Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

April Reading List – I’m in the mood for some MG


My April reading theme is books set in VA/surrounding areas or books by local(ish) authors. As I scanned my TBR-list, a few books jumped out and they all happened to be MG, so I figured why not make it a middle grade kind of month.

My aim this year was to cut back on lists, but I can’t help it this time – there are just too many MG books with a local connection.

For starters, these two, which are both set during WWII (click titles for full Goodreads descriptions, some are only partials to cut down on post length):

A Spy on the Home Front by Alison Hart (the author is a Virginia gal and I’m a big fan of her other historical books)

During a two-week stay at Grammy and Granpa’s farm in the summer of 1944, Molly spends lots of time with her good friend Anna Schulz, the daughter of German immigrants who live on a neighboring farm. When Aunt Eleanor, now a WASP pilot, stops for a visit while ferrying a warplane from one airbase to another, a security check uncovers anti-American propaganda stashed aboard her plane. The FBI interrogates Eleanor but quickly zeroes in on another suspect–Anna’s 17-year-old brother Max, who works at the local airfield.

Stepping on the Cracks by Mary Downing Hahn (author lives in MD)

In 1944, when her brother is overseas fighting in World War II, eleven-year-old Margaret changes her mind about the school bully, Gordy, after she discovers he is hiding his own brother, a deserter.

And this one, because the cover is cute – come on, who doesn’t like cupcakes?

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer (story set in WV)

close to famous coverFoster McFee dreams of having her own cooking show like her idol, celebrity chef Sonny Kroll. Macon Dillard’s goal is to be a documentary filmmaker. Foster’s mother Rayka longs to be a headliner instead of a back-up singer. And Miss Charleena plans a triumphant return to Hollywood. Everyone has a dream, but nobody is even close to famous in the little town of Culpepper. Until some unexpected events shake the town and its inhabitants-and put their big ambitions to the test.


My TBR-list at the beginning of March was 983. It is now 971. WOW! (ok, I didn’t read all of them, I just cleaned it up a bit)

My TBR-shelf was at 46. It’s now 44! (I did read both of those)


It’s baseball season!!!

I’m revising this month – my draft is insanely long and I’m excited to start killing my darlings!


Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

8 thoughts on “April Reading List – I’m in the mood for some MG

  1. Holy TBR list! Nice job getting it down 🙂
    I think I read Stepping on the Cracks back in the day, and liked it. The cover of Close to Famous is super-cute. Yay for MG!

    • I’m hoping the list shrinks even more this month b/c I can read MGs so quickly. In the back of my mind, I dream of somehow getting it to 0, but there is no way this will ever happen.

  2. I’m sometimes able to minimize my list, but the pile keeps growing since I buy too many books.

    I’m also in the mood for middle grade.

  3. I’m going to a library book sale next month and my reading pile will probably double. Maybe triple 🙂

  4. A Spy on The Home Front looks good. (I’m from Virginia, too.)

  5. Oooh I haven’t read any of these! Good luck denting your list even more 🙂

  6. I’ve been reading MG with my MG book club. We read Flying the Dragon before the holidays and I loved it– sweet, thoughtful and funny at times (the kids loved it too). We’re reading Moon Over Manifest right now. Love that, too. I think it’s so neat that you’re picking regional authors. What a great idea, and these choices look delightful.

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