Maddie’s Quarantine Book Club Corner: Middle Grade and Magic

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Madison Dingee

The end of the year is right around the corner which means I’m running out of time to talk about some of my favorite recent reads! As I’ve said several times, reading is the hobby that never seems to annoy me even when I’m stressed or feeling unmotivated. Therefore, bringing me to the idea of making this book club corner as a sort of outlet about what I’ve been loving recently in literature since the world’s chaotic and book’s are my safe space after all. I’ve discussed romance, contemporary, but I haven’t properly showed my love for fantasy all that much as well as middle grade. I know what you’re probably thinking, “middle grade is for tweens, why is a high-schooler still reading books out of her age range?” Well first off, I read adult books (a genre still far from my age range) on the regular and distancing myself from that mature content can be refreshing! So here’s some light-hearted middle grade and just fantasy books in general to not only keep my heart happy but hopefully yours too!

 

“A Pinch of Magic” by Michelle Harrison

This book perfectly encapsulates the feel of a warm hug on a chilly fall evening. Don’t believe me? Listen to this book synopsis. We have our main character named Betty Widdershins who would love to travel the world with her two other sisters and her grandmother however, that’s a bit of an issue for her family when they’re all cursed and forbidden to leave their island or risk the chance of dying. Rather than going on an exciting adventure, Betty and her family are stuck with three magical items; a mirror that invites unwelcoming parties, a magical bag that can make one time travel, and some nesting dolls that can make you invisible. At first glance, Betty believes that these items are useless in helping break the curse but she speaks too soon that is until she meets a tricky prisoner who says he knows how to break their family’s curse for forever. Is he telling the truth or is this just another one of this prisoner’s many tricks? This book was an utter delight to read and somehow was still able to surprise me even when the target demographic is quite a bit younger than me. 

 

“The Trials of Morrigan Crow” by Jessica Townsend

Speaking about being cursed, so is Morrigan Crow in this middle-grade, magical fantasy that tackles the theme of self-worth quite well for a book that has an eleven-year old as the main character. Not to say that it can’t be done, I just haven’t read a book like this in awhile. Onto the actual plot of this book, Morrigan Crow is blamed for all the city’s issues and awaits death on her eleventh birthday because of this curse that has befallen upon her. That is, until Jupiter North, a charming and sarcastic man takes her to this magical, safe, school called Nevermoor. I should probably preface that Morrigan’s home life wasn’t very good upon her leaving and her family basically disregarded her as if she wasn’t there. So to get into this prestigious school, Morrigan has to pass four trials and show off a unique magical ability even if she believes she doesn’t possess one. Will she do it or will the games get the better of her? This book was rather shocking to me not in the aspect of there being a magical school because I’ve read that trope a million times, but in the way that Morrigan’s witty and unbothered character was portrayed. I don’t read books too often with main characters that completely say how they feel but this was a great exception, and I thoroughly enjoyed Morrigan tackling these trials and the result of that accomplishment!

 

“Mistborn” by Brandon Sanderson

Now this adult fantasy book is rather complex to explain because of its intricate magic system but I’ll try my best because it’s one of my all-time favorites. Kelsier, a witty and brilliant thief, lives in a world that’s essentially falling apart bit by bit and given him the powers of a Mistborn. Not to get too specific or anything but being a Mistborn means you can manipulate multiple elements and use them to your advantage. Kelsier takes this ability of his a bit far and hatches a plan to overthrow the Lord Ruler of their world. Obviously, Kelsier can’t do this on his own so he hires lots of criminal masterminds and other skilled Mistborns to follow through with this insane plan of his. Will these criminals be able to stop the evil Lord Ruler? This book masterfully shows how a creative and genius magic system mixed with some thievery can prove to be something absolutely phenomenal. I kid you not I literally cried, laughed, gasped, and cheered throughout this book on more than one occasion and I don’t do that a lot for any book so this one holds a special place in my ever growing fantasy heart! 🙂