Top Ten Tuesday: Middle Grade Fiction Recommendations for Boys

Hi there!

Happy Election Day!

For those of you who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful people at The Broke and Bookish.  This week’s theme is open to whatever us book bloggers want to make our lists about.

I was talking with some sixth grade boys at school recently about books they’ve enjoyed, so I thought I’d focus this week’s list around some of the titles these boys recommended (other than The Wimpy Kid Series).  So, this week’s list is Top Ten Middle Grade Recommendations for Boys. Now, don’t get my wrong girls can read these books too…of course…but these are some of the titles my boys said they love!

Framed by Gordon Korman1. The Framed series by Gordon Korman

Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson2. The Daniel X series by James Patterson

Storm Runners by Roland Smith3. The Storm Runners series by Roland Smith

Eggs by Jerry Spinelli4. Eggs by Jerry Spinelli

Hide and Seek by Katy Grant5. Hide and Seek by Katy Grant

90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis6. 90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis

Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen7. Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen

Storm Breaker by Anthony Horowitz8. The Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz

Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson9. Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

Everlost by Neal Shusterman10. The SkinJacker trilogy by Neal Shusterman

According to my boys, these are top-notch reads so if you’re looking for something to interest the middle school aged guy in your life, look no further! Do you have any other suggestions for middle grades books?


Tuesday Top Ten: Books My Students Are Reading

It’s Tuesday! YAY!

Who knows what’s popular in YA and MG fiction better than real live actual teens? My students can be pretty picky when it comes to books they enjoy so I know that when they like books, that means they’re titles worth taking a look at. So, this week’s Top Ten highlights some of the current popular titles at my school.

13 Gifts by Wendy Mass13 Gifts by Wendy Mass (MG)

Nothing but Drama by ReShonda Tate BillingsleyNothing but Drama by ReShonda Tate Billingsley (YA/MG)

Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon SandersonAlcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson (MG)

All Night Party by R.L. StineAll Night Party by R.L. Stine (MG/YA)

Hatchet by Gary PaulsenHatchet by Gary Paulsen (MG)

How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor (MG)

Alibi Junior High by Greg LogstedAlibi Junior High by Greg Logstead (MG)

Double Dutch by Sharon DraperDouble Dutch by Sharon Draper (MG)

Chasing the Falconers by Gordon KormanChasing the Falconers by Gordon Korman (MG)

The Sea of Monsters by Rick RiordanSea of Monsters (Percy Jackson #2) by Rick Riordan (MG)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme started by The Broke and Bookish to
encourage blogger interaction! :)


Tuesday Top Twenty: I Know What you Read this Summer!

Well,  I don’t know what you read this summer, so I can’t write about that.

But, I do know what I read this past summer.  I was busy alright!  This is not a Top Ten today, it’s a list of the twenty (yes twenty) books I read this summer.

1. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

2. Rumors by Anna Godbersen

3. Dark Life by Kat Falls

4. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

5. The Prince of Fenway Park by Julianna Baggott

6. Flawed Dogs: The Shocking Raid of Westminster by Berkley Breathed

7. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

8. Pemba’s Song: A Ghost Story by Tonya Hegamin and Marilyn Nelson

9. Scat by Carl Hiaasen

10. Alibi Junior High by Greg Logsted

11. The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson

12. Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen

13. Bystander by James Preller

14. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

15. Jolted: Newton Starker’s Rules for Survival by Arther Slade

16. Killer Pizza by Greg Taylor

17. Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

18. One False Note by Gordon Korman

19. I’d Tell You I Love You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

20. The Help by Katheryn Stockett  (The only adult fiction I read all summer!)


Not My Favorite: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

This was not a favorite of mine. 

And no, it’s not because I’m a librarian.

It is because of the author’s use of asides.  An aside is a literary device where a character speaks to the audience. More on that later.

Alcatraz Smedry, an orphan who continually moves from one foster home to another, is always breaking things.  He’s a walking disaster.  And he’s about to get kicked out of his current foster family’s house.  What Alcatraz doesn’t realize is that he has a Talent for breaking things.

On his thirteenth birthday Alcatraz receives a packet of sand in the mail, which is supposedly his inheritance sent by his parents who are dead.  Suddenly, a strange old man claiming to be Alcatraz’s grandfather, shows up on the doorstep.  Also, the sand inheritance is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians who are plotting to take over the entire world.  The magical sands will give the evil librarians the edge they need to achieve world domination.  Alcatraz, his grandfather, and a team of strange characters are the only ones who can stop them and save the world.

In the midst of what has the potential to be an enjoyable fantasy, Alcatraz interrupts with numerous asides.  Sanderson majorly overuses this technique, so much that after reading through some, I couldn’t remember what had actually been happening in the story.  Sanderson is attempting to be humorous and witty, and at times does manage to meet his mark, but oftentimes it just came off as annoying rather than fun.

On a positive note however, I do like the way in which Alcatraz realizes that what he thought was his major flaw (always breaking things) is instead, a strength.  In fact, it is this supposed flaw that ultimately saves Alcatraz from the evil librarians.  This is a positive message for young readers who might need to reevaluate those things about themselves that make them self-conscious.

If you, or your kids, are fans of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events books Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is worth a chance.  Maybe, you’ll actually be able to get past the interruptions.

This is the first installment in a four book series about Alcatraz; will I read the sequals?  Probably not.