Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Great MG books you might like to look up now

If you missed them when you were a kid, I mean.

The Book Smugglers offer this roundup, including recommendations from Heidi of Bunbury in the Stacks, Charlotte of Charlotte’s Library, Angie of Angieville, Elizabeth of A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy, and Ana of Things Mean a Lot.

This post was particularly interesting to me because I follow Bunbury in the Stacks pretty closely, because Charlotte has demonstrated her excellent taste by loving my books, and because Angie introduced me to the work of Sarah Addison Allen, now a favorite author of mine. I don’t always have a lot of interest in MG, but then the exceptions can be very important — Diana Wynne Jones, anyone? — so I definitely don’t want to ignore MG fiction, either. A post like this can be a great way to find some MG stories that might really appeal to older readers.

I loved books like HATCHET when I was a kid, so this is one I might have to look up, especially since Heidi says it falls on the boundary between MG and YA.

I never knew that Mary Stewart had written any kid’s books! I really enjoyed her mysteries, and loved her Arthurian series, so these are stories I definitely want to look up. I am tempted by LUDO AND THE STAR HORSE because, hey, a horse! I was typical in being very into horses as a kid and horse stories still have extra appeal for me. Naturally THE LITTLE WHITE HORSE also sounds like one to look up. Besides the horse stories Charlotte recommends, A STRING IN THE HARP also sounds like one I would enjoy. It’s amazing, but I have never heard of a single book on Charlotte’s list.

Angie also names a horse story: BLOOD RED HORSE. That’s a historical, and since I also love historical settings, this is one I really need to look up. Angie also mentions a title (SEAWARD) by Susan Cooper, whom I loved for THE DARK IS RISING series but whose other books I’ve never read — I have SEAWARD on my wishlist now, though.

Now, Elizabeth is the one who actually includes THE DARK IS RISING on her list, which is a great favorite of mine and makes me admit that okay, I do still love some MG titles. And Ana makes me feel like I just have to try a novel by Hilary McKay. Ana also picks THE TOMBS OF ATUAN, which I loved passionately when I was a kid — now I want to re-read it!

Okay: one title that didn’t appear on any of these lists? Patricia McKillip’s THE HOUSE ON PARCHMENT STREET. I really think it is a great story that has a lot to say about family, and I’m not sure that even every McKillip fan has necessarily read it. It definitely reads young, so I would say it is a MG story.

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3 Comments Great MG books you might like to look up now

  1. Elaine T

    I’m amazed that you’d never heard of any of Charlotte’s recommendations! i’ve read all of them, and while I wouldn’t put them all as high as she did, they’re certainly worth looking up. When I first read Cooper’s SEAWARD I was disappointed and eventually figured out that part of it was expecting the resonance of the DiR series, with all the stuff I’d already known, such as King Arthur, the Wild Hunt and so on. SEAWARD uses different legends which I knew less well, but as I’ve grown and read more widely, it has grown on me.

    I also notice that Charlotte agrees with me about L’Engle’s WRINKLE.

    We have LUDO & THE STARHORSE, because years ago our daughter fell in love with it. I was too old to fall in love with it, but it was still enjoyable. The Nancy Bond STRING IN THE HARP is pretty darn good, still. Never liked anything else from her nearly as much. Ann Lawrence never quite made connections with me, but I remember her books, and they weren’t bad, they just didn’t make that ‘keeper’ connection.

  2. Charlotte

    My five were all books I read at just the right age to fall in love with them…and so it’s hard for me to think of them without starry eyes! At that age I was overseas in English schools, so only one is American, which is why they are not so well know over here.

    If you do read any of them, let me know what you think!

  3. Rachel

    I’m sure I will read them, probably all of them eventually — so I’ll try to remember where the references came from so I can actually let you know!

    I know that the ones you fall in love with in your early teens are special forever, but I hope I will love all these even though I’m pretty far away from my early teens.

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