Giveaway: SATURDAYS WITH HITCHCOCK by Ellen Wittlinger!

511xSpTjNgLUpdate, 8.25.17: Congratulations, Daria! You’ve won the ARC of Saturdays with Hitchcock. Thanks to all who entered, and please do check it out when it hits the shelves in October!

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Hello, friends. As excited as I am about The Great Hibernation hitting the shelves next month, I am just as pumped about the slew of other fantastic middle-grade books that are coming readers’ way this fall.

And Saturdays with Hitchcock by Ellen Wittlinger (October 10, Charlesbridge) is at the top of my list. I was lucky enough to read an advance copy and I absolutely fell in love with it. You can read my review below, and I’m not kidding when I say that it’s probably my favorite MG read so far this year. I’m thrilled to have an advance copy to give away–I hope you’ll enter to win it!

Here’s a little more about the book:

Twelve-year-old movie-loving Maisie is in need of a distraction from her current romantic dilemma when her Uncle Walt comes to stay with her family after being hurt on the set of the movie he’s filming in Hollywood.

Maisie’s best friend, Cyrus, has been hanging out a lot with Gary Hackett, whose last-name sounds to Maisie like a cat barfing up a hairball. When it seems as if Hackett might like Maisie romantically, she’s none too pleased, and Cyrus is even less impressed.

Uncle Walt has a way of pointing Maisie in the right direction, and Maisie’s love of movies also keeps her centered. Heading to the local independent theater on Saturdays to see old movies helps Maisie stay grounded as she struggles with growing up, family tensions, a grandma who seems to be losing her memory, and a love triangle she never expected.

My own review on GoodReads:

Saturdays with HitchcockSaturdays with Hitchcock by Ellen Wittlinger

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SATURDAYS WITH HITCHCOCK is probably my favorite MG read of 2017, and I’m kind of desperate for everyone else to check it out. Maisie is just the sort of heroine I adore–one with a strong, specific passion (in this case, movies); loyalty to her friends and family; and, most importantly, the ability to recognize when a bad first impression of someone merits reconsideration. On every page, I relished watching her interact with this book’s stellar and complex supporting cast as she worked her way through a variety of personal and family challenges.

All of which may make this book sound a little dry or serious, when really, it’s not. And I think that’s Ellen Wittlinger’s biggest accomplishment. There are plenty of books out there that deal with the types of issues that SATURDAYS WITH HITCHCOCK tackles–dementia, family money issues, burgeoning crushes, and questions about sexuality–but few that do it with such a light touch and in such a compulsively readable way. So many different types of readers would connect strongly with this story, and I’m really excited for it to find its way in the world.

Giveaway Alert!

I’m so inspired to get the word out about this one that I’m giving away my advance copy (ARC) to one lucky reader–just leave a comment on this post to be entered to win. You can also earn an extra entry by tweeting about the giveaway.

Here’s a sample tweet you can use:

Win an ARC of @EllenWittlinger’s brilliant MG novel SATURDAYS WITH HITCHCOCK (10.10.17, @charlesbridge): http://bit.ly/2ijSl1Q #giveaway

Let me know in your comment if you’ve tweeted so I can give you credit. This giveaway is USA only. I’ll announce a winner this Friday, August 25.

Good luck!

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Book recommendations!

I recently Skyped with a terrific book club in Massachusetts, and the members asked me to recommend some other middle-grade novels that they might enjoy. I ended up putting a list together and e-mailing it to them, and since this isn’t the first time I’ve had a question like this, I thought that I’d share it here as well so that I can easily refer people to it in the future.

Of course, once I got started, I thought of more and more books I wanted to include, and I had to stop somewhere. So please don’t consider this a comprehensive list by any means…but I do wholeheartedly recommend every single one of these titles and hope you’ll check them out. Here we go!

Nooks & Crannies by Jessica LawsonMind-bending mysteries:
Nooks & Crannies by Jessica Lawson
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Laugh-out-loud funny books:
Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz
The Only Thing Worse than Witches by Lauren Magaziner
Remarkable by Lizzie Foley
The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

Unputdownable historical fiction:
Katerina’s Wish by Jeannie Mobley
When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens (actually a mix of contemporary and historical!)
The Sound of Life and Everything by Krista Van Dolzer

When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens

Madcap NYC-set adventures:
At Your Service by Jen Malone
Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle (which is also LOL funny!)

Tasty foodie books:
Cupcake Cousins (and sequels) by Kate Hannigan
It’s Raining Cupcakes (and sequels) by Lisa Schroeder

Deliciously creepy books:
Mothman’s Curse by Christine Hayes
The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin
Grave Images by Jenny Goebel
Doll Bones by Holly Black
Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Nightingale's Nest by Nikki LoftinFabulous fairy-tales:
Grounded by Megan Morrison
A Nearer Moon by Melanie Crowder
Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente (best title ever, no?)

Wonderful contemporary stories:
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt (an excellent novel in verse)

What are your recent favorite middle-grade reads? Feel free to share more recommendations in the comments.