Here are six books I think you’ll love if you enjoyed reading The Sky Beneath the Stone.
Secrets of the Last Merfolk by Lindsay Littleson
They gave you the box, they gave me the key.
The merfolk exist, and they want us to find them.
New friends Finn and Sage discover an incredible secret: real merfolk live under the wild waves off the Scottish coast. The sea-people are brave, proud, powerful — and in grave danger.
Can Finn and Sage help defeat a terrifying enemy before the last of the merfolk are lost forever?
Why I loved it: beautiful Scottish coastal setting, two friends on an outdoor adventure, mythical creatures!
Hedgewitch by Skye McKenna
Cassie Morgan has run away. After seven years spent waiting for her mother to return, she flees her dreary boarding school and sets out to find her. But the world outside her school is full of hidden magic and children have been going missing.
With the help of a talking cat and a flying broom, Cassie escapes to the enchanted village of Hedgely. There she will begin her training in the practical skills of witchcraft with the Hedgewitch, who watches over the Hedge, the vast forest that marks the border between England and Faerie.
Why I loved it: such immersive nature detail, alternative history, practical magic and a liminal forest.
The Hunt for the Nightingale by Sarah Ann Juckes
Ten-year-old Jasper has been waiting all spring for his beloved nightingale to return to his garden and sing. But it’s not there, and neither is his sister, Rosie. His parents seem sad and preoccupied, so gathering his courage, his backpack and his treasured Book of Birds, Jasper sets out alone on a walk to find them both.
The expedition takes Jasper through town and country, meeting a host of characters who are also searching for lost things. Helping his new friends, Jasper begins to see that he may not find what he is looking for when he reaches the journey’s end, but even in the darkest of moments, a nightingale’s song can be heard somewhere.
Why I loved it: an outdoor adventure, emotional themes sensitively explored, birds, birds and more birds!
The Ghost of Gosswater by Lucy Strange
The Lake District, 1899
The Earl is dead and cruel Cousin Clarence has inherited everything. Twelve-year-old Lady Agatha Asquith is cast out of Gosswater Hall to live in a tiny, tumbledown cottage with a stranger who claims to be her father. Aggie is determined to discover her real identity, but she is not alone on her quest for the truth. On the last day of the year, when the clock strikes midnight, a mysterious girl of light creeps through the crack in time; she will not rest until the dark, terrible secrets of the past have been revealed …
Why I loved it: Cumbrian setting, very practical protagonist, an old manor house setting and a spooky island on a lake.
The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle
When Fionn Boyle sets foot on Arranmore Island, it begins to stir beneath his feet …
Once in a generation, Arranmore Island chooses a new Storm Keeper to wield its power and keep its magic safe from enemies.
The time has come for Fionn’s grandfather, a secretive and eccentric old man, to step down.
Soon, a new Keeper will rise. But, deep underground, someone has been waiting for Fionn. As the battle to become the island’s next champion rages, a more sinister magic is waking up, intent on rekindling an ancient war.
Why I loved it: a real-life setting imbued with magic, timey-wimey stuff, totally heartwrenching conclusion.
The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson
They call me Yanka the Bear. Not because of where I was found – only a few people know about that. They call me Yanka the Bear because I am so big and strong.
Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, Yanka has always wondered about where she is from. She tries to ignore the strange whispers and looks from the villagers, wishing she was as strong on the inside as she is on the outside. But, when she has to flee her house, looking for answers about who she really is, a journey far beyond one that she ever imagined begins: from icy rivers to smouldering mountains meeting an ever-growing herd of extraordinary friends along the way.
Why I loved it: heroine on an epic adventure, enchanted forest, stories retold, magical transformation.
These are just some of the brilliant MG books I’ve been lucky enough to read lately. If you have recommendations for more books along these lines please do send them my way!