We’ve noticed that our middle-grade and YA readers are moving away from high fantasy, dystopian, and vampire stories, though fantasy still reigns in graphic novels. We’ve seen a resurgence of interest in historical fiction and more realistic novels. Not necessarily super-sad books like John Green’s, but realistic fiction more along the lines of Sarah Dessen’s.
Three books that are huge for us right now are Pax by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Jon Klassen, about a boy and his pet fox who are separated during a war and have to survive without each other. It is a beautiful and heartbreaking story that reveals the effects of war through the perspectives of both of these innocents. The book appeals to a lot of parents as well as kids, especially those who loved Wonder and The Thing About Jellyfish, since it has similar heart, and really speaks to readers. I’ve had kids come back and tell me that Pax was amazing, and unlike anything they’ve ever read.
Another very popular historical novel is Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, which is based on a true story. It takes place in 1945, on a German ship filled with refugees hoping to find a better life. Their stories converge, and the novel represents so many viewpoints. It’s a very emotional read and a fantastic crossover to adults. This book appeals to anyone interested in stories focusing on human interactions, and also to kids who like nonfiction.
For the rest of this recommended piece, go to What's Selling at Wellesley Books.