Happy Monday! Today, I’m sharing some mini reviews of recent (ish) Middle Grade reads.
Where the River Runs Gold by Sita Bramachari
I have always been a massive fan of dystopian books, but this is the first Middle Grade dystopia I have read. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, but it did not disappoint. Shifa and her brother, Themba live in a world where all the bees are gone. The rich few live in luxury, whilst everyone else lives in compound and their children are sent to work on Freedom Fields farms to pollinate crops by hand ensuring that food can be grown for people to live on. Where the River Runs Gold follows Shifa and Themba as they leave their compound for their stint working on the farm. They have a gorgeous sibling relationship; they are loyal and their love for each other really shows. Shifa is fiercely protective, even though she is dealing with her own issues, and when she realises how badly Themba is coping with the change, she plans to break out. Family is a big part of this book, and Shifa’s story is especially interesting in this respect. It is also a rich and beautifully descriptive book about the environment and the importance of looking after the world we have.
The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell
The Wolf Wilder is the second Katherine Rundell book I have read, and I loved The Explorer, so I expected to enjoy this one, and I really did. It has wolves and a fierce girl on a wild adventure to save her mother, what’s not to love? Feodora and her mother live in the woods, until they are threatened by the Russian army and her mother is taken. Feo is forced to go on the run, which leads to a tense but brilliant adventure. I adored the idea of a wolf wilder, taking domesticated wolves who have been used as status symbols and teaching them how to be their wild selves again. I loved the cold, wintery Russian setting. Feodora is a brilliant character who is almost as wild as her wolves and I could not get enough of her. She is everything you want from a main character in a middle grade adventure. I loved the way she inadvertently gets involved in leading a revolution when she’s just trying to rescue her mum. This is a brilliant story of standing up for what you believe in and fighting back against those who want to hurt you.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
The only regret I have with this book is that I didn’t read it sooner. It’s been sat on my shelf for the longest time and it is one of the most beautiful, magical middle grade books I’ve read. Every year, the Protectorate leave a baby as a sacrifice to the witch in the forest to stop her from cursing their town. Every year, Xan, the witch in the forest, finds an abandoned baby in the forest and finds them a loving family on the other side of the forest. It is such a clever concept for a book, subverting the expectations of the evil witch in the forest. One year, Xan accidentally feeds the baby moonlight and gives the baby extraordinary magical abilities. Luna stays with Xan, but as she gets older, her magic becomes more uncontrollable. I loved the way magic was explored in this book, and the way the worlds of a young man from the Protectorate and the grown, magical child they abandoned clash. This book has the best cast of characters, including a swamp monster and a tiny dragon. It is brilliant in every way. Read it!
Have you read any of these?