OwlCrate Jr Middle Grade Book-A-LikeBy: OwlCrate Jr
OwlCrate Jr Middle Grade Book-A-Like
I don’t know about you but when I finish a book I absolutely love, I’m immediately searching for books just like it. So in that spirit, I thought I’d help you all out and share some book-a-like recommendations to pair with some of the fantastic past OwlCrate Jr picks. I hope to make this a semi-regular feature, so check back soon for more book-a-like pairings and as always, please recommend your book-a-like suggestions!!
OwlCrate Jr Pick June 2017: York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby
Book-A-Like: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby is such an immersible Middle Grade mystery series that I fell head over heels for —all the science and steampunk elements really enhanced this alternate future story set in New York City that follows a group of three friends who hunt down clues left behind by the famous Morningstarr twins in order to save their beloved Morningstarr apartment building from being torn down. Will they be able to solve the riddles of The Old York Cipher that many have tried and failed to do over the last century?
If you love middle grade mysteries (and haven’t done so yet) you need to read The Mysterious Benedict Society! (And if you have, and loved it, you need to try the York series!) In this classic series a disparate group of children —each with unique strengths and capabilities— must go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened to gather secret information for their generous benefactor.
OwlCrate Jr Pick July 2019: The Twelve by Cindy Lin
Book-A-Like: Girl Giant and the Monkey King by Van Hoang
One of my daughter’s favourite OwlCrate Jr picks, The Twelve is an excellent mythological fantasy adventure that is centred in a world where individuals can be blessed with zodiac powers until an evil overlord, known as Dragonlord, outlawed the practicing of these gifts and murdered those who objected. Main character Usagi’s parents fell to such a fate and left behind her and her sister Uma. Born in the year of the rabbit Usagi herself was blessed with rabbit zodiac powers but must hide them to protect herself and her sister … until her sister is captured by the Dragonguard. Now she must rely on her gifts and trust in the mysterious group known as the Heirs of the Twelve, to get Uma back.
If you loved the Chinese mythology found within the pages of The Twelve, I highly recommend Girl Giant and the Monkey King by Van Hang! 11-year-old Thom Nhgo is strong, like super, freakishly strong … and it is wreaking havoc on her life and ability to fit in at her new school. Desperate to fit in, she makes a deal with the Monkey King —he will remove her powers if she travels to the heavens and retrieves his magical staff that was lost to him when he was banished by the gods. But can she trust this trickster, who puts the Norse trickster god Loki to shame? Demons, dragons, and jade princesses await within this magical, contemporary fantasy adventure about learning to accept yourself.
OwlCrate Jr Pick September 2020: The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
Book-A-Like: Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly
The Malaysian paranormal fantasy, The Girl and the Ghost, is a verrrrry creepy story in which a young girl, Suraya, is gifted a pelesit —a ghost— by her witch grandmother. This pelesit, named Pink, is Suraya’s best friend and companion all her life … until Suraya meets a new friend. Pink becomes increasingly jealous of Suraya’s new friend and begins to lash out violently and dangerously. This dangerous dark side threatens them both, unless Suraya can find a way to save them.
I’ve yet to read an Erin Entrada Kelly story I haven’t loved and this adventure fantasy, full of Filipino Folklore, is one of my very favourites. It is a dark and fairly chunky read, but the pages fly by in that superior story telling style of Erin’s. In Lalani of the Distant Sea, you’ll meet the titular character who lives on the island of Sanlagita. Ruled by a patriarchal ruler, this harsh island suffers under the cruel rules against women and months without rain. When Lalani makes a well intentioned deal with a creature she finds in the mountains, it has disastrous consequences: launching the island into unending rains and floods. She sets out across the sea to find a magical island and make a deal with the great creature that inhabits it, hopefully rectifying her mistake. But grown men have died on this perilous journey, can a small girl survive where they have failed? Along the way she meets creatures both magical and ordinary including the most adorable side turtle companion!