Fave Reads: Middle Grade and Young Adult Rays of…

In typical years, I like to balance a big, meaty reading list with a stack of breezy celebrity tell-alls. Just like a healthy diet has room for both kale and cookies, I firmly believe your Kindle should have space for both nerdy non-fiction and dishy housewives scoop.

As I look back at this past year, however, I mostly failed at balanced reading. My book list was admittedly (and perhaps insufferably?) deep and dark.

Exception: The middle grade and young adult titles below. These books brought me more sunshine than a New Jersey table flip.

  • Wishtree by Katherine Applegate – Goodreads summarizes it perfectly: “The New York Times-bestselling story of kindness, friendship, and hope.” Loved equally by my middle-grader and his adult mother.
  • The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak – While written for today’s teens, it is set in 1987, so parent readers will be in total nostalgia mode throughout. The plot’s foundation is a computer programming contest, with teenage neuroses and bad decisions layered on. If you loved Ready Player One, you will love this one.
  • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L Sanchez – Being a teenager sucks. But mix in being a first-generation American with a recently deceased (and idolized) sister, and things get even more complicated. Julia, the main character, is written so authentically, that you sometimes think she is real.
  • The Wild Robot by Peter Brown – I love AI. And I love a great adventure story. So, of course, loved this tale of a robot stranded on a remote island. My third grader loved it too, despite not sharing my geeky reading preferences.
  • Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac – Both my boys read this for school, and both absolutely loved it. Based on a true story, it shares how American Indian’s used their native tongue to aid the war effort.
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – If you read just one book from all my recommendations this year, this is the one. Our racial divide told through the eyes of an inner-city-living, prep-school-going teen girl. There are no lectures and no politics. Just compelling story-telling that will stay with you for long afterward. The best book I read in 2017.

This is the sixth, and final, installment in a series of my favorite books I read in 2017. I did a similar series in 2016 and 2015.

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