Review: Scarlett by Cathy Cassidy

1239697Scarlett by Cathy Cassidy
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Family
Published by: Puffin
Pages: 240
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★.5

Maddie and I have wanted to start reading more Middle Grade recently, so we decided to start with some of our favourite books from when we were tweens! Cathy Cassidy was a complete staple in my reading life when I was 11-14. I loved her(!) and Scarlett was the first of her books that I read, so I decided to start here.

Scarlett follows an angry girl who is misunderstood. She’s been booted from one school to the next and lives with her single mother who’s a little tired of Scarlett’s antics, so she sends her to live with her dad. But Scarlett’s dad started a new family…in Ireland.

Continue reading “Review: Scarlett by Cathy Cassidy”

Series Review: The Chocolate Box Girls by Cathy Cassidy

Cherry Crush, Marshmallow Skye, Summer’s Dream, Coco Caramel, Sweet Honey, Fortune Cookie
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Romance | Published by: Puffin
Pages: 272, 304, 288, 304, 304, 288 | Format: Hardback | Rating: ★★★★

The Chocolate Box series is one of my favourite middle grade series. I remember when Cherry Crush was being teased on Cathy Cassidy’s website and getting so excited at the idea that she was going to be writing a series about sisters! I also remember in 2010 (when I was 12-13) thinking, ‘oh my goodness, I’m going to be 18 by the time I finish this series!’ (Though I was 19 in the end because she added a half-brother to the mix which bumped the series up to six.) I stopped reading when Summer’s Dream came out…I’m not entirely sure why… but it felt like finally the right time to complete my Cathy Cassidy reading experience! I’m so glad I did, because it’s chocolatey and beautiful.

Continue reading “Series Review: The Chocolate Box Girls by Cathy Cassidy”

Review: The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine

24463265The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodvine
Genre: Mystery
Published by: Egmont
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★

Mystery is one of my favourite genres, so what better middle grade to start with than this? In brief, this book is essentially Nancy Drew in a department store, and if that sounds like your thing then there’s no way to be disappointed! With the next book in the series already published and the third on the way, I’m glad that now I’m hooked, more are at my fingertips! Continue reading “Review: The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine”

I’ll Never Grow Out of…Middle Grade?

At the beginning of the year, Bee and I posted a video on our channel called ‘Outgrowing YA?‘ in which we talked how the Young Adult genre isn’t something you can ‘grow out’ of, because that suggests the age of the audience of YA has a limit. Instead, you can ‘expand’ or ‘change’ your reading tastes, both words not holding the horrid connotations that reading YA is childish after you reach a certain age.

So, I’ve always thought that, regardless of age, you can read whatever books you like. If you’re 44 and love Percy Jackson, cool! If you’re 8 and love Jane Eyre, amazing! I’ll never try and stop someone reading what they love, not matter which section of a bookstore they’ve picked it up from.

But there is one person I’ve limited. Me.

And I’m a complete hypocrite because of it! For years I told myself I’d ‘grown out’ of Middle Grade, using the same phrase on myself that I tend to avoid! I stopped myself enjoying whatever Jacqueline Wilson has published in the last decade by saying that I’m too old to enjoy it. I read, and love, all of Cathy Cassidy’s books, but have to qualify it by saying that I owe it to my younger self to keep reading them.

To heck with my younger self! Nineteen year old me LOVES Middle Grade!

Why couldn’t I admit that? Why was it like a dirty secret?

If I preach that anyone can read anything, that sentiment needs to extend to me as well. I can read Rooftoppers. I can read The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not too old and the books aren’t too juvenile. In fact, the last twenty books I’ve read have been Middle Grade, and I haven’t had this much fun reading in a long time.

I think, by finally admitting that browsing the children’s section in my local library is my new favourite hobby, I’ve finally fully accepted my reading tastes, and what I enjoy. It no longer has to be something I hide from my Goodreads account, and it didn’t need to be in the first place.

Read what you want to read, regardless of age labels, everyone, because that’s what I’ll be doing from now on!

Review: George by Alex Gino

28213561George by Alex Gino
Contemporary, LGBT+
Published by: Scholastic Children’s Books
Pages: 215
Format: Hardback
Rating: ★★★★

Another book with a LGBT protagonist! Yippee! I’ve really been seeking them out lately and I’m so pleased that everyone’s voices can be heard in Middle Grade and YA fiction.

For a short book, this one packs a might punch, so let’s go!  Continue reading “Review: George by Alex Gino”

Review: Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

23770331.jpgGoodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
Contemporary, Coming-of-Age
Published by: Anderson Press
Pages: 281
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★
Note: We received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

After first hearing about this book it sounded like exactly the type of thing I love to read. Recently, I’ve been wanting to give middle grade more of a chance, and coming-of-age is one of my favourite sub-genres. So, Goodbye Stranger definitely ticked boxes on paper. I’m pleased to say, once I’d finished it, it continued to tick boxes…and make me want to eat cinnamon toast.  Continue reading “Review: Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead”

Review: Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

15937108Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Genre: Contemporary, Middle-Grade
Published by: Puffin Books
Pages: 380
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★

I’ve seen this book in quite a few libraries recently, and I never bothered to pick it up until now because the cover seemed a little odd, and I thought because it was middle-grade that I wouldn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I should know better than to judge a book by its cover, because Counting By 7s is a story I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

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Review: Where You’ll Find Me by Natasha Friend

25666024Where You’ll Find Me by Natasha Friend
Genre: Contemporary
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages: 270
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★.5

I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

P  L  O  T
The story focuses on Anna, a girl who’s mother has been hospitalised with bipolar disorder, so she’s had to go and live with her dad, his young wife and new baby daughter. As well as that family fiasco, her best friend, Danielle, has decided she doesn’t want to be Anna’s friend anymore. With family and friendships falling down around her, Anna feels completely lost, and like no one understands her. That is until she stops getting mad at the world and realises there are other people, besides her mother, who care about her.  Continue reading “Review: Where You’ll Find Me by Natasha Friend”

Review: The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

13612962The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Published by: Scholastic Press
Pages: 300
Format: e-book
Series: The Iron Trial (#1)
Rating: ★★
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

You see, I can’t help but be slightly disappointed with this series. At first the Harry Potter parallels were obvious, and it’s going to be hard to separate the two considering it’s 2 boys, 1 girl at a magical school hidden from the regular world. I mean, we all see what’s going on here. And I seriously hoped that by book two they would have moved away from HP and I hate to admit that the plot line is still basically the same with the characters roles switched up a bit.

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Review: The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani

18004320The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani
Fairy Tale, Retelling, Fantasy, The Best Thing Ever After
Published by: HarperCollins, the little geniuses.
Pages: 672, and worth every word.
Format: Well loved Paperback
Rating: Infinity
Where to Find: Goodreads | Author | Amazon

The time has come! My perfect fairy tale is over, sobsob. What am I going to do without anymore books in this series? How am I going to cope? (I’ll wait for The School For Good and Evil movie, that’s what. (Can Agatha be played by a British 18 year old, would that be OK?)) Warning: this isn’t really a review, more like a fangirl gush of my feelings for this book and the series in general. Just imagine rainbows and glitter embellish this review, and you’ve pretty much understood my feelings. I LOVE this. Like, really really really LOVE it. Soman Chainini can do no wrong. With that said, on with the review!  Continue reading “Review: The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani”