Monday, January 28, 2013

BEST OF 2012: Middle Grade/Tween Books

Sorry for the long wait between Best of 2012 posts. We've been frantically reading books that we somehow missed last year, books we felt needed to be considered for our Best of 2012 list. And our reading certainly paid off—otherwise, we would have missed out on the fabulous The One and Only Ivan, winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal. (But more on that tomorrow...)

So, without further ado, here are our favorite 2012 books for middle-grade readers and tweens:

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Ascendance Trilogy #1

In the country of Carthya, a devious nobleman engages four orphans in a brutal competition to be selected to impersonate the king's long-missing son in an effort to avoid a civil war. –NoveList

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy
The four princes erroneously dubbed Prince Charming and rudely marginalized in their respective fairy tales form an unlikely team when a witch threatens the whole kingdom.  –Provided by publisher.

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
At age twelve, Sophie learns that the remarkable abilities that have always caused her to stand out identify her as an elf, and after being brought to Eternalia to hone her skills, discovers that she has secrets buried in her memory for which some would kill.  –NoveList

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead
Seventh-grader Georges adjusts to moving from a house to an apartment, his father's efforts to start a new business, his mother's extra shifts as a nurse, being picked on at school, and Safer, a boy who wants his help spying on another resident of their building.  –NoveList

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
With love and determination befitting the "world's greatest family," twelve-year-old Deza Malone, her older brother Jimmie, and their parents endure tough times in Gary, Indiana, and later Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression.  –NoveList
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pilcher
With his family still grieving over his sister's death in a terrorist bombing seven years earlier, twelve-year-old Jamie is far more interested in his cat, Roger, his birthday Spiderman T-shirt, and keeping his new Muslim friend Sunya a secret from his father. –NoveList

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life.  –NoveList

The Second Life of Abigail Walker by Frances O'Roark Dowell
Bullied by two mean girls in her sixth-grade class, a lonely, plump girl gains self-confidence and makes new friends after a mysterious fox gently bites her.  –NoveList

See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles
Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible in her family, where grumpy eighteen-year-old Sarah is working at the family restaurant, fourteen-year-old Holden is struggling with school bullies and his emerging homosexuality, and adorable, three-year-old Charlie is always the center of attention, and when tragedy strikes, the fragile bond holding the family together is stretched almost to the breaking point.  –NoveList
Read Tracy's Review

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker
A foster child named Angel and eleven-year-old Stella, who are living with Stella's great-aunt Louise at the Linger Longer Cottage Colony on Cape Cod, secretly assume responsibility for the vacation rentals when Louise unexpectedly dies and the girls are afraid of being returned to the foster care system.

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Washed ashore as a baby in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, Mo LoBeau, now eleven, and her best friend Dale turn detective when the amnesiac Colonel, owner of a cafe and co-parent of Mo with his cook, Miss Lana, seems implicated in a murder.

The Unfortunate Son by Constance Leeds
Luc, a youth born with one ear and raised by a drunken father in fifteenth-century France, finds a better home with fisherman Pons, his sister Mattie, and their ward Beatrice, the daughter of a disgraced knight, and even after being kidnapped and sold into slavery in Africa, he remains remarkably fortunate.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.


Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
Recounts the scientific discoveries that enabled atom splitting, the military intelligence operations that occurred in rival countries, and the work of brilliant scientists hidden at Los Alamos.

We've Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March by Cynthia Y. Levinson
Discusses the events of the 4,000 African American students who marched to jail to secure their freedom in May 1963


middle grade ninja said...

That's quite a list. I need to read that Ivan book!

Tracy said...

I highly recommend it, middle grade ninja! Wonder is especially wonderful as well, if you haven't already read it.

S. J. H. said...

Summer of the Gypsy Moths is a thought-provoking book. It contains sadness, problem solving, and the ultimate hope that life will become better and happier.

Tracy said...

That's an excellent observation, S.J.H. I enjoyed that one quite a bit as well. In fact, I'd say 2012 was a GREAT year for MG/Tween fiction. So many wonderful books were written in this category last year!

Shelley Dade said...

It's always a delight for a book lover like myself to see other book lovers jot down their favorites. Surely, this will encourage more people to take some time to read these interesting books, especially when they come with such high regard. Thank you, and I hope you keep giving us more of these lists!
Shelley @ Y\'all Twins?

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