7 Middle Grade Books I Just Added to My TBR That You Will Want to Add Too

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

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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

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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

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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!


27 thoughts on “7 Middle Grade Books I Just Added to My TBR That You Will Want to Add Too

  1. I honestly love all the content Rick Riordan Presents is churning out. I love all the representation and the spotlight on other cultures. I can’t wait for Tristan Strong especially.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This all look SO GOOD! I’m constantly amazed by all the incredible looking books coming out of Rick Riordan Presents. Kids these days are truly blessed! Haha I also can’t get enough of ghostly middle grade 😀 Thanks for bringing all of these books to my attention!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The dragon warrior sounds so good! And there are so many rick riordan presents books coming, I want to read them all!


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love reading Ghost stories for middle grades so I’ll surely check Paola Santiago and the River of Tears. It reminds me of the ghost stories I read back when I was twelve, The Doll in the Garden, Time for Andrew, those type of chilling ghost stories. Thank you for this recommendation. I love your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! For some odd reason, ghost middle grade stories are just so good and intriguing – I think it’s the same for me. It reminds me of some of the ones I read. Wait Till Helen Comes was oen fro me. I might have to check out the ones that you mentioned. Than you so much!! ❤


  5. I’m not a huge middle grade reader, but I am totally making exceptions for the Rick Riordan Presents books. My mythology loving heart would have died if I’d had all those books when I was middle grade age.

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  6. I am 100% on board for all of the Rick Riordan presents novels on this list plus the Dragon Warrior, which totally should have been on that imprint too because it just visually fits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! They just have such a different feel to them and I almost feel like more magic at times. And ooooh I will have to check those out! I’ve read Small Spaces which was pretty good. Definitely checking out The Devils Apprentice, though!


  7. Ive got several of these on my TBR too. I quite like the sound of a few Rick Riordan presents books too although I still need to read the ones he’s written because I’m hopeless. I own the first one and know I can get the rest out of the library as ebooks so hopefully I’ll get started on the series soon. I have no idea what they’re like yet but MG wise I also have School For Good & Evil, Nevermoor and the Various on my TBR

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