Monday, April 11, 2016

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - MY DIARY FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

When this book came up on my library holds list, I jumped into reading it, not knowing what to expect. Reading about an alternative reality where all kinds of fantasy creatures were part of everyday life was so much fun! I read this one as an e-book.

 Spirited, restless Gracie Lockwood has lived in Cliffden, Maine, her whole life. She’s a typical girl in an atypical world: one where sasquatches helped to win the Civil War, where dragons glide over Route 1 on their way south for the winter (sometimes burning down a T.J. Maxx or an Applebee’s along the way), where giants hide in caves near LA and mermaids hunt along the beaches, and where Dark Clouds come for people when they die.

To Gracie it’s all pretty ho-hum…until a Cloud comes looking for her little brother Sam, turning her small-town life upside down. Determined to protect Sam against all odds, her parents pack the family into a used Winnebago and set out on an epic search for a safe place that most people say doesn’t exist: The Extraordinary World. It’s rumored to lie at the ends of the earth, and no one has ever made it there and lived to tell the tale. To reach it, the Lockwoods will have to learn to believe in each other—and to trust that the world holds more possibilities than they’ve ever imagined. - See more at: 

My Diary from the Edge of the World was written by Jodi Lynn Anderson and published by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, in 2015.

My Take:

I don’t think I’ve ever read a story quite like this before – it was quirky and fun, though at times evoked a lot of emotion. It was fun to be on a road trip with Gracie and her family as they tried to save her brother Sam’s life. I really enjoyed being immersed in an alternative world filled with magical and imaginary creatures that were part of everyday life and history, like yetis that live up in Canada and mermaids that lurk in the ocean. It was fun to encounter concepts like quantum physics, superstrings and entropy while I was reading.

For writers, this is a good example of a middle grade novel written in a diary format. It’s also an interesting example of world-building, where fantasy creatures and places are blended into the world the way it exists now.

Opening Line:

“I’m on the top of the hill, looking down on the town of Cliffden, Maine.”


“I’ll tell you in one sentence what it’s like to be the middle child, in case you don’t know: Everyone on either side of you squeezes you until you almost explode, and all the time that they’re smushing you they’re not really noticing you’re there.”

“I suppose one person’s most-boring-lecture-of-all-time can be another person’s “interesting.”

“Maybe out there someone somewhere will read this, maybe even in some other world; maybe someone’s reading it right now.”

Other Info:

 Jodi traveled to different places around the world as she was growing up. She worked as a book editor before she became an author.

When she's not writing she likes to cook, knit, hike and make claymation videos for her friends. (See also 5 Things You Don't Know About Jodie-Lynn-Anderson.)

Teaching Ideas:

Have students write one or more diary entries about an incident in an alternative reality of their choice.

Create a fantastical creature that could inhabit this world and write a news story describing the historical event that your creature had an effect on.


  1. Sounds like a story I'd like. And I love the cover.

  2. That's the first time I've heard of a fantasy novel written like a journal. It sounds like an interesting read. Dystopian/magical worlds can be such an escape. Am interested in the authors writing style. Love that cover.

  3. I have seen this one here and there, but never really knew much about it beyond the cover. Thanks for your insights and I've added it to my books to read.

  4. New title to me. Sounds fascinating. I will check it out.

  5. This is such an intriguing concept. I like the magical realism aspect. I need to get this just to read about the yetis! :)

  6. I'd heard of this book, but, like Greg, hadn't known much about it. What an unusual premise. I love the idea of sasquatches helping to win the Civil War!


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