2014 debut authors bash button

Hi Y’all! Welcome to my stop on the 2014 Debut Author Bash!!! I’m super excited to be hosting Rachel Searles, author of The Lost Planet (such an amazing MG adventure). And, because I LOVE book recommendations, Rachel has been so kind to share with us some of her favorite MG reads. First, here’s the drool-worthy cover and synopsis:



This is what the boy is told:

  • He woke up on planet Trucon, inside a fence he shouldn’t have been able to pass.
  • He has an annirad blaster wound to the back of his head.
  • He has no memory.He is now under the protection of a mysterious benefactor.
  • His name is Chase Garrety.

This is what Chase Garrety knows:

  • He has a message: “Guide the star.”
  • Time is running out.

Add the book to your Goodreads to-reads! (My 10-year-old sister and I LOVED it.)


Guest Post: 10 MG Books I’ve Read & Admired by Rachel Searles

When I read middle grade books, it’s often with a dual purpose: partly for the pure enjoyment of reading, and partly to be aware of what’s being published and to expose myself to other authors’ writing. I wouldn’t say “that’s a book I wish I’d written,” no matter how excellent it is, because to me books are like children–I want to write my own, not someone else’s. But I think it’s incredibly useful and important as a writer to learn from other authors by paying attention to what I think works really well, or isn’t quite as successful.

There are a few things that make a middle grade book stand out for me, starting with the originality of the concept. If it’s unlike anything else I have ever read, it’s already got my attention. Another is the overall complexity of the book. I’m not looking for Infinite Jest when I read middle grade, but I do enjoy deep world-building and a good twisty plot. And nothing makes me clutch a book to my heart like stunning use of language (here Cathrynne M. Valente in particular comes to mind). As far as taste, I tend to read more speculative fiction than contemporary, although several of the best books I’ve read recently are set in the real world. So with that, here’s a list of some of the middle grade books that I’ve read and admired in the past few years:

1. Splendors & Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz – This Victorian tale of magic, lost children, and old rivalries is a complex and engrossing book with beautiful descriptions of foggy, Dickensian London.

2. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey – By now Mr. Yancey is better known for last year’s YA blockbuster, The 5th Wave, but readers should check out his Monstromologist series–thrilling, creepy Gothic mystery with plenty of gory detail for horror fans.

3. Six Innings by James Preller – This book is a perfect, lovely snapshot of each of the players on a Little League team during the course of a championship game, showing how for some its the game of a lifetime, while for others. I absolutely adore it.

4. Wonder by R.J. Palacio – I’m still amazed at how well the author was able to capture the voice of protagonist Auggie, showing his independent, witty personality while weaving in both his frustration and his resignation with his disfigurement and how others react to it in a very honest way. Funny and heartbreaking at the same time.

5. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman – The extraordinary worldbuilding, ideas, and philosophy behind this trilogy puts it in a class of its own. This is a classic–if you haven’t read it, what are you waiting for?

6. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Cathrynne M. Valente – Valente’s amazing command of language in this book blew me away, not to mention the unique adventure she weaves about a girl named September. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the five-book series.

7. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen – Given what I write, it’s no surprise that I love adventure stories, and this classic is the ultimate survival tale. I was so sad when I reached the end because I wanted it to keep going!

8. The Cavendish Home for Boys & Girls by Claire Legrand – A clever story with a firecracker of a protagonist and lots of creepy details that make your skin crawl.

9. Jinx by Sage Blackwood –  This funny, delightful story is carried by excellent characters and a intriguing plot, and is a refreshing new take on fantasy.

10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – I’m not quite sure where this book lands–I’ve seen it classified as both YA and adult, but I personally think of it as more upper MG. Narrated by Death himself, it’s an extremely original approach to a heartbreaking WWII story set in Nazi Germany.

Thank you, Rachel!! Love this list!

About the Author

rachelsearlesRachel Searles grew up on the frigid shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where she spent her childhood studying languages and plotting to travel around the world. After college, she lived abroad in Munich and Istanbul, working as a cook, a secretary, a teacher, and a reporter for the Turkish Daily News. She now lives in Los Angeles with her rocket scientist husband and two cats, and spends her free time cooking her way through the Internet and plotting more travel. The Lost Planet (January 2014, Feiwel and Friends) is her debut novel.The sequel, The Stolen Moon, publishes January 27, 2015.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

And thanks, once again, to Rachel Searles, we have a giveaway for you:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Whimsically Yours,


Written by Patrice


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