Eleven-year-old Kyra is meant to continue the Starbard's proud family legacy of interpreting the future from the stars' songs. Her deafness, incurable by the best medics, breaks her mother's heart and pushes her father to explore anything to help his little girl--including the expensive purchase of a telepathic alien servant to help Kyra communicate on a planet inhospitable to unfixable genetic defects. Marne's telepathy is too weak for his Naratsset culture, so he is sold into slavery and expects to die at the hands of human owners--until he meets a human child who begs her father to "save" him. Her kindness introduces Marne to a new world--one where he would risk his life to save a human from her own people's abuse and the stars' songs can touch even a deaf girl and a defective telepath.
When an intergalactic terrorist organization kills Kyra's father, driving her mother to madness, Kyra and Marne only have each others' friendship--until even that is threatened by the danger surrounding the Starbard heritage. But can the two friends, not good enough for either of their cultures or families, manage to keep each other safe when several different worlds threaten their lives?
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Top 10 Middle Grade Books!
T.J.'s Top Ten Middle Grade Books
Okay, this was a tough one for me because I edit middle grade books, many of which I would have loved to read when I was young, like (currently out) Darby Karchut's Finn Finnegan and Gideon's Spear, and Timothy Miller's Awoken and a number of others that aren't even out yet!
There have also been a number of other, current middle grade series that I love now, but for this list, I'm going to stick with the MG books I fell in love with when I was reading middle grade. Also, despite the fact that Silent Starsong is science fiction, you'll notice that outside of L'Engle, there's a dearth of SF titles here. The SF books I read from 10-14 was not middle grade and definitely had some more adult themes/issues in them. Though these books had a lot of influence on me and are great books, I wouldn't feel right listing them on a Top Ten MG list.
... Also, forgive my cheating as listing some series as books. ;) Just TEN?! You couldn't pry books out of my fingers...well, you still can't. Anyway... I digress...
10. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery ... and the whole series. A non-speculative collection, but I was also adopted, I loved to read and write, and I got picked on a lot at school, so I had an immediate connection with Anne.
9. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell - Another non-SF/F title, and this one totally blew my mind. I still want a skirt of cormorant feathers.
8. Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce - coming-of-age with non-saccharine unicorns. :) Need I say more?
7. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg - because when I was going through "My parents totally don't get me I need to run away" phase, running TO a library makes total sense!
6. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein - Should be required reading for everyone.
5. Everything Goosbumps. R.L. Stine rocked my world.
4. The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle - Okay, I know this one isn't technically middle-grade, but it's MG appropriate, I believe.
3. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis ... and the whole series. To this day, it's my second most-read series
2. A Wrinkle in Time ... and the rest of this series. Growing up a science geek and very religious, it meant so much that an author was balancing science, faith, family values, and magic!
1. A Swiftly Tilting Planet - Madeleine L'Engle - I adore this whole series, but I read this first because it had the flying unicorn on the cover. I love that these books still make sense out of order...and I love the magic of the poetry in this one! Also: UNICORN!
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