Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Today some of the MGSB team have chosen favourite and/or memorable quotes from middle grade books that they have read in the past year.
1. Elen Caldecott - The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell
I'm glad I got in first this week! It means I can nab what must be many people's choice, the opening line of The Wolf Wilder, to quote in full: "Once upon a time, a hundred years ago, there was a dark and stormy girl." That traditional opening, and cliche is to beautifully and elegantly subverted. You know you're in very safe hands indeed.
2. Rachel Hamilton - A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Quote: “You do not write your life with words...You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”
I found myself nodding as I read these lines earlier this year. Despite what some might claim, I don't believe negative thoughts are toxic. Thoughts don't make us good or bad, they just make us 'us'. And it's only when we fully understand and accept ourselves that we become truly capable of writing our lives with actions.
3. Susie Day - Joe All Alone by Joanna Nadin
'''Welcome to the real world, son.'
I'm not your son, I think. And it's not up to you. It's up to Mum.
But that's not true and we all know it."
At first Joe's almost relieved that Mum and Dean, her heartbreakingly awful boyfriend, go off on holiday and leave him behind for a week. But then the leccy runs out, and the money, and the food, and when Friday comes they don't come back... There's hope too, in the form of Asha and Otis in the flat opposite, and tons of wry humour, but Nadin's rightly uncompromising about the bleak reality of neglect and poverty. An outstanding read, with sequel White Lies, Black Dare coming February 2016.
4. Darren Hartwell - Fire Girl by Matt Ralphs
Ha! Elen beat me to it, and I would not be surprised if there are a few others on the MGSB team who wanted to pick the same quote. Instead, I am going to go for one line from Matt Ralphs' brilliant debut, Fire Girl:
"That's it, witch-child, burn it all down"
It's the book's Die Hard "Yippee Ki-Yay, M********" moment. It's not particularly deep and meaningful, but as it is uttered by a grumpy dormouse called Bramley it makes me chuckle every time I think of it. Go on - say it out loud. You'll find yourself defaulting to a deep and gravelly James Earl Jones voice, but remember, you have to use the highest pitched voice that you can. More Minnie Mouse than Darth Vader. See - hilarious. And a perfect example of how Ralphs eases the darkness of his story with humour.
The Book Zone (For Boys)
5. Harry Oulton - The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
"It happened that green and crazy summer when Frankie was twelve years old." Great opening to a book! What is 'it'? why was the summer 'green' and why 'crazy'? Is Frankie a boy or a girl? And how old is she/he now? How far back are we looking? All those questions in one sentence, that's how to set up a book! It gets a bit weird after that amazing opening, but for that alone it makes the list.
6. Abi Elphinstone - Stonebird by Mike Revell
Ha! First Elen steals Rundell's opener for The Wolf Wilder then Darren nicks off with my favourite Fire Girl quote. I'm going to go with a few lines from the first page of Stonebird by the very talented Mike Revell.
‘It starts at night… A huge shadow in the darkness, a flash of gleaming gold. It sweeps across the garden and blends with the trees, then flies off towards the rundown church.’
In just a few sentences Revell sets the magic of his story turning - darkness, gold, hushed trees and a rundown church. This is storytelling at its best.
7. Clare Zinkin - Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
"You paint your toenails. You don't steal nail polish, though....Your mother is shouting that it's time to leave for school. You suck in air and shout back: "Just a minute!" You are not going to school. She doesn't realise that, of course"
When the second chapter blasts open and starts talking in second person narrative, the reader is hooked - who is the mystery 'you'? And how does Stead catch the emotions of an anonymous person so brilliantly. An amazing feat of storytelling, carefully woven into the rest of the novel.
8. Tatum Flynn - Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge
‘In the old days folk would have told stories,’ remarked his companion. ‘By the fire. To hold back the dark. But the dark always finds its way into the stories, does it not? The stories worth hearing, at least. The true lies.’
Wonderful quote from an absolutely wonderful, gripping, creepy book. Hardinge's imagination and prose are second-to-none. No wonder Cuckoo Song was the first children's book to win the Bristish Fantasy Award for best novel.
9. Kieran Fanning - Island by Nicky Singer
'If we forget the language of the ancestors, we forget how to think. If we stop telling our stories, we stop knowing who we are.'
A powerful quote from an exceptional novel which is important, brave, finely crafted and unique.
Sadly only nine from us today - do you have a favourite quote from a middle grade book that you have read this year that could be our tenth?