Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Middle Grade Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Today, ten of our fabulous Middle Grade Strikes Back contributors have each chosen a book they plan to have in their beach bag this summer:

1. Elen Caldecott; Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door by Ross Montgomery
It's been out for a while, but Ross Montgomery had slipped under my radar, so I haven't read this yet. I read The Tornado Chasers earlier in the year and loved it. It was odd and unexpected in a really good way, and the title of this, at least, makes me hope I'll love this book as much.

2. Kieran Fanning; The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce
The reason this will be in my beach bag this summer is because it is written by Frank Cottrell Boyce.  Simple as that.  The man's a genius. His books are hilarious, but warm and heartfelt too. I first discovered him through the movie, Millions, and then went on to read the book, which I really liked. I enjoyed 'Cosmic' too but 'Framed' is one of my all time favourite books. So really looking forward to it.

3. Abi Elphinstone: In Darkling Wood by Emma Carroll
I like fiesty heroines and Emma Carroll does them brilliantly. I adored Tilly in 'Frost Hollow Hall' and Louie in 'The Girl Who Walked On Air' and this July sees the release of 'In Darkling Wood' - where Carroll blends Alice's modern day adventure with the historical magic of Flo's. Based on the enigmatic Cottingley Fairies and with a stunning cover by Julian De Narvaez, I can't wait to read it...

4. Jason Rohan: Arsenic For Tea by Robin Stevens
Murder Most Unladylike was for me an unexpected treat with engaging characters, a solid mystery and moments of unexpected humour and wicked satire. On the one hand, you had midnight feasts and bunbreaks, whilst on the other you had schoolgirls snogging and period jokes. Like the best animated movies, MMU was written on different levels and I for one am ready for another arsenic-laced slice of this particular tiffin treat.

5. Tatum Flynn: The Crowham Martyrs by Jane McLoughlin
Witches and ghosts and mysteries at a crumbling old boarding school, and a heroine named Maddy Deeprose? YES PLEASE. And since one reader admitted the book was so scary it spooked her even on a full train, I think the beach might be the only safe place to read it...

6. Darren Hartwell: Circles of Stone by Ian Johnstone
I read The Bell Between Worlds, the first book in Ian Johnstone's The Mirror Chronicles trilogy, a few months ago and loved every moment of it. It is middle grade fantasy at its very best, and had I read it when it was first released it may very well have made it into my top books of 2014. The sequel, Circles of Stone, is out at the beginning of July, but work is always bonkers around then (whoever says teachers wind down for the summer has never taught at my school!), so I'm going to wait until the summer holidays so I can devote quality reading time to it.

7. Paula Harrison: Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
I've read and loved many Diana Wynne Jones books but I missed out Fire and Hemlock until I bought a copy in my local bookshop recently. The blurb talks of Polly and Thomas Lynn who make up stories together that have a nasty habit of coming true. Now, who could resist that as a story premise

Paula Harrison is the author of Red Moon Rising   www.paulaharrison.jimdo.com

8. Clare Zinkin: My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons
I spend most of my time recommending books to children, so when it happens the other way round I’m totally delighted. This book only publishes in July, but my son was lucky enough to get an ARC and adored it; in fact for someone who remains fairly straight-faced through all comedy, this book had him guffawing and chuckling. The premise itself is enough to draw me in though – comic mad 11 year old Luke goes to the loo at the exact moment than an alien arrives and gives his undeserving brother superpowers. A new take on sibling rivalry! Bring on summer!

Clare Zinkin writes about and recommends children’s books on www.MinervaReads.com 

9.Harry Oulton: The Owl Service by Alan Garner
I read The Weirdstone of Brisingamen years ago and loved it, but was never allowed to read The Owl Service because I was told it was too scary! I figure I'm now old enough to tackle it, but figured what better book to read in the summer when the nights are short so as much as possible can be read in daylight. All I know about it is that it involves owls, attics and a lot of horror. Written by one of our finest living writers! What's not to like?

10. Sophie Plowden: Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle by Gabrielle Kent
And once I've devoured The Crowham Martyrs, I'm plunging my fangs straight into 'Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle' for more spooky goings on in the company of eleven year old Alfie, his ancient castle and a shapeshifting solicitor. (Oh - and a flying, talking bearskin rug, which I'd swap for a beach towel in a heartbeat!)


  1. Arsenic For Tea by Robin Stevens is a wonderful choice, I hope it will be releasing in the US.

  2. Ooh, Paula - you are going to LOVE Fire and Hemlock!! It is one of her very best - but beware, you'll have to re-read it again instantly in order to try and work out what was going on!

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