MG Takes on Thursday

This is my new weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books. I hope others will enjoy taking part in this too!

How to take part:

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence. 
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.

This week, I’m celebrating …

Written by Hanna Alkaf
Cover Illustration by Anastasia Suvorova
Published by HarperCollins

Favourite Sentence from Page 11:

FOR A WHILE after the witch drew her final breath the ghost sat very still, wondering what to do next.

This book in three words:

MALAY FOLKLORE, GHOSTS, FRIENDSHIP

I’ve read a few really brilliant spooky middle-grade books this year which genuinely scared me including The Haunting of Aveline Jones, Small Spaces and The Jumbies. The Girl and the Ghost is another fantastic addition to my list of spooky, scary children’s books.

This is an incredibly powerful and gripping story which I absolutely adored and devoured in a couple of sittings. It is based on the Malaysian folktale of the pelesit which I knew nothing about, but I did enjoy finding out more during reading the book and in some of my own research afterwards, especially how pelesits are created as the story of how it was made in this book shocked me, but it also made the discovery of something else about the pelesit (no spoilers) towards the end of the book incredibly poigant.

This is a story of love, jealousy and enduring friendship and is both chilling and heart-warming. Suraya becomes the master of her witch grandmother’s pelesit after her death. The pelesit feeds on her blood and she becomes his master, although he definitely makes hos own decisions as well.

Suraya names the pelesit Pink and they become firm friends, especially as Suraya does not have friends of her own and is cruelly bullied by others. This is something that Pink can’t bear and so he seeks revenge showing his dark spirit. Suraya is a kind-hearted girl who doesn’t want anyone hurt so commands him to stop, but this goes against his nature. Pink’s inner fight with himself, struggling to go against his nature, is beautifully written and I found this very touching, especially with the incredible twist.

When a new girl, Jing, joins the school, Suraya makes a friend which makes Pink jealous and drives a rift between the two. However, when Pink is in danger, jealousies and pain are forgotten and their deep friendship and love for each other leads them, with Jing, on a journey to find the truth and save Pink.

This is a powerful, heartfelt and dark read with a twist that brought tears. I didn’t know anything about Malay folklore so the origins of the pelesit came as a shock. This is one I would highly recommend for anyone interested in Malay folklore and for mature children in Year 6 and above.

I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag  #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!

2 thoughts on “MG Takes on Thursday

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