100 books like Sisters of the Neversea

By Cynthia L. Smith,

Here are 100 books that Sisters of the Neversea fans have personally recommended if you like Sisters of the Neversea. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Wish in the Dark

Jessica Lawson Author Of The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher

From my list on middle grade retellings of classics and fairytales.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up reading all kinds of stories, but I was also a big fan of playing outdoors. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was always a favorite of mine, but as an adult, I realized something…the one main female character who was my age, Becky Thatcher, didn’t seem to like adventure at all! I loved the idea of Becky being as much of a mischief-maker as the boys – and that became my first novel, The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher. I love retellings of classics and how they respect the original story, but are also able to imagine a new path! I hope all readers have adventures, inside and outside of books!

Jessica's book list on middle grade retellings of classics and fairytales

Jessica Lawson Why did Jessica love this book?

A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat is a retelling of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world. I cannot say enough about the gorgeous setting details and atmosphere that support the characters in this novel. From the very first pages, I felt drawn into the world of Pong and Nok. This novel will feel familiar in theme and plot to those familiar with Victor Hugo’s classic, but it also stands alone as a new story that needs to be read and shared.

By Christina Soontornvat,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked A Wish in the Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A 2021 Newbery Honor Book

A boy on the run. A girl determined to find him. A compelling fantasy looks at issues of privilege, protest, and justice.

All light in Chattana is created by one man — the Governor, who appeared after the Great Fire to bring peace and order to the city. For Pong, who was born in Namwon Prison, the magical lights represent freedom, and he dreams of the day he will be able to walk among them. But when Pong escapes from prison, he realizes that the world outside is no fairer than the one behind bars.…


Book cover of Midsummer's Mayhem

Erin Yun Author Of Pippa Park Raises Her Game

From my list on middle school fiction featuring delicious food.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a children’s book writer from Frisco, Texas. I’ve published two middle grade chapter books, Pippa Park Raises Her Game and Pippa Park Crush at First Sight. I’ve always been captivated by novels that make me hungry; you can blame formative children’s books like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie or Stone Soup for that. That’s why today I’m sharing my top 5 favorite middle grade books that have a foodie twist. Some of them revolve entirely around food; others simply offer a notable scene. Either way, I hope you’ll find them as delectable as I do!

Erin's book list on middle school fiction featuring delicious food

Erin Yun Why did Erin love this book?

Eleven-year-old Mimi is the youngest child in a family full of high-achievers. Determined to prove herself, she enters a baking contest at a newly opened bakery in town, but when strange things begin happening to those around her (such as her food critic dad losing his sense of taste), Mimi must pair her culinary skills with her detective skills to get to the bottom of the magical mystery. 

If I had to pick one word to describe this book, it’d be: sweet. Plus, this adorable book is also a retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And if you know me, you know I adore retellings! 

By Rajani LaRocca,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Midsummer's Mayhem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A Kirkus Best Book of 2019!
An Indies Introduce Selection for 2019!
An Indie Next Pick for Summer 2019!

"A delectable treat for food and literary connoisseurs alike." Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

"What a wonderful, intriguing, and magical book. And wow, did it ever get my tastebuds going! Each time I picked it up, I felt the urge to head to my kitchen. . . . What I loved most was the smartness of it. It never once doubted its young readers." Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor- and National Book Award-Nominated author

"Midsummer's Mayhem is an enchantment of a novel, bursting…


Book cover of The Gilded Girl

Lorelei Savaryn Author Of The Edge of in Between

From my list on retellings for middle grade readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied retellings as I prepared to write my own take on The Secret Garden. Retelling a classic story can not only usher something like The Secret Garden or Peter Pan into our current time and place in history, but it can also awaken the wonder and magic many of us experienced when reading these tales for the first time in a new generation. It’s been so fun for me to see how modern authors put their own spin on these stories, and I hope you will enjoy them too.

Lorelei's book list on retellings for middle grade readers

Lorelei Savaryn Why did Lorelei love this book?

Fans of A Little Princess will find a story both fresh and comfortingly familiar inside these pages. Izzy and Emma's personalities spark off the page, and the ticking clock to the time their magic is either activated or snuffed out forever makes their journey to friendship even more endearing. Featuring themes of justice and social change, this is a retelling not to be missed.

By Alyssa Colman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Gilded Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Heartfelt, fast-paced, and utterly absorbing, The Gilded Girl is Alyssa Colman’s sparkling debut novel about determination, spirit, and the magic of friendship.

Any child can spark magic, but only the elite are allowed to kindle it. Those denied access to the secrets of the kindling ritual will see their magic snuffed out before their thirteenth birthday.

Miss Posterity’s Academy for Practical Magic is the best kindling school in New York City―and wealthy twelve-year-old Emma Harris is accustomed to the best. But when her father dies, leaving her penniless, Emma is reduced to working off her debts to Miss Posterity alongside…


Book cover of The Humming Room: A Novel Inspired by the Secret Garden

Lorelei Savaryn Author Of The Edge of in Between

From my list on retellings for middle grade readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied retellings as I prepared to write my own take on The Secret Garden. Retelling a classic story can not only usher something like The Secret Garden or Peter Pan into our current time and place in history, but it can also awaken the wonder and magic many of us experienced when reading these tales for the first time in a new generation. It’s been so fun for me to see how modern authors put their own spin on these stories, and I hope you will enjoy them too.

Lorelei's book list on retellings for middle grade readers

Lorelei Savaryn Why did Lorelei love this book?

This contemporary retelling of The Secret Garden sets the story in a closed-down tuberculosis sanitarium. Roo's journey to uncover the mysteries of the house and bring life to the garden tucked away inside it unfolds beautifully on the page. With well-developed characters, a deeply haunting revelation, and a setting that springs to life with vivid detail, this was a great take on a classic.

By Ellen Potter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Humming Room as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.

As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she…


Book cover of An American Sunrise: Poems

Sheila Williams Author Of The Secret Women

From my list on about adventurous, brave, soulful women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a storyteller whose daydreams begin with “once upon a time”. I worked as a corporate paralegal and always thought that legal pads could be put to better use by writing a novel. Someone said that women learn best by observing the lives of women. I'm inspired by women who have stepped off the path as well as by those who have maintained it. My learning began by observing the women in my family, African American women who walked their paths, chosen and unchosen, with grace, style, and courage, sometimes, in heels. The stories of women, fictional narratives as well as biographies, poetry, and historical accounts, illuminate these strong souls.

Sheila's book list on about adventurous, brave, soulful women

Sheila Williams Why did Sheila love this book?

The current United States Poet Laureate. She is an artist and not just of words. Harjo plays a mean saxophone. And writes poetry to send the soul soaring. Reminding me of the sky, the soil, the roots. My roots. “Do you know how to make a peaceful road through human memory?” Harjo’s Muscogee roots have their beginnings in the soil that nurtured some of my Georgia-born ancestors. What can I say? I feel the words.

By Joy Harjo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An American Sunrise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma. Two hundred years later, Joy Harjo returns to her family's lands and opens a dialogue with history. In An American Sunrise, Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where her people, and other indigenous families, essentially disappeared. From her memory of her mother's death, to her beginnings in the native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo's personal life intertwines with tribal histories to…


Book cover of Peter Pan

Cay Fletcher Author Of Queer Windows: Volume 1 Spring

From my list on to take you on a fantastical adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fantasy has long been a favorite genre of mine for the way you can explore so many different concepts and ideas, and the freedom it gives you as a storyteller. If you feel like you’ve been transported to that world as the story unfolds, I see that as a successful story. Creating vibrant, diverse, new worlds and real, flawed characters for readers is something I strive towards with every project. As a queer author, I find it especially important to give queer characters the hero roles they deserve. The best thing about fantasy is it can be anything, and anyone, from any background, can be the main character.

Cay's book list on to take you on a fantastical adventure

Cay Fletcher Why did Cay love this book?

Peter Pan was one of the first books that made me want to write and create my own worlds. Neverland was an escape, not only for the Darling children but for my earliest stories. It was a place to be anyone, and go on endless adventures, without the limitations of adult expectations. The characters will always be special to me. We may have to grow up, but we can always keep special places like Neverland in our hearts and strive to create worlds that generations of readers will enjoy. 

One note is that while I will always love this book, it was published in 1911 and I cannot endorse the racist portrayals of Native Americans/Indigenous People. As the historical costume community says, ‘vintage style, not vintage values.’

By J. M. Barrie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peter Pan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. A mischievous boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang, the Lost Boys, interacting with mermaids, Native Americans, fairies, pirates, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside of Neverland. In addition to two distinct works by Barrie, the character has been featured in a variety of media and merchandise, both adapting and expanding on Barrie's works.


Book cover of Jingle Dancer

Nancy Bo Flood Author Of First Laugh, Welcome, Baby!

From my list on Native American celebrations today.

Why am I passionate about this?

Stories help us understand ourselves, another culture, or a new student sitting alone at a nearby desk. While teaching, working side by side, and living on the Navajo Nation for nearly twenty years, I wanted to share some of the special and surprising aspects of their culture—especially the kindness, wisdom, and the laughter Navajo people shared with me. Laughter is a holy gift for the Navajo people. First Laugh shows the reader why this is true. My books have been given a variety of national and international awards but the best reward is when a child looks up while reading one of my books, quietly grins, and then proudly says, “I am in this book.”

Nancy's book list on Native American celebrations today

Nancy Bo Flood Why did Nancy love this book?

This book was one of the first—and still one of the best—picture books to describe the importance of jingle dancing and powwow today. The setting is contemporary. The story is engaging. The author, Cynthia Leitig Smith, is a tribal member and weaves many authentic details into the story.

By Cynthia Leitich Smith, Cornelius Van Wright (illustrator), Ying-Hwa Hu (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jingle Dancer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith's lyrical text is paired with the warm, evocative watercolors of Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu in this affirming story of a contemporary Native American girl who turns to her family and community.

The cone-shaped jingles sewn to Grandma Wolfe's dress sing tink, tink, tink, tink…

Jenna loves the tradition of jingle dancing that has been shared over generations in her family and intertribal community. She hopes to dance at the next powwow.

But with the day quickly approaching, she has a problem—how will her dress sing if it has no jingles?…


Book cover of In the Spirit of Crazy Horse: The Story of Leonard Peltier and the FBI's War on the American Indian Movement

Thomas Ford Conlan Author Of Gentle Spirits

From my list on combining nature writing with an epic story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a nature writer and poet who lives, writes, and tends his modest grapevines on a small farm in the highlands of northern Michigan. My study and my work delves into the mysterious connections between all living things. I've sailed the world's lakes and oceans and lived on the land from Alaska to California to the Caribbean. The natural world cannot just be described but must be experienced – all the writers on my list have taken this approach – as I've followed the lead of these great writers but in my own unique way. I would enjoy a day on a secluded river with each of them in search of the elusive brook trout.

Thomas' book list on combining nature writing with an epic story

Thomas Ford Conlan Why did Thomas love this book?

A creative non-fiction work that brings the native folk hero alive in spirit while following the modern-day hero Leonard Peletier and the AIM resistance.

Again, the landscape descriptions take the reader away into the land once travelled by Native Americans. Matthiessen’s literary touch lends an almost novel-like thread by comparing the legends of Crazy Horse, perhaps the most revered of Lakota warriors, who becomes more than an historical figure in support of the fight for Native American rights and dignity in the American West of the 1970s.

By Peter Matthiessen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Spirit of Crazy Horse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An “indescribably touching, extraordinarily intelligent" (Los Angeles Times Book Review) chronicle of a fatal gun-battle between FBI agents and American Indian Movement activists by renowned writer Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014), author of the National Book Award-winning The Snow Leopard and the novel In Paradise
 
On a hot June morning in 1975, a desperate shoot-out between FBI agents and Native Americans near Wounded Knee, South Dakota, left an Indian and two federal agents dead. Four members of the American Indian Movement were indicted on murder charges, and one, Leonard Peltier, was convicted and is now serving consecutive life sentences in a federal…


Book cover of You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir

Leslie Larson Author Of Breaking Out of Bedlam

From my list on the power of family secrets.

Why am I passionate about this?

As I child I wanted to know the information that was withheld from me. What were the adults whispering about? What were they hiding? Secrets, things that are hidden, have a way of shaping the lives around them, a dark space that exerts a presence, even though it isn’t seen. I thought if I found out the secret, maybe my family, and the world, would make sense. Breaking Out of Bedlam is my version of my grandmother’s story, based on the whispers I heard and a few faint clues—a newspaper clipping, a Bible, and a baby’s sock. More than that, it’s an explanation for the silence in my family, for my grandmother’s bitterness, her drug abuse, and depression.

Leslie's book list on the power of family secrets

Leslie Larson Why did Leslie love this book?

Sherman Alexie gives it everything he’s got in this sprawling, messy, brilliant memoir. Using his mother’s funeral as a jumping-off point, he investigates her chaotic life in an effort to understand the enigma of her personality and the nature of his complicated relationship with her. The contradictions he uncovers, the bits and pieces of information he’s able to glean, and the incongruities in the stories he discovers are stitched together in a narrative he likens to a patchwork quilt: disparate parts brought together that somehow make a whole.

I love the rawness of this memoir, the humor, the mixed genres, and especially the way that Alexie doesn’t spare himself in his examination of how things turned out as they did. He emerges as a not altogether likable player in the vast tragic comedy of his family. In unraveling his relationship with his mother, he uncovers his own demons, the secrets…

By Sherman Alexie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Don't Have to Say You Love Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A searing, deeply moving memoir about family, love, loss, and forgiveness from the critically acclaimed, bestselling National Book Award-winning author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Family relationships are never simple. But Sherman Alexie's bond with his mother Lillian was more complex than most. She plunged her family into chaos with a drinking habit, but shed her addiction when it was on the brink of costing her everything. She survived a violent past, but created an elaborate facade to hide the truth. She selflessly cared for strangers, but was often incapable of showering her children with the…


Book cover of Wraeththu: The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire

Heather Ashle Author Of An Heir of Realms

From my list on adult fantasy that won’t make you grow up too much.

Why am I passionate about this?

My favorite fantasy novels tend to be rather complex. Winding plotlines, mysteriously interconnected characters, whimsical settings, and intricate, thoughtful worldbuilding combine to create immersive stories that stick in the mind like overworn folklore. Time travel or interworld travel lend additional layers of intrigue and mystery, forcing the inescapable contemplation of a more thrilling, alternate reality. And if it’s all packaged in artful, breathtaking prose that breeds full-color images, audible noises, indelible flavors, nose-crumpling odors, and tangible textures, I will happily lose myself in the pages, truly forgetting about the strictures of everyday life… at least until I get hungry and remember I need to consume more than books to survive.

Heather's book list on adult fantasy that won’t make you grow up too much

Heather Ashle Why did Heather love this book?

As the kid who roamed the halls between classes with a book in my hand, I suspect Wraeththu gave my nerd façade an impressive boost: technically an omnibus of three stories, Wraeththu is very thick—in both binding and plot. It follows the emotionally charged and mesmeric tales of a hermaphroditic race that is steadily subsuming the human one in a Darwinian battle for biological perfection. We follow the journeys of a few characters as they navigate the mental and physical growing pains inherent in joining a new race and the wild tribes and communities that have emerged in the wake of their hermaphroditic transformations. Dark, fascinating characters and cultures drive this story to its unusual climax when their true purposes are stunningly revealed.

By Storm Constantine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wraeththu as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here at last in a single volume are all three of Constantine's Wraeththu trilogy: The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, and The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire.

In this powerful and elegant story set in a future Earth very different from our own, a new kind of human has evolved to challenge the dominion of Homo sapiens. This new breed is stronger, smarter, and far more beautiful than their parent race, and are endowed with psychic as well as physical gifts. They are destined to supplant humanity as we know it, but humanity won't…


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