Tag Archives: 2016

Five 2016 Middle Grade Novels that Deserve Your Attention

It’s been awhile since I’ve really focused on middle grade, even though it is my bread and butter. While I’ve posted a lot of reviews for middle grade titles, I will say that 2016 was an exceptionally solid year for this age group, with some absolutely fantastic titles that really stole my heart given what an emotionally draining year it’s been for me. Here’s five middle grade titles that came out in 2016 that you really should make some time for.


The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

This is the miraculous tale of Roz, a robot who gets lost in the wildness and is forced to survive, despite the fact that she is a robot with no survival instincts. Trapped on a remote island, Roz must figure out how to survive given her own limitations. This novel is beautifully written, very descriptive, and Roz is such a wonderful heroine. Yes, she’s a robot, but she is a robot who I felt great sympathy towards throughout this novel, and I think Peter Brown does an amazing job capturing her limited emotions in a way that makes the reader really grow to love Roz.


Pax by Sara Pennypacker

This book is a gut-punch of emotions. It’s the story of a boy who raises a fox kit and is forced by his father to set it back in the wild. Both the boy and the kit need one another, and it’s the story of how they are lost and then found. This book has left me an emotional mess at times, and I think it’s why I read it as slowly as I did. Coupled with Jon Klassen’s beautiful illustrations, Pax is one of those reads that you need to make sure you have a Kleenex box handy for.


Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz

Finding Perfect is an amazing debut middle grade novel. Molly is a heroine that lovable and I think she is someone readers will also be able to relate to regardless of age. More importantly, I am glad this novel exists given that it does an amazing job depicting what life is like with OCD, let alone for a young girl who has suffered a lot of loss and disappointment in her life. However, despite all the sadness she faces, Molly’s kindness is admirable and her journey is wonderful, yet hard. This is definitely one of those middle grade novels that leaves you thinking once the story is long over.


The Magnificent Mya Tibbs and the Spirit Week Showdown by Crystal Allen

This gem was a random surprise I received from an associate at Harper Collins Canada who found out my mother had died and wanted to send me a pick-me-up. Mya Tibbs is now one of my most recommended middle grade novels at the library I work at. Why? Because Crystal Allen’s amazing heroine teaches so much to her readers and does it with humour, kindness and a lot of sass. Mya is fun, and I keep hoping she’ll receive more books in her future. This book is amazing and it does a great job of showing how different people can be, and how we can work with each other’s differences to do unstoppable things.


Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke

Ben Hatke is one of my favourite writer’s and artist’s out there. He often has this amazing ability to tell a story and craft some very genuine characters on top of his amazing and well-defined artwork. This story is not only a retelling of Jack and the Beanstock, but it also discusses disability, friendship, and it takes the tale and spins it on its head. The only downer? The nasty cliffhanger which still has be going “I NEED BOOK TWO NAAAAAO.” This is an amazing graphic novel, and easily one of the best that came out in 2016.

Seriously, it was hard to narrow down a lot of the best 2016 middle grade reads, but I feel like these ones are all winners. Here’s hoping 2017 has some amazing and equally thoughtful middle grade reads. 🙂

2016 Debuts I Need to Get My Paws On

2016 is around the corner, and debuts are completely upon us. I always look forward to debut novels, if only because I love seeing what a new author produces. It means then that if I enjoyed their first novel, I have something to anticipate in a second novel. Here’s a few of the debut novels I am insanely excited for!

22449806The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin (Release Date: January 26th 2016 by Simon Pulse)

My co-blogger, who is notorious for getting way ahead in the ARC pile of doom has already read this one, and warned me that it will probably emotionally destroy me given the subject matter. Since I am a super duper huge cry baby who loves emotionally engaging reads, I say bring it on (and then watch me be sobbing over the amount of feels I had).


This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (Release Date: January 5th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire )

Since reading and loving Violent Ends, I’ve been looking for more reads that focus on school shootings. I am big reader of tough issue novels, and the aftermaths of school shootings always fascinate me because it’s about living with the realities of what has happened, along with the grief and anxiety that goes with it. I feel like this book has a lot to offer readers on that front, and I’m interested to see if I’ll enjoy it when I get the chance to read it.


The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith (Release Date: March 22nd 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books )

I suppose you guys are seeing a trend here, huh? Another tough issue novel, this one focusing on abuse. I admit, I don’t know a lot about this novel, and what little the synopsis has told me has me very interested. I actually have a physical ARC for this one and it looks a little on the chunky side, which always worries me with tough issue books because I always worry they will be dragged out. The buzz has been quiet on this one, the early reviews are showing some promise.


The Last Cherry Blossom
by Kathleen Burkinshaw (August 2nd 2016 by Sky Pony Press)

Japan book! Japan book! To be honest, I had never heard anything about this book until River pointed out that the author contacted me on my blog page (which I admit, I am HORRIBLE at checking). It wasn’t until River pointed out the request that I went and did a bit of investigating, and this book sounds absolutely interesting. We are a little tough on novels that take place in Japan on this blog (seeing as River lived there for many years), but I hope this one doesn’t disappoint!


How It Ends
by Catherine Lo (Release Date: June 7th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers )

Supporting Canadian novels is always really important to me. When I was at the Raincoast event back in September, this one was one of the novels highlighted in the presentation, and it focuses on the idea that there are two sides to every story, and two sides to every friendship. It sounds like it’s going to be an one of those hard to read friendship stories, but I think I’ll be ready for it when it releases in June!

So these are just a few of the debut novels I am excited for. Not surprisingly, a lot of it is contemporary. I just haven’t seen a lot of science fiction and fantasy debuts jumping out at me, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist for me either! I want to know which debuts you are excited for, as well as debuts I should consider getting hyped for that maybe I just don’t know about. Share with me the debuts you are thrilled about! 🙂


River and Sam’s Top Five Books We Want To Get Our Hands on in 2016

Once again we are coming to the end of the year, and once again there are an insane amount of 2016 releases that River and I are insanely excited for. Well, let’s be real, the one book we both want more than anything is The Raven King, but there are others, we swear! Today I thought we’d share the Top Five book we cannot wait for that are releasing in 2016.

River’s Top Five:


  1. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  2. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab
  3. Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn
  4. Behold the Bones by Natalie C. Parker
  5. The Lost & Found by Katrina Leno

Sam’s Top Five:

A Gathering of Shadows Final

  1. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab (as well as This Savage Song!)
  2. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (as well as the next Pip Bartlett book!)
  3. When We Collided by Emery Lord
  4. The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin
  5. A Week Without Tuesday by Angelica Banks

What are your most anticipated 2016 reads that you need to get your hands on ASAP? Let us know in the comments, because we want to hear about it.