Middle Grade

For inspiration, some excerpts from middle grade novels. See if you can guess them all.

  1. Stanley and his parents had tried to pretend that he was just going away to camp for a while, just like rich kids do. When Stanley was younger he used to play with stuffed animals, and pretend the animals were at camp. Camp Fun and Games he called it. Sometimes he’d have them play soccer with a marble. Other times they’d run an obstacle course, or go bungee jumping off a table, tied to broken rubber bands. Now Stanley tried to pretend he was going to Camp Fun and Games. Maybe he’d make some friends, he thought. At least he’d get to swim in the lake.
  2. Grace stood before the front window where, beyond the road, beyond the trees, Lake Michigan lay calm and glittering. A lake view! Just wait until those so-called friends of hers with their classy houses see this place. The furniture would have to be reupholstered; no, she’d buy new furniture – beige velvet. And she’d have stationary made – blue with a deckle edge, her name and fancy address in swirling type across the top: Grace Windsor Wexler, Sunset Towers on the Lake Shore.
  3. “I’ll never tell.” He looked straight at Claudia to see her reaction. She looked puzzled. He smiled, and so did she, for she then felt more certain than ever that she had chosen the correct brother for a partner in escape. They complemented each other perfectly. She was cautious (about everything but money) and poor; he was adventurous (about everything but money) and rich. More than twenty-four dollars. That would be quite a nice boodle to put in their knapsacks if they were using knapsacks instead of instrument cases. She already had four dollars and eighteen cents. They would escape in comfort.
  4. It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened. No. Wrong word, Jonas thought. Frightened meant that deep, sickening feeling of something terrible about to happen. Frightened was the way he had felt a year ago when an unidentified aircraft had overflown the community twice. He had seen it both times. Squinting toward the sky, he had seen the sleek jet, almost a blur at its high speed, go past, and a second later heard the blast of sound that followed. Then one more time, a moment later, from the opposite direction, the same plane.
  5. As I grew older, I learned to delay my obedience, but each moment cost me dear-in breathlessness, nausea, dizziness, and other complaints. I could never hold out for long. Even a few minutes were a desperate struggle.
    I had a fairy godmother, and Mother asked her to take the curse away. But my fairy godmother said Lucinda was the only one who could remove it. However, she also said it might be broken someday without Lucinda’s help. But I didn’t know how. I didn’t even know who my fairy godmother was.
  6. Of all the kids in the seventh grade at Camillo Junior High, there was one kid that Mrs. Baker hated with heat whiter than the sun. Me.
    And let me tell you, it wasn’t for anything I’d done.
    If it had been Doug Swieteck that Mrs.
    Baker hated, it would have made sense. Doug Swieteck once made up a list of 410 ways to get a teacher to hate you. It began with “Spray deodorant in all her desk drawers” and got worse as it went along. A whole lot worse. I think that things became illegal around Number 167.
  7. There are mice.
    Lots of mice. Running all over my room. Letting out crying sounds that grate on my ears. They crawl on my feet. My legs. I feel them on my arms. Soft things with toenails like blunt needles.
    “Momma?” I say. She’s dressed in a long nightgown. Her fingernails are sharp like the tops of just-opened cans. “We gotta get rid of the mice. We gotta call an exterminator.” I hand her an old-fashioned phone.
    “You’re right, Lacey,” Momma says.
  8. She was born Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, and she did not open her eyes for three days.


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18 responses to “Middle Grade

  1. Denece

    (one of eight = 12.5%) 😦

  2. Goose Girl, Flat Stanley (I’m guessing…only my kids have read it), Ella Enchanted…that’s all I’ve got. I didn’t realize some of these are considered middle grade. And a few are definitely NOT contemporary. I think this may be my hardest week yet. 😦

  3. Rebecca Birkin

    Holes, Ella Enchanted, Goose Girl, The Wednesday Wars, and the writing in the mice one seems so familiar, but I’m not going to guess. I’m curious to know what the others are!

  4. 1. Holes, 5. Ella Enchanted. 6. Wednesday Wars, 8. Goose Girl. (In other words, I recognized the same ones as Rebecca!). Not sure on the others, though.

  5. Oh, and I just figured out #3: From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

  6. Kim Woodruff

    #2 is The Westing Game. I have a question. I read that middle grade encompasses the ages from 8-12. Most of these voices sound 12 and older. Doesn’t Ella get married in Ella Enchanted? Will second grade be considered too young for this challenge? Is 8-10 more of a chapter book age?

  7. anndee

    It is eight to twelve. I almost put up Ramona–one of my favorite middle graders. The ranges are fuzzy. Most of these are Newberry winners which are categorized as middle grade but probably on the upper end. You have the full range.

  8. Holes, The Westing Game, From the mixed up files of mrs. Basil M . . .(one of my all time favorites!), 4 I’m not sure on, Ella Enchanted, The Wednesday Wars, Carol’s book, I can’t remember the name now. Happens all in one day. Really good read. And lastly Goose Girl.
    I wonder if I’ve read #4?

    And good question on the ages of characters and being middle grade still. I’ve been figuring that out as well-as I begin working on my MG novel for Tim Wynn Jones WIFYR class. (Is he Diana’s sister? I saw on his blog he has a sister named Diana, but is she the Diana of Howl’s Moving Castle?)

  9. #4 is The Giver. One of the best books of all time.

  10. Oh, The Giver. Should have known. I agree it’s Carol’s writing, but it’s not in verse, so it’s not Glimpse. Miles from Ordinary?

  11. Rebecca, I think you’re right about Carol’s book. I thought it sounded familiar too–but I haven’t read it yet (it’s waiting by my bed, so I flipped through it).

  12. Oh. Yes, it is Carol’s. Good call, Rebecca and Rosalyn. It’s Miles from Ordinary.

  13. Definately read The Giver (more than once). Interesting that I didn’t recognize it. Rebecca-yes, it’s Miles from Ordinary:)


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