We had two exciting middle grade novels for 8-12 year olds to start the year off.
Journey’s End by Rachel Hawkins. We loved this story of Nolie’s visit with her father to the mysterious and a rather spooky seaside Scottish village of Journey’s End. Nolie’s father is a scientist who came to study the “Boundary”, an unusual fog bank just offshore. The problem is, is that whoever goes into the Boundary never returns and the Boundary is starting to get very close to shore and the village. Along with her new friend, a local girl by the name of Bel, they meet a boy named Albert. The girls figure out that Albert is a boy who vanished into the Boundary in 1918 and has returned not having aged a day and has no memory of the last hundred years! Together the three children attempt to solve the mystery and save the village using an old Scottish spell. Rachel is a very popular young adult writer and this is her first middle grade novel. She was a high school English teacher before becoming a full-time writer. She lives in Dothan, Alabama with her family.
Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague. We really enjoyed the writing style of this husband and wife team, each writing the story of one of the two main quirky characters in alternating chapters. Audrey and Aaron meet at a six week wilderness camp in the Texas desert. Audrey knows when people are lying to her and she feels personally betrayed. Aaron is a walking encyclopedia which doesn’t always work out in his favour. Their parents decide the camp will do their children a world of good as it claims “the Journey of Confidence will forever transform your child”. The other kids at the camp all seem to have their own issues including the leader Jare. This unusual survival camp literally becomes a journey of survival when something goes terribly wrong. The kids need to count on and trust each other learning an enormous amount about each other and themselves. Married for over twenty years, Marisa and David live in Wilmington, Delaware with their two children and two Yorkies.