Since April is National Poetry Month, I figured it’s the perfect time to feature some middle grade verse novels I’ve loved. Check out my list below:
Alone by Megan E. Freeman
This book is a perfect bridge to NIVs for kids who aren’t sure about them. It has lyrical poetry, but also an exciting survival plot that will pull them in and keep them reading. (The MC survives on her own for years!) Plus, it straddles the border between contemporary and dystopian. Add in a gorgeous cover, and the book pretty much sells itself at the B&N where I work.
Missing Mike by Shari Green
This book is a hidden gem–I rarely see anyone talk about it, so I feel the need to shout about it as much as possible! The story follows a girl who is displaced from her home due to wildfires. Her dog is missing, and she is determined to find him. Once again, there’s plenty of action due to the wildfires, and plenty of heart as well!
Everywhere Blue by Joanne Rossmassler Fritz
This lyrical verse novel explores complicated family dynamics in a realistic way. It also tackles anxiety and compulsions. I loved that while the book gives us a satisfying conclusion, it doesn’t tie everything up in a completely perfect bow at the end, just like kids will often experience in real life.
The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling
Another exciting survival story–Can you tell I like my verse novels with some action? (I guess that’s why my upcoming verse novel is a fantasy!) This one also has a deeply moving internal journey, as the MC navigates memories of her mother’s traumatic death due to a shooting. And the gorgeous verse had me wanting to read it again and again.
Starfish by Lisa Fipps
An incredible book about body image and a journey toward self-acceptance. This book made me feel so many things, not all of them easy, but all of them important.
Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca
This story takes place in the 80’s, so it brought me back to my childhood years. It follows a young girl grappling with her identity as an Indian American and also with her mother’s battle with cancer. The book is both heartbreaking and hopeful. A definite must-read.
Mirror to Mirror by Rajani LaRocca
I know I just featured a LaRocca book, but I just finished reading this one, and I couldn’t not include it. It’s the story of twin sisters who are growing apart. One of the sisters struggles with mental health issues, which drives a wedge between them that both sisters keep driving deeper, despite their efforts to do the opposite. (Watch for my review of this one coming on the blog soon, along with LaRocca’s Top Ten Addictions.)
Amber & Clay by Laura Amy Schlitz
This one is a unique blend of fantasy and historical fiction, and it’s written in alternating verse and prose. It’s set in ancient Greece, and the eventually intertwining storylines are both fascinating.
The Lonely Ones by Kelsey Sutton
This one is another hidden gem—it’s a bit hard to find now, but you can still get it via Kindle, and it’s well worth seeking a physical copy out. Honestly, this is one of the first books that made me love verse novels. It highlights the experience of loneliness and moves between a fantasy world the MC escapes to and the real world, where she struggles to make connections. The MC is also a freshman in high school, so it’s a perfect read for both older MG readers and younger YA readers.
House Arrest by K.A. Holt
This was one of the first MG verse novels I ever read, and I was blown away. It had so much emotional resonance, and it made me just want to read more and more and more!
The Magical Imperfect by Chris Baron
This wonderful book highlights the ways our insecurities can rule us and the ways the bonds of friendship can save us. It also has a hint of magical realism, which I loved.
Good Different by Meg Eden Kuyatt
This is another recent read for me that I just had to highlight. This book is written from the perspective of a girl with autism, and the lyrical verse is the perfect way to express her struggles with the world around her. A perfect read both for kids (and adults) who are autistic themselves and to build empathy in others.
These are all fantastic verse novels, but there are so many MORE I could have added to the list. Check out all of my reviews of verse novels here!
What are your favorite verse novels? I wanna know!