It's no secret that I love middle grade books. I really appreciate a perfect balance of humor and seriousness, and middle grade tends to do that well (more so than most adult books, in my opinion). Also, they make me feel nostalgic, which is nice.
Recently I was browsing through Goodreads, and thanks to that wonderful little "recommendations" feature, I came across quite a few middle grade books that I want to read. I'll admit that I was drawn to most of these by the gorgeous covers. Apparently I have a thing for silhouettes and illustrated covers. :) Obviously, no matter how beautiful a book cover is, I'm not going to read it if I have zero interest in the story itself. All of these sound interesting to me...a pretty cover is just a bonus.
Most of these books are either new releases or upcoming releases, though a few of them came out several years ago.
Serafina and the Black Cloak, by Robert Beatty. This story is set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. The Biltmore Estate is several hours from where I live, and I've always wanted to visit, so of course I'm interested in this book! :) It's supposed to be a spooky sort of mystery about children who keep disappearing from the estate.
Goodbye Stranger, by Rebecca Stead. I don't even know what this book is about, but I was so impressed with her other books that I definitely want to read this one. I've read When You Reach Me (absolutely loved it) and Liar & Spy (really, really liked it). Both of those books have this amazing timeless quality to them: you know how you feel about your favorite books that you read in school as a kid? That's how these feel...it's hard to explain. Also, they both have really good plot twists that turn everything you thought about the story upside down.
The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. I love historical fiction, and I've heard nothing but good things about this book. It's about a young girl who has never been allowed to leave her apartment because she has a twisted foot, until she and her brother are sent out from London out into the English countryside (like so many children were during WWII).
Circus Mirandus, by Cassie Beasley. I've heard this described as a kid's version of Big Fish. (I remember liking that film when I watched it several years ago...I should probably see it again.)
Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard. I haven't read too much about this one, because it's the sequel to Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, which I own but haven't read yet. But the cover is just as beautiful as the first book!
The Case of the Missing Marquess, by Nancy Springer. This is the first in the Enola Holmes series, which revolve around the younger sister of Sherlock Holmes. Somehow I just found out about this series recently, though the first book came out nine years ago! And the newer covers are awesome.
Nooks & Crannies, by Jessica Lawson. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Clue." Also, the main character has a pet mouse named Pemberley. That's all I need to know, really.
Echo, by Pam Munoz Ryan. This book has amazing reviews. It's historical fiction with three intertwined stories involving a harmonica and the magic of music, apparently? It sounds really good.
A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro. Technically this is YA, not middle grade. But I'm squeezing it in here, because would you look at that cover? Also, it's a mystery featuring Charlotte Holmes, a descendant of Sherlock.
Rules for Stealing Stars, by Corey Ann Haydu. This one has magic and fantasy elements, but it's rooted in reality: it's about four sisters living with their alcoholic mother.
The League of Beastly Dreadfuls, by Holly Grant. This book has been compared to A Series of Unfortunate Events, Roald Dahl, and The Mysterious Benedict Society...so basically that's my favorite kind of middle grade. Slightly creepy and sinister.
Zebra Forest, Adina Rishe Gewirtz. I love this cover! It's about two siblings who live with their grandma and family secrets and an escaped prisoner holding them hostage in their own house.
Beastkeeper, by Cat Hellisen. I think this is sort of a reversed Beauty and the Beast retelling? If the girl ever falls in love, she'll turn into a beast, or something like that. Anyway, it sounds good and the cover is gorgeous.
The Wolf Wilder, by Katherine Rundell. Again, look at that cover! It's probably one of my favorites of this post. The reviews for the story itself are a little mixed, but I still think it's worth a try. It's historical fiction set in Russia.
The Key to Extraordinary, by Natalie Lloyd. Of course this one's going to be on the list. :) This is one of my most anticipated releases of 2016. Natalie, besides being a sweet person, writes the most magical middle grade books. A Snicker of Magic was one of my favorite books of last year and I can't wait to read her new book.
The Odds of Getting Even, by Sheila Turnage. This is the third book in the Tupelo Landing series. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy the second one as much as I'd hoped to (I loved the first book), but I hope this one will be good.
The Marvels, by Brian Selznick. Anything by Brian Selznick is sure to be amazing. He tells stories in such a creative way: usually a couple of stories intertwined, sometimes with just words and sometimes with just pictures...his books are always gorgeous. All I know about this one is that there's a shipwreck involved somehow.
Paper Things, by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. The cover is sweet, but I think this story deals with more serious issues, like homelessness.
Last in a Long Line of Rebels, by Lisa Lewis Tyre. This is a mystery about a young girl who's trying to save her Civil War-era house from being condemned. I think it also deals with racism and the South (past and present), so it sounds really intriguing.
Stella by Starlight, by Sharon M. Draper. More historical fiction...this one is about the KKK in 1930s North Carolina and a young girl named Stella (which happens to be my niece's name). Again, a lovely, haunting cover.