New and Exciting Middle Grade Books: Spring 2018

In my pledge to read more middle grade books in 2018, I have very kindly been sent a variety of new and exciting books by publishers this spring. As I'm pretty new to reviewing middle grade books, I decided that the best way to talk about these would be through a quick-fire blog post, detailing the books I've been reading and my thoughts on them.

Here goes!

1. Not If I Save You First - Ally Carter

I was hesitant to start this book and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it was the bright pair of yellow sunglasses that came with it - they are way too badass for me. 

Maddie is the daughter of a secret agent and after a close-encounter, finds herself in the Alaskan wilderness. Of course, danger follows and soon enough she's on a mission and this time she's in charge of ensuring the safety of a royal family member. 

I found this book to be a fast-paced and gripping read. It's got some serious girl-power, plenty of action scenes and some great sarcastic lines.

2. Dear Katie - Katie Thistleton

This was my first (recent) experience of non-fiction in the MG category and it was definitely a gentle introduction! Katie Thistleton is a well-loved kids TV presenter who took questions from young people and answered them in an agony aunt style to create this book. With the help of a GP and psychologist, there's some great advice here. It's written and presented in a magazine style so I can imagine it being very appealing to those looking for some answers about puberty, family life and friendships. 

Overall, it was an encouraging read and one I'd recommend to all young people. I found it repetitive and some of the GP/psychological advice was a bit random and not really targeted to the specific question, but that didn't hold it back too much! 

3. The Nothing To See Here Hotel - Steven Butler

This was brilliant! So funny, imaginative, exciting and full of wonderful illustrations. My favourite MG book of 2018 so far, and yes there's a long way to go, but it deserves such a title. Frankie and his family run a hidden hotel full of magical creatures. It's hard to run smoothly at the best of times but then a goblin prince shows up and everything well and truly turns to madness. It was a smooth read with clear characters and a great story. 

4. The Eye of the North - Sinead O'Hart

This adventure story was beautiful in more ways than one. The cover is gorgeous and beyond that, the writing is beautiful and full of adventure. Emmeline receives a letter from her mother one morning to say they must have died and so she must go to stay in France. There are a lot of family secrets that come out. I loved the scientific backdrop, the elements of friendship and the writing (I have to mention it again, it was that good). Although, it wasn't 100% absorbing for me, it was a great experience of MG fantasy. 

Thank you to Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Stripes for sending me these books.

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