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The Best Middle-Grade and Chapter Books of 2012

While I have made four "Best of" picture books list now, this is only my second "Best of" list for middle-grade and chapter books and I am still refining it. As I was compiling and winnowing my list for this year, I noticed some themes. So, this year the list is categorized! And, like a stripy shirt or the right pair of jeans, I am hoping the categories will hide the true heft of the list(s). I'll start with a genre that has existed for a very long time, (John Bellairs, an author from my childhood, is a great example and I really need to review his books here) mysteries with a bit of magic but I just sort of noticed it this year. Interestingly enough, three of the four books in this category could also be termed Historical Fantasy, mysteries with a touch of magic set in the past, my favorite! And, please excuse the size of the graphic novel list. It was too hard to narrow it down...

The Best MYSTERIES with MAGIC of 2012

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

The Aviary by Kathleen O'Dell

Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms by Lissa Evans

13 Hangmen by Art Corriveau


Tracks by Diane Lee Wilson


Tua and the Elephant by RP Harris, illustrated by Taeun Yoo

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Neversink by Barry Wolverton

The best REALISTIC FICTION of 2012

Wonder by RJ Palacio

Libby of High Hopes by Elise Primavera

Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker

The Best FANTASY of 2012

The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

Cold Cereal by Adam Rex


The Whispering House by Rebecca Wade

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle

The Best GRAPHIC NOVELS of 2012

DRAMA by Raina Telgemeier

A Wrinkle In Time adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson

The Stone Frog by David Nytra

Earthling! by Mark Fearing

Fangbone! Third-Grade Barbarian by Michael Rex

Explorer : The Mystery Boxes edited by Kazu Kibuishi

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Best CHAPTER BOOKS of 2012

The Great Cake Mystery by Alexander McCall Smith

Mrs Noodlekugel by Daniel Pinkwater

Sadie and Ratz by Sonya Hartnett

And, of course, these brilliant graphic-novel-beginnning-to-read books from TOON BOOKS that came out in 2012!



Jeremy said…
Thanks so much for this tour de force recap of the year's best books -- a treasure trove! And a happy new year to you as well. We so appreciate your work here.
Tanya said…
Thank you, and thank you! Hopefully there are a few books on the list your kids haven't read yet! Wishing your family a fantastic 2013!!

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