Here are some great middle-grade novels I’ve read of late. If you have any to add, please leave them below!
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus — Dusti Bowling
Aven, a thirteen-year-old girl born without arms, has newly moved to Arizona, where her parents will operate a run-down western-themed amusement park. Aven’s personality pops off the page. Her experiences navigating middle school in a new setting feel incredibly real and universal. A great read for anyone who’s ever felt they don’t fit in.
Race to the Bottom of the Sea — Lindsay Eagar
Pirates and treasure and science and adventure. The language is a pleasure and the plot reads like a love letter to storytelling. This book is an absolute work of art. Keep an eye on Lindsay Eagar. She’s going places. In fact, she’ll be sharing her next book with us here on the blog in the fall!
The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had — Kristin Levine
Alabama, 1917: Harry “Dit” Simms is surprised to learn the new postmaster in town is a Negro. The last thing he expects is to befriend his prissy daughter, Emma. This book is tender and funny and thoughtful and beautifully written. Kristin and I have editor Stacey in common, which made this an even more special read.
Sarah makes non-fiction fun, fun, fun. I loved this book full of weird medical and medicinal facts that I happened to read while at a spa with mineral baths (including one with arsenic!). This lead to an interesting email exchange with the author. Thank you, Sarah, for indulging my curiosity! I think I’ll stay away from arsenic in the future.
The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast— Samantha M. Clark
The story begins with a Boy waking up on a beach. The Boy doesn’t know how he got there. He doesn’t know his history. He can’t even remember his name. He soon comes to realize a Beast lurks in the woods. The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast takes the survival genre one step further in ways it would be unfair for me to share. The story must speak for itself. But I can promise you this is memorable and powerful read — as Booklist describes it, an unforgettable, life-affirming tale.
A Sky Full of Stars — Linda Williams Jackson
In the sequel to Midnight Without a Moon, Rose, who has decided to stay in Mississippi after the murder of Emmett Till, must decide how she wants to navigate the racial tensions in her community. Linda Jackson wrote Rose’s story as a way to honor her family’s experiences in small town Mississippi. She has brought a pivotal part of history to life through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old girl.
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