My Middle Grade Reads: Inspired by The Eye of Zeus

Middle Grade is a genre I’ve really tried to read more of over the past few reads. I find that many bloggers who read YA books tend to read middle grade and I’ve wanted to see what all the hype was about. I admit that I do struggle with the genre at times- there has to be something about the book’s synopsis that really grabs my attention. One recent release that definitely did is Alane Adams’ The Eye of Zeus. The first book in the Legends of Olympus series, The Eye of Zeus follows twelve-year Phoebe, who’s just found out she’s the daughter of Zeus and must travel back to ancient Greece to save someone very important to her. The Eye of Zeus speaks to the Percy Jackson fan in all of us, but I especially love how it features a female protagonist. I haven’t seen too many books about characters in foster care, like Phoebe. I also really admire Alane Adams, as an author, professor, and literary advocate! Her Rise Up Foundation helps children and teachers in need through book donations, classroom support, and grand-making.

In honor of The Eye of Zeus, today I’m going to be talking about my most memorable middle grade reads over the past few years.

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Small Spaces by Katharine Arden (Small Spaces #1) – As a fan of Small Spaces and her adult fantasy series, Winternight, I am firm believer that Katharine Arden writes so incredibly across genres. Her writing is the definition of atmospheric. Small Spaces is a four book series set in Vermont and follows twelve-year old Ollie’s spooky adventures with her best friends. Small Spaces takes place on Ollie’s class field trip to a local farm whose haunting history comes to life. This book is the absolute perfect Halloween read, and I thought it was such a fun mystery. I unfortunately didn’t enjoy the second book in the series, Dead Voices. I loved the setting, taking place at a ski resort during a blizzard, and the conversations between Ollie and her dad about loss in their lives, but I was not a fan of the plot.

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day – I Can Make This Promise follows a young girl who discovers and wants to know more about her Native American past. I thought this was such an educational read for middle grade readers who are first learning about Native Americans’ lives and struggles. I felt like I learned so much about Native American life near Seattle. I really appreciated its focus on family through Edie’s unraveling of her past.

The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin – I’m cheating a tiny bit with this one because I haven’t read it in a while, but the soon-to-be Netflix adaptation has me too excited! The Baby-Sitters Club is my all-time favorite middle grade series. When I was in elementary school, a trip to the library wasn’t complete without picking up at least one TBS book. I also read some of the graphic novel adaptations by Raina Telgemeier.Read More »

AN UNTOLD MG STORY: I Can Make This Promise Review

Summary (from the publisher):

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All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn’t have any answers.

Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic—a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her.

Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have kept this secret from her all her life, how can she trust them to tell her the truth now?

 

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

 My Thoughts:

Christine Day’s middle grade debut, I Can Make This Promise, tells such a unique story in the genre. The book follows twelve-year old Edie, who is trying to navigate herself through friendship, her heritage, and her parents’ secrets . Edie has always known she’s half Native American and that her mother was adopted by a white family. But that’s where Edie’s mother always tends to end the conversation about their family history. When Edie finds a box full of letters and old photos of a woman who looks life her and has the same name, she starts putting together her untold heritage.

Although one trying to uncover their family’s hidden past isn’t a new trope, characters with Native American heritage is likely one of the more untold stories in middle grade and YA. I’ve read a few books about Native American culture in my college classes, but I have never encountered the culture in middle grade. I actually learned about Sacheen Littlefeather in my literature class on American imperialism, so it was really cool reading about her part in the story. That being said, I Can Make This Promise is a very educational read. This book would make for such a fantastic educational resource for young/middle grade readers who haven’t been exposed to Native American culture and their conflicts with the US government. Edie explores so many of the themes within these issues in such a relatable and simplified way.

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