Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt, a review

Sometimes I stray from my core mission of reviewing middle grade novels. This novel is almost a middle-grade novel. After all, its narrator is twelve, perfect for middle grade. But the real protagonist is thirteen or fourteen, a boy who’s already lived enough grief–and joy–for a lifetime. So I guess it’s young adult. Gary D. […]

Iggy and Oz: the Plastic Dinos of Doom by J.J. Johnson, a review

Middle-grade voice involves a (usually) sassy or joking twelve-year-old who’s finding himself or herself in a pickle and agonizing about it in a very funny way. It’s unique to middle grade books, as far as I can tell. I’ve talked about it before, and even have a category on this blog, “middle-grade voice example.” In […]

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, a review

Three Times Lucky, by Sheila Turnage (2012), tells a middle-grade whodunit with the unforgettable Southern voice of a rising sixth-grader, Mo. Mo lives with the eccentric proprietors of the town diner, Lana and the Colonel. No matter that the Colonel has amnesia and can’t remember his life before he got to the North Carolina hamlet […]