Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Buying for the Middle school Reader - All things Christmas!

We've talked about what to get that always difficult to buy for person,  what to buy the cook on your list, and what to buy the fashionista, so today I thought I'd talk about the middle school reader you likely have somewhere in your friends and family.  Now in publishing lingo, middle school readers are termed as 9-13 years of age, the most famous middle school book, of course, being Harry Potter.  Typically publishers pick the category to release a book into based on a variety of things, but the age of the protagonist is a major component.  The idea being generally kids and teens read about kids a few years older than them.  Obviously this isn't always the case, I was definitely reading YA books when I was 11 or possibly even 10, so it helps if you have a bit of a beat on what your gift recipient is currently into.
That being said, nowadays there are oodles of awesome middle school books so well written you should be reading them!  I.E.- Harry Potter.  But lets face facts, if you're buying a gift for anyone this year it's pretty safe to assume they already own all the Harry Potter books available.  But have no fear, Harry Potter has inspired confidence in the market, meaning it's now teeming with spectacular books.  The following is a list of some of my fav's.

For the Epic Adventure lover:
I'll start with the Harry Potter fiends.  If you have someone to buy for who can't get enough Harry then I'm guessing you have an epic large cast story lover on your hands.  In a couple of years you have to buy them Lord of the Rings, but until then let me suggest these awesomely epic series.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan.
Packed with monsters, impossible situations and really the best series climax since Harry Potter, the Percy books are a fantastically fun read.  It follows Percy Jackson, who at 11 instead of finding out he's a magician finds out he's a Demigod of Greek decent.  And instead of Hogwarts, heads to Camp Halfblood, a magical place filled with the impossible. It's a completed 5 part series so the best part is you can give the whole thing to them and they don't have to wait for any of it.  Even better yet, if they loved Percy and already have it, chances are they haven't gotten book 1 of the new Olympian series- The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan.  In which case you have a win win either way!

My Review of The Lost Hero

Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull
Another completed 5 part epic good versus evil series, this one is about Seth and his sister Kendra who go to stay with their elusive grandparents ,only to discover they're not the boring old folks they seem, but in fact are the caretakers of secret haven of fabled creatures- Fablehaven.  As an evil force starts to wreck havoc on the world, destroying other preserves and working to release the demons long ago locked in the demon prison, Seth and Kendra have to learn the complicated ins and outs of this new society and do their best to help their grandparents survive.  Again, the big climax finish is one of a kind filled with unexpected surprises and lots of laughs along the way (especially from Doren and Newel two mischievous satyrs).

My review of book 1 Fablehaven
My review of book 2 Rise of the Evening Star
My review of book 3 Grip of the Shadow Plague
My review of book 4 Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary
My review of book 5 Keys to the Demon Prison
For the mystery lover on your list:
Sisters Grimm, By Michael Buckley
A rollicking series involving Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, descendants of the brothers Grimm, and their grandmother trapped in Ferryport Landing, a town filled with the people the Brothers Grimm chronicled. You know, Prince Charming, the Big Bad Wolf, Rapunzel, etc.  Operating as detectives, the girls help their Grandma solve each puzzle, story by story while a greater trouble brews in the background.

The younger sister Daphne, and the epitome of trouble, Puck, make these stories endlessly amusing. I've read so many one liners out to the hubby he kept gripping I was ruining them for when he reads them. Super funny and novel they are sure to entertain anyone you give them too. This is an ongoing series, currently up to book 8 but with only one more to come out (Michael recently announced book 9 would end the series).

 My Review of book 8 Sisters Grimm and the Inside Story

Artemis Fowl, By Eoin Colfer
A super clever ongoing series, currently also at book 8, follows child genius Artemis Fowl, and his bodyguard as they attempt to infiltrate LEPrecon a police division of the Irish faeries. Havoc and friendship ensue, generally at the same time as everyone becomes embroiled in ridiculous situations either of Artemis's doing or another troublesome evil genius. The books are filled to the brim with high tech gadgets, fun and action, think James Bond for kids with a side of faerie.

My review of book 8 The Atlantis Complex

For the History lover:
 The Undrowned Child and The Mourning Emporium, By Michelle Lovric
Stepped in wonderfully rich European history, dripping in fun lingo, magical creatures and circumstances, you can't go wrong with these books, the first two in a trilogy.  With the help of a book, a cat and some wild mermaids Teodora, and Lorenzo must save Venice from the machinations of the evil Bajamonte Tiepolo. Otherwise known as Il Traditore, Bajamonte Tiepolo was banished from Venice for his crimes against Her in 1310, but his ghost is back for revenge and he is building a fiercesome army of pirates, ghosts, vampire eels and a sea monster who can destroy the city of water.

The first book The Undrowned Child is all Venetian and Teo's discoveries about her past.  The second book starts in Venice, heads out to the high seas and ends up in Victorian England right after the great Queen's demise.  Both have oodles of awesome characters, and reams of fantastic historical info.  They make easy gifts because your recipient is bound to love them, and are extremely unlikely to already have them! So pick these books up, trust me, in a few years everyone is going to be talking about them.

My review of The Undrowned Child
My review of The Mourning Emporium

Happy Book shopping!

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