I am a Bookshop.org affiliate. If you make a purchase by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a commission, and Bookshop.org will donate a matching commission to independent booksellers. For more information, see my “About” page.
When Carter tells his mom about the stranger on the doorstep, she panics, wondering if it’s a representative from the army bringing terrible news about Carter’s dad. But when Carter assures her that the guy isn’t in a uniform (or at least not a military uniform, though the tux and bowler hat combo is a bit much) and that also the guy is definitely British (like, really, really British), she returns to the chaos of preparing Carter’s little sisters for school and tells Carter to send the stranger away.
But the stranger has no intention of going away, not even when Carter’s dachshund pukes right in front of his shoes (it’s a dachshund thing). In fact, the stranger is there because of the chaos. Apparently, Carter’s grandfather assigned his butler to move to America and help out during their dad’s deployment–even if “helping out” means cleaning up dachshund puke on Carter’s first day of sixth grade. Unfortunately, cleaning up after dogs isn’t the main part of the butler’s job description. He seems bent on turning Carter into “a gentleman,” educating him in the arts, and even teaching him how to play Cricket, which is apparently “the most gentlemanly” of all sports even though no one has ever heard of it. Carter initially resists the changes the butler brings to his life, but when unexpected news from his father makes him confront some difficult truths about his family’s past, Carter realizes that some changes can’t be stopped–and others might be exactly what he needs.
Snarky, whimsical, and heart-wrenching, PAY ATTENTION, CARTER JONES is a story of how love and community can bring a family through a tragedy. The humor kept me laughing even as the story took its more serious turns while Schmidt’s poetic storytelling created emotional swells, ultimately lifting the reader up in hope. I highly recommend this novel to upper-elementary and middle school readers who enjoy contemporary fiction.
I am a Bookshop.org affiliate. If you make a purchase by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a commission, and Bookshop.org will donate a matching commission to independent booksellers. For more information, see my “About” page.
I know, I know. It’s basically still Halloween. But with supply chain issues and paper shortages, we’ve got to think about the holidays early if we’re gifting books to the kids in our lives. That’s why I’m celebrating the #12DaysOfKidlit. I’m choosing my 12 favorite titles from 2021–6 YA and 6 Middle Grade to highlight (in no particular order). Think of this as a gift guide for the young reader in your lives. I’ll update daily for the next 12 days, adding a new title each time.
But (tragically) even though I read 160+ books this year (!), that doesn’t even come close to the number of books that came out. And since everyone’s reading interests are different, my favorites might not be right for you or the kids on your list.
So…you should play too!
On Twitter and Instagram, use #12DaysOfKidlit to throw up your favorite kids/teen books of the year and see what books others loved! The celebration runs from November 1-12.
Let’s fill everyone’s holiday lists with the best Kidlit of the year!
INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING by Nicola Yoon –and– LIKE A LOVE SONG by Gabriela Martins
I received Advance Reader Copies of these books.
I couldn’t pick just one of these because I can’t get either one of them out of my head–and for different reasons.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR DANCING is a sublime exploration of that eternal human question: is love worth the risk of heartbreak? It’s a romance, so we know the answer has to be yes, but the journey to that answer is raw, complex, and beautiful.
LIKE A LOVE SONG, on the other hand, is pure fun–a teen pop star and teen actor fake dating RomCom with perfectly executed tropes. The story is grounded by the MC’s struggle with her identity in a racist society–trying to find balance between her place in a community of artists pursuing a dream career and her place in her family and Brazilian community.
But what these books have in common is that both of the romances were mature and realistic enough that even I–an old(ish) married lady–connected with them in a powerful way, and I think that’s why I loved them both so much. These are romances I will read as a pick me up again and again.
CANDIDLY CLINE by Kathryn Ormsbee
I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
I loved this book because I loved Cline. She is such a believable, lovable 13 year old kid, and as much as she’s been put through some difficult stuff (in the story and before it begins) she bounces back, she keeps going, and she finds supportive friends and adults who help her through. Her voice is so honest and hopeful as she navigates her first crush, coming out to family and friends, and protecting herself when people are hateful to her because of who she loves. And of course the main thrust of her story is how she chases down her dream of becoming a singer, so there’s lots of opportunities to cheer this wonderful heroine on.
SIX CRIMSON CRANES by Elizabeth Lim
I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Not only was this novel woven skillfully from many, many folklore threads, but it surprised me again and again. Even thinking back on the story now, I’m smiling remembering some of the twists. Some of the folklore was new to me, which was fun. Some was familiar but subverted, which was also fun. And throughout the whole story shone family devotion and the perseverance of the young heroine–no matter how annoying her brothers got.
THE THING I’M MOST AFRAID OF by Kristin Levine
Reading this book felt like taking a vacation (which in 2021, was much appreciated!). The detail of the Austrian setting–not just the landscape, but the culture and community–immersed me entirely in that world. And on top of that, the character’s experience with her panic disorder as she figured out how to accept help and develop more effective coping strategies rang so true to me. I don’t usually see that experience represented in the books I read–or if it is represented, it’s in books that are overall soul-crushingly intense–so to see a character with severe anxiety in an uplifting book about family and hope was incredible.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT by Kelly deVos
As a fan of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, I was grinning all the way through this satirical sci-fi/horror. It delivered on humor, on social commentary, on scares–and because there were so many first person narrators (something I don’t usually like), I had no idea who would live and who would die. As long as one kid made it, there would be someone to tell the story. The question was: who?…
FAST PITCH by Nic Stone
I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
When it comes to flawless middle grade fiction, this book is it. It tackles the huge and important topic of racism in sports (and other areas of life), features a group of girls kicking butt on and off the field, and has a thrilling mystery that is impossible to stop reading. It is a winner on so many levels, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
SAY IT OUT LOUD by Allison Varnes
I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
As a musical theater-obsessed former-tween myself, I am always a sucker for stories about kids finding their voices through the arts. But this one had me particularly excited when the tweens take their voices off the stage to fight for something they believe in. Add the fun, heartwarming friendships and representation of a main character who stutters and you have a book that has stuck with me all year.
THE FOREST OF STOLEN GIRLS by June Hur
I read so many YA mystery/thrillers this year, so why has this historical mystery stuck with me? Part of it was the history. Part of it was the feminism. But I think most of it was the atmospheric quality of the novel. There were no cheap scares here, no gimmicks to draw out suspense. The setting of the village, the disappearances, the murky past, and the untrustworthy community members kept my spine tingling the whole way through.
A KIND OF SPARK by Elle McNicoll
I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
It is possible that this one violates the spirit of #12DaysOfKidlit since it wasn’t technically released this year. But I am U.S. based, and it was released here in 2021, and I loved it too much to leave it off my list. The authenticity of the autistic representation was probably the reason I connected with this book so deeply, although the novel has so many strengths. I love middle grade books where children are the moral compass and agents of change in their communities, and the way this particular child forces her community to process the uncomfortable immorality of their pasts and present to move toward a better future…*chef’s kiss*
ME (MOTH) by Amber McBride
I think the reason this poetic literary novel is still haunting me is the rich soil of history, culture, and spirituality that supports the characters. The emotions are deep and intense, but they are so rooted in the exquisite world-building that the narrative never feels heavy, even when the subject matter is. The characters are always growing up and out from their experience of loss, both in their recent pasts and in their ancestral histories, always climbing toward hope. I am not at all surprised this book is on the National Book Award’s Finalists list.
SISTERS OF THE NEVERSEA by Cynthia Leitich Smith
PETER PAN is one of those books I haven’t read my kids because as much as I loved it as a child, every time I pick it up as an adult I’m horrified–partly by the racism on the page but perhaps more by the fact that I had no idea it was there when I was a kid. Those were just things I internalized that contributed to my unconscious prejudices. And maybe that’s why Cynthia Leitich Smith’s SISTERS OF THE NEVERSEA blew me away. Because it isn’t a scathing dismantling of Barrie’s classic. It’s a reimagining of the enchanting world that both holds Peter Pan accountable for the racism and other problematic aspects of the original story and somehow recaptures and preserves the spirit, tone, and even narrative style of the original. This is the novel I want to read my children.
THE DARKNESS OUTSIDE US by Eliot Schrefer
I haven’t been shy about my deep and abiding love of Eliot Schrefer’s sci-fi romance. I think one of the reasons it’s stuck with me so many months after I first read it is the way he perfectly captures the spirit of both genres. I would read this if I were in the mood for sci-fi, and I would read it if I were in the mood for romance. It has all of those little melty moments and relationship tensions I want in a love story plus the edge-of-your-seat, cannot-stop-turning-pages, omg-are-they-about-to-die?! moments I love in YA sci-fi. I can’t get this book out of my head, and I couldn’t think of a better title to start off the 12 Days of Kidlit.
I am a Bookshop.org affiliate. If you make a purchase by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a commission, and Bookshop.org will donate a matching commission to independent booksellers. For more information, see my “About” page.
The school year is underway, and whether you’re a teacher or librarian running a book club or a parent stockpiling good reading material for those inevitable Covid-exposure quarantines, I have a book list for you!
This list includes titles for upper elementary schoolers, middle schoolers, and high schoolers. All of the books were released within the last year, and they have a blend of unputdownable storytelling and though-provoking thematic content. As always, you will need to evaluate the individual titles to be sure they fit within the specific parameters and needs of your students/children, but think of this list as your launchpad.
I will continue to curate this list throughout the year, but titles include:
FAST PITCH by Nic Stone, a middle grade sports story about a girl combatting racial injustice while vying for a softball championship.
NIGHTINGALE by Deva Fagan, a middle-grade fantasy about an orphan thief, a reluctant prince, a magic sword, and worker’s rights in a racially diverse, Victorian-London-esque fantasy world.
GENERATION MISFITS by Akemi Dawn Bowman, a middle grade contemporary novel about four social outcasts and one popular girl who find friendship and the courage to express themselves through their mutual love of J-Pop.
ZARA HOSSAIN IS HERE by Sabina Khan, a YA contemporary novel about a Pakistani Muslim immigrant wrestling questions of home, identity, and belonging after a bigot targets her family with hateful vandalism.
VIOLET GHOSTS by Leah Thomas, a YA historical fantasy about a transgender boy in the ’90s coming to terms with his identity as he helps restless ghosts find justice and a safe haven in the afterlife.
THE DARKNESS OUTSIDE US by Eliot Schrefer, a YA sci-fi about two young men from rival countries on a mission to rescue a fellow spacefarer aboard a ship that may or may not be trying to kill them.
Check out the full list on Bookshop.org. (Don’t worry if you’re not looking to buy; just see what titles look good to you, then find them at your local or school library!)
I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from the publisher in order to write this review.
Shenice “Lightning” Lockwood is making history. She’s the captain of the only all-Black softball team in her Georgia youth league, and they’re on their way to the championships. She knows she’s following in the footsteps of her great-grandfather, who was very nearly one of the first Black players in Major League Baseball before an event that no one will talk about derailed his career.
But when her parents take her to visit her granduncle Jack in his assisted living home, Shenice gets the first clue as to what happened in her great-grandfather’s past. He was accused of stealing a Joe DiMaggio baseball glove, and according to Uncle Jack, he was framed. Her parents claim that Uncle Jack is just senile, but Shenice can’t help wondering if what her uncle said was true. Is it possible that a white man framed her great-grandfather, destroying his career and the family legacy? As the softball championships draw closer, Shenice can’t concentrate on her game. She needs to find out the truth–before a past full of lies and injustices prevents her from leading her own team into their trail-blazing future.
Family, friendships, and a quest for justice burn bright in this gripping middle grade novel. The humor and Shenice’s loving community keep the story fun and uplifting even as Shenice’s quest for racial justice forces her to confront the darkness and pain of racism in the past and the present. This novel has something for mystery lovers, realistic fiction lovers, and sports fans–plus plenty of thought-provoking thematic material–making it an ideal choice for classrooms and book clubs. I highly recommend this book to all middle grade and younger YA readers (grades 4-8).
Lots of new books are set to be released this year! Here’s a peak at some of the new books announced by publishers for kids ages 8-14. Summaries and release dates are based on the information publishers have made available thus far and may or may not be completely accurate. But it looks like some great new books are coming this way!
FLIGHT OF THE BLUEBIRD by Kara LaReau and Jen Hill (1/8)
The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters, Book 3
PRANK WARS by Matt Stanton (1/8)
Funny Kid, Book 3
TBH, TOO MUCH DRAMA by Lisa Greenwald (1/8)
TBH, Book 3
HOW TO PROPERLY DISPOSE OF PLANET EARTH by Paul Noth (1/15)
Sequel to HOW TO SELL YOUR FAMILY TO THE ALIENS
A PREDATOR’S RIGHTS by Anna Starobinets, Marie Murovski, and Jane Bugaeva (1/16)
Beastly Crimes, Book 2
A CIRCLE OF ELEPHANTS: A COMPANION NOVEL by Eric Dinerstein (1/22)
Sequel to WHAT ELEPHANTS KNOW
ESCAPE FROM THE PALACE by Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore (1/22)
The Royal Rabbits of London, Book 4
MIXED EMOTIONS by Heather Nuhfer (1/22)
My So-Called Superpowers, Book 2
SPIRITS, SPELLS, AND SNARK by Kelly McCullough (1/22)
Sequel to MAGIC, MADNESS, AND MISCHIEF
THE UNSPEAKABLE UNKNOWN by Eliot Sappingfield (1/22)
Sequel to A PROBLEMATIC PARADOX
THE END OF THE WORLD AND BEYOND by Avi (1/29)
Sequel to THE UNEXPECTED LIFE OF OLIVER CROMWELL PITTS
THE PHANTOM HOUR by Kat Shepherd (1/29)
A Babysitting Nightmares book
THE LAST LIFE OF PRINCE ALASTOR by Alexandra Bracken (2/5)
The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding, Book 2
A SPRINKLE OF SPIRITS by Anna Meriano (2/5)
Love Sugar Magic, Book 2
PRESIDENT OF POPLAR LANE by Margaret Mincks (2/12)
Poplar Kids, Book 2
MIDDLE SCHOOL: BORN TO ROCK by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts (2/18)
Middle School, Book 11
THE LOST HEIR by Tui T. Sutherland (2/26)
Wings of Fire Graphic Novels, Book 2
THE HUNT FOR MAD WOLF’S DAUGHTER by Diane Magras (3/5)
Sequel to THE MAD WOLF’S DAUGHTER
ARU SHAH AND THE SONG OF DEATH by Roshani Chokshi (4/30)
Pandava, Book 2
BIGGER, BADDER, NERDIER by Obert Skye (4/30)
Geeked Out, Book 2
FREEDOM FIRE by Daniel Jose Older (5/14)
Dactyl Hill Squad, Book 2
SERAFINA AND THE SEVEN STARS by Robert Beatty (7/9)
Serafina, Book 4
QUEST FOR THE GRAIL by Audrey Mackaman (8/20)
Cavall in Camelot, Book 2
THE BATTLE by Karuna Riazi (8/27)
Sequel to THE GAUNTLET
Fantasy & Science Fiction
MAX AND THE MIDKNIGHTS by Lincoln Peirce (1/8)
A young aspiring knight embarks on a quest to rescue his uncle from an evil king.
DRAGON PEARL by Yoon Ha Lee (1/15)
A girl descended from fox spirits must embrace her powers and embark on a quest to find her older brother, who has disappeared.
ULTRABALL: LUNAR BLITZ by Jeff Chen (1/15)
A group of kids engaged in a competitive sport in their Moon Colony home find themselves involved in Lunar politics when an outsider joins their team.
THE WHISPERS by Greg Howard (1/15)
After his mother disappears, a boy travels into the forest in search of wish-granting fairies.
A TEAR IN THE OCEAN by H.M. Bouwman (1/22)
When their sea suddenly begins to become salty, two kids must figure out why before an ancient magical infection destroys their world.
FREYA AND ZOOSE by Emily Butler (1/29)
A penguin and a stowaway mouse undertake a harrowing journey to the North Pole.
THE LOST GIRL by Anne Ursu (2/12)
When things begin mysteriously disappearing around her town, a girl worries that her twin sister might be next.
THE BEAST PLAYER by Nahoko Uehashi (2/21)
After her mother is executed for a crime she didn’t commit, a girl discovers that she can communicate with the sea serpents in the king’s army and gets swept up into a political plot that she wants no part of.
I AM HERMES by Mordecai Gerstein (2/26)
A graphic novel detailing the antics of the young Greek god Hermes.
OUTWALKERS by Fiona Shaw (2/26)
After escaping a prison-like orphanage, a boy and his comrades must hide off the grid as they struggle to escape the oppressive Coalition that has taken over the government.
THE POTTER’S BOY by Tony Mitton (2/26)
After a wandering warrior saves his village, a boy from humble origins embarks on a quest to find the hermit who can train him in martial arts.
THE MISSING PIECE OF CHARLIE O’REILLY by Rebecca K.S. Ansari (3/5)
When a boy’s brother disappears, everyone else instantly forgets that he existed, leading the boy to embark on a quest to discover what really happened to him.
THE REVENGE OF MAGIC by James Riley (3/5)
After his father is lost in a monster-attack, a boy is invited to attend a government school to learn how to harness the power of magical books discovered near the bones of dragons.
SAL AND GABI BREAK THE UNIVERSE by Carlos Hernandez (3/5)
Two unlikely young allies discover that together they can manipulate space-time, with potentially disastrous consequences.
SEVENTH GRADE VS THE GALAXY by Joshua S. Levy (3/5)
When his spaceship-school comes under attack, a boy accidentally launches it across the galaxy and must find a way to navigate home.
WE’RE NOT FROM HERE by Geoff Rodkey (3/5)
As the new immigrants on Planet Choom, Earthlings struggle to fit in.
WINGS OF OLYMPUS by Kallie George (3/5)
An orphan girl is chosen by the gods to ride a winged horse in a dangerous, high stakes race through the mortal world.
OVER THE MOON by Natalie Lloyd (3/26)
A girl gets a chance to escape servitude when she enters a competition to train magical flying horses.
THE TRAGICAL TALE OF BIRDIE BLOOM by Temre Beltz (3/26)
A tragic orphan and a wicked witch form an unlikely friendship.
KATT VS. DOGG by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein (4/1)
When a katt and dogg are lost in the woods together, can they overcome their innate sense of rivalry to make it home together?
YE by Guilherme Petreca (4/2)
A mute boy embarks on a quest to defeat the Colorless King and restore hope to the world.
JACLYN HYDE by Annabeth Bonder-Stone and Connor White (5/7)
A middle-schooler invents a potion that is supposed to help her achieve perfection, but instead transforms her into a ruthless, moral-free monster.
LALANI OF THE DISTANT SEA by Erin Entrada Kelly (5/7)
When a Filipino girl makes a foolish wish that endangers her island, she must undertake a dangerous voyage across the ocean.
ORDER OF THE MAJESTIC by Matt Myklusch (5/7)
In an attempt to save the last bit of magic left in the world, a boy gets caught in a war between two groups of rival magicians.
SPARK by Sarah Beth Durst (5/14)
After bonding with a dragon-like lightning beast, a girl must study to become an effective guardian, but instead learns disturbing secrets about her homeland.
BAD ORDER by B.B. Ullman (6/4)
A girl and her telepathic brother are called upon to heal a tear in the universe that threatens to overrun the world with bad thoughts.
THIS WAS OUR PACT by Ryan Andrews (6/11)
When two boys chase paper lanterns on their bicycles they wind up going further than anyone has ever gone into a magical world.
THE STORM KEEPER’S ISLAND by Catherine Doyle (7/12)
A boy finds himself at the center of an ancient war when a magical island needs a new storm keeper.
CHANGELING by William Ritter (7/16)
Two boys raised as twins discover that one of them is a goblin changeling and embark on a journey to discover their true identities.
CAPE by Kate Hannigan (8/6)
With her father off fighting Nazis, a girl dreams of doing more to save the world and finds herself transformed into a real superhero.
A SWIRL OF OCEAN by Melissa Sarno (8/6)
After swallowing a gulp of sea water, a girl begins having visions of a girl from the past who is eerily familiar.
THE UNSUNG HERO OF BIRDSONG, USA by Brenda Woods (1/8)
A Black WWII veteran saves a young boy’s life in the Jim Crow South and an unlikely friendship begins.
EMMI IN THE CITY: A GREAT CHICAGO FIRE SURVIVAL STORY by Salima Alikhan (2/1)
A German immigrant and the kids who bully her are caught together in the Great Chicago Fire.
SPY RUNNER by Eugene Yelchin (2/12)
When his family takes in a Russian lodger, a boy gets caught up in the Red Scare and wonders if he has stumbled upon a Russian spy.
GOODBYE, MR. SPAULDING by Jennifer Robin Barr (3/26)
Two kids in the Great Depression scheme to stop their town from building a wall that would prevent them from watching the Philadelphia Athletics baseball games.
THE TRUE HISTORY OF LYNDIE B. HAWKINS by Gail Shepherd (3/26)
Although her grandmother is obsessed with “keeping up appearances,” a girl just wants to get her Vietnam Veteran father the help he needs—even if it means reaching out for help outside of the family.
VOICES: THE FINAL HOURS OF JOAN OF ARC by David Elliott (3/26)
Through medieval poetry, people, animals, and objects close to Joan of Arc reflect on her life and legacy.
LAST OF THE NAME by Roseanne Perry (4/2)
When an Irish boy immigrates to America, his mother convinces him to pretend to be a girl in order to avoid being drafted as a drummer boy in the Civil War.
SINCERELY, HARRIET by Sarah Winifred Searle (5/7)
A chronically ill girl with a penchant for telling lies begins expressing herself through writing.
A PLACE TO BELONG by Cynthia Kadohata (5/14)
After being freed from an internment camp, a Japanese-American family returns to Hiroshima hoping to start a new life with their relatives, only to discover the carnage that took place there.
IT RAINED WARM BREAD by Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet and Hope Anita Smith (8/13)
A boy survives the holocaust with the hope that came from an act of kindness.
THE MYSTERY OF BLACK HOLLOW LANE by Julia Nobel (3/5)
Three students at a boarding school uncover a secret society that may hold the answers to find one student’s missing father.
THE NORTH STAR by Kat Shepherd (3/5)
Three young detectives follow the clues to find a stolen diamond necklace.
THE STRANGERS by Margaret Peterson Haddix (4/2)
After reading a story about a very similar family that vanished, three siblings begin an investigation.
THE BOOK CASE by Dave Shelton (4/5)
A boarding school student and the Librarian’s Assistant work together to solve crimes.
SCOUTS by Shannon Greenland (7/23)
A group of scouts searching for a meteor in the woods wind up being chased by a violent group of Masons.
DOC AND THE DETECTIVE IN: THE GRAVEYARD TREASURE by Tim Tingle (10/15)
A boy and an elderly doctor team up to solve mysteries in their small town, despite the doc’s struggle with dementia.
CLICK by Kayla Miller (1/8)
A girl questions the strength of her friendships when she can’t find a friend to perform with in the talent show.
THE FRIENDSHIP WAR by Andrew Clements (1/8)
An unexpected button fad has damaging results on the friendship of two sixth grade girls.
LIZZY LEGEND by Matthew Ross Smith (1/8)
After being allowed to join the boys’ basketball team at school, a girl makes a wish on a magical phone line that she will never miss another shot and finds herself skyrocketing toward the NBA.
THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF COYOTE SUNRISE by Dan Gemeinhart (1/8)
After five years of living on the road following the death of her mother and sisters, a girl and her father finally head back home.
THE UNTEACHABLES by Gordon Korman (1/8)
Chaos ensues when the worst students in school are gathered into one classroom and assigned the worst teacher in school.
GENESIS BEGINS AGAIN by Alicia D. Williams (1/15)
A girl with low self-esteem and a verbally abusive family that criticizes the darkness of her skin finds new hope when she starts at a new school with a supportive teacher.
ONE THIRD NERD by Gennifer Choldenko (1/29)
A boy and his siblings must raise money to get their dog to the vet before the landlord finds out she’s been peeing on the carpet of their apartment.
PINK HAIR AND OTHER TERRIBLE IDEAS by Andrea Pyros (2/1)
In the wake of her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis, a girl struggles with her priorities and relationships with her twin brother and friends at school.
EVENTOWN by Corey Ann Haydu (2/12)
After moving to a seemingly perfect town, a girl discovers that perfection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
TO NIGHT OWL FROM DOGFISH by Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg Wolitzer (2/12)
Two daughters of single gay dads find friendship when their dads start dating and hatch a plan to keep them together.
A DROP OF HOPE by Keith Calabrese (2/26)
Three sixth graders begin secretly making the wishes that townspeople make in the wishing well come true.
THE MOON WITHIN by Aida Salazar (2/26)
A girl struggles to find her true identity, while her mother insists on a traditional Mexican ceremony when she gets her first period.
STAND ON THE SKY by Erin Bow (3/5)
When her parents must take her brother to a hospital, a nomadic girl befriends an eagle and defies traditional gender roles to train it.
A STORM OF STRAWBERRIES by Jo Cotterill (3/5)
A girl with Down syndrome tries to help her family prepare for a big storm and to help calm family tensions, but it seems no one will pay attention to her.
A GOOD KIND OF TROUBLE by Lisa Moore Ramee (3/12)
A rule-following girl decides to take a risk and show her support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
MOSTLY THE HONEST TRUTH by Jody J. Little (3/12)
With her dad in rehab, a girl tries to toe the line in her new foster home so she can be reunited with her real dad as soon as possible.
THE SPACE BETWEEN BEFORE AND AFTER by Sue Stauffacher (3/19)
When his mother disappears, a boy copes with his grief by imagining her as the hero of a fantasy story.
SWEEPING UP THE HEART by Kevin Henkes (3/19)
Stuck at home with a babysitter over Spring Break, a girl makes an unusual new friend who revives the memory of her late mother.
THE SIZE OF THE TRUTH by Andrew Smith (3/26)
A boy tries to overcome PTSD from a childhood trauma in order to regain some control over his own life and pursue his dream of becoming a chef.
THE BECKET LIST: A BLACKBERRY FARM STORY (4/2)
Everything changes for a city girl moving to her grandmother’s farm in the country.
CATERPILLAR SUMMER by Gillian McDunn (4/2)
On an unexpected summer trip to her grandmother’s house, a girl has a chance to take a break from her role holding her family together and spend some time being a kid.
OPERATIC by Kyo Maclear (4/2)
A quiet girl tries to let the lessons she learns in her opera class impact other areas of her middle school life.
BIRDIE by Eileen Spinelli (4/9)
Still grieving the death of her father, a girl’s struggles deepen when both her older sister and her mother find boyfriends.
THE LINE TENDER by Kate Allen (4/16)
After her mother’s sudden death, a girl tries to find a way to finish her mother’s research on sharks.
THE NEXT GREAT PAULIE FINK by Ali Benjamin (4/16)
Although she is the new kid in school, a girl becomes enthralled with her new classmate’s stories about the class clown who moved away over the summer and their attempts to find someone to fill his role.
EXTRAORDINARY BIRDS by Sandy Stark-McGinnis (4/30)
A girl who believes she is destined to someday transform into a bird finds new hope in a new foster home with a taxidermist who works at a wildlife rescue.
THE LOST BOY’S GIFT by Kimberly Willis Holt (4/30)
After his parents divorce, a boy has to move across the country and struggles to find his place in his new neighborhood.
MYA’S STRATEGY TO SAVE THE WORLD by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (4/30)
When her parents refuse to let her get a phone, a socially conscious middle-schooler tries to prove to them how responsible she is.
FINDING ORION by John David Anderson (5/7)
An unusual family’s unusual grandfather’s funeral turns out to be the start of an unusual adventure.
HURRICANE SEASON by Nicole Melleby (5/7)
A girl struggles with her father’s mental illness and her first crush on another girl.
NIXIE NESS: COOKING STAR by Claudia Mills (6/4)
When her mother gets a new job, a girl is sent to the afterschool program where she starts a cooking club.
FOR BLACK GIRLS LIKE ME by Mariama J. Lockington (7/30)
An adopted Black girl growing up in a white family struggles to find her identity and her place in her school community.
HOAX FOR HIRE by Laura Martin (8/27)
Despite his disdain for monsters a boy gets roped into the family business: spreading the myth of the Loch Ness Monster.
STARGAZING by Jen Wang (9/10)
When an unusual girl moves in next door, a Chinese-American girl finds an unlikely best friend.
THE BIG ONE by J.C. Geiger (10/1)
A boy whose older brother was lost to the ocean becomes obsessed with a prophesied tsunami and discovers a secret music festival.
DEAR SWEET PEA by Julie Murphy (10/1)
Overwhelmed by her parents’ divorce, a girl accidentally ends up writing an advice column in her town paper.
For the kids who’ve read everything…here’s some new stuff! These books are slated to come out 2018 (although exact release dates may change). I haven’t read these yet, so summaries and age ranges are based on promotional materials from the publishers and advance reviews.
All books below are for middle grade readers (grades 4-6). I’ll be posting new YA announcements next week!
Continuing Series for Middle Grades
Fenway and Hattie Up to New Tricks by Victoria J. Coe (1/2)
Book 3 of Fenway and Hattie. Ages 8-12.
A Sky Full of Stars by Linda Williams Jackson (1/2)
Sequel to Midnight Without a Moon. Ages 8-12.
The Terrible Two Go Wild by Mac Barnett and Jory John (1/9)
Book 3 of The Terrible Two. Ages 8-12.
The Uncanny Express by Kara LaReau (1/9)
Book 2 of The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters. Ages 8-12.
War of the Realms by Kate O’Hearn (1/9)
Book 3 of Valkyrie. Ages 9-13.
Waking the Monsters by Judd Winick (1/16)
Book 4 of Hilo. Ages 8-12.
Dark Wyng by Chris d’Lacey (1/30)
Book 2 of Erth Dragons. Ages 8-12.
Dragon Overnight by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins (1/30)
Book 4 of Upside Down Magic. Ages 8-12.
A Warp in Time by Jude Watson (1/30)
Book 3 of Horizon. Ages 9-12.
Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce (2/6)
Book 1 in a new Tortall series. Ages 10 & up.
The Oceans Between Stars by Kevin Emerson (2/13)
Book 2 of Chronicle of the Dark Star. Ages 8-12.
Iron Tide Rising by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis (2/13)
Final book of The Map to Everywhere. Ages 8-12.
Boggart Fights Back by Susan Cooper (2/27)
A Boggart book. Ages 8-12.
Revenge of the Beetle Queen by M.G. Leonard (2/27)
Sequel to Beetle Boy. Ages 8-12.
A Side of Sabotage by C.M. Surrisi (3/1)
A Quinnie Boyd Mystery. Ages 9-14.
Phoenix Burning by Bryony Pearce (3/10)
Book 2 of Phoenix. Ages 10 & up.
Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold (3/27)
Sequel to A Boy Called Bat. Ages 8-12.
The Crooked Castle by Sarah Jean Horowitz (4/10)
Book 2 of Carmer and Grit. Ages 10-13.
Sunny by Jason Reynolds (4/10)
Book 3 of Track. Ages 10 & up.
Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz (4/24)
A Descendants novel. Ages 8-12.
Waste of Space by Stuart Gibbs (4/24)
Book 3 of Moon Base Alpha. Ages 8-12.
Lost in the Jungle by Bill Nye and Greg Mone (5/1)
Book 3 of Jack and the Geniuses. Ages 8-12.
The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan (5/1)
Book 3 of the Trials of Apollo. Ages 10 & up.
Worlds Apart by James Riley (5/20)
Book 5 of Story Thieves. Ages 8-12.
Sandapalooza Shake-Up by Chris Grabenstein (5/22)
Book 3 of Welcome to Wonderland. Ages 8-12.
Evil Emperor Penguin: Strikes Back by Laura Ellen Anderson (5/29)
Book 2 of Evil Emperor Penguin. Ages 8-12.
Griffin’s Feather by Cornelia Funke (7/31)
Sequel to Dragon Rider. Ages 8-12.
The Law of Finders Keepers by Sheila Turnage (9/11)
Conclusion to Mo & Dale Mysteries. Ages 10 & up.
Fantasy & Sci Fi for Middle Grades
The Eternity Elixir by Frank L. Cole (1/2)
A young potion master must prevent a dangerous elixir from falling into the wrong hands. Ages 10 & up.
Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly (1/2)
A girl with shadow magic faces a dilemma when her own shadow takes on a devious life of its own. Ages 8-14.
Flower Moon by Gina Linko (1/2)
An evil force in the moon threatens to push two “mirror twins” apart for good. Ages 8-12.
Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano (1/2)
A girl eager to begin her family tradition of baking magic decides to try a little spell on her own with unintended consequences. Ages 8-12.
The Last Gargoyle by Paul Durham (1/9)
A lonely gargoyle must seek a human ally when the Boneless King seeks to take his ward. Ages 8-12.
Magic, Madness, and Mischief by Kelly McCullough (1/9)
A boy with fire magic must learn to control his powers in order to save his mother from the Winter King. Ages 10-14.
The Unicorn Quest by Kamilla Benko (1/30)
Two sisters discover a magical world in turmoil and embark on a journey to find the lost unicorns. Ages 8-12.
The Problim Children by Natalie Lloyd (1/30)
Seven children in a quirky family find themselves caught in the dastardly schemes of their nosy neighbors. Ages 8-12.
Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire by John August (2/6)
After joining an unusual scout troop, a boy learns to harness the power of the forest to survive a dangerous adventure. Ages 8-12.
The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt (2/6)
A mysterious letter pulls a notorious teller of tall-tales into a series of far-fetched adventures. Ages 8-12.
Granted by John David Anderson (2/13)
A young wish-granting fairy finds her first assignment more difficult than she had expected. Ages 8-12.
Sci-Fi Junior High: Crash Landing by Scott Seegert and John Martin (2/20)
The new kid must save his outer space junior high school from a mad scientist. Ages 8-11.
Clem Hetherington and the Ironwood Race by Jen Breach (2/27)
In this graphic novel, a girl and her robot brother escape an orphanage and enter a high-stakes rally race, hoping to win archaeological artifacts to continue their late mother’s legacy. Ages 8-12.
The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta (2/27)
A sixth-grader discovers that she is an Indian princess from another dimension when demons abduct her parents. Ages 8-12.
Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans (2/27)
After being transported to a fantasy world, four kids must unravel clues to defeat an evil stuffed animal. Ages 8-12.
The Super-Life of Ben Braver by Marcus Emerson (3/6)
A non-powered boy stumbles upon a school for young superheroes and joins up. Ages 8-12.
The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras (3/6)
After her family is captured, the youngest member of a Scottish war band must embark on a dangerous journey to rescue them. Ages 9-12.
Buttheads from Outer Space by Jerry Mahoney (3/6)
Two friends accidentally invite a gross butt-headed alien race to conquer the earth. Ages 8-12.
A Bad Night for Bullies by Gary Ghislain (3/13)
The daughter of a horror novelist gives a boy “the stone of the dead” and his bullies begin being haunted. Ages 8-12.
Bone’s Gift by Angie Smibert (3/20)
In a 1942 coal mining town, a girl with a gift for seeing visions when she touches inanimate objects must accept her gift and come to terms with her mother’s death. Ages 9-12.
Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender (3/27)
An unlucky girl struggles with the crush she has on her best friend as the two girls venture out in a hurricane to look for her mother and escape the spirit that is following her. Ages 8-12.
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi (3/27)
Trying to prove that an ancient lamp is cursed, a girl accidentally awakens a demon and must embark on a quest to free her mother and classmates from its curse. Ages 9-12.
Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword by Henry Lien (4/3)
A young figure skating martial artist must track down a vandal to clear her name in time for a competition. Ages 10-14.
How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens by Paul Noth (4/3)
In an attempt to get rid of his grandma, a boy accidentally sells his whole family to aliens. Ages 8-12.
Maggie and Abby’s Neverending Pillow Fort by Will Taylor (4/3)
Two girls building a pillow fort discover an international network of magically interconnected pillow forts and wind up on the wrong side of “the authorities.” Ages 8-12.
The Unflushables by Ron Bates (4/10)
A boy and a team of plumber superheroes must protect the city from sewer mutants. Ages 8-12.
The Lifters by Dave Eggers (4/24)
Two girls descend into a world of underground tunnels to stop a mysterious evil force from destroying their town. Ages 8-12.
Endling #1: The Last by Katherine Applegate (5/1)
The last survivor in a species of mythical canines seeks a sanctuary as she flees from those who hunt her. Ages 8-12.
Evangeline of the Bayou by Jan Eldredge (5/1)
An aspiring haunt huntress and her grandmother uncover a terrifying secret on a trip to New Orleans. Ages 8-12.
The Rose Legacy by Jessica Day George (5/1)
In a world where horses have been banned, a girl discovers her ability to communicate with them telepathically. Ages 8-12.
The Haunted Serpent by Dora M. Mitchell (6/5)
The son of a TV ghost hunter meets his dead next door neighbor and begins to investigate the strange goings-on in an abandoned factory. Ages 8-11.
Not So Normal Norbert by James Patterson with Joey Green (7/3)
After getting caught mocking the supreme leader of Earth, a boy is banished to a wacky astronaut camp on another planet. Ages 8-12.
Nightbooks by J.A. White (7/24)
A boy survives his imprisonment by telling a witch scary stories. Ages 8-12.
Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk (7/31)
After receiving a magic sketchbook, a sixth grader draws herself a best friend, who comes to life with unexpected consequences. Ages 8-12.
Historical Fiction for Middle Grades
Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai (1/2)
At the start of the Arab Spring, a young girl and her family must flee their home in Aleppo. Ages 8-12.
The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis (1/30)
Hoping to pay off his late father’s debts, a boy agrees to track down some fugitive slaves before having a change of heart. Ages 9-12.
The Sound of Freedom by Kathy Kacer (3/13)
A family hopes that auditions for a Jewish orchestra in Palestine will help them escape 1930s Poland. Ages 9-12.
When the Crickets Stopped Singing by Marilyn Cram Donahue (3/20)
A girl must defy the trusting adults in her 1930s community when she realizes the new man in town poses a danger to her and her friends. Ages 10-14.
Hardscrabble by Sandra Dallas (9/15)
In 1910, a girl and her family move west to accept the government’s offer of a free homestead farm. Ages 8-11.
Mystery & Adventure for Middle Grades
Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans by Russell Ginns (2/13)
A girl’s uncle disappears, leaving her an old umbrella and a mysterious clue that draw her into a super secret adventure. Ages 8-12.
The World Below by Wesley King (3/6)
An eighth grade field trip turns into a survival adventure when students wind up unchaperoned in a lake in the bottom of Carlsbad Caverns. Ages 8-12.
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson (3/27)
After discovering a letter in the attic, a girl tries to unravel the clues to her family’s dark past. Ages 8-12.
The Elephant Thief by Jane Kerr (3/27)
A young pickpocket-turned-zoo employee must ride an elephant from Edinburgh to Manchester despite opposition from the dubious characters in his past. Ages 8-12.
Realistic Fiction for Middle Grades
TBH, This Is So Awkward by Lisa Greenwald
A story of friendships and cyberbullying told entirely in texts. Ages 8-12.
Funny Kid for President by Matt Stanton (1/2)
A troublemaker once accused of pooping in a school closet runs for class president in this illustrated novel. Ages 8-12.
Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard (1/2)
A girl tries to figure out how she fits into her family as her grandfather and guardian battles Alzheimer’s. Ages 8-12.
All Three Stooges by Erica S. Perl (1/9)
When his grief-stricken best friend shuts him out, a boy tries to rekindle their friendship and the sense of humor they once shared. Ages 8-12.
Ellie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce (1/16)
A young aspiring engineer hopes to build an elaborate gift for her friend’s birthday. Ages 8-12.
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor (1/23)
A boy becomes the victim of bullying when his best friend is found dead on his family’s property. Ages 8-12.
Smart Cookie by Elly Swartz (1/30)
Hoping to repair the hole that her mom’s death left in their family, a girl secretly posts a dating profile for her dad online. Ages 8-12.
Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen by Candace Fleming (2/6)
An illustrated novel based on the true story of a 1920s canine actor. Ages 8-12.
The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley by April Stevens (2/6)
An aspiring anthropologist who prefers to be an observer struggles to find a place with the other people in her community. Ages 8-12.
Like Vanessa by Tami Charles (3/13)
Inspired by her idol, Vanessa Williams, a middle school girl enters a beauty pageant and discovers her own self-worth. Ages 10 & up.
A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers (3/13)
Hoping to find her estranged mother, a girl embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Ages 8-12.
Without Refuge by Jane Mitchel (4/1)
A young teen and his family flee the war in Syria and seek refuge in Turkey. Ages 9-12.
My Life In Smiley: It’s All Good by Anne Kalicky (4/3)
A boy uses a journal full of smiley faces to chronicle his life in middle school abroad. Ages 9-12.
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes (4/17)
After being killed by police officers who thought he was holding a weapon, a boy’s ghost meets Emmett Till and together they try to process the racism that led to their deaths. Ages 8-12. [Technically fantasy due to the ghosts, but the subject matter and interest is clearly realistic fiction.]
Storm Chasers by Ginger Zee (4/24)
A young aspiring meteorologist gets caught out on a horse ride during a dangerous storm. Ages 9-12.
Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea by Lynne Rae Perkins (5/15)
Two sisters make an unforgettable first trip to the beach in this illustrated novel. Ages 8-12.
Just Under the Clouds by Melissa Sarno (6/5)
A girl searches for hope when her family becomes homeless. Ages 8-12.
The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell (6/5)
A group of kids build a small civilization out of cardboard and use their big imaginations to explore big issues in their real lives. Ages 8-12.
Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin (7/3)
While her father struggles to keep the farm going in the midst of a drought, a girl struggles with her mother’s mental illness. Ages 8-12.
Rising Above Shepherdsville by Ann Schoenbohm (8/28)
After her mother’s suicide, a girl find peace and healing at her aunt’s home in rural Ohio. Ages 8-12.
What do we have to look forward to in 2017? Quite a lot of new Middle Grade and YA novels! While not comprehensive, this list should supply you with numerous titles to consider for your 2017 reading list. If you are looking forward to a soon-to-be released book that I’ve neglected, feel free to add it in the comments.
For highlights of upcoming adult novels, check out the Publisher’s Weekly Adult Announcements: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/new-titles/adult-announcements/article/72250-spring-2017-announcements-all-our-coverage.html.
Please note: The dates listed below may change, especially for titles due to be released later in the year! Also, I haven’t read any of them yet, so the plot blurbs and age ranges below are based on info from publisher’s websites and reviews.
MG CONTINUING SERIES
Robot Revolution by James Patterson (Jan 16, 2017)
Newest book in the House of Robots series. Ages 9-12.
Secret Origins by James Riley (Jan 17, 2017)
Book 3 of Story Thieves. Ages 8-12.
Fenway and Hattie and the Evil Bunny Gang by Victoria J. Coe (Jan 24, 2017)
Sequel to Fenway and Hattie. Ages 8-12.
Long Live the Queen by Gerry Swallow (Jan 24, 2017)
Sequel to Blue in the Face: Magnificent Tales of Misadventure. Ages 8–12.
The Unwanteds Quests #1: Dragon Captives by Lisa McMann
Book 1 in a continuation of The Unwanteds. Ages 8-12.
The Bodies of the Ancients by Lydia Millet (Feb 14, 2017)
Book 3 of The Dissenters series. Ages 10-12.
Tut: My Epic Battle to Save the World by P.J. Hoover (Feb 28, 2017)
Book 2 of Tut: My Immortal Life. Ages 8-12.
Point Guard by Mike Lupica (Mar 7, 2017)
Home Team Book 3. Ages 8-12.
In Over Their Heads by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Apr 11, 2017)
Sequel to Under Their Skin. Ages 8-12.
The Song of Glory and Ghost by N.D. Wilson (Apr 18, 2017)
Outlaws of Time #2. Ages 8-12.
Hello Stars! by Alena & Wynter Pitts (Apr 25, 2017)
Faithgirlz/Lena in the Spotlight. Ages 8-12.
The Fallen Star by Tracey Heche (May 2, 2017)
Book 3 of The Nocturnals. Ages 7-12.
The Emperor of Mars by Patrick Samphire (July 18, 2017)
Sequel to Secrets of the Dragon Tomb. Ages 8-12.
The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan (Oct 3, 2017)
Book 3 of Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. Ages 10 & up.
Frank Einstein and the Bio-Action Gizmo by Jon Scieszka (Oct 17, 2017)
Book 5 in the Frank Einstein series. Ages 8-12.
MG FAMILIAR AUTHORS
One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes (Jan 3, 2017)
A poetry collection weaving the words of Harlem Renaissance poets with Grimes’ own poems. Ages 10-14.
Jay Versus the Saxophone of Doom by Kara Kootstra (Jan 3, 2017)
A young hockey player finds a new challenge learning the saxophone. Ages 8-12.
The Wardens Daughter by Jerry Spinelli (Jan 3, 2017)
Through her unique experiences growing up in a prison, a girl comes to terms with the sacrifice that took her mother’s life. Ages 9-12.
The Sweetest Sound by Sherri Winston (Jan 3, 2017)
After being abandoned by her mother, a shy girl discovers her own talent and a community in a church choir. Ages 9-12.
The Silver Gate by Kristin Bailey (Jan 10, 2017)
When a father threatens to sell his daughter into servitude because of her disability, two children seek freedom in a fairy realm. Age 8-12.
The Matchstick Castle by Keira Graff (Jan 10, 2017)
Two children discover a wooden castle and eccentric family in the forest of Boring, Illinois. Ages 8-12.
Hideout by Watt Key (Jan 10, 2017)
A boy finds another kid repairing a cabin in the woods and uncovers a web of secrets. Ages 10-13.
Train I Ride by Paul Mosier (Jan 24, 2017)
On a long train trip to her new home, orphan Rydr comes to terms with her own past through her interactions with fellow passengers. Ages 8-12.
Gorilla Dawn by Gill Lewis (Jan 31, 2017)
Two children imprisoned in a rebel camp rescue a baby gorilla and escape into the jungles of the Congo. Ages 9-14.
Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan (Jan 31, 2017)
A girl finds a sense of purpose playing a munchkin in a school production of The Wizard of Oz. Ages 8-12.
The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron (Feb 7, 2017)
Two children discover a mysterious castle in the English countryside. Ages 8-12.
Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson (Feb 14, 2017)
Two of the last kids left on Mars get ready to flee the planet with the rest of the humans until they make a startling discovery. Ages 8-12.
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng (Feb 28, 2017)
To give aliens a taste of life on Earth, a boy records an epic roadtrip on his iPod and plans to launch it into space . Ages 10-13.
The Many Reflections of Miss Jane Deming by J. Anderson Coats (Feb 28, 2017)
A girl joins the stream of Civil War orphans and widows moving to Washington territory and finds a rough, challenging new life in the West. Ages 8-12.
Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail (Feb 28, 2017)
A version of Cyrano de Bergerac with texting. Ages 10-14.
Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question by Martha Freeman (Mar 7, 2017)
A city girl uncovers secrets spending the summer on a family farm. Ages 8-12.
Baseball Genius by Tim Green and Derek Jeter (Mar 7, 2017)
A boy with a talent for predicting pitches tries to save his favorite Yankee’s career. Ages 8-12.
The Enemy: Detroit, 1954 by Sara Holbrook (Mar 7, 2017)
A teen is forced to confront her prejudices when a German girl moves to her class. Ages 10-14.
Fish Girl by David Wiesner and Donna Jo Napoli (Mar 7, 2017)
A mermaid in an aquarium befriends a human girl and dreams of escaping her tank. Ages 10-12.
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold (Mar 14, 2017)
A boy with autism befriends a baby skunk and hopes to keep it as a pet. Ages 8-12.
When My Sister Started Kissing by Helen Frost (Mar 14, 2017)
With her mom expecting a new baby and her sister starting to date, a girl fears her family is growing apart. Ages 10-12.
The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman (Mar 14, 2017)
On the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor, four teens uncover magic in an Arthurian manuscript as they try to prevent another attack on American soil. Ages 10-13.
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly (Mar 14, 2017)
The lives of four very different kids intertwine when a prank goes horribly wrong. Ages 8-12.
Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan (Mar 14, 2017)
A Pakistani-American girl struggles to retain her cultural identity despite pressure to “Americanize” herself. Ages 8-12.
Love, Ish by Karen Rivers (Mar 14, 2017)
A girl’s cancer diagnosis threatens her dream of becoming a Mars colonist. Ages 9-14.
Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd) by Julie Bowe (Mar 21, 2017)
A girl tries to keep her parents’ divorce a secret and risks losing her best friend. Ages 8-12.
Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt (Mar 28, 2017)
A girl is sent to live at her grandfather’s old motel and struggles to build a relationship with him. Ages 8-14.
Girl With a Camera by Carolyn Meyer (Apr 4, 2017)
A historical novel about the first female photojournalist in WWII. Ages 8-14.
Jack and the Geniuses by Bill Nye and Gregory Mone (Apr 4, 2017)
Three children travel to Antarctica to find a missing scientist. Ages 8-12.
The Emperor’s Treasure by Kat Zhang (May 2, 2017)
On a family trip to China, two children search for a long-lost treasure. Ages 8-12.
The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby (May 16, 2017)
Three teens must solve an ancient architectural puzzle in order to save their homes. Ages 8-12.
Finding Mighty by Sheela Chari (May 30, 2017)
Two neighbors follow clues to find a boy’s missing brother. Ages 8-12.
Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder (May 30, 2017)
On a mysterious island, nine children live together until the inevitable day once a year when the eldest is taken away and a new young child is brought to join them. Ages 8-12.
I Love You, Michael Collins by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (June 20, 2017)
Inspired by a school assignment, a girl begins writing letters to Michael Collins, the astronaut who stayed on the ship during the 1969 lunar landing. Ages 8-12.
Bubbles by Abby Cooper (July 18, 2017)
A girl whose life seems to be falling apart suddenly starts seeing people’s thoughts in word bubbles above their heads. Ages 10-12.
One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn (July 18, 2017)
A girl dies of the influenza epidemic and returns as a ghost to torment her bullies. Ages 10-12.
Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson (Jan 3, 2017)
The lynching of Emmett Till prompts the granddaughter of a sharecropper to join the fight for justice. Ages 9-12.
The Someday Birds By Sally J. Pla (Jan 24, 2017)
A boy with autism goes on a wild road trip with his family so that his father, a wounded veteran, can seek medical treatment. Age 8-12.
The Ethan I Was by Ali Standish (Jan 24, 2017)
After losing his best friend in an accident, a boy finds new friendships in a new town. Ages 8-12.
Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell (Jan 31, 2017)
Two children search for magical treasures in an underground city. Ages 8-12.
The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson (Feb 28, 2017)
When a toddler disappears, a boy with OCD is the last to have seen the child alive, and all of his neighbors are suspects. Ages 8-12.
The Fearless Traveler’s Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler (Mar 1, 2017)
A girl embarks on a quest to rescue her mother from witches. Ages 8-12.
Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge by Kristin L. Gray (Mar 7, 2017)
Believing that a pet might help her mom overcome her sadness at the death of her grandmother, a girl tries to become responsible enough to get a dog. Ages 8-12.
Who Let the Gods Out? by Maz Evans (Mar 28, 2017)
A mortal by gets mixed up with the Greek gods when an evil daemon runs amok on Earth. Ages 8-12.
The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi (Mar 28, 2017)
A girl and her friends must rescue her baby brother from inside a mechanical puzzle board game. Ages 8-12.
Viva, Rose! by Susan Krawitz (Mar 30, 2017)
When a girl’s brother joins Pancho Villa’s revolutionaries, she sets out to convince him to come home, but winds up kidnapped. Ages 8-12.
Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren (Apr 4, 2017)
A girl intentionally gets sent to an icy prison in order to help her twin sister escape from the inside. Ages 8-12.
The Wingsnatchers by Sarah Jean Horowitz (Apr 25, 2017
An apprentice who creates mechanical illusions and a magical Faerie princess team up to solve a mystery and win a competition. Ages 10-14.
Dingus by Andrew Larsen (May 2, 2017)
A boy faces a boring summer vacation until he makes a terrible mistake. Ages 8-12.
Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson (May 2, 2017)
When a note passed in class is intercepted, a shy girl’s life collides with the life of a popular girl. Ages 8-12.
The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya (May 16, 2017)
A boy uses poetry and protest to take on the land developer threatening his family’s restaurant. Ages 10 & up.
Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker (Jun 6, 2017)
After a science experiment gone wrong accidentally fuses him to a fourth dimensional being, a boy blogs about his life in the days leading up to the experimental procedure that will be used to separate them. Ages 10-12.
One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson (Jun 6, 2017)
Although he promised his father he’d keep the family together, a Senegalese orphan is tempted to join a gang of malicious boys to keep them from stealing his spirit. Ages 8-12.
Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls by Beth McMullen (Jul 4, 2017)
A girl enters spy training to find a missing agent: her mother. Ages 8-12.
YA CONTINUING SERIES
Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken (Jan 3, 2017)
Sequel to Passenger. Ages 14 & up.
Windwitch by Susan Dennard (Jan 10, 2017)
A Witchlands novel. Ages 14 & up.
Beheld by Alex Flinn (Jan 10, 2017)
New fairytales in the Kendra Chronicles. Age 14 & up.
The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman (Jan 31, 2017)
A Lady Helen novel. Ages 12-18.
Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer (Jan 31, 2017)
A graphic novel in the Lunar Chronicles world. Ages 14 & up.
Rise of Fire by Sophie Jordan (Feb 7, 2017)
Book 2 in Reign of Shadows series. Ages 14 & up.
The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig (Feb 28, 2017)
Sequel to The Girl From Everywhere. Ages 12-18.
The Boy She Left Behind by Gregg Olsen (Mar 14, 2017)
Book 2 of Vengeance. Ages 14 & up.
The Adjustment by Suzanne Young (Apr 18, 2017)
The Program, Book 3. Ages 12-18.
Black Tempest by Ryan Dalton (Apr 25, 2017)
Book 2 of the Time Shift Trilogy. Ages 12-17.
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (May 2, 2017)
Book 3 of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Ages 14 & up.
Count All Her Bones by April Henry (May 2, 2017)
Sequel to Girl, Stolen. Ages 12-18.
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (May 2, 2017)
Book 3 of A Court of Thorns and Roses. Age 14 & up.
The Battlemage by Taran Matharu (May 9, 2017)
Conclusion to The Summoner trilogy. Ages 12-18.
A Million Junes by Emily Henry (May 16, 2017)
Sequel to The Love That Split the World. Ages 12-18.
Seeker by Veronica Rossi (May 16, 2017)
Book 2 of Riders. Ages 12-18.
Refuge for Masterminds by Kathleen Baldwin (May 23, 2017)
Book 3 of A stranje House. Ages 12-18.
The Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare (May 23, 2017)
Book 2 of The Dark Artifices. Ages 14 & up.
Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead (Jun 27, 2017)
Book 2 of the Glittering Court series. Ages 14 & up.
Now I Rise by Kiersten White (Jun 27, 2017)
Sequel to And I Darken. Ages 14 & up.
YA FAMILIAR AUTHORS
Because of the Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez (Jan 3, 2017)
A girl travels from Florida to New Mexico to process her mother’s violent death. Ages 14 & up.
Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist (Jan 3, 2017)
A blind teen falls in love but questions his feelings when an operation restores his sight. Ages 12 & up.
Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos (Jan 3, 2017)
A teen girl’s terminally ill father auctions himself on eBay. Ages 14 & up.
The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt (Jan 17, 2017)
Two teens who have survived trauma find a connection on their first meeting. Ages 14 & up.
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (Jan 17, 2017)
A boy’s life begins to unravel when his ex-boyfriend dies. Ages 14 & up.
The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydn (Jan 31, 2017)
A group of girls believe they are cursed when the boy they love suddenly dies. Ages 14 & up.
That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson (Jan 31, 2017)
A teen girl hides an injured Polish pilot who has crashed in England and does not wish to return to war. Ages 14 & up.
Fire Color One by Jenny Valentine (Jan 31, 2017)
A young arsonist is sent to England to live with the wealthy father she has never met. Age 12-18.
Factory Girl by Josanne La Valley (Feb 1, 2017)
A girl works in appalling conditions in a factory in China to earn money to save her family’s farm. Age 14 & up.
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (Feb 7, 2017)
An exiled empress and the boy falsely accused of killing her must unite to overcome a galactic evil. Ages 14 & up.
At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson (Feb 7, 2017)
A teen’s best friend disappears and seems to have been erased from everyone else’s memories. Ages 14 & up.
A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom (Feb 7, 2017)
A teen fears her friends will abandon her if they find out she has bipolar disorder. Age 14 & up.
The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill (Feb 7, 2017)
In Jazz-Age Chicago, a girl embarks on a mission to find her missing best friend. Ages 12-18.
Romeo and What’s Her Name by Shani Petroff (Feb 7, 2017)
An understudy wishes she were playing the lead opposite the boy of her dreams, until she has to actually step into the role and realizes she is totally unprepared. Ages 12-18.
Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (Feb 21, 2017)
A teen girl discovers a skeleton that provides a link back to the Tulsa race riots a century earlier. Age 14 & up.
Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot (Feb 28, 2017)
A girl tries to hide her eating disorder from the boy she loves. Ages 14 & up.
10 Things I Can See from Here by Carrie Mac (Feb 28, 2017)
A girl struggling with anxiety falls in love with a girl who isn’t afraid of anything. Ages 14 & up.
The Free by Lauren McLaughlin (Feb 28, 2017)
A teen in juvie comes to terms with his past and who he wants to be in the future. Ages 12-18.
A Good Idea by Cristina Moracho (Feb 28, 2017)
When her best friend is murdered, a teen returns to her hometown to plot revenge. Ages 14 & up.
Waking in Time by Angie Stanton (Mar 1, 2017)
A young woman traveling backward in time meets a young man traveling forward in time and falls in love. Ages 14 & up.
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (Mar 7, 2017)
A young witch accidentally raises her brother from the dead and discovers her own dark powers come at a price. Ages 12-18.
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz (Mar 7, 2017)
As he nears the end of high school, a boy begins to question his place within his adopted family. Ages 14 & up.
Nemesis by Brendan Reichs (Mar 21, 2017)
Brought together by murder and nightmares, two teens must sift through lies and conspiracy, hoping to save their doomed planet. Ages 14 & up.
Worthy by Donna Cooner (Mar 28, 2017)
An app that asks students whether girls are worthy of their boyfriends causes high school relationship chaos. Ages 14 & up.
Just Another Girl by Elizabeth Eulberg (Mar 28, 2017)
Two best friends struggle with their crush on the same guy and the secrets they keep from each other. Ages 14 & up.
Frogkisser! by Garth Nix (Mar 28, 2017)
A princess whose kiss can break curses goes on a quest to reclaim her kingdom from her evil stepparents. Ages 12 & up.
100 Hours by Rachel Vincent (Mar 28, 2017)
A Spring Break beach trip turns into a nightmare when six teens are kidnapped. Ages 14 & up.
The Inconceivable Life of Quinn by Marianne Baer (Apr 4, 2017)
A teen becomes the center of attention when she discovers she is pregnant but has no memory of ever having sex. Ages 14 & up.
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray (Apr 4, 2017)
A soldier and a machine on opposite sides of an interstellar war find themselves on a joint mission. Ages 14& up.
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemper (Apr 4, 2017)
A grieving girl leaves letters at her mother’s grave and makes an unlikely connection with the troubled classmate who finds them and responds. Ages 14 & up.
Toward a Secret Sky by Heather Maclean (Apr 4, 2017)
An orphaned girl is targeted by the enemies her parents left behind and embarks on a frantic mission to save the lives of those around her. Ages 14 & up.
Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr (Apr 4, 2017)
Two sisters struggling to care for each other despite their poverty find surprising challenges and opportunities when their estranged father returns. Ages 12-18.
Duels & Deception by Cindy Anstey (Apr 11, 2017)
A young heiress is kidnapped along with a poor law clerk and, to her dismay, finds herself falling in love with him. Ages 12-18.
Unearthly Things by Michelle Gagnon (Apr 11, 2017)
A modern Jane Eyre, in which an orphan moves in with a wealthy family with dark secrets. Ages 12-18.
Missing by Kelley Armstrong (Apr 18, 2017)
A girl discovers that the scores of teens who supposedly left her hometown over the years may actually have been murdered. Ages 14 & up.
The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares (Apr 25, 2017)
Though their parents were once married and they share half siblings, a boy and girl have never met until one summer at a shared beach house when their lives intersect. Ages 12-18.
Dreamfall by Amy Plum (May 2, 2017)
Teens must battle their worst nightmares in virtual reality when an experimental insomnia treatment goes horribly wrong. Ages 14 & up.
Noteworthy by Riley Redgate (May 2, 2017)
A girl masquerades as a boy to join an all-male a capella group. Ages 12-18.
My Future Ex-girlfriend by Jake Gerhard (May 16, 2017)
Three eighth graders struggle with their first relationships, hoping to hang onto their girlfriends so they don’t start high school as losers. Ages 12-18.
The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers (May 9, 2017)
When her actress mom gets a job in LA, a girl goes from being the most envied teen in Mexico City to the kid everyone assumes is the daughter of a “domestic.” Ages 12-18.
The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord ( May 16, 2017)
A girl finds her faith challenged when her mother’s cancer returns and her life begins to unravel. Ages 14 & up.
I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo (May 30, 2017)
A girl studies Korean romance movies to figure out how to get the attention of the boy she likes. Ages 12-18.
House of Furies by Madeleine Roux (May 30, 2017)
A maid at a Gothic boarding house hopes to save a young man from the harsh punishments inflicted by her employer on his house guests. Ages 14 & up.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley (Jun 6, 2017)
After her brother dies, a girl returns to her hometown and exchanges letters with the boy she once loved by hiding them in the pages of books. Ages 14 & up.
Internet Famous by Danika Stone (Jun 6, 2017)
When a teen blogger begins flirting with a fan online, a troll starts harassing her. Ages 12-18.
Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Jun 13, 2017)
A girl about to embark on a journey to Mars discovers a journal from the past and the stories of two other girls facing life-changing moments. Ages 12-18.
Roar by Cora Carmack (Jun 13, 2017)
A Stormling princess, born without her family’s signature magic power, tries to steal power for herself in order to avoid an arranged marriage. Ages 14 & up.
Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios (Jun 13, 2017)
When her relationship turns abusive, a teen struggles to escape it. Ages 14 & up.
Be True To Me by Adele Griffin (Jun 13, 2017)
Two teen tennis rivals compete for the love of the boy of their dreams. Ages 14 & up.
All the Ways the World Can End by Abby Sher (July 11, 2017)
With her dad dying and her best friend moving away, a girl feels like the world is ending. Ages 12-18.
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell (Jul 18, 2017)
A young thief is sent back in time to steal a book and save a mysterious and perhaps sinister magical order. Ages 12-18.
Lucky in Love by Kasie West (Jul 25, 2017)
A teen wins the lottery and everyone starts treating her differently–except the boy she has a crush on, who hasn’t heard the news yet. Ages 12-18.
Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle (Aug 8, 2017)
Two teens begin to lose important things, until they find a mysterious spellbook that lets them bring things back from the past–even things that should have stayed lost. Ages 14 & up.
The Book Jumper by Mechthild Glaser (Jan 3, 2017)
A girl discovers the power to jump into books and must stop a mysterious thief from altering her life. Ages 12-18.
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti (Jan 3, 2017)
Following a wild theory, a teen tries to track down a girl who disappeared. Ages 14 & up.
Frostblood by Ella Blake (Jan 10, 2017)
A teenage Fireblood conceals her powers from the Frostblood rulers until she must use them to save her world and avenge her mother’s death. Ages 14 & up.
You Don’t Know My Name by Kristen Orlando (Jan 10, 2017)
A teenage spy’s career is jeopardized when she falls in love. Ages 12-18.
A List of Cages by Robin Roe (Jan 10, 2017)
As assistant to the school psychologist, a teen boy must help his former foster-brother open up about his troubling secrets. Ages 14 & up.
Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields (Jan 10, 2017)
A teen whose kiss can kill works as an assassin until she gets an assignment she can’t complete: to kill the boy she loves. Ages 14 & up.
After the Fall by Kate Hart (Jan 24, 2017)
A girl struggles to balance her relationships with her best friend and his brother–her secret boyfriend–when tragedy strikes. Age 14 & up.
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (Jan 24, 2017)
Convicted of murdering an infant when she was nine years old, a pregnant teen must fight for the right to keep her baby. Ages 14 & up.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber (Jan 31, 2017)
Two sister run away to escape arranged marriage and get swept up in a magical and deadly game. Ages 14 & up.
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles (Jan 31, 2017)
A teen girl and a bounty hunter from Hell get wrapped up in a romantic adventure. Ages 14 & up.
Wait for Me by Caroline Leech (Jan 31, 2017)
A Scottish Red Cross volunteer falls in love with a German POW during WWII. Age 14 & up.
The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom (Feb 7, 2017)
To save her father from the vicious men holding him prisoner, a teen girl must become as cruel as the assassins and spies she faces. Ages 14 & up.
Traveler by L.E. DeLano (Feb 7, 2017)
When a boy she thought existed only in her imagination shows up in real life, a teen learns that she has the ability to travel to alternate realities and that in every one of them, she is dying. Ages 14 & up.
#famous by Jilly Gagnon (Feb 14, 2017)
A photo goes viral and sweeps a girl and her crush into a whirlwind or fame that may or may not be worth it. Ages 12-18.
American Street by Ibi Zoboi (Feb 14, 2017)
A girl struggles to adjust when her family moves from Haiti to Detroit. Ages 12-18.
Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle Van Arsdale (Feb 28, 2017)
Although she was raised to fear the soul eaters of the forest, a girl feels a connection to the creatures that killed the adults of her village and goes in search of them. Ages 14 & up.
Confessions of a High School Disaster: Chloe Snow’s Diary by Emma Chastain (Mar 7, 2017)
While her mom is in Mexico working on a novel, a girl chronicles her life in high school. Ages 12-18.
A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl (Mar 14, 2017)
When an abducted girl returns, the sister of a dead girl begins an investigation into her sister’s death and uncovers secrets about the abduction. Ages 14 & up.
Just Fly Away by Andrew McCarthy (Mar 28, 2017)
The discovery that her father has a child from an affair prompts a teen to go on a rebellious journey of self-discovery. Ages 14 & up.
Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brandt (Apr 4, 2017)
A math wiz who sees visions of people’s emotions falls in love with a troubled new kid. Ages 14 & up.
The Exo Project by Andrew DeYoung (Apr 4, 2017)
Desperate money, a boy volunteers for a 100 year mission to search for a new habitable planet after Earth is tainted by solar radiation. Ages 12-18.
Keeping the Beat by Marie Powell and Jeff Norton (Apr 4, 2017)
A teen girl band wins a talent contest and embarks on an adventure that ends in tragedy. Ages 14 & up.
Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer (Apr 11, 2017)
Two sisters with different faerie gifts find their lives torn apart when they are plunged into an enchanted dream world. Ages 12-18.
The Takedown by Corrie Wang (Apr 11, 2017)
A faked video of a girl having sex with her English teacher goes viral and threatens to destroy her life. Ages 14 & up.
Sucktown, Alaska by Craig Dirkes (May 1, 2017)
After getting kicked out of college his first semester, a young man struggles to find his way in the most boring town in the world. Ages 16 & up.
Textrovert by Lindsey Summers (May 2, 2017)
When a boy and girl who dislike each other accidentally swap phones, they get to know and like each other better through text messages. Ages 14 & up.
Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi (May 2, 2017)
A girl struggles to deal with the aftermath of her older sister’s suicide. Ages 14 & up.
The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beatty (May 9, 2017)
A matchmaker’s apprentice is recruited as a spy and enters the world of military espionage. Ages 12-18.
City of Angels by Kristi Belcamino (May 9, 2017)
A homeless teen investigates the disappearance of another homeless girl she met on the streets of LA. Ages 14 & up.
It Started with Goodbye by Christina June (May 9, 2017)
After being falsely accused of a crime, a teen under house arrest tries to start a graphic design business. Ages 12-18.
It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura (May 9, 2017)
Two girls from different cultural backgrounds fall in love. Ages 14 & up.
Antisocial by Jillian Blake (May 16, 2017)
Private lives become public when students at a wealthy prep school are hacked and their secrets exposed. Age 14 & up.
One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (May 30, 2017)
A teen who created a school gossip app is murdered in detention, and all four of the other students in the room with him had a motive. Ages 12-18.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (May 30, 2017)
Two teens whose parents have arranged their marriage meet at summer camp. Ages 12-18.
Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser (Jun 6, 2017)
In exchange for her father’s release from prison, a girl sail a mysterious cargo over the realm of the river god. Ages 12-18.
Ty has always looked up to his older brother Thane “Tiger” Lewis, the Syracuse University football star, especially since their parents died. He is almost as excited as Thane himself when the rumors begin circulating that he will be picked by the NY Jets in the draft. When the middle school football coach offers Ty a slot in Spring training, Ty knows Thane will be proud. Unfortunately, Uncle Gus stands in the way. Bitter for being forced to take Ty into his home, Uncle Gus insists that Ty go to work cleaning toilets at a dirty donut shop run by Uncle Gus’s mobster friends. Uncle Gus also has some schemes for how to take advantage of Thane’s newfound fame and money. But in order to dodge Thane’s savvy agent, Uncle Gus needs Ty’s help. Ty realizes that if he helps Uncle Gus, he may have enough leverage to get permission to join the football team—but he will have to balance his loyalty to his brother, his obligation to Uncle Gus, and his own commitment to the game.
An entertaining and exciting sports novel from former Atlanta Falcons Defensive End Tim Green! I picked this up because I am a Jets fan who enjoys reading books written for 11 year old boys. I was not disappointed. Green packs sports action, mafia and crime-related suspense, and a bunch of interesting, complex characters into a fairly short book. Once it got going, I had trouble putting it down. I highly recommend Football Hero to middle grade readers who like sports and/or thrillers.