Marielle had been a customer of Towne Book Center for as long as she can remember before joining our team of booksellers in the summer of 2019. She loves manga and middle grade novels and always has a great recommendation to offer on both counts. As Mary is out for awhile, Marielle has taken over some back room responsibilities at the store and is responsible for reaching out to all the authors we've had for our summer virtual events series! Check out some of her favorite middle grade and manga recommendations below, and stop by the store some time to say hi!
MAGIC'S MOST WANTED is an awesome, hilarious truly madcap adventure with poignant and deep moments as well as the crazy and weird. Mason is a truly remarkable character, he's funny and real and full of strength he doesn't even know he has. His flaws make him a completely relatable character to any kid who feels awkward and at the bottom, and watching him grow is like watching hope grow too. One of the best middle-grade adventures I've ever read!
This is a beautiful story, full of mystery and friendship and an aching need to belong and be seen. It deals with deep issues of divorce, abandonment, death, and the effect they have on children, but also shows loving and supportive relationships between brothers and sisters and true friends. Really THE IN-BETWEEN is a love letter to anyone who has ever felt alone or invisible. A story that will remind all who read it that they are completely unforgettable.
A lovely story that pulls at your heartstrings, THE WORLD BETWEEN BLINKS is an amazing fantasy adventure both funny and poignant as we dive into a world so few can see. Myth, legend, and things long forgotten come to life on these pages so vividly you'll feel transported to this strange world with our heroes. This book is for all the daydreamers, treasure seekers, and believers. For all of us whose imaginations run wild, this is our book!
THE SECRET LIFE OF SAM pulls at your heartstrings and makes you feel warm and safe at the same time. A beautiful story full of family, love, and a dash of magical realism where the hollow of a tree transports you to a place where you can see those you’ve lost, even if it is only to say goodbye. Sam's story is wonderful and heartbreaking, and will have you laughing and cheering through your tears. Such a warm, good read.
This is one of those stories you just want to read aloud because the words are so well-written. Each word draws you deeper and deeper into the story of Bethany, Ebenezer, and the Beast until the real world fades away and only their world remains. THE BEAST AND THE BETHANY is a fantastical, funny adventure, a tale of friendship, and feels like being dunked into a Charles Dickens novel. A hilarious, enjoyable, and heartwarming read.
THE MERMAID, THE WITCH, AND THE SEA is a sweeping saga, a lyrical tale, and a fantastical high-seas adventure. With pirates, queer romance, and folklore you will be hooked from the very first word. The story is wonderful, epic, magical, too many things for me to put here. It's one of those books that's just so beautiful it's very hard to explain to others except by saying, you just have to read it. Seriously you just have to.
This book made me cry. It broke my heart right in two. I know that may not sound like a glowing review, but trust me it is. The best stories are the ones that make us feel so deeply we drown in them. That is SOULSWIFT. A deep, beautiful, heartbreaking story that will stay with you forever. You'll love it as you read it and you'll be shaking when it's over, but you wouldn't want it any other way.
This story has a classic quest feel, with magic portals to other worlds hidden in the most mundane things, and where your imagination is your greatest power. THE LAND OF ROAR is completely un-put-downable that leaves you salivating at the end, pining for the next thrilling adventure of Arthur and Rose. For anyone who has searched for a hidden panel in their attic or opened the door of every single wardrobe they could find, this story is for you!
Who doesn't love a good ghost story? And with a mystery surrounding the Roosevelt family on top, there's really nothing more to ask for. The world building in this story is amazing and exciting as ghosts are very real and simply walk among the living. The relationship between Eleanor and Alice is wonderful and real, and the supernatural mystery they get caught in is beautifully plotted. ELEANOR, ALICE, AND THE ROOSEVELT GHOSTS is one thrilling spooky read!
True horror for a middle grade audience is difficult to find, but THIS TOWN IS NOT ALRIGHT hits that nail right on the head. You will immediately get lost in the story of Beacon, who is one of the greatest protagonists I’ve ever read, and his sister as they navigate the chilling world of Driftwood Harbor. If you love sibling stories with a creepy mystery surrounding a Stepford Wives like small town, you should be reading this book.
This story is absolutely beautiful. The writing, the drawings, the storytelling, it is all just so beautiful. Vietnamese fairy tales weave together with Tien’s story and masterfully parallel his relationship with his mom as they use these traditional tales to bridge the communication gap between them. THE MAGIC FISH is a coming of age story, a fairy tale, a love story, it really is just everything. Truly, truly a must-read for everyone.
THE DAUGHTERS OF Ys is a dark, richly told retelling of a Breton folktale that will draw you in from page one. The beautiful artwork and vivid storytelling makes the whole world of Ys come to life, giving a heavy emotional resonance to the relationship between these two tragic sisters that will pull at your heartstrings and make you tear up in the best way possible. This story is such an exciting and enjoyable read that not only will you not be able to put it down, but after you have reached the end you will want to know every Breton folktale out there!
This is a truly beautiful story. The writing is like colors painting pictures of Gina's life in my mind and I love it. ONE TIME is a story about imagination, childhood, friendship, growing up, and still being a child inside. The characters are wonderful and the story is heartwarming and relatable to anyone who has ever felt like the odd one out. Everyone should read this book.
In WHERE DREAMS DESCEND, Janella Angeles delivers a heart-pounding and exquisitely written novel. With a writing style reminiscent of V.E. Schwab, lush and sensory details are layered throughout bringing each place, each person, each part of the story to vivid vibrant life. Beautifully worded sentences and cleverly constructed similes dot the pages, adding the flair of a live stage performance to every nook and cranny of the book. The story itself is a haunting tale full of magic, mystery, and suspense that keeps you guessing and will have you lusting after the next book in the series!
I love books about books, books about writing, and books that have anything to do with Jane Austen. So THE NEXT GREAT JANE pretty much ticked all my boxes before I even started reading it. And it did not disappoint when I did! Jane is a quirky, relatable, and absolutely awesome heroine, and the relationships between her, her parents, Devon, and all the characters really make the story so much fun to read. Plus with all the little nuggets of Jane Austen novels sprinkled throughout, this book is perfect for kids and parents alike to enjoy.
A wonderful mystery wrapped inside a ghostly tale, full of fun, humor, and heart THE MYSTERIOUS MESSENGER is too good to put down. Maria is an absolute star of a protagonist that you will fall in love with. She's brave, she's strong, she loves books, and she can communicate with ghosts. Seriously could there be a better heroine? With suspense, plot twists that could be found in any fairy tale, and a mystery that'll keep you guessing, this is a truly enchanting tale!
DOODLEVILLE is a heartwarming story featuring a notebook full of magic doodles that literally jump off the page the young girl who draws them and loves them even when they cause all sorts of hijinks, who is just trying to be herself. Through fun artwork and hilarious storytelling, Drew's world comes to life and draws you right into her doodle-filled world. For fans of CHALKZONE or anyone who has always wanted to see art come to life, this is the book for you!
ANY DAY WITH YOU is a sweet wonderful story that pulls at your heartstrings and makes you want to cheer and cry in the best of ways. Though a contemporary modern setting, the story feels magical as it interweaves story, art, and film, alongside Filipino culture and the beautiful relationship between Kaia and her great-grandfather, Tatang. If you are looking for a story that is a true pleasure to read, even when tears fall around your smile, this is the book for you.
I am not a particular fan of the circus, but I am a huge fan of Lucy and ORPHAN ELEVEN! All about found-families and finding your voice, we follow Lucy and her friends on their journey as they quite literally run away to join the circus, in a world so richly described you will feel like you can reach out and touch it. This story will give you an amazing adventure, characters that will make you laugh, cry, and cheer, and a truly magical reading experience.
An enchanting middle grade novel of contemporary fiction with a touch of magical realism combine in this story of a young girl’s telepathic bond with the elephant that saved her life and her search for her lost family. Wonderfully written and full of magic, mystery, and animals, The Elephant’s Girl is a lovely tale of belonging and is perfect for anyone who has always wanted to know what their favorite animal is thinking.
Nathan Hill's creative and satirical writing style had me turning pages so fast I got paper cuts following this epic story of life's strange connections. Flipping through time from 2011 to as far back as WWII Norway, you will race through the mysteries of a family’s history, unraveling, and possible redemption. The Nix makes you truly feel the complexities of life, while remaining at its core a stunning portrait of family love that will pull at your heartstrings, and keep you salivating for more to the very last word and beyond.
The Cruel Prince is an epic tale of FaerieLand nestled inside a dark coming-of-age story. Holly Black’s words draw you into this dark, magical world so well you will never want to leave, as a human girl named Jude fights for her place among the fey, in a dangerous game against the youngest prince that may not be all it seems. Complex characters with hidden motives, a fierce female protagonist, and a twisted, but darkly humorous relationship combine into one truly enjoyable read.
Enter the land of Britannia, a place full of magic where humans, giants, and fairies live. Here we follow Princess Elizabeth and Meliodas, Captain of the legendary, and supposedly traitorous, group of knights known as the Seven Deadly Sins as they set out on a journey to track down the rest of the Sins and save her kingdom. But there is more to this story than meets the eye. A resurrected war between demons and goddesses, an ancient curse, and forbidden romance combine into the epic story of The Seven Deadly Sins. It’s awesome!
Enter a shadowy underworld of yokai and other monsters, where Fear is a weapon to be wielded and revered. In this world we follow middle school student Rikuo Nura, heir to one of the most powerful yokai clans around and not so sure he wants to be. After all how can a mostly human boy, with only ¼ demon blood, lead an entire clan of yokai? Part coming-of-age story, part magical adventure, Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan will delight anyone who loves a Naruto/Inuyasha mashup, with a dash of Fruits Basket thrown in.
The Betrayal Knows My Name is the hauntingly gothic story of a young orphan named Yuki who finds himself entangled with the mysterious Giou family, an ancient war between our world and the world of the Duras, and a strange man with silver eyes who seems all too familiar. With exquisite drawing and storytelling Hotaru Odagiri creates a manga that reads like a novel and will have you begging for more. If you love beautifully flawed characters and a darkly romantic tale of war and forbidden love you want this book!
Travel to a realm where all books are banned! Here we find the talented and clever 12-year-old Mosca Mye who possess one of the rarest and most dangerous gifts of all: she can read. Along with a smooth talking con-man and a goose with a biting problem, Mosca must make her way across the realm to discover whether her love of words is a blessing or a curse. Fly by Night is an enchanting adventure about fighting for the right to read, and believing in the power of words.
Have you ever read a book so enchanting it felt like the characters could be real? Well in Inkheart 12-year-old Meggie discovers just how dangerous that can be when her father's voice literally brings a story's characters off the page, and not just the good guys. So begins a fantastical adventure from master children's storyteller Cornelia Funke. Dive into a world where imagination is a tool and words are the greatest weapons of all in Inkheart!