Happy Friday! After a brief blog hiatus (I have been revising my new book like a fiend, y'all!), I am back to recommend two absolutely wonderful books. Lauren Magaziner's middle-grade debut THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN WITCHES is a hilarious, magical read. It's touted as being reminiscent of Roald Dahl, and that's completely accurate. A young boy, Rupert, is being tormented by his evil teacher, Mrs. Frabbleknacker. When he sees an ad in the paper to become a witch's apprentice (his town is famous—and infamous—for the witches that live there), he can't resist applying for the job. But his new boss, Witchling Two, is barely older than Rupert, and is pretty much hopeless at magic. I know this phrase is overused (including by me…), but: hijinks ensue. And they are so, so funny. Lauren's writing, like Dahl's, is made to be read aloud. I know several middle-graders and soon-to-be middle-graders in my life who will be getting this recommendation.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Cindy L. Rodriguez's Young Adult debut WHEN REASON BREAKS. (I read Cindy's book as part of the Fearless Fifteeners ARC tour. This book comes out February 10, 2015—one week before mine!) WHEN REASON BREAKS is about two girls who are both having a hard time dealing with what life throws at them. Goth-girl Elizabeth has anger-management issues and a problem with authority. Popular and sweet Emily is struggling to balance friendships, a new boyfriend, and her overbearing conservative politician father. By the end of the book, either Elizabeth or Emily will attempt suicide. Both are in Ms. Diaz's English class, learning about the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson, and one of the things I loved most about this book was how Dickinson's work and life reverberate through the text. The book handles tough and sensitive subjects with compassion and care, and the writing is beautiful.
Have you read anything great lately? Tell me about it in the comments!