. Most of the books I read this year were debut novels that showed up in my mailbox, but luckily we have a lot of fabulous authors in the groups! Here are a few favorite middle grade novels from this year:

MAY B. by Caroline Starr Rose
I can't imagine how hard it must be to write a novel in verse, but Caroline Starr Rose makes it look effortless. Her character Mavis Betterly (or May B.) is brave and resourceful when she's stranded alone on the Kansas prairie in a sod house. One of those books that made me keep saying, “I'll read just one more chapter...okay, one more...”.

A great choice for anyone wanting a midgrade novel with adventure, humor, mystery, and a strong girl protagonist. Oh, and a ghost! While mapping out her town, Goldenrod Moram comes across a gang of grossly-nicknamed troublemakers who’ve kidnapped her brother, a mysterious old woman, and the ghost of Meriwether Lewis, who gives her a new quest. So many funny characters in this one.

One of the best titles of the year, right? Such a funny midgrade novel, and I loved both the living and dead characters. And I was so happy Lilah told her friends about her new ability to communicate with the dead; so often when I read a book or see a movie about a character with a special ability, I'm thinking, "Come on, tell someone already!" It added to the fun that she could share her gift with her friends. And of course if you have to go bra shopping with your dead grandmother, hilarity ensues.

A fun mystery-adventure, but with fantasy, too. Whenever I did have to put it down because of pesky things like jobs that interrupt our reading time, I couldn't wait to get back to it to find out what would happen to Maya and her family, and what in the world was up with that cabinet.

STORYBOUND by Marissa Burt
Love this fantasy about getting trapped inside of a storybook. It wasn't all pleasant, though--plenty of mystery and danger in this story! This is a book with a classic feel to it, and I think kids will be reading this for years to come. I'm excited to see what happens to Una in the next book, STORY'S END.

Next on my to-be-read pile is ONE FOR THE MURPHYS by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. I've heard nothing but fabulous things about this book. (And I've heard I should have a box of tissues next to be before I start reading).

Lynne Kelly was a special education teacher for a few years, until she realized it was a job for someone with good planning and organizational skills. But it was during those years she fell in love with children's literature all over again, so that all worked out. She will cross the street to avoid a clown and run into traffic to avoid a duck or a mime. She now works as a sign language interpreter in the Houston area and writes novels for children and young adults. CHAINED is her first novel.

To learn more about Lynne visit: and pick up Chained from your favorite bookstore or online retailer.


  1. I'm tickled to be on Lynne's list, especially since I've read all of these books and loved them a lot! I just wanted to add that Lynne Kelly's own CHAINED is one of my very favorite books of 2012, for at least three reasons:
    1. it's about elephants!!!!
    2. it's beautifully, beautifully written.
    3. it will make you cry, and then it will make you feel better about the world.

    1. Thank you Anne for visiting my blog!

  2. Replies
    1. I would love May B. on audio. Verse books on audio are so wonderful!

  3. I'm late to this party, but thank you for the lovely mention, Lynne! And It was a great year for MG and I must echo Anne's sentiment that CHAINED is awesome and definitely one of my fav reads of the year (and it made me sob like a, well, a sensitive author) along with MAY B, MAPMAKER and ONE FOR THE MURPHYS (CABINET and STORYBOUND are both on my TBR piles-need more time to read!).