If you could see Ella’s bedside table right now, you . . . actually wouldn’t be able to see it, because it’s absolutely covered in stacks of books.
She’s been reading up a storm this fall, even with the increased workload of middle school, and it’s so fun to hear her talk about her new favorite titles.
Here are a few that were winners for her lately!
Ella Enjoyed: Five 7th grade books to read
Curious League of Detectives & Thieves by Tom Phillips
Twelve-year-old John makes himself a home in the ceiling of the New York Museum of Natural History after his mother dies. When the museum’s rare ruby goes missing, John is accused of the crime. A mysterious jewel heist and a detective team like no other makes this middle grade series laugh out loud hilarious.
What Ella has to say: This was not exactly the kind of book I thought it would be on first glance. It’s not a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys, where you figure out the clues and solve the mystery along with them. This is more like a car chase, where eventually the characters and the reader end up at the end, where everything suddenly makes sense and all the bad guys reveal themselves. Despite this, it was a very good book. I enjoyed the comedic aspect and thought it had some interesting twists and turns. This is a great book for someone who enjoys an action-packed, funny, easy to read novel.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
This was a favorite of mine growing up about a young girl who sets out alone on as ship to rejoin her family in America and finds herself in the middle of a mutiny and then tried for murder. I had read this one aloud to my older girls – I hadn’t read it since the 90s! It’s so fun to revisit these beloved books from my childhood and I’m glad I forced myself to not re-read them in the last decade so that they’d be new and fresh to me when I read them aloud!
What Ella has to say: This is SUCH a good book! My mom read this one aloud to me and I was enchanted. It starts out a tiny bit slow, but once you get into it, you’re hooked. Charlotte is a super likable character and her transformation during this book is remarkable. The story almost feels like a true story, because it is so well written with so many details that make you feel like you’re there on the boat. This is the kind of book that I could read every year and still love every single time.
The Wednesday Wars by
If I was forced to choose one favorite book, I think it’d be this one. To say I was thrilled that Ella was reading it is an understatement. I just LOVE this middle grade about a boy suffering through his seventh grade year. The Vietnam War is raging and his home life is a complicated by his ambitious father and his teenage sister, but the worst thing is that every Wednesday every other student goes to religious education and he has to stay in the classroom and study Shakespeare with his teacher. This book is funny, smart, and 100% fantastic. I have recommended it hundreds and hundreds of times. The companion novel, Okay for Now, is just as good.(Full review here)
What Ella has to say: I don’t usually love realistic fiction – there are some that really spark my fancy, but most just don’t do it for me. My mom and dad had both told me this was the best book ever, so I read it. It was pretty good! It’s not my favorite book of all time, but it’s definitely up there. The Wednesday Wars is funny, crazy, and relatable. I thought that it made Shakespeare seem more interesting and this is a middle-grade novel that I will definitely be reading again!
The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat
Christina Soontornvat made a big splash a few years ago by nabbing not one Newbery Honor but TWO – one for A Wish in the Dark and one for All Thirteen, both of which I loved. As soon as I saw she had a new fantasy middle grade novel, I knew it was one I wanted to read to the girls (and it’s also one of the books on the 2022 Everyday Reading Book Club list!) (Full review here)
What Ella has to say: I really enjoyed this book. I wasn’t quite sure at first, but it becomes really interesting. I love the descriptions and really great character development. The story just keeps getting better up until the very last chapter. This is not your typical fantasy novel, but it’s a really interesting and stimulating read! I loved the world that Christina Soontornvat has created!
Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas
My book club read this one when we did a whole slew of graphic novels this summer and it follows Bree who is thrilled about starting middle school until she finds out she has to take Swim 101. She is terrified of swimming, but an older woman in her apartment building, who used to be a swim team captain, agrees to help her tackle this new challenge.
What Ella has to say: I saw this book on the bookshelf and thought, “This looks good; I think I could read this in the next half-hour,” and I did. It was very good, and I loved the illustrations. It was really interesting and I learned new things about swimming. I enjoyed following Bree through her life, move, and swimming. She was totally relatable and it was really inspiring and fun to relate with her and watch her learn a new skill. I really liked her friends and the other characters, and thought they made the whole book better. This was a great graphic novel and might be in my top 10 graphic novels, which is really saying something because I LOVE graphic novels and have read a ton of them.