Lately, I’ve been focusing on YA, but I’ve been desperately been wanting to dive back into middle grade. After I binge read most of The Trials of the Apollo series earlier this year, I remembered just how much fun middle grade can be – usually since it’s packed with heart, humor, whimsy, and so much magic. The Rick Riordan Presents imprint is definitely bringing us most of the books I have lined up on this list, but middle grade lately has been bringing it hard with diversity, important issues, bursting with so much heart, and more – so I just had to share some that look like they’re going to be amazing.
My Fate According to the Butterfly by Gail D. Villanueva
When superstitious Sab sees a giant black butterfly, an omen of death, she knows that she’s doomed! According to legend, she has one week before her fate catches up with her — on her 11th birthday. With her time running out, all she wants is to celebrate her birthday with her entire family. But her sister, Ate Nadine, stopped speaking to their father one year ago, and Sab doesn’t even know why.
Um, this sounds like it’s going to be all sorts of crazy emotions and heartwarming feels, and I’m so ready for it all. I saw a fantastic review for it, so I’m officially convinced.
The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao
As a member of the Jade Society, twelve-year-old Faryn Liu dreams of honoring her family and the gods by becoming a warrior. But the Society has shunned Faryn and her brother Alex ever since their father disappeared years ago, forcing them to train in secret.
Oooooh gods, training to be a warrior, and mysterious family disappearance? This sounds like the making of a Percy Jackson-like story, and I’m totally down. The cover is super cool as well, so I’m pretty sold.
Paola Santiago and the River of Tears by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Space-obsessed 12-year-old Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. It’s all they’ve heard since a schoolmate of theirs drowned a year ago. Pao is embarrassed to admit that she has been told to stay away for even longer than that, because her mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila at night, looking for young people to drag into its murky depths.
GHOSTIE MIDDLE GRADE – MY FAVORITE MIDDLE GRADE BRAND. Ugh, it’s La Llorona toooooooooo. This book will be be everything and half for me, I predict. And plus it’s Rick Riordan approved.
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia
Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s journal.
This book is already on my TBR for the month since the author will be at Yallfest – but can you see why??? Based in African American folktakes and more, this book seems like equal parts emotional, adventurous, and monster read, and I WANT MORE.
Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
Lately, seventh grader Nizhoni Begay has been able to detect monsters, like that man in the fancy suit who was in the bleachers at her basketball game. Turns out he’s Mr. Charles, her dad’s new boss at the oil and gas company, and he’s alarmingly interested in Nizhoni and her brother, Mac, their Navajo heritage, and the legend of the Hero Twins. Nizhoni knows he’s a threat, but her father won’t believe her.
Will Rick Riordan Presents ever stop giving??? Seriously, every single book that comes out makes me stop, appreciate, and listen – and add it quickly to my TBR. This book is no exception and I have not read a book with Navajo mythology, SO I AM READY.
It’s the End of the World as I Know It by Matthew Landis
Ever since his mother was killed in the line of duty in Iraq, Derrick has been absolutely certain that the apocalypse is coming. And he’s prepared: he’s got plenty of canned goods, he’s fully outfitted with HAZMAT suits, and he’s building himself a sturdy fallout shelter. When his neighbor Misty insists on helping with the shelter, Derrick doesn’t think it’s such a good idea. Misty’s just had a kidney transplant, and her reaction to her brush with death is the opposite of Derrick’s: where Derrick wants to hide, Misty wants to see and do everything.
This kid is totally me as a child, being ready and paranoid af. I appreciate this kid’s readiness, and this book seems like it’s going to be heartwarming and hilarious. Plus, middle grade really has been doing such a great job with approaching mental health with care and authenticity, so I’m eager to see.
Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca
Can Mimi undo the mayhem caused by her baking in this contemporary-fantasy retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream? Eleven-year-old Mimi Mackson comes from a big Indian American family: Dad’s a renowned food writer, Mom’s a successful businesswoman, and her three older siblings all have their own respective accomplishments. It’s easy to feel invisible in such an impressive family, but Mimi’s dream of proving she’s not the least-talented member of her family seems possible when she discovers a contest at the new bakery in town.
Baking + middle grade + Shakespeare story I actually enjoyed = I AM MOST EXCITED. My obsession with The Great British Baking Show is making me want to binge read this instantly.
What do you think? Do you want to add these to your TBR? Which are you most excited for? Let’s discuss in the comments below!