Series: Minerva Mint
Title: The Order of the Owls
Author: Elisa Puricelli Guerra
Who to recommend it to:
Kids who love offbeat mysteries such as Series of Unfortunate Events and anyone who loved Pippi Longstocking, Little Orphan Annie, and Gilda Joyce
I'm not sure if the series will take a paranormal spin, but there are no paranormal elements in this one.
Why it rocks:
We have an orphan in a cool setting with complete freedom (she is "home schooled" by an absent adult), a level of danger, several interesting mysteries, and wild animals. We have a bully bad guy who is pretty scary, and three kids that get by on their wits. Lizard Manor, Minerva's home, is a character in itself. Think: Grey Gardens.
I couldn't put it down. It's charming, but not so sweet that the reader wants to brush their teeth afterward. Most importantly, it's a fun read.
Finally, diversity. Minerva is a ginger with an unknown background, her "perfect" blonde friend is far from perfect behavior wise (she's the trouble maker), and Ravi is the new kid in town.
It has long been a problem that I just never seem to have enough time to read middle grade fiction. I read a ton of YA books, my adult books for fun, and hundreds of picture books a year.....but I swear up and down that I should read more MG fiction, I bring them home, and they just sit.
Part of the problem is that I just don't enjoy MG fiction. I didn't like it when I was a kid, and I'm not crazy about it now. So much of it is formulaic, or watered down versions of YA books. It's a tough age group.
If I have this much trouble finding books, imagine what my fourth, fifth, and sixth grade readers who pop into the library are dealing with. So many of the kids just ask for the same series over and over. Is it because they like these books? Maybe, but it's more likely they just don't want to hunt through a thousand titles when they are not sure what they are looking for in the first place. So, without further ado, I plan to highlight some of the MG reads I feel are wow enough to recommend to the kids who walk into the library.
As a side note, I was thinking of Gilda Joyce (another truly original character I just LOVE) and what do you think:
Same family, or what?