Hello beautiful blog readers, I am sorry for not posting in FOREVER (almost 3 weeks), but PhD-ing and writing got in the way of blogging. BUT, I am back, and I’m ready to hit you up with books that’ll make you giggle.
I read A LOT of middle grade, and I have to say, I think funny middle grade is my favourite. I also think it’s somewhat overlooked. It is SO hard to write funny (I know, coz I try and often fail at it), and sometimes I don’t think authors of funny books get enough recognition for that. So this little blog post is going to be all about books that made me laugh.
1 // WHO LET THE GODS OUT by MAZ EVANS (and sequels!)
Elliot’s mum is ill and his home is under threat, but a shooting star crashes to earth and changes his life forever. The star is Virgo – a young Zodiac goddess on a mission. But the pair accidentally release Thanatos, a wicked death daemon imprisoned beneath Stonehenge, and must then turn to the old Olympian gods for help. After centuries of cushy retirement on earth, are Zeus and his crew up to the task of saving the world – and solving Elliot’s problems too?
I’ve already gushed about this fabulous series (check out my full review of the first book here), but I SERIOUSLY need to emphasise just how funny it is.
I always think the funniest books are those grounded in a concept that has real life implications. Elliot’s mum’s illness, and the loving yet taut relationship between them is the CORE of this book, and provides an emotional hook that, IMO, makes this story super special. This background to this story is Greek mythology, but it’s mythology like you’ve never seen before–Maz manages to make familiar stories and figures inventive and complex.
What underscores this series is a writing style that’s engaging and LOL-funny in a distinctly British way. This is a book that I recommend SO MUCH, because it’s action packed, fun to read, and hilarious.
2 // ALEX SPARROW AND THE REALLY BIG STINK by Jennifer Killick (and sequel, ALEX SPARROW AND THE FURRY FURY)
Alex Sparrow is a super-agent in training. He is also a human lie-detector. Working with Jess, who can communicate with animals, they must find out why their friends – and enemies – are all changing into polite and well behaved pupils. And exactly who is behind it all.
Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink is a funny, mid-grade novel full of farts, jokes and superhero references. Oh, and a rather clever goldfish called Bob. In a world where kids’ flaws and peculiarities are being erased out of existence, Alex and Jess must rely on what makes them different to save the day.
Oh fart jokes, I love you so! This book is full of them, and it also has Harry Potter references, whip-smart dialogue and a environmental theme that never feels preachy.
ALEX SPARROW is fast paced, action packed, and friendship centred. It’s also got a few other elements I LOVE — supernatural powers and pets to the rescue. I recently read the sequel, ALEX SPARROW AND THE FURRY FURY (try saying that five times fast!), and I actually think Jennifer has outdone herself. Just as funny as the first one, the mystery in FURRY FURY is brilliantly done, and the relationships between the characters are just spectacularly developed. I’m really REALLY hoping this isn’t the last we’ll see of Alex and Jess.
3 // THE MATILDA EFFECT by Ellie Irving
Matilda loves science and inventing. Her heroes are Marie Curie, Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison, and one day she wants to be a famous inventor herself. So when she doesn’t win the school science fair, she’s devastated – especially as the judges didn’t believe she’d come up with her entry on her own. Because she’s a girl.
When Matilda shares her woes with her Grandma Joss, she’s astonished to learn her grandma was once a scientist herself – an astrophysicist, who discovered her very own planet. Trouble is, Grandma Joss was also overlooked – her boss, Professor Smocks, stole her discovery for himself. And he’s about to be presented with a Nobel Prize.
Matilda concocts a plan. They’ll crash the award ceremony and tell everyone the truth! So begins a race against time – and against Matilda’s strict mum and dad! – on a journey through Paris, Hamburg and Stockholm, and on which they encounter a famous film star, a circus, and a wanted diamond thief…
This book has been out for less than a year, and I’ve already got it out of the library twice. That is testament to how much I love Matilda’s story. This story’s humour comes from Matilda’s EXCELLENT narration of her gobsmacking adventure. She is warm and witty and so so smart, and I kind of want to be an inventor now.
It’s also feminist in its themes, which is something I am ALWAYS here for. The exploits and incidents that Matilda and her nan get themselves involved in are also hilarious, and they SHOULD be unbelievable, but NO–this book is written so well, and Matilda’s character is so expertly drawn that you totally believe everything.