Cheating on Middle Grade Books

Yeah, that’s right; for the past two weeks I’ve been cheating on middle grade books. I thought it would never happen but around these here parts, we’ve quite suddenly made the leap to YA. It all started with this:

Unknown-3It’s the first of Marissa Meyer’s excellent futuristic fairy tale re-imaginings, in which a cyborg who works as a mechanic in indentured servitude to her 100% human “stepmother” falls for a prince and loses her whole foot in the ensuing kerfuffle. Throw in a deadly plague, a hostile off-world species that can control people’s minds, and of course, romance (what separates MG from YA? As far as I can tell, primarily, kissing) and sci-fi has never read so gripping. Ada is hooked on the book now; and when she reads it at school, her friends read it over her shoulder. 

Next up:

Unknown-2In which a red-haired girl who lives on a farm in with her presumably sweet-tempered grandmother, gets sucked in to a mysterious plot to take over the world with a guy named Wolf, who may or may not want to gobble her up. Does the plot have anything to do with Cinder? You betcha, as does the plot of this:

Unknown-1Which features a girl whose hair has grown completely beyond reason, due to her imprisonment on a satellite that orbits the Earth. Spoiler alert: this is the book (there are four; aggravatingly, the last one, which uses Snow White as a leaping off point, isn’t due to be published until early 2015—who can possibly wait that long?) in which all the disparate fairy tale bits and their players come together at last.  

Most of the charm of these books lies in the fact that the author doesn’t over-exploit the actual fairy tales themselves; she picks and chooses fragments wisely, so the stories never seem obvious or stale. And really, refreshingly, I have absolutely no idea what will happen when we finally get to Winter…Although I’m guessing there will be more kissing…

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