I am a person who loves to read in their spare time, but I am also a baby. Sometimes I don't like reading young adult books, they just aren’t my sippy cup. Nonetheless, when I don’t have anything to read, I stumble upon pretty great books once in a while. It isn’t until halfway that I realize I’m not even the target audience. Yet here I am, a current high school senior reviewing books meant for kids waaaaaaaaay younger than me. Credit where it's due, these books are very entertaining and great for people of any age, including high schoolers, so maybe these don’t have to be considered Middle School books. Let’s just consider them books for all ages or something.
1. Trouble In The Stars by Sarah Prineas
If you’re looking for a pleasant sci-fi book, this one is absolutely for you. There’s plenty of wholesome moments in this book, as well as a surprising amount of dread and mystery in the first half (not gonna spoil why). This book makes you really care for all
the interesting characters and has so much heart. You may ask if I cried at all during the book, to which I’ll say no, mind your own business and leave me alone (okay, I almost did. Whatever, just read it).
2. Restart by Gordon Korman
This book had such an interesting premise, I had to check it out. Basically, a school bully gets amnesia in an accident and emerges as a new (better) person and must cope with forging a new personality for himself, while dealing with his past. I really couldn’t put this book down! This book made me sympathize with the characters and has a great message that anyone can do better in their lives. There’s even a little build up of a mystery that is very well executed. Highly recommend it.
3. Catalyst by Sarah Beth Durst
I really like cats, so when I saw the cover for this book (look, it’s literally a giant cat), it was all it needed to get me intrigued. This book is just a really fun time that animal lovers will certainly enjoy. It’s an adventurous journey between a girl and her cat as they try to find out why the animals in town are starting to look and act strangely. I honestly had such a great time with this little novel, it really is a great feel-good book that you should read if you need a low stress story.
4. Crenshaw by K. A. Applegate
Two-for-two on team big cat, baybeee. Seriously though, this book does have a bit of a sadder premise, but it’s got lots of heart and emotion. The main character has plenty of experience with poverty and homelessness in his life, even though he is just 10 years old. With all this moving around, he gets an unexpected visit from his old imaginary friend: a big cat named Crenshaw (who is a little reminiscent of the Cheshire Cat). Crenshaw serves as a method of coping and innocence for the main character, and the end leaves a bittersweet but hopeful resolution.
5. A Galaxy of Sea Stars by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo
Out of all these books, this one is probably the most realistic and tackles some heavier subjects. The main character is a girl, Izzy, who is transitioning from intermediate to secondary school, which she finds pretty stressful. Even more stressful is how much her friends have changed over the summer. Lucky for Izzy, she finds a new friend in Sitara, an Afghan refugee who just wants to be nice to those around her. However, Sitara faces discrimination from other kids at school, and the two friends attempt to face this prejudice together. I found myself resonating with the main characters very much, and I hope that you’ll find this book as insightful as I did.
6. BONUS: The Menagerie Trilogy by Kari and Tui T. Sutherland
I wanted to include only standalone books in this list, but I really couldn’t get this trilogy out of my head. And plus, who wouldn’t find the story of a secret mythical creature sanctuary interesting? Tui T. Sutherland is one of my top favourite authors of all time (check out her other books), and her team up with her sister in writing this trilogy showcases their talented skills in world building and story writing. Filled with unique mythology, characters, humour, and tense moments (with some REALLY great mysteries in each book), these books will have you hooked and reading through at a swift pace (swifter than a baby griffin eating a hamburger. You’ll get that reference when you read the books).
Image sources: GoodReads & Amazon