The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid by Colin Meloy
The older I get, the more I realize that my favorite books were written for a target audience of 11-year-olds.
Let’s name a few:
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Harry Potter (the first books definitely have that middle grade fiction feel) by J.K. Rowling
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
So it comes as no surprise that one of the best books I read this summer fell into this category of Middle Grade Fiction.
The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid is written by Colin Meloy and the beautiful cover and illustrations throughout the book are by his wife, Carson Ellis.
I could not put this book down.
Lonely Charlie Fisher (who happens to be 11 years old) makes friends with a gang of pickpockets and wants to become one of them. The gang is just one of many on an internationally operated pickpocket organization. This leads the reader to wonder, can Charlie actually become a pickpocket this slick? And are his pickpocket friends true friends, or do they have ulterior motives?
The story and the setting in Marseilles, France, are charming. However, the thing that really won me over was the deft of hand Colin Meloy employs with the conclusion. As soon as I finished the book I immediately re-read the last chapter or two because he had tricked me, and I wanted to find out exactly when. Like any good pickpocket, you never exactly know when Colin Meloy did it. Rather than stealing my wallet, he opened my imagination and made me interact with the conclusion in a way that I have rarely done before. Bravo on your trick, Mr. Meloy.
Have you read any great middle grade fiction recently? PLEASE let me know. The Wildwood chronicles by the same duo is next on my to-read list.