Reading Middle Grade, A Journey of Self Discovery

I recently came to a rather interesting realization. I never really read Middle Grade books.

I was a young kid during the Harry Potter phenomenon, and I went straight from books like The Boxcar Children and Babysitter’s Club, to the magical worlds of Harry Potter and Narnia.

From asking my parents, looking at my bookshelves, and going through Goodreads, I’ve complied the following list of Middle Grade books that I’ve read:

  1. Harry Potter
  2. Chronicles of Narnia
  3. A Wrinkle in Time
  4. Holes
  5. The Giver
  6. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

I have never read A Series of Unfortunate Events, Artemis Fowl, Percy Jackson, and so many other series.

I’m sure I missed a few in my count, but even if I did, that’s still less than 30 individual books… in the three years that I was the “target audience” for these books, I only a read a small handful. Even after, I never ventured back into the middle-grade genre of books.

With this new realization, I decided to go ahead and read City of Ghosts. I’m a huge VE Schwab fan, and thought the idea of the story sounded interesting. Considering how long its been and with how few I’ve actually read, I was extremely surprised.

The level of explaining threw me off – I guess it just never occurred to me that children need consistent reminders and definitive definitions of words. I found myself skimming A LOT because I’m always 30 years old, I know the definition of irony and don’t need it repeated it to me multiple times.

But at the same time, I was engrossed in the story. I love how magic and wonder is a given in this story, it’s not something that needs to be explained or have some extravagant back story like in YA and adult novels. It was refreshing, to have imagination and magic just be there, like it’s a natural occurrence in life.

All of this has led me to a realization; I was a super snobby reader as a kid. I skipped over most middle grade books because I was reading at a much higher grade level, and snobby me thought those other books were beneath me. I never explored so many great stories, so many fantastic worlds, because I didn’t understand why I should read A Series of Unfortunate Events I could easily read and comprehend Jane Austen books.

Like I said, snobby ass kid.

But now that I’ve read a middle grade as an adult, I’m curious to read more, experience some of the worlds I missed out on. I already have Tunnel of Bones, and plan on reading that series through to the end, but I want some real recommendations. I want to know the books I missed out on, the stories that hold special places in people’s heart, the stories that you hold onto, no matter what.

So, tell me your favorite Middle Grade books! Share with me what stories make your heart flip and remind you of younger days! I want to know all the stories.

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