HomeFeaturesBook ListsFavourite Middle Grade Reads of 2020

Favourite Middle Grade Reads of 2020

Favourite Middle Grade of 2020

Middle grade is my happy place and my comfort food …basically, it is my hope for the future. More critical in 2020 than any other year, it was the space I retreated to, to remind myself there is still joy in this world and I highly recommend any reader of any age to pick up a middle grade every now and then. Of the 24 middle grade books I read this year, here are the stories that really captured my heart:

The List of Things that Will Not Change

The List of Things that Will Not Change book coverWritten by Rebecca Stead

Published by Wendy Lamb Books

Simple and short but filled to the top with heart and joy, this is the middle grade story that surprised me the most in 2020, and provided some much needed brevity. When Bea’s parents divorced, they gave her a green notebook entitled, “The List of Things That Will Not Change”, which included their love for her and that they will always be a family. Fast forward a couple years and ten year old Bea is about to get a major wish, her dad is marrying his long time partner Jesse and he has a daughter just her age … a sister! But the road to making a new family isn’t always easy, nor straight forward. Bea grapples with anxieties, worry and guilt that are gently guided through her regular appointments with her therapist. She is a fiercely relatable, precocious character that stole my heart and Rebecca Stead’s masterful writing opens up important conversations regarding LGBTQ+ relationships, anxiety, and therapy.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Echo Mountain

Echo Mountain book coverWritten by Lauren Wolk

Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers

There hasn’t been a middle grade I’ve read with my daughter that so thoroughly encapsulates a sense of place as much as Lauren Wolk’s Echo Mountain. The quiet description, the patient prose, and Lauren Wolk’s obvious extensive knowledge of both the environment and Great Depression-era realities, combine to create a read with incredibly vivid world building. When Ellie’s family loses almost everything in the Great Depression, they move to an untamed section of mountainous forest known as Echo Mountain. But being thrust into the harsh realities of having to build everything from practically nothing (shelter, food, clothing, tools), is something Ellie and her father take to wholeheartedly. She loves plants, she loves helping her father, she loves learning about this environment and feels a great connection to it. When her father is accidentally hurt and falls into a coma, her mother and sister blame Ellie for his accident. Determined to find a cure, Ellie turns to the environment she loves, testing out various concoctions, home remedies and eventually crossing paths with the “old hag” higher up the mountain, who shares a similar penchant for the environment and healing. Ultimately a hopeful and tender story, with a speck of the supernatural, Echo Mountain is a treasure.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow

Hollowpox book coverWritten by Jessica Townsend

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Being that this is now the third instalment in the Nevermoor series, I can’t say much except that this story eerily follows the events of 2020 as a pandemic has plagued the Wunimanls of Nevermoor and Morrigan finds herself central in the fight to find a cure … and that’s about all I’ll say. I simply love this world and this continuation in the series did not disappoint!

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky book coverWritten by Kwame Mbalia

Published by Rick Riordan Presents

This was just a riotous, over the top, adventurous, action packed, all around fun read full of Black mythology, dynamic characters and an absolute smorgasbord of visual imagination. While being well balanced by delicate nuances of friendship, loss, and grief. When Tristan Strong loses his best friend in a tragic bus accident, his family decides a vacation at his grandpa & grandma’s Alabama farm will help him heal. Along with his most cherished possession – his best friend’s journal – he reluctantly leaves home. On his first night he awakes to find a tiny, sap-shooting, smart-talking doll – known as Gum Baby – trying to steal the journal. What follows is a mad chase through Alabama fields, Bottle Tree Forests, and eventually through a portal to the world of MidPass; a land of flaming oceans, bone ships, talking forest creatures, evil iron monsters, and Gods of Black Mythology. An excellent choice for any comic-lover or reluctant reader with action aplenty, Tristan Strong is a seriously impressive debut.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

The Time of Green Magic

The Time of Green Magic book coverWritten by Hilary McKay

Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books

I think it was the overall sense of comfort, family and home that resoundingly appealed to me with this magical realism story. I don’t think it is necessarily for everyone – but those who enjoy an element of the odd, a dash of eery, and whole load of cozy, family love will want to curl up with this read. When the newly blended family of Abi, her dad, Max, Louis and their mom are forced out of their tiny apartment, this lovely, larger, ivy covered house at first seems like a great new beginning … until elements of stories begin falling out of books… like a leaf, some snow … and a giant leopard. In order to set things right and send this dangerous new friend to its rightful home – Abi, Max, and Louis must come together and work through the magic and secrets of their new house before someone gets hurt.

Full review HERE.

You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Any purchases made via retailer links provided in this article may result in this site receiving a share of that sale.


Welcome to And other tales. The little corner of the interweb where we don’t count cups of coffee, believe cancelling plans to stay home & read is just good life advice, refuse to acknowledge the calories in baked goods and will never judge you on the number of marshmallows in your hot chocolate or the size of your TBR piles. Curl up, get comfy and click through for book reviews, life chats, playlists, vegan & gluten free baking recipes, gift guides and more.

Newest Articles