Best Reads of 2019

Hello from behind the scenes! We’re CJ and Elza, the mother-daughter duo responsible for Middle Grade Carousel’s challenges and content. As you may have guessed, we’re both avid bookworms who enjoy stocking our home library with kid-friendly reading material.

We’re so excited to show and tell and share what we’ve been reading, so you might be seeing more of us this year.

To kick off our brand new blogging schedule, we’ve decided to pick and share the Top 5 best books we read in 2019.


book covers for GHOST by Jason Reynolds and Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell

CJ’S CHOICE: Ghost (really, the whole Track Series), Jason Reynolds

Ghost is a boy from a rough neighborhood who mostly tries to stay out of trouble. But when he sees a track team strutting their stuff in the park, he can’t resist showing them that they’re not so fast. He knows how to run (and for good reason), and in proving he can, he earns himself a place on the team. I’ve always loved sports stories, and this 4-book series brings a great one.


ELZA’S PICK: Withering-by-Sea, Judith Rossell

This lucky library find was packed with all the paranormal thrills and Gothic horror trappings that I love. Sweet orphans vs. power-hungry villains, a creepy old hotel and a foggy pier, new friends and final requests. Don’t read this one too close to bedtime!



Book covers for Plain Kate by Erin Bow and "Who Could That Be at This Hour?" by Lemony Snicket

CJ’S CHOICE: Plain Kate, Erin Bow

Plain Kate is a woodcarver of incredible skill. Circumstances conspire to force her into a deal with a witch. A fascinating fantasy in a setting reminiscent of Russia, with folk lore and gypsy caravans and needing to learn the roamer way. Sometimes dark and often wistful, a stellar stand-out in my year’s reading.


ELZA’S PICK: Who Could That Be at This Hour?, Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket is a favorite author. And, in this case, a favorite main character. Surreal settings, satirical humor, and sinister scenarios make this first book of the All the Wrong Questions series a thriller.



Book covers for Almost Super by Marion Jensen and BRAVE by Svetlana Chmakova

CJ’S CHOICE: Almost Super, Marion Jensen

Rafter and his brother Benny are Baileys, and they’re about to come into the family legacy. On Leap Day, every Bailey who’s turned twelve inherits their super power. Which they use in their ongoing battle against the Johnsons (insert fist-shake). But their big moment doesn’t arrive in quite the way it should. Rafter and Benny are determined to get their due, even if it means taking on the Johnsons (insert fist-shake) alone.


ELZA’S PICK: Brave, Svetlana Chmakova

While all the Berrybrook Middle School graphic novels are excellent, I especially loved Jensen’s story. Heartfelt and emotionally honest, it delves into topics like bullying, heroism, and friendship in delightfully unexpected ways.



Book covers for Lost and Found by Orson Scott Card and Kimchi & Calamari by Rose Kent

CJ’S CHOICE: Lost and Found, Orson Scott Card

Ezekiel has a knack that’s only brought him trouble. He finds lost things. A useless “micropower.” But then a police officer shows up at his door and asks for help in finding a lost child. Suspenseful. Orson Scott Card has long been a favorite author. This story kept me riveted from start to finish.


ELZA’S PICK: Kimchi & Calamari, Rose Kent

Adoption and an identity crisis, first crushes and the new kid, good food and family traditions. This was a book that made me laugh, made me cry, and even managed to surprise me a few times.



Book covers for The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart and Airball: My Life in Briefs by L. D. Harkrader

CJ’S CHOICE: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, Dan Gemeinhart

Coyote lives in a bus with Rodeo, and every day’s a journey. But when Coyote hears from her grandmother that a park in their old neighborhood is being torn out, she knows she needs to get back before that happens. One of those books I read with a smile. Except for when I was laughing. Or swiping at tears. Hands down favorite. The kind I’ll reread and always recommend.


ELZA’S PICK: Airball: My Life in Briefs, L. D. Harkrader

Surprise, surprise! I don’t usually read books about sports, but stepping outside my comfort zone paid off big time in this hilarious basketball-centric story. Honestly, it’s one of the funniest books I’ve read.


What were your Top 5 Middle Grade reads of 2019?

Author: Middle Grade Carousel

A mother-daughter duo dedicated to all things Middle Grade, CJ & Elza run a series of monthly reading challenges. You can also find them on Twitter: @kindeladies, or Instagram: @mgcarousel.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: