I have read a lot of books for middle grade and young adult readers, and a theme I have noticed is that many middle grade books focus on relationships and becoming independent adults while young adult novels deal with grittier issues like violence and sexuality. But this, of course, is not always the case.
A Reason to Forget: Training Games is a story that blends common themes from both middle grade and young adult literature into a heart-pounding, page-turning adventure. This story revolves around a twelve-year-old girl named Jazz and her grandfather who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Though Jazz’s deep love for her grandfather helps her navigate the times when he cannot remember who she is, it is obvious that his disease is taking its toll on everyone in his life. The plot takes a turn when Jazz is hunted by a terrifying enemy and she and her friends must find a way to return home alive. Please see my full review here.
Throughout the story, readers experience Jazz’s emotions as their own, holding their breath as she fights for survival. Delightful connections between Jazz and her friends Blossom and Davy give the characters depth and endear readers to them. These relationships are hallmarks of middle grade stories.
On the other side, the frightening realities of their escape from imminent death, including threats of violence, take this book in a more mature direction. The riveting second half of the book is best suited to readers who are prepared for some intensity in the narrative.
Though one piece of Jazz’s story wraps up at the end of this book, many unanswered questions remain. It is the perfect way to get readers hooked into the second installment. I can’t wait!
Do you know another great story I should feature in my blog? Please let me know by messaging me here!