1. Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully by Jeffrey Brown – I think the Star Wars character are adorable, and I love the illustrations too. Middle school sure is tough whatever planet you are on -_- and bullies are always lurking around the corner! :O
2. When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park – Linda Sue Park is one of my favorite historical fiction authors for kids, and I really do learn history from her novels. I was interested in the Japanese occupation of Korea because I watched a drama on the same period called Chicago Typewriter, which I loved. I like the fear of being caught and quiet patriotism that people under occupation show every day. It stood out to me that their uncle can only be a revolutionary because he is single and has no family, just like the resistance leader in the drama. A man cannot risk his life fighting for his country if he has to also provide and be there for his family. More books about resistance please!
3. The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata – This is my favorite book! I loooved it. I love stories about farmers, apparently. It was just so awesome to read about Summer and her summer 😛 If I had to spend my summer cooking for farm workers, taking care of my brother and grandparents, and end up having to drive a combine myself, I would probably go crazy but I would still do it. It is not too different from my life and basically Summer’s story is super relatable to me ❤ .
4. Emily Windsnap and the Castle in the Mist by Liz Kessler – Mermaid stories are my guilty pleasure 🐟🐠. Neptune and Aurora were in love! One of the things I like about this series is the twist, where it’s a merman and a human woman instead of a mermaid and a man. Hehe.
5. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin – I did not finish this book even though I really wanted to. It was ever referred to in a Japanese manga 5 centimeters Per Second! I just could not get through it. Maybe I need to read a graphic novel version of this book. I think it would be a lot more exciting.
Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep – I love fantasy so it is no surprise that I would read a series about a girl adjusting to her life as a mermaid and dealing with bullies, ha.
Princess Academy: The Forgotten Sisters – This concludes the series in the most awesome way. I love the sisters! and the swampy setting. Miri is my role model because she is a teacher, friend, and just a strong girl in so many ways.
Just Grace Goes Green – Grace tackles Earth Day! I love all the recycling ideas. I just might have to finish this series too.
In a Glass Grimmly -I believe I read the second book in the trilogy before The Grimm Conclusion. They are equally awesome and gory, and it is clear the Gidwitz believes in the power of children and loves telling stories.
The Tail of Emily Windsnap – A mermaid story that turns some of the mermaid tropes on its head! In it, the dad is a merman and the mom is human. Emily thought she couldn’t swim but once she is in the water she turns into a mermaid!
The Grand Plan to Fix Everything – I loved this book! It’s like a Bollywood story + a middle grade novel. So much fun and action! It has everything and is truly “grand.” 🙂
When the Sea Turned to Silver – Grace Lin is a master writer, illustrator, and storyteller!!! This is her masterpiece. The conclusion of the trilogy is the best. Minli is the grandma!!! Everything has come full circle and Pinmei goes on a gran journey. The series is a testament to the power of stories, peace, and how to find what we are looking for in life.
Listen, Slowly – Thanhha Lai is a good writer. There are not many children/young adult books on Vietnamese Americans, and I’m glad Thanhha Lai is writing them (there are only 2 so far and I want more!) Mai is very realistic as a Laguna Beach girl who has to go to Vietnam to fulfill her grandma’s wish to find her missing husband. I loved her adventures in Vietnam !
Eleanor & Park – I had heard how great this book is, but I just cannot seem to get into Rainbow Rowell. It feels kind of racist to me. Eleanor and Park didn’t feel like real people to me, they seemed like movie characters. So I did not finish this book even though I gave it about 70 pages or so.