The Trials of Morrigan Crow - Jessica Townsend
I'd been hearing great things about the first book in the Nevermoor series, and I should have listened earlier. Middle-grade books can be an interesting category, and it's hard to know what will end up as a classic, or what will end up sitting in your classroom library for years without ever getting a look in!
The Trials of Morrigan Crow has all the hallmarks of being a book (and hopefully series!) that I can recommend to students for many years to come.
The quote on the front of books makes the statement that this is a "Harry Potter meets Alice in Wonderland" style book. I definitely get the Wonderland reference, since we end up in a rather fantastical world. The Harry Potter reference perhaps connects with the 'tasks' that our protagonist has to go through to achieve her goal - in a Triward style competition. (As perhaps the biggest Potter fan you'll ever meet, that's where the similarities ended from my perspective). Despite the book's length, the vocabulary isn't overly complex, which means it is more accessible to readers than it may look on the shelf.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I read all 450 pages in one day, but it's not one that is sticking in my mind the next day.
Age suggestion: 8-13 years. The main character is 11 years old at the beginning of the book, and seems quite relevant to that age range.
Ability Level: I think good readers in Grade 2-3 would really enjoy this, and average to high readers for Grade 4-5. The length is intimidating, but the actual content and vocabulary isn't overly complex.
Content Notes: It's the tiniest bit dark. Morrigan is supposed to die at age 11 (and her family couldn't care less!), and is blamed for all bad things that have happened in her lifetime.
I will read the second book when it comes out. I've got a couple of students reading this at the moment and they're enjoying it.
Have you got students after a big chapter book that don't want to be looking up new words every other page?
Book Depository (cheapest)