My quest to read at least one title from every middle grade series this year got a much needed kick when I crossed paths with author Braden Bell. We share similar teaching backgrounds in the trenches with middle level kids. His Middle Grade Magic series began with THE KINDLING (today’s review), followed by PENUMBRAS (2013), and this year LUMINESCENCE. Braden graciously sent me digital copies of all three titles.
I always feel the first book in a series is the set-up for the other stories. If it fails, who would want to read more? Braden Bell is a fantastic story teller and he leaves you wanting to revisit his trio of heroes and heroines. I have Epsiode #2 an #3 on my future read list and can’t wait to get back to the magical world of the Magi.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2012 PAGES: 304
FULL PLOT (From Bradenbell.com): All thirteen-year-old Connor Dell wants to do is pass pre-algebra, play lacrosse, and possibly kiss Melanie Stephens. He didn’t mean to set anyone’s gym shorts on fire or make school lunches explode. But now that the strange powers inside him have been ignited, Connor’s normal teenage life is about to go up in flames!
Homework? Of course. Crushes? Sure. But who knew seventh grade included superpowers?
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT THE KINDLING
- The three 13-year-old main characters fly off the pages with their humor, charm, and insecurities. I enjoyed learning about their individual powers and how they dealt with their school life and new magical abilities.
- Disney World. What a superb choice for a side trip in the story. It moved the plot along at a furious pace. The last time I rode on It’s Small World, I vowed to never hear the theme song again. Now, I can’t wait to visit the attraction once more and relive a very exciting part of THE KINDLING.
- Music and theater are expertly woven into the story. The connections made to some of our beloved musicals and plays had me whistling some of the tunes myself.
- A strong family unit. So many MG stories are full of missing parents, it’s nice to read one where a two parent family exists and a loving one at that.
- Action, danger, suspense… the perfect ingredients for a wild ride and one that’s hard to put down. Thank your Braden!
Mr. Miller snorted. “Any Darkhand who steps on my campus is the one who needs to be careful.” He slammed his mop down, and streaks of bright green light spread across the floor like a spider web.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.