Monday, November 16, 2015

MMGM- Space adventure!

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

I think that 2015 will go down in the annals of middle grade literature as The Year Authors Tried to Depress the Living Hell Out of Everyone. Don't know why. Spent a quality weekend getting caught up on reading, but it was JUST. SO. SAD. I ended up on Sunday evening watching YouTube videos of 1980s BBC comedies because I couldn't even face picking up the last Zombie Chasers book, lest the main characters find out their grandparents have Alzheimers, their parents are clinically depressed alcoholics who are starting to abuse them, and the dog has leukemia WHILE fighting the zombies. 

Seriously. I had my fears. Not that Kloepfer would ever do that to me. 

So it's nice to read a book where they at least fight against the alien invasion with bravery and resolution, and the fact that all of their parents were brutally killed in the initial attack is dealt with fairly well. But see? Even our action/adventure books are sad!

24885694Sylvester, Kevin. Minrs
September 22nd 2015 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Christopher and his best friend Elena live on Perses, a planetoid that an Earth company, Melming Mining, has colonized. Things are going pretty well, but there will soon be a communications blackout between Perses and the Earth, and some of the other children are worried. Christopher plans a blackout party, but during the celebration, the settlement is attacked. The children are sent down to the mines, and Christopher's father gives him some clues to find an emergency beacon that has been hidden. The children all band together to find food and work out a survival plan, but it is difficult to get everyone to work together, especially since many of the children are traumatized by having lost their parents in the raid. Christopher, with the help of Elena, rallies the troops as best he can, and even tries to train them to raid the food supplies of the attackers, or "Landers" as they are called. Some of the plans work, others go awry. When they find four children in a locked room, they discover than Melming was using children to get some of the resources out of the mine. When the Landers discover the children, things get even more intense. Loyalties are tested, secrets are found, and Christopher and Elena have to figure out the best way to get the most of the children to survive. 

Strengths: This one reminded me of Mars Evacuees, and I wanted to know more about the colony before the attack, but only because the premise was so intriguing. Lots of action and adventure, some good leadership skills displayed by Christopher, some good twists and turns to the plot. Interesting use of Oliver Twist, as well. 

Weaknesses: I wish we had found out something about the Landers, especially since there is a sequel in the offing. Also, the parents could have been kidnapped instead of killed. Same effect, but not so distressing

What I really think: Definitely buying a copy, and need to label all of the good new sci fi books in my catalog system. 


  1. This sounds like one that some students will love for the adventure, reminds me of an old book that was popular titled The Girl Who Owned The City, kids running things, etc. I understand about the sadness stuff. Now I alternate trying to find one that isn't so sad & then one that includes some 'life-changing' events. Thanks, Karen.

  2. I agree with you on the depression level in MG. I've even put a good book down after the first few chapters not wanting to get pulled into the pool of depression. Luckily I have some go to authors like Tommy Greenwald to pull me back up.

  3. OMG! I so agree with your opening remarks. I'm sick to death of these sad, dark books. I just want a nice middle grade novel with a little adventure, a functioning family, and a happy ever after.
    I've been binging on Call The Midwife on Netflix. Sure it is sad in bits, but I love it. Have you seen it?
    Aside from that, I am pretty sure I know at least a handful of readers who will enjoy this book. Thanks!

  4. I so enjoy your posts! And yes, I do feel the same way – often – about middle grade. I think my boys would enjoy the adventure of MINRS. Keep on keepin' on!

  5. Anonymous12:19 PM EST

    "I think that 2015 will go down in the annals of middle grade literature as The Year Authors Tried to Depress the Living Hell Out of Everyone." I couldn't agree more.

  6. There certainly have been a lot of sad books this year. I try to intersperse that kind of reading with something light and funny like HAMSTER PRINCESS, when I need a laugh.

  7. MINRS sounds good. I liked Mars Evacuees. Check out my week here. Happy reading!

  8. I don't think I was out to depress anyone (read my goofy Neil Flambé books). I'm just visiting a future scenario where mining on another planet isn;t actually so different from mining on Earth.

  9. Mars Evacuees sounds familiar - I will have to find that one. I had to laugh about your take on the state of MG novels. Yes, we need more fun/humorous/witty books - which is probably the reason why I am enjoying The Screaming Staircase tremendously!

  10. I'm not a sci-fi reader and this sounds just too sad for me, but thanks for the review.

  11. Ha ha ha ha! Depress the living hell out of everyone, indeed. There's always the Penderwicks, thank goodness! (And Hamster Princess is great, too. Hmm. I think I know what my next post is going to be.)

    Minrs looks fun, though, in a desperate, traumatic, apocalyptic way!