The best middle fiction books of 2017
Every year our staff vote for their favourite books, albums, films and TV shows of the past 12 months. Here are our top 10 middle fiction books of the year, voted for by Readings’ staff, and displayed in no particular order.
(You can find all our best picks for books, CDs & DVDs of 2017 here.)
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
Morrigan Crow is a cursed child, doomed to meet an untimely death. That is, until the magnanimous Jupiter North whisks her to safety in the magical world of Nevermoor. The adventure that follows is captivating and full of enchantment. This new series is tipped to be the next Harry Potter!
─ Natalie Platten
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
I loved Lauren Wolk’s first novel Wolf Hollow, but I really adored this sad and wondrous tale. Baby Crow is washed up on a lonely island. She’s raised by Osh, in a wild landscape where a meagre but satisfying existence is maintained… though her mysterious heritage nags at her. The landscape is palpable and the storytelling beautiful. For ages 9─13.
─ Alexa Dretzke
Lintang and the Pirate Queen by Tamara Moss
When Lintang helps renowned Pirate Queen Shafira defeat a dangerous mythie, she earns herself a place on the pirate crew. Lintang is a delightful heroine – brave, funny and mischievous – and Shafira is the perfect enigmatic pirate queen. Tamara Moss has created a tale rich in mythology, with a diverse cast of vibrant characters and a contagious sense of adventure.─ Daniella Robertson
Real Friends by Shannon Hale & LeUyen Pham
The politics of friendship groups at school can be bewildering and unfair, especially when you’re the ‘weird’ kid who’s constantly on the verge of being pushed out. Shannon’s autobiographical graphic novel Real Friends is excellent at showing the different kinds of friends that exist in the world and why it’s sometimes hard, but also the best, to be the sort of friend who is the ‘nice kind of popular’.
─ Dani Solomon
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
Do not miss this story! When 11-year-old Alex and his dog set out to attend a rocket-launching convention a long way from home, he finds the compassion and loyalty of strangers to be more reliable than that of his family. Funny and heartwarming, this is an unforgettable novel for ages 9+.
─ Alexa Dretzke
The Fall by Tristan Bancks
When almost-teenager Sam witnesses a man fall from a tower block one dark night, a thrilling Hitchcockian adventure kicks into gear. But did he jump, or was he pushed? And why has Sam’s father also suddenly disappeared? The Fall is guaranteed to produce long hours of silence on hot summer afternoons.
─ Mike Shuttleworth
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell & Hannah Horn
Four children survive a plane crash in the Amazon and are stranded in a frightening and exciting jungle environment. How will they find their way back to civilisation? Fred, Con, Lila and Max get to know one another under the most trying circumstances. For fans of Swiss Family Robinson and Blyton’s The Secret Island.
─ Janine Larson
Whimsy & Woe by Rebecca McRitchie & Sonia Kretschmar
Whimsy and Woe – two especially resourceful and courageous children – suddenly find themselves living with their evil, calculating Aunt Apoline in the once-grand Idle Slug. A funny story that takes the two siblings on an adventure to find their kidnapped parents. Mysteriously dark and just a little creepy, perfect for Stella Montgomery and Lemony Snicket fans. For ages 9+.
─ Julia Gorman
The Boy and the Spy by Felice Arena
When he discovers an American pilot hiding in a cave near his village, Antonio must decide whether to help him escape or report him to the fascists. Set in wartime Sicily, this is an action-packed adventure, spare with words and big on thrills. It will be loved by readers of historical fiction and adventure stories. For ages 8─12.
─ Angela Crocombe
The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Set in World War II England, this is a sequel to the much-loved The War That Saved My Life, but can just as easily be read on its own. When Ada and her brother, with their new guardian, are expected to share their small cottage with others as part of the war effort, Ada is hostile and sparks fly. A deeply satisfying novel.
─ Kathy Kozlowski