As much as I’m an avid reader of YA novels featuring queer protagonists, I haven’t actually read that many middle grade books / younger YA novels with LGBTQIAP+ characters. Well, I don’t usually get to read that many middle grade novels, period. But I’ve been wanting to read more of these books recently so that I can recommend them to the younger readers in my life and the tweens that come into the bookstore I work at asking for recommendations. I’m sick of talking about the same hyped middle grade series, and I want to give these people novels that they might see themselves in.
The first book I ever read with a queer protagonist was The Flywheel when I was about 15, and that book holds so much emotional significance to me. It was the first book I saw my feelings represented in. It was the first time I recognised that having feelings for other girls was valid and didn’t make me unnatural or unlovable. If I’d have read more middle grade novels with queer protagonists in my early teen years, perhaps I would have been able to come to terms with my identity as a biromantic asexual sooner.
Although there are undoubtedly a lot more middle grade and YA novels now than there were five years ago, I would still love to hear more buzz about middle grade novels with queer protagonists—and there’s always room for more! So if you have any recommendations for books I should check out, specifically featuring LGBTQIAP+ characters under 14, I would love to check them out. In the meantime, here are three novels featuring younger teens who happen to be queer!
This year, I found that I’ve read a lot more middle grade novels than I normally do. I think that’s partly due to the fact that I have more time for reading this year, or maybe that these books have been more on my radar this year. Or maybe it’s because I read some really spectacular middle grade novels and it’s made me realise that this is a readership I don’t want to miss out on.
While YA has a special place in my heart, expanding my reading sphere this year has given me the opportunity to realise that there’s so much more out there and that I don’t just like YA. I love middle grade, and some adult fiction, and some non-fiction, and I just… wow. My TBR is suffering, but in the best way possible. So here are three of the best middle grade books I’ve read this year, and some of the ones that I want to read ASAP!
Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate.
But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle.
To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.
The book tells the story of Morrigan Crow, a girl born on Eventide, who’s fated to die at midnight on her ninth birthday. She is spared when rescued by a mysterious stranger ,and after they are chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, they escape to a secret city called Nevermoor.
Morrigan’s rescuer, Jupiter, owns the eccentric Hotel Deucalion and has chosen Morrigan to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious society. The young girl must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent.
I think you can all agree that the hype was unbelievable for this book. I’d been hearing about this novel since at least the beginning of the year, which gave me plenty of times to go through the Seven Stages of Hype. While the stages are a little different depending on whether you like the author before reading the novel with said hype, if it’s a part of a series, or if people you know have read it, these are the Stages of Hype I endured with Nevermoor.Read More »
From the Prime Minister’s Literary Award winning author, Robert Newton comes a novel full of heart, warmth and friendship.
A violent incident sparks an unlikely and surprising friendship between a young girl and an old man, leading to an adventure that brings both drama and understanding to their lives in contemporary Melbourne.
Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky is a delightful and compelling tale with a strong sense of contemporary multicultural Australia and a vivid cast of characters.
Molly’s mother is not like other mothers: she rides a yellow bike and collects herbs and makes potions, perhaps even magical potions. Molly wants to be normal, like her friend Ellen, and watch television and eat food that comes in packets. But when Molly’s mother accidentally turns herself into a tree, Molly turns to the strange and wonderful Pim for help. And as they look for a way to rescue her mother, Molly discovers how to be happy with the oddness in her life.
Martine Murray’s new illustrated middle-grade novel Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars is a whimsical story about friendship and individuality and learning to see the freshness and wonder in the world.Read More »