3 Middle-Grade Books That Melted My Heart

Towards the end of 2022, I really dived into middle-grade books. I realised that middle-grade books these days are so complex, and well-written and manage to tackle so many important themes in a digestible manner for kids. What’s best is that they manage to do it in less than 500 pages. Lately, I have many complaints with YA books, primarily that they’re longer than they need to be and end up stretching the plot for no reason at all.

So yes, I’ve been gravitating towards middle-grade books and as a kid who only read white, eurocentric children’s books I am delighted to see such diverse middle-grade books tackling various themes. And now I’m here to review and recommend some of my favourite middle-grade books that I recently enjoyed 🙂

A beautifully written fantasy story spinning around Eliot, a girl who is grieving her grandmother and is determined to find her as a ghost. Her search leads her to Honeyfield Hall, a house filled with ghosts who need her help before they disappear forever. Akemi Bowman is a brilliant writer and I’m bound to fall in love with anything she writes. But when I say this book blew me away…

I love the way grief is explored from different perspectives. Eliot just wants to talk about her grandmother and sit with her grief while her parents keep pushing the topic away so she sets off to find her grandmother’s ghost. We encounter so many wonderful characters who are fleshed out and add vibrance and complexity. Watching Eliot go through this journey is heartwarming and it made me pretty emotional (obviously, there are trigger warnings for off-page death of a grandparent). She struggles to connect with others her age while figuring out her own identity and trying to help the friendly ghosts she comes across. This book focuses on themes of loss, family, friendship and just forming connections. But it also offers a mystery as we try to figure out along with Eliot how to save the ghosts of Honeyfield Hall. I wish that every kid in the world gets to pick up this book 🙂

~ Goodreads ~ Storygraph ~

Jade hasn’t had the best luck with best friends, that’s until she made up her own. Zoey is everything Jade ever wanted so when she comes to life her life should be perfect, right?

This concept? A 100/10. I connected so much with this book, and I feel like a lot of kids would as well. Movies and tv focus so much on having best friends who completely understand you and are always there with next to nothing going on in their own lives. It sets up extremely unrealistic expectations which only causes trouble. This book follows how having a perfect best friend that you can control still doesn’t mean it’s what you need in life. Jade has been dealing with her father’s cancer and clutching onto Zoey as a lifeline. For her, having a best friend means someone who can read your mind and always stays by your side. In this book we see her notions of friendships and connections change and develop as she navigates this magical reality and tries to deal with her emotions and reconnect with her family.

All in all, it’s a heartwarming book exploring the importance of communication and managing your relationships and emotions.

~ Goodreads ~ Storygraph ~

Sonali’s parents are separating but as per usual she’s determined not to show her emotions and stay stoic and strong. Except in a magical turn of events, her reality turns into a Bollywood movie full of dance sequences and songs that she can’t stop singing. Songs that force her to express her true feelings in front of everyone. The number of times I got secondhand embarrassment from this book…

The author tackles an important concept, one that all desi readers will especially relate to: how kids are often not taught to express their emotions. Instead in Asian and desi families, kids are told to keep everything bottled up and especially not express their problems outside the immediate family in case people gossip and they lose face. It is such an entrenched concept in kids and I love the unique and fun way in which the author tackles it. Sonali must learn how to express her emotions, otherwise she’ll be forced to blurt them out in the form of singing and dancing in front of everyone. I absolutely adored this story of messy parenting and families and kids trying to express themselves and communicate. An absolute gem of a book!

~ Goodreads ~ Storygraph ~

Do you read middle-grade books? What are some of your favourites?

Have you read any of these books? Or are they on your TBR? What are your thoughts on them?

Let me know in the comments 🙂


6 thoughts on “3 Middle-Grade Books That Melted My Heart

  1. Three cheers for three excellent MG books 😀 It seems like more bloggers are reading MG these days, including for some of the reasons you mentioned. I haven’t read anything by Akemi Dawn Bowman, but I was excited to see her put out a MG book. It’s on my TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

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